Eating well doesn’t mean you have to pay more. We’ve got you covered for the best cheap meals under RM15 our city has to offer.
Located along Jalan Tun HS Lee, this long-standing beef noodle joint is a go-to lunch spot for those working within the area, serving toothsome beef noodles (soup or dry) topped with fresh beef tripe, beef slices and beef balls. While the soup variant is a hearty bowl of meaty goodness, the dry version is also good thanks to the generous topping of juicy minced pork and dark soy sauce. The portions come in small (RM7) and big (RM8), while adding more beef will cost an extra RM3.
The star attraction of this corner seafood restaurant isn’t crabs or prawns, but roast duck. There’s nothing fancy about the dish: white rice, cucumber slices, and eight to ten pieces of roast duck that ranks as one of the best in PJ, rivalling even Petaling Street’s famous ‘Sei Ngan Chai’. The skin is crispy and fatty, while the meat is consistently juicy and flavourful. Equally important is the sauce that arrives with every plate, which is made from the jus of a freshly roasted duck, sweetened with caramelised onions and spiced with five-spice powder.
The popular vegetarian Indian restaurant on Lorong Kurau still pulls in the crowds, thanks to its evergreen ‘no MSG, no colouring and no eggs’ principle that results in lighter meals (no food coma here) that are downright delicious. Go for the standard thali set with three vegetable sides, dhal, rasam, papadum and salad.
Run by a group of native Pakistanis, this unmarked chapli kebab stall operates from a warung with blue tiled roofs in Batu 9, Cheras. The stall is especially crowded come supper time; customers come here for their Pakistani chapli kebab fix – fried beef patties topped with a beaten egg, and served with naan, mint sauce, dhal and a wedge of lime, all for only RM4 per serving. The stall is only a two-minute walk from the Sri Raya MRT station, so you don’t have to drive.
Ooi Noodle House do one thing only and they do it well – pork noodles, which constantly pull full-house crowds and for good reason too. Each order is made bowl by bowl from a single stove, so it’s common to wait for half an hour to an hour, but your patience will be rewarded. Available in big (RM10) or small (RM9) portions, the cloudy broth has layers of flavour and is filled to the brim with pork pieces, fried pork lard, innards and choy sum. Do what others do and top your bowl of noodles with an egg for added creaminess.
There’s nothing fancy about Uncle Soon’s Cantonese fried rice; it’s simply done well, comes in generous portions and is affordable. A husband-and-wife team mans the single-wok stall in Restoran Foh Foh in SS15. These are your options – small, big or extra big; topped with prawn (from RM6.50), char siew (from RM7) or both (from RM9); with or without a sunny-side up egg. The rice is cooked to order, but there isn’t a long waiting time; and you still get flavourful fried rice with that all-important wok hei. The dish comes with a side of punchy sambal if you want some heat.
Sitka Restaurant in Plaza Batai isn’t the first place that comes to mind for ‘cheap eats’. The modern Asian restaurant’s Ramen XO noodles, however, are the exception. It may not look like much – there’s nothing more to it than noodles, chopped spring onions and house-made XO sauce (a spicy sauce made from dried shrimp and chillies) – but every component is executed to a tee. The noodles are springy; the XO sauce has just the right levels of sweet, spicy and savoury flavours; and the spring onions add that bit of green freshness. It’s a simple dish done right.
It was Yeok Kai Seng who began the business in ’65. Fast forward 50 years, and the little stall set up along Jalan Klang Lama has branched out into a chain of chicken rice shops in the city – so you know it’s good. The chicken rice here is a simple, comforting dish – a plate of silky smooth steamed white chicken in a pool of savoury soy sauce, fluffy round rice cooked in chicken stock, and a small bowl of clear soup.
Roast pork rice or noodles from Boon Signature Roast Pork, RM8.90 (with rice), RM9.90 (with wantan noodles)
Co-owner Boon Cheam has spent countless hours perfecting his version of the humble siew yuk; he marinates the pork with five-spice powder (and other ingredients) and roasts it in a charcoal-fed Apollo oven. The siew yuk is laced with aromatic flavours without any of the porky odour you’d find in many roast pork dishes. Here the meat is served with rice or wantan noodles (we say go for both). Best to come early; the eatery is always packed come lunch hour and on weekends.
While the egg appam at Love Mom Restaurant appears deceptively simple, the memory of it lingers days after you've had it. Patiently cooked in a small pan over low heat, the shallow bowl of appam is done just right – gentle flavours of fermented rice batter; perfectly browned crisp, lacy edges; subtly sweet coconut milk; and the pillowy centre of an egg with a runny golden yolk that pulls it all together.
When you’re skint and hungry after a long night out in the city, few things are more satisfying than Valentine Roti’s roti canai, especially when it’s served right off the griddle. The roti kosong here is crispier than most, and has a doughy sweetness that keeps you going back for more. Add another RM0.80 and opt for the roti Planta, which is made with an extra dollop of margarine (we think), and your hunger pangs will be no more.
This pale-looking dish might not look great on Instagram, but this ten-inch quesadilla will leave you stuffed, thanks to the generous amount of melted mozzarella, fried dory fish and pico de gallo. Don’t forget to add a dash (or five) of the house-made chilli sauce, which is made with smoked peppers that cuts through the richness of cheese and fried batter.
GO Noodle House’s house-made stock uses fresh fish, herbs and cooking wine, which results in a clear and clean-tasting soup that’s devoid of any fishiness. There’s also a fragrant coriander undertone, making it the perfect base to add on your favourite ingredients. Choices include fish paste, pork belly slices, grouper head and belly, clams, prawns and more. For a start, try their signature Fu Zhou fish ball noodle soup and add on a serving of bursting meat balls (RM3.50) that are filled with minced pork and sesame oil – trust us, it’s good.
It’s a battle of the nasi lemak at the 24-hour Medan Selera 223 (also known as Medan Selera 222), a hotspot among PJ residents seeking late night eats. There are two nasi lemak stalls you can choose from: Suri and Yati. The much raved-about nasi lemak from Suri boasts fluffy rice with less spicy sambal but if you want to kick things up a notch, try Yati’s version, which uses sambal pedas that packs a punch.
The phở broth is immediately calming and mildly sweet, with the grassy notes of Thai basil, or as it’s more aptly named in some markets, holy basil. The beef – scattered across the top in tissue-thin slices – are generous in portion and just the right amount of texture against the slippery noodles.