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While there are plenty of things I love about Southeast Asia (read: the diversity, the people, the beaches, the rich culture, making fun of the fact that every expat on Tinder has the same profile pictures from traveling SE Asia…), at the top of my list lies THE FOOD. The amount of amazing food that lies within the region and every country is way too much to even attempt to put into my mouth hole. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t try. KL may be the epitome of Southeast Asia’s majestic food scene. The best part is, there’s so much not just delicious, but CHEAP food in Kuala Lumpur.
Every place has its own specialty and most of the countries I’ve visited have had very specific cuisines that they’re famous for. So it probably goes without saying that I was super stoked about living in Kuala Lumpur for a month – a blend of Chinese, Indian, and Malay all come together in a delicious melting pot of food nomzzzz. There are so many areas to explore around the city, and best of all, so many ways to enjoy it at a price that will still let you book a night at the Face Suites for an epic view at an infinity pool. (Bonus points if you hair whip, like we did.)

Below are my favorite places for cheap and delicious food in all aspects: delivery, dine in, street food, and beyond!

Cheap Food in Kuala Lumpur:

Street food all day, erryday.

The street food scene in KL is one that should NOT be overlooked. Street meat is where it’s at. In your mouth is where it should be. And if you’re afraid of street food….well, get over it. It probably doesn’t like you either. Don’t be petty.
Most of it is cooked right in front of you, so you can be sure that it’s fresh and hot. As with any street food, stray from meat that’s been just sitting there. If it’s not being grilled or boiled or fried by a very nice, sweaty, Malaysian man (or you, because this is a thing too, as you’ll see below) then maaaaybe try something else. Other than that, I encourage you to eat ALL of the things. Here are some favorite (and cheap, obvi) spots:

Find this food cart for amazing cheap food in Kuala Lumpur!

This food cart was near me (right across the street from The Rabbit Hole, which is where the pin is) and I definitely preferred it over others, although I saw them all over the city. It consists of tons of proteins and veggies on sticks; they sit on ice and are ready to be cooked when someone orders them. Bonus? You get to cook them yourself! Choose your sticks, choose whether you want to boil or fry them, and eat up! If you want recommendations, the guy working was always super nice and helpful. (i.e. which ones to fry, boil, etc.) And don’t be afraid of the weird options: when in Malaysia, right? Choose from everything ranging from quail eggs and squid to chicken and cow tongue. (Sexy, huh?) Never did I think that I’d kiiiinda be making out with a cow (in a really weird, twisted, way) or actually kiiiinda enjoy it…ew. Did I just gross you out? I just grossed me out. Moving on…


Cheap Food in Kuala Lumpur:

If you’re looking for a nicer place on the outskirts of town…

Try La’Vin, an epic wine bar. With super cheap prices for bottles and even cheaper prices for food, this is a great spot for a birthday celebration or just to hang out when you’re craving something other than the typical Malay stuff. The menu is huge and everything was delicious. An uber from the city center will run you about 120 MYR, which is easy to split if you’re with a few friends.

Cheap Food in Kuala Lumpur:

Get a TON of stuff on “Food Street” AKA Jalan Alor.

If you can’t tell from the photo below, Food Street has its name for a reason. No, you can’t eat it. (Enough dad jokes for you? Too bad.) But it’s got all the food you could possibly want. Tons of different styles, and at verrrrry reasonable prices. Suggestions below:

Cheap Food in Kuala Lumpur:

Eat some Dim Sum!

At 10 MYR for 8 pieces of delicious dim sum, these dumplings are freshly made every night. And they are sooooo good. Find them right at the beginning of the intersection for Jalan Alor. (Right by the street that houses many massage people). Also, they come in fun colors! And tons of fillings! Your tummy will be so happy. Do it.

Cheap Food in Kuala Lumpur:

Durian: the best or worst thing to ever happen to you.

Durian is a fruit that’s native to the area, and if it happens to grace you with its presence, let’s just say…you’ll know. Some people love this stuff. I mean, it looks innocent enough. Kind of like a pineapple. Only evil. [just kidding] However, as I said before, when in Malaysia…you should try it, if you’re brave enough. You may love it, just like my friend Kristen did! And you may spit it out. Like I did.

Cheap Food in Kuala Lumpur:

Coconut Ice Cream in a freakin’ coconut – but don’t be fooled. Get the best one.

I may or may not have eaten at Sangkaya once a day for three days in a row, at one point. Their hashtag, #nutsaboutcoconuts, really spoke to me. And when I answered the call, it was love at first bite. It was the last local food I had before I left Kuala Lumpur. I dream about it. It is SO. GOOD. If you like coconut (and I’m talkin’ fresh, not too sweet, juuuuust right coconut), you have to try this. Make sure you get it in a coconut for optimal Instagram likes, and load on the free toppings at the table. (My faves include oreo and more grated coconut. *drools*) It also has fresh pieces of coconut at the bottom. I’m salivating just thinking about it.


Cheap Food in Kuala Lumpur:

Wong Ah Wah – or as I call it, the Mickey Mouse Restaurant

If you’re looking for Malaysian Chinese street food, you’ve hit the jackpot. Why is it Mickey Mouse, you ask? Because for some reason there’s a picture of a janky Mickey on their sign. It makes no sense. But that’s why I love it. This place has an enormous menu, and EVERYTHING is good. One of my favorites and a must-try that you won’t get anywhere else? Stingray. Strangely tender, perfectly seasoned, and very exotic. Also feel free to just point to random things on the menu – the servers don’t speak much English, but it sure is a fun game of lottery – especially when you know that you’ll always hit the jackpot. The restaurant itself looks like this:


Cheap Food in Kuala Lumpur:

The best Indian food, on the street or in your bed!

Kuala Lumpur is super humid. And pretty hot. And it rains a lot. And generally, if you go outside, you’ll be…moist. After a long day of hiking, walking around, or even just hanging out at the top of the Petronas Towers, ya get tired. And frankly, a lot of the time I just wanted to go home to the beloved air conditioning (A/C I’m so sorry for never properly thanking you in Texas. Please forgive me.) and sit on the couch or in my bed and watch some good ol’ Netflix. Luckily, Fierce Curry House knew this about me. Somehow, they read my mind. (well, ok, UberEats is probably partially responsible as well). If you weren’t aware, UberEats is in KL, and it is a lifesaver when you need to chill (literally) in your hostel, AirBnB, or wherever you’re staying. THEY DELIVER. And it is the BEST butter chicken I’ve had in a long time, and definitely the best in KL. Also, their naan is damn good. And if you like spicy, the eggplant curry is *lit*. Everything on the menu is good and definitely affordable for those days/nights in. And if you want to visit them in person, they’ve got a cute little street-side shop that feels very authentic.

Cheap Food in Kuala Lumpur:

Nasi Lemak, almost anywhere.

This traditional Malaysian dish combines fried or grilled chicken, coconut rice, a delicioussss (and spicy, sometimes sweet) sambal, an egg, peanuts, and sometimes some veggies. (But that’s not important here. Did you hear me say chicken in delicious sauce?) Every place is different and you’ll find that the range of flavors from place to place varies a lot. However, trying them all will give you that authentic experience and will also make you very happy. Because it’s delicious. A favorite (and cheap) one of mine is Nasi Lemak Wanjor.

With the amount of food that Kuala Lumpur has to offer, you’d be just plain stupid if you weren’t to explore it all. And while, yes, some of it seems scary, crazy spicy, and somewhat insane, as I always tell myself: #YOGOMOATPATBISG: you only go to Malaysia once and then probably again because it’s so good. So go nuts! (Coconuts, perhaps?) The city is brimming with amazing food, culture, and people that are more than eager to tell you about it. I always find that talking to locals is the easiest way to find the best food. (They do have Uber here…chat them up – or even your local taxi driver can add to the pot, if he’s feeling generous.)  Spend the MYR, meet the locals, put ALL OF THE THINGS in your mouth (!) and try the things that scare you (yes, even the durian.) Now if you’ll excuse me…I’ll be googling where to find Nasi Lemak in South Africa.

More Cheap Food in Kuala Lumpur:

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Cheap Food in Kuala Lumpur

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