Kuala Lumpur has a large diverse melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities living in and around the greater metropolitan area. This makes it a great city for a do it yourself cheap eats food tour. With that brings a long history and blending of the different cuisines like no other. For foodies, Kuala Lumpur is a great city to explore all the unique flavors of these diverse cultures. Kuala Lumpur cuisines draw from Chinese, Malay, and Indian. Like many large cities, Kuala Lumpur has a large range of prices form very fancy to mom and pops eateries. If you’re on a budget like many avid travelers here a few great cheap eats options to check out if you are in Kuala Lumpur.
This list is not meant to be an end all be all of the very best cheap eats in all of Kuala Lumpur. Food is subjective and standards in quality and atmosphere will vary based on your personal preferences and comfort level, so with that being said, I hope at the very least this can offer you a starting point for cheap eats on your trip to Kuala Lumpur so you can create your own food tour.
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Peter's Pork Noodle
Cost: 10RM ($2.40 USD) for a bowl of Pork Noodle Soup with everything
Located in Little India part of Brickfields Neighborhood, Peter’s Pork Noodles is located within walking distance to Kuala Lumpur Sentral Metro Station. However, finding the exact location is a little tricky as it is just a small hawker stall in a food court sandwiched in between a bunch of different buildings.
Tip: When walking down Jalan Tun Sambanthan from KL Sentral Station look for a large sign on the side of a building that says Money’s Corner Food Court. Follow the arrow down the small alleyway to get to the food court. Once inside look for Peter’s Pork Noodle Soup kiosk.
Now that we got that out of the way lets talk about the food. Don’t let the appearance of this food court scare you, the food at this stall, in my opinion, is solid. May not be fit for you if you are less adventurous and typically opt for a well lit super clean establishment. For less than $3 USD you get a savory clear pork broth base soup with minced pork, yummy fried pork skin bits, pork balls, nicely poached egg, slices of pork liver, scallions, what I believe is Chinese spinach, and your choice of noodles. I opted for the flat rice noodles similar to pho noodles. But you can also get a wheat type noodle or a thin vermicelli style noodle as other options. The soup was fragrant and although it is a pork-based broth, it did not have an overpowering fatty greasy taste to me. I was surprised at how clean tasting the broth was. I ended up craving this meal and came back a couple more times while I was staying in Kuala Lumpur. Chili peppers and black vinegar accompaniment this dish very nicely. A perfect meal for the budget-conscious traveler.
Sin Kiew Yee Beef Noodle Soup
Cost: 9 RM for a small bowl of mix beef noodle ($2.16 USD)
Sin Kiew Yee Beef Noodle Soup is located off the edge of Chinatown near the main entrance to Chinatown on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock and is easy to find. This is another establishment I frequented during my time in Kuala Lumpur. A very popular place during lunchtime so it’s best to get here before or after the rush lunchtime hours. I recommend getting here before 12noon or after 1:30 pm in my experience. Like many of the noodle shops in Kuala Lumpur, you get to pick your noodle preference. I like the way flat rice noodles soak up soup broth so I went with that option. But you can also get a wheat-based noodle, or thin vermicelli rice noodle as well. They also served a dry based noodle dish with minced beef and scallions but I didn’t try it. I got wet based soup with everything instead. It included thin slices of beef, minced beef, beef balls, beef tripe, tendon, and scallions. I ordered a small but also have a larger size. The broth was both savory and clean tasting, and although it looks like and resembles a Vietnamese Pho, it had a very different tasting broth. Think more garlicky but less anise than a pho broth. It’s hard to explain without tasting. But I can say that if you fancy Pho, then this beef noodle soup dish is worth checking out if you are in Kuala Lumpur and trying to eat on the cheap. One thing to note is that this restaurant is very small and at times the service can be frank and rushed. This can be quite common in Asia in general so take it with a grain of salt.
Jalan Alor Night Market
Cost: 5-50 RM depending on what you get ($1.20-25USD)
A Kuala Lumpur cheap food tour would not be complete without visiting the famous Jalan Alor Night Market located in the Bukit Bintang district in the central city. This lively street market consists of street vendors that line a row of restaurants and usually get started around 5 pm and goes late into the night. It’s not only popular with the tourist visiting the party area of Bukit Bintang, but it is also popular with the locals. Prepare for restaurants vying for you to eat at their establishment with servers offering to show you their menu. You will find a lot of grilled meat on skewers, inexpensive dim sum, durian, ice cream, seafood, Vietnamese, Malaysian, roast chicken, Chinese jerky and even more. This is the perfect place to experience a large variety of different types of food all at a reasonable price to fit any budget-conscious tourist. A great place to create your own personal food tour in one place.
Village Park Restaurant
Cost: 10.50 RM ($2.52 USD)
Just on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, you will find Village Park Restaurant in the Petaling Jaya area. Village Park Restuarant is well known for Malaysia’s prized signature national dish called Nasi Lemak. Nasi Lemak is fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf. They serve this dish with a delicious fried chicken, peanuts, hard-boiled egg, cucumber, and some spicy sambal.
Cost: 5-20 RM ($1.20-4.79 USD)
ICC Pudu is a hawker center located in the Pudu area of Kuala Lumpur that mostly specializes in food eaten for breakfast. Opens early at 6 am and usually closes around 2 pm. Expect a large variety of Chinese, Malay, and Indian breakfast cuisines. I only got to try Ah Fook Yong Tau Fu Cheong Fun which serves a cold Cheong Fun (Steamed Rice Sheets Rolled Up) with a curry sauce or sweet sauce or mix of both with toppings of your choice. If you come to Kuala Lumpur on a budget look out for the many hawker food centers like this to save a buck.
Hong Kee Famous Clay Pot
Cost: 10-20 RM ($2.40-4.79 USD)
A small stall in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown you will find this well know hawker serving primarily Clay Pots, grilled meats, and grilled seafood. Chicken and Rice Clay Pot is one of the more popular dishes cooked in a clay pot of a charcoal fire. The clay pot gives the rice a nice crispy texture at the bottom of the clay pot, so be sure to scrape the bottom for the crunchy bits. The chicken has a sweet and savory soy flavor and a faint hint of that smokey charcoal flavor and I order this dish with added Chinese sausage. I just love the way Chinese sausage goes with rice and soy sauce. Also to note this stall only opens for dinner around 4:30 pm to 10 pm on most days. Check google for hours.
Kedai Kopi Lai Foong
Cost 10 RM ($2.40 USD)
Kedai Kopi Foong is a small restaurant with even smaller stalls inside of it specializing in a variety of dishes. Some of the more popular items are the Beef Noodles, Hainanese chicken, La La Noodles (Clam Noodles), Curry Laksa, Roast Duck, and Char Keow Teow. With most dishes here costing less than $3 USD, it is very budget-friendly. However, like most of the inexpensive food option is Kuala Lumpur expect to sit at a table with others on small plastic chairs in old cafes with the locals. I decided on ordering the LaLa Bee Hoon (Clam Noodles). The noodles served with the LaLa Noodles were thin vermicelli rice noodles and the soup was loaded with clams and came out piping hot. The broth was very aromatic with garlic, ginger, and a hint of wine taste, quite different but very flavorful.
Mansion Tea Stall
Cost: 3-5 RM ($0.79-1.20 USD)
Mansion Tea Stall is located near the Masjid Jamek Station along the Klang River. This no-frills hawker stall serves some of the cheapest breakfast you will find in Kuala Lumpur in the form of roti canai, soft boiled eggs, curry and Teh Tarik (Pulled Tea). This place is quite popular with the locals and you will probably not see many tourists here. I saw only two other western tourists here. But don’t let that deter you from giving this place a shot.
Yut Kee Restaurant
Cost: 5-25 RM ($1.20-6 USD)
Yut Kee is an institution for traditional Hainanese fare. They have been in operation since 1928. They are located near the Dang Wangi LRT Station in the Chow Kit area of Kuala Lumpur. Some of Yut Kee’s specialties include Roast Pork (Similar to porchetta) only available Fri-Sunday, Pork Chop (Fried pork chop in gravy with vegetables), Chicken Chop (Fried flatten chicken in gravy and vegetables) Kaya Toast (Toast with a coconut jam and butter usually served with soft boiled eggs) among other dishes. This place is probably the fanciest restaurant on this list. However, the prices for the food are more than reasonable. On the first day I was there everyone was ordering the Roast Pork special which looked delicious. I was in the mood for breakfast and decided to get the kaya toast with a soft boiled egg. Like many places that serve kaya toast, it’s really hard to screw up that dish. The second time I came to Yut Kee was with the intention of getting the Roast Pork Special, however, they were sold out of it by the time I got there so I opted for the Chop Chicken and it did not disappoint.