Street Food Journeys Road Trip: Malaysia (Eat & Stay Series Intro)

What do you eat and where do you stay when you’re travelling in Malaysia? 

I get asked that question a lot (and similarly, I’m always looking for recommendations before I visit places in Malaysia I’m not familiar with).

In July 2022, I had the opportunity to go on a road trip covering most of the peninsula of Malaysia for an entire month with Noah, Paul Gray, and the Masters of Malaysian Cuisine (MOMC) extended family of chefs, cooks and YouTubers.

Red dots mark the places we visited during July in Malaysia

We were there to film content for our next two Tourism Malaysia Australia-sponsored series, Street Food Journeys: 4 and 5. (Series 4 is on Laksas of Malaysia and Series 5 is called Malaysia: Melting Pot of Asia.) 

Arriving at KLIA (KL International Airport) at 5am in the morning meant we had to kill time for 10 hours before we could check in at the hotel where we were staying.

These were some of the key destinations we visited –

  • Terengganu
  • Melaka
  • Kuala Lumpur/Selangor
  • Ipoh
  • Penang Island
  • Seberang Perai (Penang Mainland)

Thanks to the collective local knowledge of our Malaysia-based chefs, tour guides, hosts and sponsors, we were able to sample a diverse range of food we might otherwise have missed. 

This being Paul’s first visit to Malaysia, he was intrigued to see that McDonald’s sells Nasi Lemak. The text says (to paraphrase it), “you don’t know (how it tastes) until you try it”

So, over the next few articles, I’m going to compile information on the food we ate and the places we stayed at for each of these places (I’m going to do a separate blog post for Subang because MOMC chef Debbie Teoh took us out so many times in her neighbourhood) – that way, you can use them as reference points for when you visit Malaysia.

We arrived on a Sunday morning and most places were closed including money changers – so we wandered around for hours looking for street food that wasn’t going to cost more than the spare notes I had left from my previous trip to Malaysia some 3 1/2 years ago. This scene in Jalan Alor was one of the first photos Paul took, and yes I do know Jalan Alor mostly comes alive at night.

Just as a heads-up, this isn’t a comprehensive list but more of a starting point – there are countless dishes we wish we had tried, but because of our busy shoot schedule we just didn’t have the time to fit them in.

An exhausted Paul Gray finally gets to sit down to a meal at a place we stumbled upon near Jalan Alor. A quick calculation told us we did have enough cash to eat there, but the order menu was via a QR code and we didn’t have local sim cards yet since nothing was open, ie. no internet access). Find out what the outcome was in my next installment.

Where possible, I’ll include the eatery names and other pertinent details; sadly, we ate so much (cry me a river, I know) and were so rushed during our long stay, that we didn’t get to record every last outlet where we bought our food, but I hope the dish names and photos will inspire you to look them up next time you’re in that part of Malaysia. 

Who knows, maybe we’ll get to organise a group to go again sometime in the near future, and you can join us on a culinary tour of Malaysia, right?

Share and Enjoy !