Nasi Kandar, or as the locals call it, Nasiq Kandaq, is a mixed rice delicacy originating from Penang. Introduced by Tamil Muslim traders, this dish comprises rice, a mix of thick and savoury curries and gravies, a protein of choice, and some vegetables.
Nasi Kandar has become so synonymous with the northern state— it’s almost like an unwritten, sacred rule to have the dish as your first meal upon arrival. In fact, many travellers whether Malaysian or not will have a list of nasi kandar spots they want to cover, even if that means they’ll be eating the same thing, 3 meals a day, every single day.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to find the time to visit Penang. With work, school, and other responsibilities, a drive up north for a delicious meal just isn’t feasible. But, that doesn’t mean that your life has to be completely void of the dish you love so much, you’d risk a food coma for it. Here are 10 nasi kandar spots in KL & Selangor that’ll transport you all the way to Penang.
1. Zainul Nasi Kandar
Tucked away in the corner of a humble food court in Petaling Jaya sits Zainul Nasi Kandar, one of the area’s most popular nasi kandar spots. During lunch, you’ll see many customers eagerly waiting in line while others are looking for a place to sit in front of the stall. The bright yellow signs are a familiar sight to many, as they continuously draw loyal customers back over and over again.
Like most nasi kandar places, Zainul Nasi Kandar doesn’t offer sets with fixed side dishes. Instead, you get to choose exactly what you want to be included on your plate. Of course, you have to start with kuah campur, no ifs, no buts.
Next, choose from their array of succulent proteins like Ayam Goreng (RM9), Hati Lembu (RM7), or Sotong Kari that’s priced between RM15 to RM20, depending on the size. If you want a little more without it being too much, they also have Bergedil and Telur Masin for RM2 per dish.
Medan Selera Kompleks C, Lorong Sultan, Seksyen 52 Petaling Jaya, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
+603 7956 2724
Daily: 8am – 5pm
2. Restoran Kudu bin Abdul
Restoran Kudu bin Abdul is a family-run business that started off as a simple kopitiam back in the 60s. Even after decades of operation, you’ll find long lines of hungry customers that seep out of the confinements of the store during lunch hours. Despite their clear success, they remain humble, as seen in the restaurant’s interior that hasn’t changed much since its inception.
A serving of plain Nasi Putih here is RM2, which is the standard price for KL. If you’ve managed to power through the queue, be sure to order their specialty dish— Ayam Bawang Kicap (RM7). Other chicken dishes served here include Ayam Goreng, Ayam Kari, and Ayam Madu (RM7 each).
Are you more of a seafood fan? Don’t worry, Restoran Kudu offers a variety of fish dishes such as Ikan Kari (RM6.50) and Ikan Sambal (RM7). You can also opt for their Sotong (RM12-15) or Udang (RM15-18).
335, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Chow Kit, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+603 2697 7082
Mon to Sat: 10am – 7pm
Closed on Sun
3. Nasi Kandar Saddam
Nasi Kandar Saddam’s Instagram bio says “Cuba sekali pasti nak lagi”, which can be translated to “Once you get a taste, you’ll want more”. This tagline deems to be true, as the restaurant is able to draw repeat customers back to their shop for another round of their delicious nasi kandar. In fact, they opened another outlet in Ipoh on 10 Jun 2023.
Here, you can choose between Nasi Putih (RM2) and Nasi Briyani (RM4)— do you want a neutral base to let the other flavours shine, or do you want a flavour bomb from the get go? Then, select your protein of choice. Will it be the fan favourite Ayam Goreng (RM4.50), Kambing (RM6), or Kepala Ikan (RM7-RM25)? Don’t forget to balance out your meal with some vegetables! At Saddam’s, a helping of Kobis Goreng, Taugeh, or Boiled Lady’s Fingers is priced between RM0.50 to RM0.80.
4. Nasi Kandar LC Kampung Baru
If Nasi Kandar LC Kampung Baru sounds familiar to you, that’s because this eatery is the Kuala Lumpur outlet of Penang’s ever-so-famous Nasi Kandar Line Clear. In other words, “LC” is an abbreviation for “Line Clear”. With recipes hailing all the way from its source of origin, there’s no need for KL folks to travel up north just for a bite of this sought-after nasi kandar.
Known for their generosity, Nasi Kandar LC has their Promosi Nasik Kandaq that allows customers to feast on their nasi kandar with a piece of chicken and some vegetables for only RM7.50. This promotion occurs every Friday from 9am to 10pm. You even get a free cup of sirap ais!
They also offer catering services to cover all your event needs. For RM6 per pax, you can get their Nasi Kandar LC that comes with fried chicken and vegetables. Other than nasi kandar, they have a few nasi dalca options like Nasi Dalca Ayam (RM8.60 per pax) and Nasi Dalca Kambing (RM14 per pax).
5. Salman Nasi Kandar
For those living in the Kajang area, check out Salman Nasi Kandar. The shop is pretty hard to miss. The pink lettering contrasting against their lime green walls makes for a stark, eye-catching exterior. Their whole schtick is that they serve large portions at an affordable price, as seen in signage that hangs proudly above their entrance— it literally reads “Sedap. Banyak. Murah”.
At Salman’s you can order their sets ranging from RM8 to RM12. For RM8, you can get rice, Fried Chicken, and gravy. Alternatively, you could switch that chicken out for a rice dish with Daging Masak Hitam or Ikan Goreng for RM10. If you’re feeling adventurous, their Set Istimewa (RM12) comes with fried chicken, boiled lady’s fingers, fried cabbage, green chillies, salted egg, and a boiled egg. I know a good deal when I see one.
You can opt to order each side dish separately, of course.
6. Nasi Kandar Pelita
Apart from its nasi kandar, Nasi Kandar Pelita is also known for its classic mamak eats like roti canai, naan, and fried noodles. They’re a popular franchise often frequented by families in the mornings, and by groups of friends looking for a hangout spot at night.
As it already is a well-established chain, their prices are slightly higher— the Plain Rice here is RM2.25 while the Plain Briyani is RM5.85. That being said, they do have a variety of options to choose from. Pelita serves Quail (RM7.55), a dish that’s harder to find at other nasi kandar restaurants.
They have other dishes like Mutton Stomach (RM8.80), Special Onion Chicken (RM9.75), Chicken 65 (RM9.75), and Sambal Fish (RM6.45). The price of their seafood depends on the size. Their Crab ranges anywhere from RM21.20 to RM33.90, and the Fried Squid starts from RM21.20.
7. Nasi Kandar Apollo
Another nasi kandar restaurant perfect for the residents of Kajang is Nasi Kandar Apollo. The open-air concept and spacious setting makes for a casual dining experience suitable for big family gatherings and friendly catch ups. The counter is almost like a cafeteria— grab one of their bright yellow trays and make your way down the line as you choose your dishes.
For a fuss-free meal, order their Set Biasa (RM9) which comes with nasi kuning, kuah campur, and fried chicken, or the Set Penuh (RM13) for an additional salted egg, lady’s fingers, fried cabbage, and chillies.
If you want to choose your own dishes, they have plenty of options to feast on. The restaurant offers eats like Ayam Masak Madu (RM8) and Kambing Masala (RM16). In terms of seafood, they serve Kari Ikan Bawal Mas (RM15), Sotong Goreng Tepung (RM13), and Sambal Telur Sotong (RM15).
8. Mohd Yaseem Nasi Kandar Restaurant
Just from the signage alone you can tell that Mohd Yaseem Nasi Kandar Restaurant’s got the goods. Its playful colours and font choice is reminiscent of the old and original nasi kandar restaurants in Penang. At night, the sign lights up to lure customers in, so don’t worry about accidentally missing it as you walk down Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
The eatery claims to be KL’s best nasi kandar spot. While taste is subjective, many are loyal to Mohd Yaseem as they consistently serve delicious meals to anyone who walks through the door.
Again, no plate of nasi kandar is complete without an obscene amount of mixed gravy and a couple of lady’s fingers. The restaurant is great about being transparent with their seafood prices, listing down the cost for each size. If you’re in the mood for some cuttlefish, a small portion would be RM8, while a super large (yes, that’s literally how it’s written in the menu) squid will set you back RM40.
351, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Chow Kit, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+603 2694 8927
Daily: 10am – 2am
9. Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar
In 1974, the Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar started off as a modest stand inside a coffee shop. Fast forward to present day, the business has developed into one of the largest Penang heritage chains in the nation.
Similar to Pelita, this franchise also prices their food a little higher than your local small business. However, you’ll still find an endless stream of customers pointing at the glass divider, choosing side dishes to go with their mountain of rice.
A classic Ayam Goreng at Kayu Nasi Kandar is RM9, and their Ikan Goreng Tenggiri is priced the same. Fans of fish eggs will be pleased to know that they serve Telur Ikan (RM9) here too. They also have Burung Puyuh (RM9), Ikan Pulus (RM7.50), Udang Goreng (RM30), and Ketam Goreng (RM25).
10. Sithique Nasi Kandar
Subtle and unassuming, Sithique Nasi Kandar is a little bit of a hidden gem. While unknown to most of the public, this restaurant is a favourite among KL residents who live or work in the area. The moment you walk up the steps, you’ll be greeted by their display of savoury curries and fresh meats.
Even in a time of economic turmoil, Sithique has managed to keep their prices affordable. A plate of Nasi Putih is RM2 while Nasi Dengan Sayur is RM3.20. Add on some protein like Ayam Goreng (RM6), Kambing (RM7) or Daging Masak Kicap (RM3) for a more filling and balanced meal.
If you like internal organs, they even offer Hati & Limpa (RM3) and Hati Ayam Sepasang (RM2). Sithique has a few seafood options as well, like Prawns (RM8), Squid (RM8), and Fish Head (RM8-RM30).
Bangunan Odeon, 237, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, City Centre, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+6016 334 6411
Mon to Fri: 8am – 7pm
Sat: 7am – 7pm
Sun: 7.30am – 7pm