10 Places In London To Tuck Into Tummy-Warming Malaysian Food
There’s no shortage of authentic Malaysian nasi, noodles, roti and curry to satisfy your cravings for rich and heartwarming home flavours
For Malaysians far from home, comfort food is one of the top things on their mind. Even more so when the bone-chilling temperature sets in, in the notoriously gloomy London.
As of 2018, an estimated 14,970 students put Malaysia on the top 5 list of non-Europeans studying in the UK, according to HESA. One can only send a prayer (or bottle of sambal paste) to the homesick, yearning for hearty nasi lemak, laksa, char kuey teow, and so on.
But that is becoming a thing of the past. London has been swept with a Malaysian culinary uprising, ranging from the humble street food to feel-good delis and casual restaurants. That’s right, a slice of home can be had in London — this mouth-watering list will hit the spot.
1/10 Roti King
A distinctly polished answer to the mamak back home, this roti institute makes your beloved flat bread (roti telur, paratha, murtabak) on the fly, but chances are you’ll be ordering more to dish up the accompanying curry dhall. Save space for the other mamak street food though, including a full-bodied mee goreng mamak, heaving plate of nasi lemak ayam goreng rempah, and the beauty of a tall iced Milo Godzilla.
Helmed by Malaysian chef Danny Tan who grew up in a family of Hainanese chefs, Laksamania couldn’t be a more authentic culinary experience, especially if you’re hankering for street food specialties of noodles, fried chicken and satay. Chef Danny uses halal, 8-hour simmered chicken broth as a base for soups, which are then enhanced with rich, curry, coconut or tart assam flavours inspired by Ipoh, Melaka, Singapore, Penang and even London influences.
See also: Kuala Lumpur's Curry Laksa Ranked 2 On Lonely Planet's Top 500 Food Experiences
3/10 Coconut Tree, Bang Bang Oriental Food Hall
Although Bang Bang Oriental Foodhall is a little off the central London grid, the saying ‘have food, will travel’ couldn’t be more applicable for Asians dreaming of their favourite food. Among the 26 Asian stalls in this North London food haven is Coconut Tree, which replicates authentic Kuala Lumpur dishes. Dig in to halal Hokkien mee, har mee, and some say, the best curry laksas in London that’s liberal with the garnishes.
4/10 CNR Café Restaurant
Living up to its ‘favourite Malaysian restaurant in London’ in Malaysia, this family-owned joint has mollified over 20 years of homesickness with their immense range of rice and noodles dishes. From nasi goreng with prawns and fish cakes, to the savoury texture of tauhu bakar and creamy chendol, let this hidden Chinatown restaurant take the best of Malaysian fare straight to the table.
5/10 Normah’s Place
Homecooked consistency makes this hole-in-the-wall a go-to for locals and Malaysians, owner Normah ensures that from her tiny kitchen. The Bayswater restaurant is recognised as a Best Value Restaurant by LondonEater, for money-can’t-buy satisfaction from moreish curry laksa, tender beef rendang alongside fluffy roti canai, and whole assam pedas seabass in a fiery sauce.
See also: The Ultimate Guide To Chicken Wings In The Klang Valley
6/10 Eat Lah UK
Borne out of a couple’s love for food (and each other), Eat Lah is the enterprise of Robert and Mel in a quest to satisfy London’s bottomless appetite for culinary variety. Here, Mel’s Kelantanese roots are honoured with nasi kerabu, the first blue rice stall in the city. With its rainbow characteristics of butterfly pea flower-dyed rice, crunchy herb salad, umami budu sauce, flavoursome toppings, and protein choices of chicken percik or satay style or vegan tofu, dig in to be transported to your beloved warung.
7/10 Sambal Shiok
One of the few Malaysian chefs in London, Mandy Yin brings her Peranakan Nyonya heritage to British taste buds at Sambal Shiok which opened in 2013. Her acclaimed laksa menu, which fuse Penang and KL styles, are inspired by childhood then dressed up with modern touches, and are objects of lust among stringent food critics. She also does rice plates of Sarawakian Iban and Fuzhou origin, which are probably one-of-a-kind in London.
8/10 Rice Guys
Better known as a food truck, the Rice Guys tout feel-good Chinese staples embraced by Malaysians and Singaporeans. If you crave chicken rice, Rice Guys do a mean Hainanese version with glistening, tender roast chicken, and fluffy rice cooked in chicken broth and spices. Some would say the best component of the dish are the three accompanying sauces, made fresh from scratch.
9/10 Malaysian Deli
A hidden gem serving home-style classics, Malaysian Deli lives up to its name with an extensive menu including customer favourites beef rendang, terung berlada, pandan sponge cake, masak merah,and teh halia. Not to mention, the family-run establishment’s sunny hospitality and reasonable prices have earned it word-of-mouth fame. There are also a wide range of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly alternatives, too.
10/10 Laxsa Soho
Though the newest kid on the block, Laxsa Soho, possesses a self-explanatory name, this restaurant also serves as a bar specialising in exotic cocktails. If there’s ever an opportunity for alcohol pairing your piquant king prawn laksa, nasi lemak or grilled satay proteins, seize the opportunity at this kitchen/bar concept, where you get to wash it down with your choice cocktail of hibiscus spritz, lemongrass mojito, strawberry gin and more.