Friday, October 15, 2010

5 best Singaporean and Malaysian restaurants in London

Other than What to Do in London and Where to Stay in London, another question I often get is where the best Singaporean and Malaysian restaurants in London are. Don't ask me why but we tend to seek out food we are familiar with even when we're away from home. Regardless of where I am, a nasi lemak (fragrant rice), even a cold one, would always bring a smile on my face. You'll be mistaken if you think we're unique for I can totally imagine an English finding comfort in a cup of Breakfast tea halfway across the world.

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Over here, I lumped Malaysian and Singaporean restaurants together. "Argh... no!" the food puritans may protest. While there are inherent differences between the two cuisines, nasi lemak chilli (salty for Malaysian and sweet for Singaporean) is a case in point, there are way more similarities. So here's my take on the five best Singaporean and Malaysian restaurants in London (not in the order of preference).

1. Awana

I was a bit skeptical about this initially having heard that Awana is grossly overpriced. To be honest, it is. But that's provided you dine there on its full priced menu. Toptable (www.toptable.co.uk) offers a 50% discount off the total bill if you reserve a table through the site. Awana is perhaps one of the few fine dining options for Straits food in London. Its durian roti is a must order.

2. Sedap

Julie, its friendly lady proprietor, who hails from Penang was quite pleased when we went gaga over Sedap's nonya kueh, which are freshly made on a daily basis. I even went out of my way just to get Sedap's kueh. However, I noticed that its portion has shrunken quite a bit of late. sedap came late into the game but has risen to be one of the known names in the capital.

Sedap serves quite very decent char kuay teow, laksa and hainanese chicken rice.

3. Kiasu

This is practically an institution in itself. Bayswater's Kiasu is known to generations of Singaporean and Malaysian students and expats living in London. In fact, it's one of the first stops for many visitors from that part of the world. Regrettably, the restaurant was recently forced to close for a period of time in a bid to clean up its act after mice and cockroaches were found in its kitchen.

Not exactly the most appetizing but its char kuay teow is simply the best in London. Check out its homemade durian ice-cream as well.

4. Rasa Sayang

I recalled being quite taken by it when it first opened. Though there wasn't any particular dish that stands out, Rasa Sayang is an all-rounder and its convenient location (in the heart of West End) helps as well.. However, its service deteriorated after awhile and I avoided it thereafter. That said, it remains popular with Singaporeans and Malaysians, and it's also a regular gathering venue for the Overseas Singaporean Unit..

5. Bugis Street Brasserie 

Bugis Street is one of the busiest bazaars in Singapore and the name does bring back some fond memories. If it helps, that's also where Singapore Airline air stewardesses hang out as most of them are put up at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel itself. 

Meepok, hainanese chicken rice, laksa... need I say more? They do taste authentic, with MSG and all.

Did I miss out any restaurants? Which other restaurants should be added to the above list?

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12 comments:

nesher said...

What about Bonda Cafe London located at 190 Sussex Garden, London W2 1TU

Im from Singapore and studied in London from 2008 to 2009...i really like their food!

MC said...

I like Satay house near Edgware Road, very good Malay food but slightly pricey.

Suggest to do Top 5 cheap eats in London..will be very useful, thanks!

C K said...

@nesher,
Hey there, I went to Bonda Cafe some time back and it did remind me of the eateries at railway stations - very authentic indeed. What was your favourite dish over there?

@MC,
Are you referring to Satay House Malaysian Restaurant? It's a tough choice really. The mee goreng is quite good.

Well, if you are into satays, try out Puji Puji. They're from the previous Oriental City satay stall near its carpark.

John said...

Thanks for sharing the list, I think that Awana is probably the most popular place out of the list. I have also heard about Sedap & Rasa Sayang before but not the other two. Do these places take reservations over thr phone or online through websites like Book a table? It just becomes easier rather than waiting or being denied to any of these places.

C K said...

@John,
Thanks. I normally make reservations though Toptable as it offers the best deals thus far. I agree that reservation is a must to avoid disappointment. Actually, a simple call would do just fine if there are no good deals online.

ST said...

Could you possibly recommend anywhere in London that would have proper singaporean style hokkien mee? Only seem to have found it available at C&R ever since Kiasu shut...

London Chow said...

@ST,
I think Kiasu has since reopened after a short ban due to hygiene scare. Have you tried Rasa Sayang? Try Bugis Street Brasserie instead.

Sarah said...

C&R is a bit inconsistent, but their laksa lemak is very good.

London Chow said...

@Sarah,
I've not tried their nasi lemak before. Didn't return after my disappointing first visit. I wonder how does theirs compare to Rasa Sayang's.

Anonymous said...

there is another hidden treasure called noodle house in Sutton , Greater London. It has Pan Mee the kind that you torn with the hand, claypot chicken rice and a host of other amazing malaysian dishes. Owners are from teluk intan which explains why the food isso authentic. But you have to go ther and specifically ask folr the malaysian menu otherwise it appears as just another chinese restaurant. :) this is where its at- very small and not fancy like the other London ones though.333 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 1LW

Catherine said...

Hi, I live in Mitcham, Surrey (near Tooting) and am keen to find a place close by that I can get hainanese chicken rice and kway teow - does anyone know of anywhere reasonably close? Cheers

Claire said...

Hi, came across your post when I tried to search for Singaporean Food in London. It all seems pretty delicious and I'd love to try them all. However, can you advise if any of the restaurants mentioned are halal? Cuz I'll be travelling with my Malay friend and she is a strict halal.

Would greatly appreciate if you could reply. Thank you.