The best local rice dishes in KL

Where to go for the best local rice dishes in KL

By Time Out KL editors |
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As part of our 100 best dishes and drinks in KL feature, we show you the best local rice dishes you have to try, from the contentious nasi lemak with fluffy rice and punchy sambal, to the humble chicken rice topped with succulent meat and fragrant garlic chilli dip.

Gold Chilli
Photo: Bryan Ong
Restaurants

Buttermilk chicken rice at Gold Chilli

Subang

This modest restaurant is regularly packed with Subang residents coming here for one dish: the buttermilk chicken – large, tender pieces of fried chicken doused in a rich, creamy butter sauce. Have it in a set with rice and soup, and any crummy day will instantly become better.

RM10.50 per set

Restaurants, Chinese

Siew yuk rice at Boon Signature Roast Pork

Damansara

The long queues will tell you everything you need to know about this restaurant's popularity.  A must-have here is the siew yuk rice – steamed Japanese pearl rice topped with tender siew yuk that’s marinated with five-spice powder and other ingredients, and roasted in a charcoal-fed Apollo oven. If you don’t mind splurging, an ibérico pork version of the siew yuk is also available but during weekends only. 

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Nasi Ayam A Hassan
Photo: John Lim
Restaurants

Chicken rice at Nasi Ayam A Hassan

Cheras

Located within walking distance of the Taman Pertama MRT station, Nasi Ayam A Hassan has an extensive array of lauk to satisfy an eager lunch crowd. The star, however, is the piping hot fried ayam kampung that sell out almost as fast as the cooks can fry them. The skinless chicken pieces (RM5 for a fist-sized piece of chicken) may look bony and lean, but they're full of flavour. 

Chunburi Seafood nasi dagang
Photo: Joyce Koh
Restaurants, Malay

Nasi dagang at Chunburi Seafood

Kampung Baru

Traditionally an East Coast breakfast, the Kelantanese nasi dagang at Chunburi is served as part of their nasi campur lunch spread, which means that you can have it with more than just gulai ikan tongkol. But go easy on the lauk – you’ll want to savour the lightly sweetened, almost pulut-like rice on its own.

From RM5

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Devi's Corner
Photo: Daniel Chan
Restaurants, Indian

Banana leaf rice at Devi's Corner

Bangsar

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.

From RM7.50

Moghul Mahal nasi biryani
Photo: Daniel Chan
Restaurants, Indian

Nasi biryani at Moghul Mahal

Brickfields

The mutton dum biryani at Moghul Mahal ticks all the boxes – fluffy long grains of basmati rice, succulent chunks of mutton, a generous dose of spices (cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, garnished with nuts) and topped with half a hard-boiled egg. Ask for a bowl of raita to tone the heat down.

RM18

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claypot chicken rice, pudu
Photo: Hizwan Hamid
Restaurants, Chinese

Claypot chicken rice at Heun Kee Claypot Chicken Rice

Pudu

This place takes its claypots seriously – as you walk in, rows of pots burn on individual stoves while restaurant staff exhaustingly fan the embers. Through careful method, the claypot rice here avoids the dreaded overcooked texture and instead breaks easily into loose grains for a fluffy finish. Chicken, lap cheong and – if you wish – salted fish are standard mix-ins.

From RM10

Restoran Kar Heong chicken rice
Photo: Daniel Chan
Restaurants, Chinese

Chicken rice at Kar Heong

Subang

In the pursuit of perfection, the Ipoh-style chicken rice 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.

From RM5.50

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Yusuf Tomyam nasi goreng
Photo: Daniel Chan
Restaurants, Malay

Nasi goreng at Yusuf Tomyam

Bangsar

The crowds throng here for a bowl of strong tom yam, but the popular no-frills stall in Lucky Garden also has great nasi goreng. Pick from nasi goreng cili padi, nasi goreng belacan or nasi goreng pattaya, but the reliable nasi goreng biasa or kampung should do the trick.

RM8

Line Clear nasi kandar
Photo: Daniel Chan
Restaurants, Malaysian

Nasi kandar at Line Clear

Kampung Baru

A full plate of rice generously drenched in at least four different curries and piled high with ayam kicap, fish roe, telur dadar, papadum, steamed okra and more – this famed mamak-style nasi campur is the best reason to sneak in that post-lunch nap.

From RM6.50

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Medan Selera 223 nasi lemak
Photo: Daniel Chan
Restaurants

Nasi lemak at Medan Selera 223

Petaling Jaya

Nasi lemak: the de facto national dish. At Medan Selera 223, you’ll be torn between two stalls: Suri and Yati. The former’s much raved-about nasi lemak boasts fluffy rice with less spicy sambal, but to kick things up a notch, try Yati’s version, which packs a punchier sambal. Remember, there is no wrong nasi lemak.

From RM1.50 per packet

Kesom
Photo: Hizwan Hamid
Restaurants, Malaysian

Nasi kerabu at Kesom

Petaling Jaya

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

RM8

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Sin Tai Kar Lok zhap fan stall
Photo: Stacy Liu
Restaurants, Hawker

Zhap fan at Sin Tai Kar Lok

Bukit Bintang

The spread will have you hemming and hawing; it’s a showcase of over 60 culinary treasures and comfort food alike that’ll remind you of your mother’s cooking – and for cheap too. Pile your plate with baby kailan in oyster sauce, Chinese sausage and sweet and sour pork.

From RM5

Hon Kee porridge
Photo: Daniel Chan
Restaurants, Chinese

Porridge at Hon Kee

Petaling Street

Take in the sights and sounds of Chinatown with a hearty, hot bowl of porridge at the sevendecade old Hon Kee. A standout set is one with thinly-sliced raw ikan haruan in sesame oil, garnished with Chinese parsley, chopped spring onions and julienned ginger. Scoop the fish into the silky smooth porridge and swish it around to cook it on the spot.

From RM5

Want nasi lemak instead?

Nasi lemak tanglin
Photo: Hizwan Hamid
Restaurants

Best nasi lemak in KL

We pick the best places in town for a satisfying plate of the country's pride and joy – the mighty nasi lemak. Hunt down these nasi lemak joints for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even supper, because our national dish doesn't restrict itself to a certain meal time – which is why we love it so much.

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