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The best cheap eats in KL

Fuel up with these critics-approved cheap eats – all under RM15. Your chow-down starts now

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.

Noodle soup at GO Noodle House, from RM10.40
Photo: Lim Chee Wah
1/25

Noodle soup at GO Noodle House, from RM10.40

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.

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Nasi kerabu at Kesom, RM13 with fried chicken
2/25

Nasi kerabu at Kesom, RM13 with fried chicken

This Kelantanese dish is just as pretty as it tastes, featuring blue rice (the colour comes from bunga talang), acar, salted egg, shallots, kerisikserunding ikan, ulam and sambal belacan. The flavours are heightened with the addition of spicy sambal and a dash of tumis sauce.

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Petaling Jaya
Pork noodles in PJ old town, from RM6
Photo: Lim Chee Wah
3/25

Pork noodles in PJ old town, from RM6

This famous, nameless pork noodles stall has been operating out of a house in PJ old town for the past ten years; just look for the 99 Speedmart convenience store and walk towards the back of the single-storey house next to it. The soup here is clean tasting and clear, none of the usual gaminess that you’ll find at many pork noodle soups around. It’s light yet flavourful, thanks to the mix of pork and fish stocks. And the best part is, every order is cooked separately, comes with heaps of gem lettuce, and is finished with pork lard and fried garlic oil just before serving.

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PJ Old Town
Sandwiches at Commoners Space, from RM10
Photo: Daniel Chan
4/25

Sandwiches at Commoners Space, from RM10

Commoners Space is your regular café minus the regular café prices. All the sandwiches (from RM10) here are made with their own house-baked sourdough bread. You can go with a plain grilled cheese sandwich or get an upgrade in the form of the RTB (rocket, tomato and beef bacon; sometimes, they replace the rocket with local greens).

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Shah Alam
Set lunch at Restoran Sweet Home, RM10
Photo: Bryan Ong
5/25

Set lunch at Restoran Sweet Home, RM10

At Restoran Sweet Home on the ground floor of Wisma Central, the set lunch (only RM10!) consists of a hearty Chinese rice dish and a bowl of soup. Don’t be fooled by the set’s deceptively simple appearance – the accompanying dish is generously portioned and the soup, although in a small bowl, is packed to the brim with ingredients. The type of dish and soup you get are different each day, so be sure to ask what they’re offering for that day before ordering.

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KL City Centre
Salad bowl at ChimiChurri, below RM13
6/25

Salad bowl at ChimiChurri, below RM13

At ChimiChurri you can get a salad bowl (with protein) for less than RM13; you can also turn it into a rice bowl, a tortilla wrap or a sandwich at no extra cost. Your choices of protein are grilled chicken breast, Cajun chicken thigh or the dory fish fillet. But if you’re going full vegetarian, it’s only RM10.50. The selection of vegetables and hot add-ons are also plentiful – from your basic tomatoes and peppers to cauliflower rice, couscous and sweet potato mash. For sauces, the options are more localised. Think sambal, rendang and peanut sauce, alongside apple salsa, sweet sesame and the namesake chimichurri sauce.

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Petaling Jaya
Jalan Sentul Chinese Nasi Lemak, from RM5
7/25

Jalan Sentul Chinese Nasi Lemak, from RM5

There are so many things we love about this Chinese-style nasi lemak, and it all comes down to the variety of side dishes available. The dry pork curry is the stall’s claim to fame, while there are two types of chicken to choose from: the fragrant chicken rendang, and the ayam masak merah that’s laced with a slight assam-like tartness – they’re both equally good. It’s difficult to limit yourself to just a couple of side dishes (because there are also options like sambal sotong, chilli prawn, fried eggs, stir-fried kangkung, stir-fried cabbage, luncheon meat, hotdogs, fish cakes, and even sambal petai). The good thing is you don’t have to; this is one of the cheapest nasi lemak in town.

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Sentul
Boran Thai Food set, from RM8.20
Photo: Bryan Ong
8/25

Boran Thai Food set, from RM8.20

Classic Thai street food done right: At Boran Thai Food, mains (Thai basil pork rice, noodle soup, garlic pork on rice and more) are all priced comfortably from RM8.20. You get Thai iced tea and tago for dessert too.

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SEA Park
Pad Thai at Samet Thai, RM9.90
9/25

Pad Thai at Samet Thai, RM9.90

This Pad Thai has all the flavours you crave in Thai food. The noodles are suitably sticky; they are sweet, salty (from the fish sauce) and spicy. The portion is generous too, complete with prawns, squid, chicken meat and crushed peanuts on the side. 

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Kuchai Lama
Chilli pan mee at Madam Chiam Curry Noodle House, RM6.60
10/25

Chilli pan mee at Madam Chiam Curry Noodle House, RM6.60

A chilly day calls for a bowl of pan mee with lashings of chilli flakes. This ultimate pick-me-up at Madam Chiam is homey – springy noodles are tempered with the addition of minced pork, fried anchovies and a wobbly, half-boiled egg. Buoyed by a spritz of lime, the slightly tangy chilli flakes will deliver the heat you need.

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Cheras
Nasi kukus at Ilham Nasi Kukus, RM6.70
Photo: Hizwan Hamid
11/25

Nasi kukus at Ilham Nasi Kukus, RM6.70

The common ethos at Ilham is: Rice is individually steamed on order and ayam goreng rempah is freshly strained off the sizzling oil. The variable in a study of most nasi kukus in KL is the side of kuah kari – and Ilham pulls off a mean version. Thick and sweet, it’s made from a blend of three curries: fish curry, a mild Kelantanese gulai darat and kerutuk daging (an eastern kuah made of asam gelugor, coconut meat, gula Melaka and a load of spices). Curry mixed into rice, threads of warm chicken, a side of ripe pineapple and a crushing of keropok ikan – it’s all as comforting as the fact that nasi kukus is a thing that exists.

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Mutiara Damansara
Heun Kee Claypot Chicken Rice, from RM10
Photo: Hizwan Hamid
12/25

Heun Kee Claypot Chicken Rice, from RM10

This place takes its claypots seriously. As you walk in, rows of pots burn on individual stoves while members of the restaurant’s staff tirelessly fan sparks of ember. The claypot rice here avoids the dreaded overcooked, unyielding texture that you sometimes get via less careful methods, and instead breaks easily into loose grains for a fluffy finish. Chicken, lap cheong and – if you wish – salted fish are standard mix-ins.

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Pudu
Thali at Bakti Woodlands, RM9.90
Photo: Shawn Lor/Pixelpix
13/25

Thali at Bakti Woodlands, RM9.90

When faced with the extensive menu here, the best option is the Madras thali: an all-you-can-eat, little-bit-of-everything vegetarian meal, loaded with over ten small bowls of dishes served on a round metal plate to allow for maximum sampling in minimal sizes.

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Masjid Jamek
Mun fan at Sin Kee Restaurant, RM9.50
Photo: Daniel Chan
14/25

Mun fan at Sin Kee Restaurant, RM9.50

There’s good reason a dish so deceptively simple has brought so many people back time and time again. There’s a sense of innocence in removing the upturned plastic bowl to reveal a generous mound of rice, positively squelched beneath the pile of vegetables, stewed pork, lap cheong, prawns and egg. The sauce – a familiar blend of light soy sauce, oyster sauce and rice wine vinegar – binds every shortgrain into small, tight packs.

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Brickfields
Ayam berempah at Limapulo, RM9.90
Photo: Stacy Liu
15/25

Ayam berempah at Limapulo, RM9.90

You can order the à la cartes, but more wallet-friendly are the weekday set lunches, where all your favourite dishes such as the chicken curry and ayam pongteh are now available in single portions, served with a side of vegetables and an omelette. Take comfort in the signature ayam berempah; the dish, a harmonious blend between a rendang and a curry, is authoritatively flavoured with herbs, chilli and smidgens of bunga kantan. Set meals start from RM9.90 only, which means you can still squeeze in a cup of kopi-o (RM2.90) to keep you going for the rest of the day.

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Bandaraya
Vietnamese beef noodle pho bo, RM8
Photo: Daniel Chan
16/25

Vietnamese beef noodle pho bo, RM8

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.

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Damansara
Mansion Tea Stall, RM3
17/25

Mansion Tea Stall, RM3

The guys at Selangor Mansion came up with this eggs-tra special roti banjir to beat all other roti banjir. Fluffy roti canai is topped with dhal, sambal, kuah sardin (or opt for chicken curry that’s only available at night) for some saltiness, and the crowning glory – not one, but two twice-boiled perfectly wobbly eggs. Order a glass of teh tarik to go with this food coma-inducing dish.

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KL City Centre
Fried chicken set meal at Project B, RM15
18/25

Fried chicken set meal at Project B, RM15

Do good and have a meal at café and social initiative Project B, where RM15 gets you a fried chicken set meal, which includes a side dish and a soft drink. There are three types of fried chicken to choose from: the signature crispy buttermilk crunch, the sweet and sticky Korean fried chicken, and the hot and spicy berempah.

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Sentul
Sarawak laksa at Aunt Christina's Sarawak Laksa, RM7
Photo: Daniel Chan
19/25

Sarawak laksa at Aunt Christina's Sarawak Laksa, RM7

The star stall of Nam Chuan kopitiam at Bangsar’s Lucky Garden is Aunt Christina’s Sarawak Laksa. Most notable is the tangy broth, robust with herbs and spices, and thickened with coconut milk; it swims with thicker-than-vermicelli noodles, topped with plump king prawns, egg strips and taugeh.

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SEA Park
Banana leaf rice at Devi's Corner, from RM7.50
Photo: Daniel Chan
20/25

Banana leaf rice at Devi's Corner, from RM7.50

Bangsar's most treasured Indian restaurant is built on its banana leaf rice, tucked away on the top floor. Ask for the crab and Kerala fish curries, order a plate of the prawn sambal, fried squid and mutton varuval, and top off with rasam, mango chutney and a basket of papadum - in one sitting, you're all set for the salty, sweet, spicy and sour.

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Bangsar
Chicken rice at Kar Heong, from RM5.50
Photo: Daniel Chan
21/25

Chicken rice at Kar Heong, from RM5.50

In the pursuit of perfection, the Ipoh-style chicken at Kar Heong is the cornerstone of Subang Jaya. It has three things going for it: The chicken, tender and succulent, swims in a small pool of soy sauce and sesame oil; the rice, fluffy, flavoured grains cooked in chicken stock; and finally, the fragrant garlic chilli dip, holding it all together.

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Subang
Wakame udon at Kodawari Menya Udon, RM14.90
Photo: Stacy Liu
22/25

Wakame udon at Kodawari Menya Udon, RM14.90

Sanuki udon, specifically from the Kagawa region, is distinguished from other kinds due to its firm, chewy texture. It’s brought to life at this new self-service udon shop where both noodle and dashi are brought in from Kagawa. For something a little more kitsch, curry and kimchi udons are also available.

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Mont Kiara
Beef bulgogi set meal at Dodo Korea Intermark, RM15
23/25

Beef bulgogi set meal at Dodo Korea Intermark, RM15

Want more than just rice with two vegs? Head to The Intermark's Dodo Korea and get the beef bulgogi set meal for only RM15. It comes with beef bulgogi, tempura, chicken with kimchi, fruit, soup AND potato salad. Get there early before the office-worker crowd pours in.

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KL City Centre
Sang Nyuk Hakka Noodle, RM7.50-RM12.50
24/25

Sang Nyuk Hakka Noodle, RM7.50-RM12.50

This is comfort food done right. The noodles are dressed in a dark soy sauce and topped with crunchy pork lard. But the soup is the star here: sweetened with pork bones, the flavourful, cloudy broth is filled with tender slices of pork (very fresh and clean-tasting), pork balls and innards. The chili sauce, though watery, is good as well – bright, citrusy and packs a strong spicy punch.

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Kuchai Lama
Hokkien mee at Restoran Ahwa, RM9
Photo: Stacy Liu
25/25

Hokkien mee at Restoran Ahwa, RM9

PJ residents have been loyal devotees of Restoran Ahwa’s most saintly offering: one of the best Hokkien mee you’ll eat in the Klang Valley. The sweaty men at work are often seen firing up the charcoal-powered stoves with great speed. As your plate is set down, you’re hit with the smoky scent of lard oil and the sweetness of dark soy. If you’re anything like us, you’ll take a portion of shiny, blackened noodles, carefully top it with crunchy lard, close your eyes and bite in. Even after all these years, our favourite suppertime meal still comes out top.

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Petaling Jaya

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