Food + Drink

8 Popular cafes to check out around Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur

Chilling in Chinatown


By Natalie Khoo

Featured images: @davidnakamurah, @carol.eats, @merchantslane via Instagram
8 Popular cafes to check out around Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur

While the Kuala Lumpur City Centre is well-known for its towering skyscrapers, luxury hotels and shopping malls, one historical neighbourhood stands out in juxtaposition to its concrete modernities—Chinatown. Centred around the lively Petaling Street, this vibrant district is home to an arts and crafts hub at Central Market; famous food stalls like Kim Lian Kee and Lai Foong Lala Noodles; and bustling markets offering everything from clothing to local snacks.

It goes without saying that food has always been an attraction in Chinatown. Over the years, its F&B scene has evolved to include bars, cafes and restaurants, in addition to long-established hawker spots. Whether you’re a local or tourist discovering what this colourful district has to offer, we’ve rounded up a list of cafes for a coffee break or bite while you’re here. 


1. Flaaah The Bakery


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Love a warm, flaky croissant? Flaaah will not disappoint with its array of golden brown pastries, paired with freshly brewed coffee and friendly hospitality. Featuring a beautifully sun-lit space (come early for the best experience!), the trendy bakery cafe is arguably best known for its soft and buttery croissants, but also serves heartier breakfast galettes, sandwiches, cookies, and bread. 

Address: G01, Four Points, 2, Jalan Balai Polis, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 8am to 4pm daily

Contact: 012 502 5591

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2. Yew Yew Coffee

Yew Yew is now in six locations around the Klang Valley, but it all started with the Jalan Sultan outlet in 2020. The original specialty coffee shop has a small space with limited seating by the windows—perfect for a quick pit stop for coffee and people-watching. Aside from its smooth coffee and matcha beverages, it also serves freshly made croffles. For a fuller meal, check out its larger (and newer) branch at Lalaport Bukit Bintang, located just 10 minutes away by car.

Address: 63-D, Ground Floor, Bangunan Ka Yin, Jalan Sultan, 50000 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 10am to 6pm (weekdays) | 10am to 9.30pm (weekends)

Contact: 011 6563 1233

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3. Merchant’s Lane


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Opened since 2015, Merchant’s Lane is one of the first cafes to launch in Petaling Street. This quaint hideaway occupies the top floor of an old heritage building, featuring rattan chairs, antique decor and rustic walls adorned with murals and floral touches. The menu consists of fusion-style breakfast dishes and mains, as well as pasta and rice options, snacks and desserts. There’s also a variety of coffee, tea and other beverages available to quench your thirst. 


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Address: 150, Jalan Petaling, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 11.30am to 9.30pm (closed on Mondays)

Contact: 03 2022 1736



4. Vintage 1988 Chinatown


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Also known as V88 for short, this vintage-inspired cafe has a fuss-free, laid-back ambience to kill time with a cup of coffee or catch-up with friends over a meal. It’s got that old-school vibe with a retro TV and aged piano sitting in a corner inside, but you can opt for a seat in front of its entrance to catch the hustle and bustle on the street. For sustenance, the menu offers all-day brunch classics, local dishes, burgers, sharing plates, coffee, beer, juice and cakes. 


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Address: 34, Jalan Sultan, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 11am to 9pm daily

Contact: 011 5982 7882



5. The Hungry Tapir


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If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, then The Hungry Tapir is the ideal dining spot for you. With its vibrant tropical-themed pink-hued space, this plant-based restaurant doesn’t just offer wholesome and appetising Malaysian food, but also an Instagram-worthy background for your food shots, selfies, and group photos. Gluten-free and keto-friendly options are also available to cater to your dietary needs. Oh, and it’s pet-friendly too!

Address: 135, Jalan Petaling, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur 

Opening hours: 12pm to 10pm (Tuesdays to Thursdays, Sundays) | 12pm to 12am (Fridays & Saturdays) | 12pm to 3pm, 5pm to 9pm (Wednesdays) | Closed on Mondays

Contact: 03 2022 2137

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6. LaGula by Tapir


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Just a few doors down across the street from The Hungry Tapir, you’ll find its sister restaurant, LaGula by Tapir. This vegan bakery and breakfast bar oozes tropical vacation vibes with its pale pink interiors, coconut tree-print cushions and rattan furnishings. Similarly, the menu is just as diverse, offering plant-powered brunch dishes, fresh pastries, coffee and cocktails. It has also recently added sourdough pizzas, natural wines and beers to its evening menu—perfect for a pizza party!


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Address: G-02, Four Points by Sheraton, 2 Jalan Balai Polis, 50000 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 11am to 7.30pm, Wednesdays to Mondays (closed on Tuesdays)

Contact: 011 6096 7726



7. Niko Neko Chinatown

Fans of matcha should not miss Niko Neko, one of the leading matcha suppliers with over 400 partners in Malaysia. First launched in Bangsar, the Chinatown concept store is its second branch with a larger space. Distinguished by the brand’s signature all-white minimalist design, the modern cafe also houses merchandise such as ceramic dishware, tea-making utensils, and, of course, the brand’s signature matcha powder. In terms of the menu, expect all things matcha including lattes and mocktails, choux pastries, cakes and cookies. 

Address: 181, Jalan Tun H S Lee, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 11AM to 5.30PM

Contact: 011 5649 8230

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8. Jao Tim


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Jao Tim (which means “hotel” in Cantonese) is a lively cafe cum event space that frequently hosts ticketed live music performances, spanning jazz sessions to R&B ballads and orchestras. The name is a tribute to its history, as the pre-war building it is housed in was formerly a hotel. Thus, you’ll notice subtle Art Deco elements such as brass fixtures and geometric typefaces accenting the space. The menu is modest, featuring sandwiches, rice bowls and cakes, alongside cocktails and spirits served by its sister bar, Concierge.


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Address: 61, Jalan Sultan, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur,

Opening hours: 3pm to 12am (Tuesdays to Saturdays) | 1pm to 11pm (Sundays) | Closed on Mondays

Contact: 03 2022 3897

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Bonus: KLCG Confectionary & Bakery

If you have time to venture slightly further away from Chinatown, KLCG Confectionary and Bakery is a great spot to check out for baked goods while discovering local landmarks and art. This bakery cafe is nestled within the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery (KLCG) near Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka), which is roughly a 10-minute walk from Petaling Street. It specialises in cronuts and croissants made using premium natural ingredients. On top of that, the menu also offers a plethora of sweet and savoury pastries, gateaux, cruffins (a cross between croissants and muffins), all-day dining classics and handcrafted drinks.  


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Address: 27, Jln Raja, Dataran Merdeka, 50050 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 9am to 6pm (closed on Tuesdays)

Contact: 012 389 3907

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