I loved Malaysia! For my 30th birthday adventure John and I spent a week in the fantastic Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, and a few days in the beautiful historic city of Malacca (Melaka).
Kuala Lumpur is a great city for exploring and people watching. There are a few must sees like the Batu Caves, Petaling Street and the amazing Petronas Twin Towers but if you simply love wandering and exploring new cities then Kuala Lumpur has plenty more things to see and do. Kuala Lumpur is a sprawling city and each neighbourhood has something different to offer in terms of diversity, culture and food. Despite not being the most walker friendly city in the world, as a result of insane driving and a lack of pavements, John and I still managed to explore for miles on foot.
Malacca is a lovely town in the south of Malaysia which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This pretty city lies on both sides of the Malacca river. It’s a nice, quiet town to explore, particularly if you want to see a different side to Malaysia; a change from a busy city like Kuala Lumpur.
I don’t want to repeat myself too much so if you’re heading to Malaysia definitely check out my Singapore post too. Similar to Singapore, and perhaps even more so, it’s challenging to be gluten free in Malaysia. There are definitely options so you won’t go hungry but don’t expect tonnes of variety. Pack some safe food, be prepared to shop at grocery stores at least some of the time and keep to naturally gluten free food. Again, if cross contamination isn’t an issue for you, there will be more local dishes for you to enjoy than I was able to risk.
Tips for eating gluten free in Malaysia
For gluten free groceries
Cold Storage and I setan are fantastic grocery stores which carry a variety of gluten free products. You can find gluten free cereals, flours, pasta, sauces, crackers, rice cakes, stock cubes, cookies, chips and a various other gluten free goodies in both stores. Most of these products are imported from the US, UK or Australia. I only saw one of two products labelled as gluten free which were actually made in Malaysia.
For eating out,Â
Little India is great for finding naturally gluten free South Indian food like dosas and uttapams. Some places do both North and South Indian food Â and some focus on one. Choose a completely South Indian place to reduce the risk of cross contamination; there isn’t much wheat used in South Indian cooking.Â TIP: Double check that your dosa/uttapam is not made in the same area/pan as any wheat breads. Also double check that it’s simply rice flour and/or chick pea flour and there is not wheat flour involved. We ate some amazing masala dosas that cost just $1.50! Anjappar restaurantÂ was particularly good and interestingly it turns out that they are actually an Indian chain with a few locations in Singapore, Dubai, India and also the US, as well as Kuala Lumpur.
I hope you like sushi! It’s naturally gluten free and it’s one of the best go-to foods for gluten free travellers! You can find great sushi in Japanese or Korean restaurants if you want to eat out or in Cold Storage and I Setan if you want some on-the-go sushi. Nowhere as yet has gluten free soy sauce so be prepared to take you own or go without.
Ampang is the Korean neighbourhood of Kuala Lumpur. This is a great place if you fancy some yummy rice and kimchi! Have a read at my Gluten Free South Korea post for making safe gluten free choices with it comes to Korean food.
In terms of local dishes,
Nasi Lemak can be found in restaurants, cafes or as street food. It should be naturally gluten free as it’s just coconut rice with boiled egg and spicy sauce. There are variations on this depending on where you get it so make sure nothing fried has been added and there is no soy sauce. Delicious!
HainaneseÂ Chicken Rice is another great local dish which you can find all over Singapore and Malaysia. Ensure you only get the steamed version with veggies and that there is no soy sauce involved!
Fresh fruit is available everywhere! Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur is a brilliant place for picking up all sorts of ready sliced fresh fruit. You can find fresh coconut all over the place too. Stick in a straw and enjoy the juice then have the sweet white flesh cut out so that you can enjoy that too!
If in doubt, go for coconut rice! You can get it at pretty much any local restaurant and it’s delicious, creamy and naturally gluten free. For a more substantial meal ask for a side of fruit, veggies, crushed garlic, chili sauce or a boiled egg!
Do you live in or have you travelled to Malaysia? Iâ€™d love to hear your gluten free experiencesâ€¦