We embark on a trail for the finest local food in KL’s famous Kampung Baru
Kampung Baru is a Malay enclave in the heart of Kuala Lumpur that features a wide variety of popular Malay cuisine that includes the perennial Malaysian favourite nasi lemak and the traditional salad snack ulam. On a food tour here, we round up the best flavourful and aromatic local dishes to try, courtesy of the slew of restaurants and eateries along the suburban path.
Our very first food encounter of Kampung Baru’s specialties is the vibrantly coloured delicacy called kuih, a general term for Malaysian snacks ranging from sweet cakes to deep-fried fritters. The locals have kuih usually for breakfast and afternoon tea as accompaniments to coffee and tea.
2. Nasi kerabu and nasi dagang
Our next stop is Kak Som, a restaurant that offers nasi kerabu and nasi dagang as its pecialties. Made with all-natural ingredients, the bluish rice of nasi kerabu is specially derived from the essence of bunga telang (butterfly pea flower). Nasi dagang on the other hand is steamed glutinous rice served with a side of fish or chicken curry. Both of these dishes are breakfast staples for East Coast Malaysians but have seen a rise in popularity in recent years in other parts of the country including Kuala Lumpur.
3. Nasi lemak
As one of Malaysia’s most popular dishes, the food trail did not neglect nasi lemak as a local favourite. Nasi Lemak Wanjo Kg. Baru offers a customisable version where customers can choose preferred condiments and side dishes such as sambal (ground chilli paste), chilli squid or curry chicken for their nasi lemak. Nasi lemak can be found virtually anywhere in the country with certain restaurants or stalls recognised for their own personalised versions.
4. Nasi campur
Make a beeline for Kedai Murah Meriah Nasi Campur more authentic Malay dishes like nasi campur. This hearty dish usually starts with a plate of plain rice where you can then add on your choice of side dishes from a wide selection available on the long spread.
5. Ikan bakar
At Wahid Ikan Bakar, we were also given a preview of how ikan bakar (grilled fish) was made. The cook grills marinated ikan cencaru (torpedo scads) on high heat until they are fragrant. We also sampled ulam, where raw vegetables such as four-angled beans, boiled banana flower, cabbages and petai (stink bean) are dipped in sambal belacan to add a zest of spicyness and flavour before eating.
Read more: For the love of laksa: 7 fun facts about the beloved spicy Malaysian noodle