Be it a plate of silky chee cheong fun, a few sweet rounds of kaya toast, or flaky roti dipped in fragrant curry, breakfast in Kuala Lumpur is an unmissable event. To taste the best of the Malaysian capital, skip the hotel buffet, abandon the air-con and head outside into the heaving, humid streets. There won't be avocado toast or oat milk cortados, but pull up a plastic pew alongside the locals at any of these breakfast hotspots and you're guaranteed a classic KL breakfast worth writing home about.
Seven of KL's best places for a classic Malaysian breakfast
Win Heng Seng, left, and diners at How Kow.
Nasi Kandar Pelita
This outpost of one of Malaysia's best-known mamak chains is open around the clock, and conveniently located right in the heart of the city, near many of the big hotels. Roti canai (bread and curry) and thosai (rice and lentil pancakes) are served all day long, not just at breakfast. Other meals include nasi kandar (rice with a choice of different South Indian sides and curries), fried noodles and more.149 Jalan Ampang, 50450 pelita.com.my
Modern branding meets the traditional kopitiam at this fourth-generation incarnation of a Hainanese coffee shop. Go early on a weekday for your best chance of avoiding the queues of KLites, who come for kaya toast (coconut jam on toast), chee cheong fun (rice noodle rolls) and traditional Malaysian roasted coffee.1 Jalan Balai Polis, 50000 hokowkopitiam.online
Al-fresco breakfasting at Win Heng Seng.
Win Heng Seng
This basic kopitiam with myriad hawker stalls, some of which have been in business for decades, sits on the edge of KL's luxury shopping and hotel district. Forget the imported chain cafés of nearby Pavilion shopping mall and head here instead for authentic pork noodles, egg tarts, chicken rice and more.183 Jalan Imbi, 55100
Nasi Lemak Tanglin
This famed nasi lemak stall has spawned several branches, but the original shop still draws long lines of hungry people for its beloved take on the familiar dish of coconut milk rice with sambal, fried anchovies, peanuts and egg.Kompleks Makan Tanglin, Gerai, 6 Jalan Cenderasari, 50480
This narrow alley in the middle of Chinatown is popular for its handful of stalls selling curry mee (noodles in curry broth with cockles) and yong tau foo (deep-fried vegetables stuffed with fish paste).Penjaja Gallery, 170 Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, 50000
A morning diner, left, and freshly steamed breakfast buns.
Another Chinatown institution, Lai Foong dates back to the 1950s and retains the look and feel of an old-school kopitiam. It's especially popular for the beef noodles, clam noodles and wantan mee (Cantonese-style noodles with soy sauce).138 Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, 50050 instagram.com/laifoonglalanoodles
This laid-back local curry house about a 20-minute drive from the Petronas Towers (on a good traffic day, or by train) has seen plenty of hipsterish neighbours arrive in recent years, but remains staunchly old-school. It's worth visiting for the roti canai and banana leaf rice - a meal of rice served on a banana leaf alongside multiple curries, sauces and sides.32 Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Petaling Jaya, 60000