10 Places In London To Tuck Into Tummy-Warming Malaysian Food
Live in London but can't return to Malaysia in these troubled times? Good thing there is no shortage of authentic Malaysian food in London.
This guide was originally published on December 2, 2019 and updated on May 24, 2021
For Malaysians far from home, comfort food is one of the top things on their mind. Even more so when bone-chilling temperatures set in during fall or winter. In 2018, some 14,970 Malaysian students made up the top five list of non-Europeans studying in the UK, according to HESA. In the past, one could only send a prayer (or bottle of sambal paste) to the homesick who yearned for hearty Nasi Lemak, Curry Laksa, Char Kuey Teow and more. But that's become a thing of the past, as London has been swept up by a Malaysian culinary uprising. That’s right, a slice of home can be had in London, as this mouth-watering list proves.
1/10 Roti King
A distinctly polished answer to mamak stores back home, Roti King makes your beloved flat bread (roti telur, paratha, murtabak) on the fly. Make sure to save space for other mamak classics, including Roti King's full-bodied Mee Goreng Mamak and heaving plate of Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng Rempah. Wash it all down with a tall iced Milo Godzilla.
Helmed by Malaysian chef Danny Tan who grew up in a family of Hainanese chefs, Laksamania more than scratches one's itch for different kinds of laksa noodles, from Penang Assam Laksa to White Curry Laksa. Chef Danny uses halal, eight-hour simmered chicken broth as a base for his soups, which are then enhanced with rich curry spices, coconut milk and/or tart tamarind peel.
ICYMI: The Daily Broth Aims To Spread The Benefits Of Bone Broth Throughout Malaysia
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 Malaysian food. One of 26 Asian stalls in this North London food haven, Coconut Tree replicates authentic dishes that can be found in Kuala Lumpur, from Hokkien mee to Har Mee, and some say, the best Curry Laksa in London with a liberal amount of garnishes.
Related: Hokkien Mee Fun Facts And Where To Try A Good Pork-Free Version
4/10 CNR Café Restaurant
Living up to its title as Malaysians' 'favourite Malaysian restaurant in London', this family-owned joint has mollified over 20 years' worth of homesickness with an immense range of rice and noodles dishes. From Nasi Goreng with prawns and fish cake to creamy Sago Pudding with Gula Melaka, the best of Malaysian fare can be had at this hidden Chinatown restaurant.
5/10 Normah’s Place
Consistency is what drives homesick Malaysians to this hole-in-the-wall eatery in the Bayswater. Recognised as a Best Value Restaurant by LondonEater, Normah's Place dishes out affordable and authentic Assam Pedas, Curry Laksa and Beef Rendang, not to mention fluffy Roti Canai.
The owner of Normah's Place was recently vaccinated and is taking a short break, but the restaurant will reopen in June 2021.
6/10 Eat Lah UK
Borne out of a couple’s love of food (and each other), Eat Lah was founded by Robert and Mel in a quest to satisfy London’s bottomless appetite for culinary variety. Here, Mel’s Kelantanese roots are honoured via Nasi Kerabu, making them the first stall in London to sell butterfly pea flower-tinged rice. Dig into Eat Lah's blue rice, crunchy herb salad and umami budu sauce with your choice of protein (ayam percik, chicken satay or vegan tofu) and be transported to your favourite warung back home.
7/10 Sambal Shiok
Malaysian chef Mandy Yin brings her Nyonya heritage to British taste buds by way of Sambal Shiok, which opened in 2013. Her acclaimed laksas, which fuse Penang and KL's styles, are inspired by her childhood before being dressed up with modern touches, and are objects of lust among the most stringent food critics. She also offers dishes of Sarawakian Iban and Fuzhou origin, which are one-of-a-kind in London.
8/10 Rice Guys
This popular food truck touts feel-good Chinese staples embraced by Malaysians and Singaporeans. If you crave chicken rice, the Rice Guys do a mean Hainanese version with glistening poultry and fluffy rice cooked in chicken broth and spices. Some would say the best component of the dish are the three accompanying sauces made from scratch.
9/10 Malaysian Deli
A hidden gem serving home-style classics, Malaysian Deli lives up to its name with an extensive menu featuring customer favourites such as Beef Rendang, Terung Berlada, Ayam Masak Merah, Pandan Sponge Cake and Teh Halia. The sunny hospitality and reasonable prices here have earned it word-of-mouth fame. Furthermore, Malaysian Deli also offer a wide range of vegetarian and vegan alternatives.
Related: Asian Vegan Food: 12 Instagram Accounts To Follow For The Best Recipes
10/10 Laxsa Soho
Of all the restaurants on this list, Laxsa Soho is your best bet for matching Malaysian food with cocktail creations. Experiment by pairing piquant King Prawn Laksa with a Hibiscus Spritz or Nasi Lemak with a Lemongrass Mojito.
Read next: A Taste Of Home: Zoee Wong Of Birdsong In San Francisco