Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: a Tasting Tour with Darren Teoh

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: a Tasting Tour with Darren Teoh

Find out an amazing Tasting Tour with Darren Teoh: from breakfast to after-dinner, you'll discover the best places to eat like a local in Kuala Lumpur.
27 June, 2018

You may have heard of Kuala Lumpur’s vibrant yet low-key dining scene, a city with so much to offer (think affordable street food, wallet-friendly heritage eateries, hip bars, fine-diners and unconventional restaurants), yet remains so under-explored compared to the likes of BangkokHong Kong and Singapore.

But things are slowly changing. Fueled by the cheap Ringgit and an up-and-coming restaurant scene populated by native Malaysian chefs who are returning home after years of cooking abroad, foodies are beginning to discover the value and fun of dining in the Malaysian capital.

Which begs the question – where are the best places to eat in Kuala Lumpur? We posed the question to Darren Teoh, chef-owner of Dewakan, who spent five years cooking his way across Singapore before the debut of his modern Malaysian eatery in Kuala Lumpur in 2015.

Mansion Tea Stall

"Mansion Tea Stall is a 24-hour restaurant is notorious for its roti canai banjir special – which is your typical roti canai, ripped to smaller pieces, then drenched in a lentil curry, fish curry and sambal (a spicy condiment or relish), before two soft-boiled eggs are added on top. While you’re at the stall, order a teh tarik (literally ‘pulled tea’, or sweet tea with milk) as well.”

Ah Her & Samy Bak Kut Teh

“I think I have brought all my guest chefs to eat bak kut teh (pork rib soup) at Ah Her & Samy Bak Kut Teh. With the restaurant located in the neighbouring township, a good way to start the day is to come and have the famous pork stew in its birthplace, Klang. Here, the broth is heady with the herbs that stew with the meat for hours. In Klang, it is not uncommon to have bak kut teh for breakfast.”

Yung Kee Beef Noodles

Yung Kee Beef Noodles

May ‘N’ Mike’s Spicy Corner

"May ‘N’ Mike’s Spicy Corner is a small eatery that serves Malayalee cooking, which reminds me of my own maternal grandmother’s cooking. My favourite dishes here are the Sura Puttu (shredded and stir-fried fish), Avial (vegetarian curry made with curd and coconut milk) and Injipulli (sweet and sour ginger and tamarind relish).” 

Restoran Kudu bin Abdul

"Restoran Kudu bin Abdul serves the best nasi kandar in the city. Kandar means a pole; food-sellers back in the day would balance a pole on their shoulders, laden with baskets of food, which was the traditional way of transporting food. The restaurant, opened since 1969, used to be a favourite of the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee (a legendary Malaysian actor, director, and singer-songwriter). There is typically always a queue. I particularly like the daging masak kicap (beef cooked in dark soy sauce and chilli) served with rice doused in all the various gravies.” 

Sambal Hijau

Sambal Hijau serves Malay and Minang-style dishes via nasi campur (meaning mixed rice), with over 50 to 60 dishes to choose from every day for lunch. My wife and I try to be there by about 11.30 in the morning before the lunch crowd becomes exceptionally hectic. The food is influenced by the East Coast-style of Malay cooking. I enjoy having any of their dishes with tempeh (fermented soybeans) and/or helping ourselves to some ulam (herbs and vegetables) with their green sambal.”

Wong Mei Kee

Wong Mei Kee

“Famous for its Chinese roast pork (siew yoke) and chicken rice, Wong Mei Kee is arguably the gold standard for both. You are welcome to take your seats early as the owner will only start serving at 12.30 pm – and it’s a mad rush after that. All tables seated are usually pre-ordered, and then the patient wait can last from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. I am usually never disappointed.” 

Table & Apron

"Table & Apron is a neighbourhood restaurant that has a thoughtful menu serving very Malaysian inspired dishes that are great for sharing. Depending on the menu cycle, I enjoy the deep fried sweet potato with gula melaka, charred eggplant with green onion puree and the ulam herbed crab rice.” 

Babe

“In the kitchen of Babe restaurant, there is Jeff Ramsey, where he creates playful Japanese-inspired Nikkei cuisine using Malaysian and premium Japanese ingredients. I usually do their tasting menu. They also have a gorgeous view of the city.” 

Sitka Studio

Babe Sitka Studio

“Sitting in Sitka Studio is special; opened only on Friday nights, Studio is casual fine dining, using local produce in modern cuisine – which loosely translates to anything the chef wants to cook. You will get a lot of natural wine and a killer playlist played loud and until late; you're always welcome to stay late if you give the chef booze.”

Chow Yang SS2 pasar malam

“Pasar malam, or night markets, have been part of the social fabric of the urban communities for as long as I can remember (maybe that isn’t very long). When it is cooler, entire streets of urban commercial areas are converted into a stretch of stalls selling everything from sundries, fruit and vegetable and food. When there is the opportunity, I enjoy canvassing the streets – my favourite is the pasar malam at Chow Yang SS2 – and eating from the stalls there, my favourite is Yuyu Ice (sorbets made with local flavours).”

Omakase + Appreciate

Omakase + Appreciate is Malaysia’s only representation on the Asia’s Best Bars List – and my favourite place to go for tasty cocktails. It is a speakeasy-themed bar, so finding the entrance can be tricky.”

Honcho! Pizza Parlour

OmakaseAppreciate Honcho Pizza Parlour

“Open till late, Honcho! is a five tonne truck with a working kitchen and a wood fire oven. Pizzas are made to order and come to you straight from the inbuilt wood fire oven.”

Restoran Wong Ah Wah

"Located at the tail end of the touristy Jalan Alor, Wong Ah Wah has been serving me charcoal grilled chicken wings from since I was in college. Other notable superstars are their braised frog legs in gingerkam heong lala (stir-fry clams), and deep fried squid with salted eggs.”

Medan Selera Jaya 223

"Medan Selera Jaya 223 is a food court that comes alive at night with tables creating a maze for you to walk through. You have the choice to sit on blue or red tables that denote the ‘jurisdiction’ of the two main nasi lemak vendors and their alliances in the food court. Here, you should have nasi lemak bungkus (nasi lemak wrapped in banana leaves) and the sup kambing.”