Cheap local food in Kuala Lumpur
Whether you frequent Kuala Lumpur or are going there for the first time, one thing’s for sure - you’ll never get enough of the food there. You can find all kinds of restaurants and street side stalls at every corner of the city, boasting an array of cheap local eats to satiate your hunger.
To help you attain the glee of sashaying into a restaurant and emerging feeling like your moolah was well spent, we’ve scoured for affordable, local-approved eateries in KL selling some of Malaysia’s most popular delights. Here’s 13 places to check out:
1. Assam Laksa - Auntie Lora Kopitiam
Locals call Auntie Lora the place for delicious Penang eats outside of Penang. While Prawn Mee is their specialty dish, we were more impressed by their Assam Laksa (RM10.80, ~S$3.60).
Served with sardines and garnished with belacan sauce, fresh coriander, thinly sliced pineapples, cucumbers and tamarind juice, this dish boasts a flavourful profile. The level of spiciness from the belacan sauce was just right - not too mild or hot. The broth managed to maintain a delicate balance between sweet, sour and spicy.
Check out their menu here.
Auntie Lora Kopitiam
Address: 23, Jalan Manis 4, Taman Segar, 56100 Batu 9 Cheras, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Prices: from RM10.80 per bowl
Opening Hours:Tue-Sun: 6AM-5PM | Closed on Mon
Telephone:+60 3-9134 9998
2. Prawn Mee - Soon Lee Prawn Mee
Old is gold. Soon Lee Prawn Mee has been open since the 1980s, and their prawn noodles are some of the best in Kuala Lumpur. This streetside stall only serves three dishes: prawn noodles, char kuey teow, and lam mee.
Most locals come here just for the Signature Prawn Mee (RM7, ~S$2.30). The sweet-tasting broth is a result of hours spent boiling the soup with prawns. Paired with vermicelli noodles and a generous topping of prawns and fine pork slices, the entire dish encapsulates all that you want in classic prawn mee. Add a dash of homemade chili sambal sauce for a kick of spice.
The stall retains its original facade till this day
Soon Lee Prawn Mee
Address: Taman Kok Lian, 51200 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Prices:from RM 7
Opening Hours:Tue-Sun: 2PM-11PM | Closed on Mon
Telephone:+60 12-660 7127
3. KL Ban Mian - A Teh Pan Mee
A Teh Pan Mee serves delicious Mee Hoon Kuih (RM6, ~S$2). Adding their own spin to the traditional Hakka dish, the stall offers not one but three flavours: Original, Pumpkin and Vegetable flavoured mee hoon kuih. For the latter 2, actual vegetables and pumpkin are ground into puree form before being mixed with flour for a healthier version of the noodles.
Our taste test of all three revealed that the noodles were equally chewy and gave a good bite. The Pumpkin mee hoon kuih has a sweeter taste, whereas the Vegetable one kuih tastes just a tad herby. If you’d like to try both special flavours, you can choose to mix them in one bowl.
A Teh Pan Mee
Address: Jalan 34/154, Taman Bukit Anggerik, 56000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Opening Hours:Thu-Tue - 7.30am-2pm | Closed on Wed
Telephone:+60 12-341 0963
4. Bak Kut Teh - Restaurant Chuan Kee Bak Kut Teh
Restaurant Chuan Kee Bak Kut Teh in Setapak, KL, has been in business for more than 40 years, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s one of the few restaurants serving “Gu Zao Wei” (original taste) Bak Kut Teh (RM12, ~S$4), with a herbal base.
But don’t worry, there’s none of the bitter medicinal flavour - the soup is sweet and is slightly garlicky. The dish is served on a claypot to ensure longer heat and flavour retention.
The meat was tender and easy to chew - a result of hours of boiling
Order some sides to go along with it - taupok (RM3, ~S$1) and youtiao (RM2, ~S$0.65) are the usual goodies to get.
Restaurant Chuan Kee Bak Kut Teh
Address: 90, Jalan 2/23a, Taman Danau Kota, 53300 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Prices:from RM 12 per bowl of Claypot Bak Kut Teh
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun: 8.30AM-2.30PM, 6.30PM-10PM | Closed on Mon
Telephone: +60 16-376 3537
5. Hot Pot - Restoran Steamboat Le Tien 樂天火鍋專門店
You know a steamboat place is good if the soup base can be pretty much be served as a dish on its own. Their signature soup, Pork Bone Broth (RM19.90, ~S$6.60), is boiled with pork bones over high heat for hours, and the result is a very fragrant, sweet, and savory base even before other ingredients are added in.
That, combined with the fact that the restaurant is located in a central location of Cheras, KL, makes Restoran Steamboat Le Tien a go-to for locals.
Choose from an assortment of seafood, tofu platters, and shabu shabu meat dishes ala-carte style.
Don’t worry about the soup running out as it is refillable free of charge.
Restoran Steamboat Le Tien
Address:10, Jalan Mutiara Timur, Taman Mutiara Timur, 55100 Batu 9 Cheras, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Prices:from RM19.90 per pot, average spending RM20 per pax ala carte steamboat
Opening Hours: Daily: 5PM-12AM
Telephone: +60 12-912 2130
6. Cheese Naan - RSMY Best Cheese Naan
Locals and famous KL bloggers claim that RSMY Best Cheese Naan makes the best cheese naan in Setapak, so we had to try it for ourselves to see if it stands up to its reputation.
Their signature Cheese Naan (RM8, ~S$2.65) was chock full of gooey melted cheese between a layer of doughy crust. The cheese was so stringy that it almost felt like we were eating a slice of really cheesy pizza, but softer. The naan is best paired with some dal curry (RM2, ~S$0.65).
RSMY Best Cheese Naan
Address:11&13, Jalan Medan Tuanku, Medan Tuanku, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Prices:from RM8 (~S$2.50)
Opening Hours:Sun-Thu: 11AM-12AM | Fri-Sat: 11AM-1AM
Telephone: +60 3-2697 0700
7. Roti Canai - Valentine Roti
Roti canai is basically Malaysia’s version of roti prata, and there’s no better place to get your prata fix in KL than at Valentine Roti. Their roti canai offerings are so crispy, doughy and chewy all at once and won’t be able to get enough of the textures.
From left to right: Roti Planta, Roti Canai, Roti Valentine
The dough is kneaded on the spot and cooked on an oiled griddle for an extremely crispy crust and soft inner dough.
Other than the standard Roti Canai (RM3.50, ~S$1.15), the restaurant also offers their signature Roti Valentine (RM5, ~S$1.60), a prata stuffed with sardines, cabbage, onions and chives. Our favourite was the Roti Planta (RM2, ~S$0.60), which tasted more like a dessert because of how the butter and sugar was embedded within the folds of the prata.
Other notable dishes on the menu are Thosai Ayam (RM7.50, ~S$2.50) and Roti Tissu (RM3.50, ~S$1.15) - the former being one of the eatery’s recommended dishes as well.
Address:Stor No. 1, Jalan Semarak Opposite Menara Celcom, 54000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Prices:from RM2 (~S$0.65)
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 5PM-2AM
Telephone: +60 18-666 0335
8. Satay - Satay Zainah Ismail
If you’re looking for a supper spot, this is it. Located near central Bukit Bintang, Satay Zainah Ismail offers a simple variety of satay, including chicken, chicken liver, beef, and beef stomach. Being less adventurous when it comes to food, we went for the more familiar chicken and beef sticks.
Image credit: @kamal.nor
The satay was well-charred, tender, and coated in just enough oil for the meat glisten without leaving a greasy taste in the mouth. The homemade peanut gravy was garlicky, slightly spicy and pleasantly sweet.
Satay Zainah Ismail
Address:1077, Lorong Kiri 20, Kampung Datuk Keramat, 54000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Prices: from RM1.30 (~S$0.40) per stick
Telephone: +60 16-618 1649
9. Egg Yolk Hor Fun - Kedai Kopi Makanan Hong Lai
Better known as the “Moonlight Hor Fun” because of the moon-like egg yolk in the centre of the dark noodles, Kedai Kopi Makanan Hong Lai’s signature hor fun dish is famed for their silky smooth noodles soaked in zhup.
To achieve the distinctively charred, “wok hei” flavour, the chef insists on stir-frying the noodles using a traditional frying wok on charcoal grill.
We sank our chopsticks into the raw egg and watched the yolk slowly ooze out onto the noodles. Mix it all together, and you get an extra smooth texture that just glides on your tongue. Yum!
Kedai Kopi Makanan Hong Lai
Address: 83, Jalan Genting Klang, Taman Ayer Panas, 53000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Prices:from RM6.50 (~S$2.15), add egg RM7 (~S$2.30)
Opening Hours:Daily 7PM-2AM
Telephone:+60 19-313 6653
10. BBQ Chicken Wings - Sri Rampai Ah Loong BBQ Chicken Wing
In a city where word of mouth is more influential than online reviews, a small streetside stand like Ah Loong BBQ Chicken Wing is able to thrive despite hailing from a more ulu part of town.
Image credit: Deric N. adapted from Foursquare
Their chicken wings are marinated with a special sauce that includes honey and pandan leaves, grilled to a nice crispiness with a light smoky fragrance.
Image credit: Ivan L. adapted from Foursquare
Tip: Go really early so that you can get your order faster. Business is so good that customers often have to wait in line for 1 to 2 hours if they’re not one of the first few in line.
Sri Rampai Ah Loong BBQ Chicken Wing
Address:32, Jalan 45/26, Taman Sri Rampai, 53300 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Prices: from RM5.20 (~S$1.70) for 1 wing/drum pair
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 6PM-10PM | Closed on Sun
Telephone: +60 17-887 1138
11. Kaki Bola XO Fish Head Noodle
The soup of the fish head noodles at Kaki Bola contains, XO, which complements the milk and tomatoes to create a creamy yet tart flavour. This is paired exceptionally well with the stall’s homemade sambal.
The noodles are thinner on average, which makes them easy to slurp
Fried fish with a crispy exterior and soft flesh
Kaki Bola XO Fish Head Noodle
Address: No. 23, Jalan Manis 7, Taman Segar, 6 1/2 Miles, Jalan Cheras, Wilayah Persekutuan, 56100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Prices:from RM9 (~S$3)
Opening Hours:Daily: 7.30AM-10PM
Telephone:+60 12-388 6629
12. Claypot Lao Shu Fen - Goon Wah Restaurant
Goon Wah Restaurant is yet another old-timey restaurant which serves a mean dish of Claypot Lao Shu Fen (silver needle noodles, RM12.90, ~S$4.30). To beat the crowds, our team headed down to the restaurant during mid-afternoon to try this dish.
The lao shu fen doesn’t rely too much on soy sauce for flavour, and only the minced meat is marinated with dark soy sauce. We mixed it together with the other ingredients like dried shrimp, fried pork lard, and some chilli. The result - a perfectly balanced, saporous meal which made for a very happy tummy.
Goon Wah Restaurant
Address: G13, Jalan 3/115c, Taman Kuchai Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Prices: from RM12.90 (~S$4.30)
Opening Hours:Mon-Fri: 7.45AM-9PM | Sat: 7.45AM-4PM | Closed on Sun
Telephone: +60 3-7982 0048
13. Wat Dan Hor & Hokkien Mee - Restoran Pan Heong
If you’re thinking of taking a day trip to the Batu Caves, make a pit stop at nearby restaurant Restoran Pan Heong for a hearty lunch.
The restaurant is famous for their Sang Har Hor Fun (RM86, ~S$28.50), aka hor fun with large river prawns. It’s not the most affordable, but if you’re a sucker for prawns, this dish is well worth the splurge. The noodles are drenched in heavenly egg-based sauce and topped off with two fresh river prawns, conveniently split in two for you to dig into.
A more affordable option is their Wat Dan Hor Fun (silky egg hor fun, RM10.50, ~S$3.15), with pork slices instead of seafood. We were particularly impressed by how moist and slurpy the noodles were. The wide surface area of the hor fun also meant more of the sauce could be picked up by the noodles.
We tried another noteworthy dish on the menu, the Hokkien Mee (RM10.50, ~S$3.15). Tossed in dark soy sauce with pork slices and minced garlic, the noodles were packed with flavour, springy and gave a great bite.
The restaurant was still packed even during mid-afternoon - be prepared to wait up to 20-30 minutes for your order.
Restoran Pan Heong
Address: 2, Jalan Medan Batu Caves 4, Medan Batu Caves, 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Prices:from RM10.50 (~S$3.50)
Opening Hours:Tue-Sun: 8.30AM-3.30PM | Closed on Mon
Telephone: +60 3-6187 7430
Affordable local food in KL
KL has so much good food that it’s hard to decide where to go for your meals. The list we compiled summarises the must-try, disappointment-free places that you can dine at to ensure that every meal is a meal well had, with money well spent.
If you’re looking for more information on KL, we’ve got you covered with the following articles: