Flight prices crazy high? Even a boat trip to your favourite Indonesian island is exorbitant? Never fear, City News is here with ideas for a food trip from Singapore to Melaka and Kuala Lumpur.
A month ago, my parents asked if we could all go away for a holiday together. “We” meant 12 people in total: my family, my sister’s family and my parents. “We” also meant a delicate compromise on the part of all parties to find the perfect little window for the trip.
It came down to a four-day-three-night trip. Given the tight timeline and escalating flight prices, we decided to take a road trip to Melaka and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We were all excited, not because we were going to check out touristy sites, but because we were going to hunt down all the yummy food we have missed and check out new food haunts!
If you are planning to eat your way from Singapore to KL like us, here’s our list of must-trys (as of November 2022). You can see the list is rather short (there’s only so much one can eat over four days), but I assure you, these places are open and, their standard is as good as ever.
On route to Melaka/KL
Tangkak Beef Noodle @Restoran Kuang Fei
20, Jalan Solok, Kampung Padang Lalang, 84900 Tangkak, Johor, Malaysia
Opening hours: Daily 9.30am-5pm
This is usually our first stop for all our road trips into Malaysia. It is in Tangkak, a small town about 45km away from Melaka, a perfect stop to stretch your legs, have a quick bite and if you like, walk into a couple of shops.
Restoran Kuang Fei serves delicious beef noodle soup. You get to choose between a big (RM15) or regular (RM9) bowl, and with meat only or meat mixed with tendon. That’s it. No other options, no other dishes. But it’s so good. The beef is tender, the soup broth is so flavourful and yummy.
The best part? The place is clean, and it serves as a great rest stop.
1. If you need your coffee fix, this isn’t the place. They use pre-mix coffee bags.
2. There’s a large pharmacy you can check out about two shops away. There, we bought bottled drinks and sweets for the rest of the trip.
3. If you walk another few shops down, there’s Chop Hua Bee Bakery. There was a long queue for their Tau Sa Piah.
Hakka Zhan Restaurant
76, Jalan Laksamana 5, Taman Kota Laksamana, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Opening hours: Tue-Sun, 11am-2pm, 5.30-9pm (closed on Mondays)
This was our go-to lunch place in Melaka during pre-Covid days. So, we were excited to be back to enjoy the food again, and it was still so very, very good! (The crowds were back too!). This is a small one shop-space restaurant featuring traditional décor and set-up, offering authentic homestyle Hakka food that’s really tasty.
We ordered the wine chicken, yong tau fu, pig trotters in vinegar, pig stomach soup, fried fermented pork belly, meatball, abacus sedds, salted egg squid, fried egg and washed it down with good old Chinese tea. The bill for 12 of us came to just RM290 (about SGD87.50)!
Sadly, our must-order mutton soup and the braised pork with mui choy were sold out before we got there. Nonetheless, this remains our favourite lunch venue in Melaka!
The Kappan House Restaurant
20, Jalan Tukang Besi, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Opening hours: 11am-8pm (closed on Thursdays)
We think this might be the best cendol in Melaka! It is a small shop (very clean too) about 100m from the start of Jonker Street market. The shaved ice was served with fresh coconut milk, fragrant gula melaka, and freshly made cendol “worms” that had a rich pandan flavour. So good!
We read reviews that the food here is also delicious—that will be our must-try next time!
Restoran Baba Ang
310, Jalan Parameswara, Kampung Bandar Hilir, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia
Opening hours: 11am-2pm, 6-9pm (closed on Wednesdays)
Okay, I’m going to say upfront: this is the best Peranakan food we have ever had in Melaka. Everything we ordered was good (even the drinks!). But be sure to call before coming to reserve a table. And please don’t be very hungry: there is only one chef here (the Boss’ wife) and everything is cooked only after the order is taken.
We ordered the following: babi pongteh, ayam bak keluak, chap chye, cincalok fried egg, sotong cili garam, fried chicken wings, ayam goreng berlada and salted vegetable soup.
Everything was good, but you absolutely must order the ayam goreng berlada– their signature fried chicken with awesome sambal chili and the salted veg soup! Oh my, the home-cooked goodness all in that pot!
With the drinks and pineapple tarts (see below), it cost about RM36 per person.
1. We were very hungry when we arrived. So we bought their pineapple tarts as an entrée. They weren’t the best, but yummy enough for us to devour the entire box!
2. It is so rare to find such a clean restaurant here. Go have a look at the kitchen to just make yourself smile!
Restoran Char Siew Yoong
23, Jalan Pudu Ulu, Taman Pertama, 56100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Opening hours: 10.30am-4.30pm (closed on Thursdays)
I learnt an important lesson here: there’s no such thing as lean meat for char siew. This place has the best char siew ever, and we concluded it’s because of their amazing marinade and the well-fed pigs they use!
We were introduced to this restaurant years ago, and the standard remains amazing: absolutely yummy caramelised char siew and crispy siew yuk. The meat is tender, and the fats melt in your mouth. It was so good that the kids ordered another large plate of char siew for themselves!
The adults also tried the sour vegetable, chicken feet and braised pork knuckle, all of which were passable. Just get all your calories from the char siew and the siew yuk. It is worth it!
It cost about RM30 per pax (because of the extra dishes we tried).
1. Parking is non-existent. It would be best to Grab there.
2. There will be long queues when you arrive. The queues are usually for those buying takeaways. So get in the right queue. The turnaround time is quite fast.
3. You can order vacuumed packed char siew to bring home. It can keep for up to one month in the freezer.
Pumpkin Garden Steamboat Kitchen
Jalan Jejaka 2 G17, G18 & G19, Amaya Maluri, No 2, Maluri, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Opening hours: 12-3pm, 5pm-12am
This was a highly recommended place from a friend. It is a traditional steamboat restaurant that uses very smooth pumpkin porridge as the base. Most unique and tasty!
There being 12 of us, we ordered steamboat for four persons (RM19.90 each). That meant four prawns, four fishballs, four pieces of fish etc. We then added a serving each of pork, meat balls, cabbage and tofu. For the cooked food, we added fried chicken wings, fried pork slices and luncheon meat!
It was a simply, yummy dinner that was light on our tummy (after all that fatty char siew in the afternoon!).
Dinner came up to about RM30 per person.
1. Call to reserve a table. It can get crowded.
2. There is a small mall with Aeon and Daiso about 200m away.
Sek Yuen Restaurant
313, Jln Pudu, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Opening hours: 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30–10pm (closed on Mondays)
This is our favourite restaurant this trip—an authentic and original Cantonese restaurant that brought back loads of memories for our parents. The dishes had great wok hei, the elderly service staff were friendly and helpful (especially if you speak Cantonese). And the food came really fast!
This is what we ordered: steamed fish, fu yong egg, pig stomach soup, prawn roll, fried chicken wings, and we highly recommend the pipa duck, hor fun and bittergourd with chicken.
Our meal cost about RM35 per head.
1. You can choose to eat in their air-conditioned shophouse, but we strongly recommend you dine in their open concept venue. This old-school space features traditional tables and chairs, mosaic tiles on the floor, black and white photos on the walls. It also has a high ceiling and large ceiling fans that keep the room cool, and it’s very clean.
2. They didn’t accept reservations on the day we called. But in the event you are going during peak hours, there’s no harm trying for reservations.
Dim sum pastries
Bunn Choon Restaurant
No 8, Lorong Panggung, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Opening hours: 7.30am-3.30pm (closed on Mondays)
We chanced upon this place when we visited Kwai Chai Hong to view the nice wall murals (the only touristy spot we went to). Bunn Choon is a dim sum place, so we bought egg tarts and regular Chinese pastries to go.
OH MAN! The egg tarts were delicious! The pastry was flaky and fresh, while the custard was smooth and tasty. The other pastries were also excellent.
1. We did a takeaway, but we saw a queue of people waiting for tables. So we think their dim sum should be yummy too!
2. Honestly, coming to this corner of Chinatown was more for the tarts than the murals!
Lot 10 Hutong Food Court
LG Floor, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, 50, Jln Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur
Open daily from 10am-10pm
If you have no time and happen to be in Bukit Bintang, head for mega mall Lot 10. The food court at B1 offers many local heritage favourites. No need to Grab to different parts of town or sit in sweltering heat. Here, in clean, air-conditioned surroundings, you get to try a whole lot of KL’s best eats! The stalls here are branches of eateries that have years of history behind them.
We hope you find this short list of food recommendations useful! There’s so much good food in Melaka and KL, this is just a small glimpse of what you could be enjoying just a couple of hours up north from here.