Top 5 delicious lunch options around KL Sentral

June-Tee

I want to preface this controversial listing by saying these are my personal favorites. I work in Menara 1 Sentrum beside nu sentral mall in Brickfields. I’ve been to most of the popular lunch options around here like Peter Pork, Money Corner, Sin Kee Restaurant. None of those made my top 5 list. I like the Western food stall at Money Corner and Peter Pork’s pork noodle are decent but I usually prefer eating rice during lunch.

#1 Husen Cafe

Husen-Cafe

I’ll eat here at least once a week. The dish I always order is onion chicken – a tomato sambal chicken with intense onion sauce. Husen Cafe serves chicken quarters, so you can either have a breast (white meat) portion or a thigh (dark meat) portion. I usually go for the breast as it’s easier to eat and the portions are a lot bigger. This is ¼ chicken and the chickens they use are huge! It’s more than enough for even the biggest eaters.

Onion-Chicken

It’s reasonably priced compared to other similar places. This whole shebang just cost me RM 10.

Husen-Chicken

Best paired with okra (ladies fingers) or onion raita (raw onions with yoghurt). Don’t forget their papadom! The owner will waive the RM 0.30 for iced water too if you’re a regular.

#2 Pu Xian Wei Restaurant

Pu-Xian-Wei

This is my go to lunch spot. We call it “China chap fan” coz it’s run by Mainland China Chinese. The food they serve are tweaked to PRC palates, so it has different flavors from what local Chinese are used to. It’s delicious! Google’s SEM (paid search) team is in the same building as my office and they have teams from all over the world based in Malaysia. I met a Vietnamese girl taking the LRT who’s on a 1 year contract and found out they have a free cafeteria inside their office. You always see people from Korea, Japan, Russia, and all other nations in the lifts.

China-Chap-Fan

The reason I shared that anecdote is coz you’ll often see the teams from Singapore, China and Taiwan wearing their distinctive Google plain blue/red lanyard in the China chap fan. They’ll come and eat here despite having free food at their workplace. That’s the best endorsement this chap fan place can hope for. It passes the taste test of Mainland Chinese people. It’s so good they’re willing to pay good money when they could have a free lunch.

Chap-Fan-China

I find them a little expensive at first but the Mainland Chinese lady calculating how much your plate costs will give you steep discounts once you’re a regular. Or maybe she just likes my face. Haha.

#3 Royale Nasi Lemak

Nasi-Lemak-Royale

My guilty pleasure. I’ve stopped going after getting explosive diarrhea twice in a row but you should be fine if you stick to the popular meats like their freshly fried chicken. The ayam masak hitam and ayam masak merah can be a bit dodgy at times. Those are made with fried chicken so it’s often cooked with the previous day’s fried chicken that’s been sitting unsold during off peak hours under a heat lamp in ideal bacteria breeding temperatures.

Royale-Nasi

Nasi lemak in the Northern states mean nasi kandar, so don’t be surprised when you don’t get santan flavored rice. The rice at Royale is scented with pandan though. It’s exactly like nasi kandar where you choose the dishes you want and finish it off with kuah campur. Their curries are delicious!

Royale-Pile

I always get their fish egg curry and sotong egg curry too. My dish usually comes up to RM 14-18 so it’s not a cheap place.

#4 Gu Zao Seafood Restaurant

Gu-Zao

This is the best fish restaurant I’ve been to. Their forte is seafood, although they also serve other proteins like chicken and pork. Most people go here for their Deep Fried Threadfin (RM 18) which is a whole ma yao served with delicious soy sauce. Their lunch sets come with rice and a side of vegetables for free. They’ve also recently started giving away free soup with sizable chunks of daikon radish inside. It’s noisy due to the acoustics but there’s air conditioning and the lady who owns the shop is very nice.

Fried-Threadfin

I also recommend their Asam Tilapia and Taucu Tilapia (both RM 17). They’re both equally good, though the edge goes to the fermented soy beancurd one. I usually order tilapia instead of the threadfin coz there’s a lot more meat and its RM 1 cheaper. The tilapia here is more delicious than dedicated seafood restaurants who charge twice this price!

Fish-Shop

Their 3-egg steamed Chinese omelet with salted egg, century egg and normal egg is delicious too. The prices are higher than the surrounding F&B outlets but it’s air conditioned and the fish is amazing.

#5 Singh Chapati House

Singh-Chapati-House

I said I usually prefer rice but I also enjoy a good meal of chapati. The chapatis at Singh are freshly made and hot from the plate. It’s quite packed during lunch and the huge number of Indians eating here is a testament to their authenticity and taste. You serve yourself from the bain maries outside and tell your waiter how many chapatis you want. It’s kinda like a chap fan stall where you pick the curries you like and it’s calculated when you sit down.

Chapati

It’s quite expensive – each small piece of chicken is RM 3, but the taste is spot on. They use a lot of spices in their curries so there are wonderfully complex layers of flavors. Expect to pay around RM 16-18 per pax here for lunch.

Singh-Chapati

Did I miss out on your favorite? Let me know in the comments! I’ll try it if it’s within a 10 minute walk of KL Sentral.

Kok Siong Penang Nasi Kandar, Puchong

Nasi Kandar Kok Siong

Kok Siong? A Chinese run and operated nasi kandar place? I thought it was pretty unusual too. This is actually a very famous nasi kandar place in Puchong. It’s always packed with people and there’s a long queue for the star – the nasi kandar stall. The stall is located inside a coffee shop of the same name. I popped by for lunch today coz I’ve been craving nasi kandar for a while now.

Nasi Kandar Puchong

I hear the dishes to try here are the fried chicken and the lamb curry. I got both and also their omelet with rice and half a salted egg. I’m not sure if it should be called an omelet coz it’s fried on the outside and steamed on the inside. It tastes more like a Chinese style steamed egg. There’s lots of onions inside for flavor and it reminded me of something you could get in a chap fan stall.

Kok Siong Puchong

This is my plate of nasi kandar. It costs RM 20 for everything. The basic stuff is the rice and gravy – you can also add their omelet to this. Sides are fried chicken and lamb curry and also a salted egg. It’s not an unreasonable charge, I’ve had more expensive nasi kandar for less in Indian places. However, the proof is in the pudding! Is it good?

Kok Siong

I’ve read a lot of glowing reviews before this and people have told me via word of mouth that it’s delicious too so when I ate it I had high expectations. The large crowd here certainly bolstered my opinion. Unfortunately I found everything to be over-salted and I didn’t really enjoy the food. The fried chicken was quite spiced (as in there are lots of spices, not that it burns your tongue) but nothing spectacular. I much preferred the fried chicken at Wong Soon Kee.

I must admit, I questioned myself multiple times. Everyone says it’s good! Are my taste buds really that out of sync? Is the fact that it’s too salty mar my experience? But I eat 3 packets of Mi Sedaap all the time! I’m used to sodium overload. Did I go when I wasn’t hungry? No, I was famished! I concluded that it’s probably just not my thing. I won’t go again but I ate everything on my plate (mostly coz I don’t like wasting food). However, plenty of people like this so your mileage may vary.

Nasi Kandar Line Clear

nasi kandar line clear

I’ve heard a lot about this extremely popular nasi kandar place in Penang. Nasi Kandar Line Clear is located at Lorong Line Clear (which is probably where it got it’s name) and it’s open 24 hours. I hear peak hours are crazy – long queues are to be expected.

nasi kandar line clear alley

It’s quite easy to find but there are a lot of nasi kandar places around the area so be sure you get the right one. The entrance is through a small and narrow alley and you’re apt to miss it if you get distracted by the other signages.

nasi kandar queue

We went just before 6 pm and even then, the tables are packed with people. It operates just like what you’ll expect – line up and you’ll be presented with a plate of steamed rice to which you can choose a variety of meat, vegetables and seafood to go with it.

huge fish head

There’s even curry fish head the size of your palm if you like that kind of thing.

line clear people

I was initially surprised by the popularity of Nasi Kandar Line Clear. There is only a very modest variety of dishes to choose from. I’ve seen much larger nasi kandar operations with triple the number of dishes. However, it soon became apparent that they specialize in dishes they are great at.

nasi kandar line clear offerings

I ordered nasi kandar with a fried chicken drumstick and beef cooked in a sticky sweet black sauce. The nasi kandar here gives you “kuah campur” (also called tsunami, an ironic name for the state) by default. This means that they will give you a bit of gravy from every single dish to create a gooey mass of delicious mixed gravy on top of the rice.

nasi kandar gravy

This is my nasi kandar for RM 8. It also comes with raw okra and cucumbers as a standard feature. The hot gravy warms up the raw lady fingers enough so by the time you eat it, it’s soft and juicy.

raw okra

The rice is also piping hot, which is a plus point. A lot of nasi kandar places serve semi warm or downright cold rice. The kuah campur (mixed gravy) does a lot to the dish – mixed in with the rice, you get notes of fish curry, beef rendang, squid curry, ayam masak merah (a sweet chicken dish) and lots more, so it’s very, very flavorful.

kuah campur

I think that’s what makes Nasi Kandar Line Clear so popular – the dishes might be limited, but what they have is delicious and the mixed gravy is simply orgasmic.

line clear gallery

…and it looks like I’m not the only one who thinks this place is the bomb. :D

line clear

We thoroughly enjoyed it and the people who went after us in the wee hours of the morning agrees!

nasi kandar line clear rat

However, since Nasi Kandar Line Clear is located in an alley, you probably should be prepared to dine with unexpected companions of the furry kind.

RM 32 nasi kandar

rm 32

My girlfriend is always getting fleeced by the nasi kandar people. I have a very strong suspicion they don’t like her very much. ;) She got charged RM 32 for this:

rm 32 nasi kandar

Nasi briyani (a type of flavored rice)
Ayam goreng (fried chicken – drumstick)
Sotong goreng (fried squid)
Daging lembu rendang (beef rendang)
Telur (hard boiled egg)
Sayur (vegetables)

I order the same stuff (with kuah campur – mixed gravy) and I get it for RM 13.50 – RM 15 depending on who’s serving the stuff. There this guy who’s fascinated by my surface bar piercings and tends to charges me less.

The pricing of nasi kandar here is so arbitrary sometimes…

Guess the price of my nasi campur (photo included)

guess_nasi_campur.jpg

Guess how much this combination of nasi campur costs? There’s more
sotong pieces than meets the eye, some of it is obscured by the chicken
drumstick. No, I didn’t play “Hide the sotong” intentionally, it was
due to the real estate on the styrofoam packs. By the way, “Hide the
(most expensive item)” is a technique where you cover up a more
expensive item with a less expensive one – like covering a drumstick
with cabbages. This is an extreme example, it’s just to illustrate the
point. I’ve never done that intentionally though, not for any moral or
personal reasons, it’s just coz I don’t bother.

The way things work over here is like this – you get handed a plate
or take away pack filled with rice and you choose whatever you want
from the array of dishes displayed. You can opt to have as many items
as you want and the portions you choose is up to you. The price (which
can vary depending on time of the day, whether you’re a regular, as
well as many other factors) is tallied up when you’re done, based on
your choices. However, “Hide the xxx” doesn’t work all that well
nowadays, because the proprietors usually check underneath due to the
popularity of this method.

Back to the post, my lunch has a drumstick, sotong and chili covered
brinjals. You don’t eat for a couple of days and then you feel hungry
enough to eat a horse. ;) Anyway, guess how much this nasi campur pack
costs?

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