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How to Eat On A Budget in KL

After spending some time in Kuala Lumpur, you would have noticed how expensive it can get in this city that never sleeps. If you’re a foreigner travelling to KL on a tight budget, this article may just be what you’re looking for. Here are some tips from a youngster born and raised in KL on how you can avoid burning a big hole in your pockets while also enjoying the great food that Malaysia has to offer.

First of all, avoid cafes at all cost

(Source: VCR Facebook)

Dining in a place which offers you great ambience will cost you more than what you would need to pay at a regular eatery. A cuppa in a regular cafe in Kuala Lumpur would cost anything between RM 8 to RM 20 (RM12 on average), with below RM 10 a cuppa being a lucky discovery for you. And that is before service tax is being taken into account, which is usually 10% on top of your bill. Mains or desserts at cafes also do not come cheap, though they can be affordable. If you are looking for a complete meal consisting of one main, one beverage and one dessert, that would most likely cost you an average of RM 40 to RM 60 on estimation.

Instead, look for regular eateries known as the “kopitiam” or roadside eateries like the “mamak”. 

(Source: Malaysian Flavours; Suara Perak)

These places are where you can find homey local delicacies that don’t burn a hole in your pockets. A decent meal at local eateries usually cost about RM 10 on average, and that includes one main and one beverage. The downside of eating on a budget would be the lack of insta-worthy ambience, but what you get in return is a sight of how the down-to-earth Malaysian community is like. Don’t worry about the language barrier as the hawkers and workers are always very friendly and would make sure both you and they get the message across.

It is also advisable to look out for restaurants offering Set Meals which are most commonly offered during lunch hour as well as at densely populated area. 

(Source: OldTown White Coffee)

These pre-set deals offer a great bargain as you would usually get a set of one main, one beverage and sometimes even fruit slices or a small dessert. If you’re a foreigner, be sure to ask if there are any “Set Menus” available as some restaurants tend to not advertise set menus. Set meals are usually served with a free beverage with Asian cuisines serving a small bowl of soup on the side. These deals usually cost about RM 15 to RM 18 on average and some restaurants even offer loyalty programs where you could collect stamps or accumulate points to redeem free food or beverage after a certain number of visits.

Here’s 3 useful tips for you! If you’d like more contents like this from us, please do not hesitate to leave a comment down below!

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