Cover Wantan mee stall in Pudu (Photo: Joshua Anand/Unsplash)

Malaysia's capital city is Asia's sole representative on the popular food website's annual list of cities to eat this year

Eater, one of the most read and respected food publications, released its highly-anticipated The Best Food Cities to Travel to in 2022 list, detailing 13 of the best food cities to travel to this year. Kuala Lumpur made the list as Asia's sole representative.

We couldn't help but agree with the inclusion. Ask any Malaysian what they're most proud of about this country and nine times out of ten, food would be one of the top answers. The city is truly a smorgasbord of flavours and cuisines. From char kuay teow to chai tow kway, from nasi lemak to mee goreng mamak, and ayam ponteh to bak kut teh, Malaysian food is truly one-of-a-kind.

See also: The Top 20 Restaurants in Malaysia in 2022

We got in touch with Eddie Chew of Troika Sky Dining, Chef Lee Zhe Xi of Eat and Cook, and food blogger Yi Jun Loh of Jun & Tonic for their reactions to the news.

Eddie Chew

Do you agree that KL is one of the best food cities to travel to in 2022?

KL is one of the best food cities to travel to... full stop!

Describe the food scene in KL.

It's really vibrant; you can find something to eat at every street corner and at any time of day. This is encouraged by our voracious appetites. KL-ites would brave the worst traffic jams to get to their favourite restaurants.

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Eddie Chew
Above Eddie Chew

What is so unique about Malaysian food?

Although we might share many familiar dishes, which can be seen across Southeast Asia and Asia, the mix of the many different cultures have brought about a diversity in the cuisine that is uniquely Malaysian. You see this in the street food and the many neighbourhood eateries. The fine dining scene has also gained some confidence. Today, Malaysian chefs are drawing from their own heritage and the abundant local produce to bring forth a Malaysian voice in the international food scene.

What are your must-try Malaysian dishes? 

Nasi lemak bungkus, cendol, char kuey teow, and oyster omelette. 

See also: The Ultimate Guide To Vegetarian Fine Dining In Malaysia

Chef Lee Zhe Xi

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Chef Zhe Xi (Photo: Eat & Cook)
Above Chef Lee Zhe Xi (Photo: Eat & Cook)

Do you agree that KL is one of the best food cities to travel to in 2022?

Yes!

Describe the food scene in KL.

It's very vibrant and [there are many] innovative concepts for food experiences. All restaurants now start with a concept and focus on the experience of dining.

What is unique about Malaysian food?

It really highlights the culture of Malaysia.

What are your must-try Malaysian dishes? 

Assam laksa, nasi kandar, rojak buah, prawn noodles, and assam pedas fish.

Where do you go to get some of your favourite Malaysian dishes?

I like the laksa at Pasar Air Itam and Bisu Air Itam, and nasi kandar at Nasi Kandar Krishnan Teluk Intan in Perak.

See also: Malaysia Day 2021: 5 Cookbooks That Celebrate Malaysian Cuisine

 

Yi Jun Loh

Do you agree that KL is one of the best food cities to travel to in 2022?

Yes, for sure. I think it's been one of the hidden food gems even prior to 2022.

How would you describe the food scene in KL?

It's burgeoning, vibrant, multifaceted, and at times chaotic (but fun) to navigate, with tasty morsels in almost every nook and cranny.

What is so unique about the Malaysian food scene?

This might be a cliche but our cuisine truly is a melting pot of many disparate flavours and cultures, thanks to our rich history with people from different parts of the world coming together to form the crux of Malaysia's society.

 

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Jun of Jun & Tonic (Photo: @jun.and.tonic on Instagram)
Above Jun (Photo: Instagram/@jun.and.tonic)

What are your must-try Malaysian dishes?

Nasi lemak might be the most well-known one, but for the punchiest flavours, our laksa, rendang, and kuih can't be beat.

How has KL's dining scene weathered the pandemic?

I've heard from many chefs and industry friends that the pandemic has done good for the growth of the industry. Of course, there have been restaurants that suffered and had to close, but the pandemic actually increased spending, especially at the higher-end of the spectrum of restaurants in Malaysia, since the money that people would spend on their travels were instead spent locally. Within the industry too, there's been plenty of collaboration happening to weather through the pandemic.

See also: Asia’s Most Influential: Malaysia’s 30 Tastemakers 2021

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