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