Every visit to Malaysia begins with a Mamak Restaurant. I chose where to eat and then centre my travels from there. Priority comes with 24-hour eating and some of the best Indian food outside of India. Malaysia Mamak Restaurants (or mamak stalls, mamak restorans) are roadside eateries selling Malay Indian food. The word Mamak defines a mix of Indian and Malay cultures (Tamil Muslim). Restaurants can be easily identified as open-air eateries where hungry locals sip teh tarik (pulled tea) and finger rice, curries and flatbreads. It is the norm at Malaysia Mamak Restaurants to eat with the right hand (this doesn’t mean you have to). Pay at the counter and expect over-attentive waiters hoping for mid-meal tips. For what to eat at Mamak restaurants check below for my favourites around Malaysia.
Restoran SK Corner, Kuala Lumpur (Bukit Bintang)
While locals start mornings with teh tarik I stuff my face with chicken filled roti and curries (Chicken Murtabak). Far from a traditional breakfast but I don’t like wasted opportunities. Located next to Kuala Lumpur’s Jalan Alor food street the two locations make for the perfect holiday of glutton. Restoran SK Corner in the daytime before evenings of Malay Chinese foods and beer on Jalan Alor. The one limitation to Malaysia Mamak Restaurants is NO ALCOHOL (Non-Halal). Fresh fruit juices make a tasty alternative. A must try at Restoran SK Corner is the impressive range of high quality Nasi Kandar dishes which include Malay favourites of rendang and fish head curry. If planning to stay nearby try the Homestyle Boutique Hotel. Within smelling distance.
Nasi Kandar Tomato, Langkawi (Pantai Cenang)
Because of Nasi Kandar Tomato I rarely see the beaches of Langkawi. Twenty four hour eating in the tourist area of Pantai Cenang. Mamak restaurants are generally split into individual cooking areas. A Nasi Kandar canteen, a Tandoor oven area and a Roti Canai stand. At Nasi Kandar Tomato you can find me next to the tandoor oven. Some of the best tandoor I have eaten. Naan Breads, Tikka, Tandoori Chicken. I have dreams of this place. As the name suggests the Nasi Kandar aint too bad either.
Restoran Kapitan – Penang (Georgetown, Little India)
Stepping from Penang Ferry to smoky tandoor smells from nearby Little India. Georgetown spoils with Malaysia Mamak Restaurants. My recommended restaurant sits next to Little India at the intersection of Chulia and King Street (Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh King). Restoran Kapitan. Home to the first Claypot Biryani in Malaysia and in contention for Penang’s best tandoori and kebab. For me I rarely pass the Claypot Biryani, topped with tandoori chicken. It is a must at Restoran Kapitan (8.6RM). Wash down with fresh mango lassi.