Header image courtesy of @baba.nyonya (via Instagram)
Malaysian food is one of our favourite cuisines for its punchy, bold flavours and comforting vibes. Hong Kong has no lack of Malaysian restaurants around, but there is a hierarchy here—we’re not up for any old restaurant that throws a laksa made from packet soup bases onto its menu and claims to serve Malaysian food! Read on for some authentic Malaysian restaurants that dish up the good stuff.
It should be very obvious from the massive queues always congregated outside that the food at Semua Semua is no joke! From the swinging wooden gates to the muted green tiles, this restaurant is a throwback to the traditional kopitiam coffee shops of Southeast Asia. Their signature dishes include the baby pork leg bak kut teh ($76) and the Penang Asam laksa ($52), though those who can’t really handle spicy foods are also catered for with the Penang white curry mee ($52).
Our personal favourites, however, are the curry chicken nasi lemak ($55) which comes with a bright green pandan rice, and the chilli pan mee ($55), a dry noodle dish with minced pork, dried shrimps, pork crackling, and more, topped with their house sambal chilli sauce and a runny egg. Absolute heaven!
Kedai Kopi Semua Semua, 251 Ki Lung Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 2447 9188
Tucked away in the westside of Hong Kong Island, Café Malacca has been known for attracting homesick Singaporean and Malaysian diners through its doors. Named a Bib Gourmand restaurant in the 2014 and 2015 Michelin Guides, this is the place to go for Malaysia and Singapore street-inspired food.
There are better curry laksas in town (see here for our recommended laksa list!), but the must-try here is the Penang Assam laksa ($128); this differs from the usual Singaporean kind in that it is not coconut milk-based and instead is fish broth-based, with turmeric and ginger flower, which gives the dish a tart, tangy, spicy kick. If stomach space allows, also order the chwee kueh ($88) to start, and the rarely-found Singapore Hokkien char ($118), before rounding things off with the bubur pulut hitam ($58).
Café Malacca, 508 Queen’s Road West, Shek Tong Tsui | (+852) 2974 1234
As the weather gradually cools down we can totally see this restaurant’s soupy offerings being the ultimate comfort food. The first thing you do here is choose a type of soup base: either spicy prawn (our favourite), spicy curry laksa, pork and chicken, or Hokkien-style creamy soup. From there, it’s just a matter of deciding which ingredients to top your bowl with.
Our go-to is the prawn with braised white pepper pork ribs noodles ($79). We had a good scare a while back when rumour had it the business was about to close, but it has since been rescued by a buyer who swooped in, thank goodness.
Penang Prawn Noodle Shop, Shop 4, G/F, Rialto Building, 2 Landale Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2520 0268
Another Bib Gourmand restaurant, it is said that travelling in Malaysia and Singapore inspired the owners of Ancient Moon so much that they went to Kuala Lumpur to learn how to make an authentic chilli noodle dish. Their menu isn’t very extensive, but rest assured that everything on it is done well.
Aside from their signature chilli pan mee ($50), the herbal bak kut teh ($88) is also well worth a try. Pro tip: If you order their other two styles of Singaporean bak kut teh instead, you can enjoy unlimited refills of the soup!
Ancient Moon, Shop A, 29 Kam Ping Street, North Point | (+852) 3568 4530
Celebrating the unique Nyonya heritage, created when early Chinese settlers in Malaysia and Singapore married the indigenous Malays, Baba Nyonya is also a good mix of both these cultures and flavours. Try the pork shoulder bak kut teh (starting from $34), made with the pork collar-butt cut which is tender and less fatty, or the beef rendang ($68). They’ve also got a fantastic special in the sambal braised minced pork with tofu puffs dish ($58).
Baba Nyonya Restaurant, G/F, 501 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei | (+852) 3594 6026
Similar in concept and vibe to Semua Semua that’s also in the same neighbourhood, Kopitiam Bagus.Bagus is a busy eatery which serves up authentic Malaysian flavours. Start off with the loh bak ($48), a spring roll-type finger food that is a staple in Penang street hawkers, or the ayam goreng belacan ($48), a mouth-watering spicy fried chicken dish.
Possibly the most aesthetically pleasing choice on their menu is the nasi kerabu (from $62), which comes with blue rice and a choice of either curry chicken, beef rendang, sambal squid, or curry fish.
Kopitiam Bagus.Bagus, 188 Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po | (+852) 2253 6911
There’s something for those of you living in western New Territories too! With different offerings and sets available for lunch times, dinner, weekends and holidays, and takeaway sets, there’s bound to be something to suit your tastes. We particularly like the look of the roti canai with Kuala Lumpur curry chicken leg ($68) and the dark soy sauce pork neck fried noodles ($48). Last we heard, they were even doing a promotional discount on their Malacca grilled stingray ($68)!
Sedap, Shop 30–31, 1/F, Tuen Mun Town Plaza Phase 2, 3 Tuen Lung Street, Tuen Mun | (+852) 2789 8789