The passion that burns in our bellies can drive us to laude Malaysian food over similar dishes from neighbouring lands. Even within our own turf, conversations on where to find the best version of the local favourites can get a little heated .

 

Purists might argue that only curbside concoctions can authentically represent a dish while citing the sweat and grime as invaluable parts of the experience. We must admit that many of our go-to craving fixes are at famous hawker stores but we won't be too quick to discount an elevated version of a beloved local meal either. Consider this: Paying higher prices would often allow a restaurant to purchase better ingredients, pour in more time, creativity and finesse into the preparation and cater for an extra-special dining affair.

 

Here are just a few of Malaysian favourites in two different versions: haute and hawker. Time to taste for yourselves to see which will prevail. Don't knock it till you try it.

 

1. The asam laksa from the Klang outpost of the famous original Ayer Itam legend or the crustacean-topped version at the hottest chino latino bar in town, Mr. Chew's

 

Hawker or haute: The best Malaysian dishes at two very different price points

RESTAURANT ANGCLE PEOH

Address: 42, Lorong Batu Nilam 21B, Bandar Bukit Tinggi 2, Klang

Opening Hours: Mon to Sun (9am-9pm)

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MR CHEW'S CHINO LATINO BAR & RESTAURANT

Address: The Penthouse, Wolo Hotel, Corner of Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur

Opening Hours: Mon to Sun (11.30am-3pm, 6pm-1am)

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2. The perpetually packed Village Park nasi lemak or the achingly moreish nasi lemak risotto at the new café on the block, The Other Half

 

Hawker or haute: The best Malaysian dishes at two very different price points

VILLAGE PARK

Address: No. 5, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya

Opening Hours: Mon to Sat (7am-7.30pm), Sun (7am-6pm)

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THE OTHER HALF

Address: Unit 2-1, Greens Terrace, No.1 Jalan Wan Kadir 3, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur

Opening Hours: Mon to Fri (7.30am-5.30pm), Sat to Sun (9am-5.30pm)

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3. The sinfully glistening chunks of char siew from Toast & Roast or the magically crafted block from Babe


Hawker or haute: The best Malaysian dishes at two very different price points

TOAST & ROAST

Address: No. 20, Jalan SS2/72, Petaling Jaya

Opening Hours: Wed to Mon (8.30am-4pm)

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BABE—JAPAS FUN DINING @ CLEARWATER

Address: 11th Floor, Changkat Semantan, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur

Opening Hours: Tues to Thur (6pm-10.30pm), Fri to Sat (6pm-11.30pm), Sun (6pm-10.30pm)

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4. The fresh-off-the-wok sang har meen from Sang Kee or the decadant lobster scene-stealer from Pince & Pints

 

Hawker or haute: The best Malaysian dishes at two very different price points

SANG KEE

Address: No.5, Lorong Yap Ah Loy, Kuala Lumpur

Opening Hours: Mon to Sat (11am-3pm)

 

PINCE & PINTS

Address: No 32, Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur

Opening Hours: Mon to Fri (5.30pm-11.30pm), Sat to Sun (11.30am-11.30pm)

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5. The authentic blue-tinged rice served with a plethora of tresures at Chunburi or the ultra-fine banana flower kerabu housed in a coconut by Dewakan

 

Hawker or haute: The best Malaysian dishes at two very different price points

CHUNBURI

Address: Chunburi Seafood Restaurant, Kampung Baru, 50300 Kuala Lumpur

Opening Hours: Mon to Sun (12pm-1am)

 

DEWAKAN RESTAURANT

Address: Lower Ground Floor KDU University College, Utropolis Glenmarie Jalan Kontraktor U1/14, Seksyen U1, 40150 Shah Alam

Opening Hours: Mon to Sat (6.30pm-10pm)

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6. The mouth-watering classic sweet and sour pork at Restoran Lek Lek or the conceptual Iberico tatare with sweet and sour yolk at Coquo

 

Hawker or haute: The best Malaysian dishes at two very different price points

RESTORAN LEK LEK

Address: No. 12, Jalan PSK 4, Pusat Perdagangan SK, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor

Opening Hours: Mon to Sun (11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm)

 

COQUO KL

Address: D1-G4-6, Solaris Dutamas (Publika), Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur

Opening Hours: Tue to Sun (6pm-12am)

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7. The pride and joy of Aunty Christina from Sarawak or the marron lobster Sarawak laksa of Isadora Chai's invention at Antara

 

Hawker or haute: The best Malaysian dishes at two very different price points

AUNTY CHRISTINA'S LAKSA

Address: No. 26, Jalan 21/19, Sea Park, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Opening Hours: Mon to Fri (8.15am-3pm), Sat to Sun (8.15am-2.15pm)

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ANTARA RESTAURANT

Address: 2 Lorong Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Opening Hours: Mon to Sun (12pm-3pm, 5pm-12am)

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