If you want to understand people, get to know their food. It tells us so much about a particular culture or race; especially food that has withstood the test of time. Downtown Kuala Lumpur (KL) carries a rich history in every alleyway, its old pre-war buildings, and of course, the myriad cuisine it has on offer.
Every morsel you can sink your teeth into tells a story if you know where to look. Taste a little bit (or a lot) of Malaysian history through the mouth-watering dishes that you can find at these spots featuring heritage eats in town.
Bunn Choon’s Egg Tarts
Near Kwai Chai Hong sits an old dim sum restaurant painted with bright yellow walls and teal doors and windows, and it is one of Petaling Street’s oldest kopitiam.
It was founded in 1893 and passed down through four generations, using century-old recipes to make the finest custard egg tarts, dim sum, and other traditional Chinese dishes. Enjoy it with a hot cup of Chinese tea or buy a box to take home.
Address: No 8, Lorong Pangung, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +6016 228 7625
Kean Guan Tea Merchants’s Tea
Influenced by early Chinese traders, tea plays a significant role in the Malaysian food scene. It’s not uncommon to find locals bringing their own homemade sachets of tea to brew at a restaurant while having a meal. Kean Guan Tea Merchants have been importing and distributing tea since the 1940s.
You’ll find premium selections of tea sourced from different regions in China, including Fujian Superfine Oolong Tea, Jasmine Pearl Green Tea, and Pu Erh Tea with Chrysanthemum.
Address: 160, Jalan Petaling 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2078 5306
Soong Kee’s Beef Noodles
Founded and run by the Soong family in 1945, locals still love this old hawker shop for its signature beef noodle soup. A hearty bowl of mee (springy noodles) topped with minced beef marinated in dark soy sauce is served with a bowl of clear beef ball soup. Pair it with their homemade spicy chilli if you like a little heat.
Address: 86, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, 50050 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +6014 967 1945
Fung Wong’s Biscuits
Long-time pioneers of traditional Chinese pastries for weddings, Full Moon celebrations, and Mooncake Festivals, this 113-year-old shop still makes the best treats in town. They’ve recently moved to a new outlet in Jalan Sultan, giving the old biscuit shop new life with a modern cafe-style interior.
The new space may cater to a new and younger audience, but their Red Bean Biscuit Rolls, Siew Bao Puff, and Century Egg Tart keep their faithful customers coming back for more. Contact them via WhatsApp for further enquiries.
Address: 85, Jalan Sultan, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Kim Soya Bean’s Tau Fu Fa
Kim Soya Bean is known as one of the oldest and best stalls in town, serving a classic Malaysian comfort treat, Tau Fu Fa. It’s a sweet and silky tofu pudding immersed in ginger-infused brown sugar syrup, typically served as a dessert or a midday snack. Try their ice-cold soya bean if that does not suit your fancy. Both are typical local treats on sunny days in KL.
Address: 49, Jalan Petaling, 50000 Kuala Lumpur,
Hon Kee’s Fish Porridge
With 60 years under their belt, they’re easily the best bowl of porridge you’ll find in Downtown KL. Hon Kee starts serving up delicious bowls of porridge at 5am every day. Give their Fresh Raw Fish Porridge a go if you’re feeling adventurous.
Allow the thin slices of fish to gently cook in the hot porridge and accompany it with a drizzle of sesame oil, fresh ginger slices, and a dash of white pepper. This is a breakfast bowl worth waking up for.
Address: 93, Jalan Hang Lekir, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +6016 666 0603
Madras Lane’s Curry Laksa
You can’t have heritage cuisine in Malaysia without a bowl of Curry Laksa. Ranked second on Lonely Planet’s Eatlist, Madras Lane’s 50-year old Curry Laksa stall is not just a local favourite.
A blend of yellow Hokkien noodles and rice noodles is served in a rich, creamy, and spicy curry laksa broth, topped with a generous serving of long beans, eggplant, tofu, and meats making it one of the most irresistible meals near Petaling Street.
Though Madras Lane is known to have some of the best street food in the area, this is not one you’ll want to miss.
Address: Madras Lane, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur