Best-of Guides Malaysia

The Best Places for Chinese Food in Kuala Lumpur & Penang

8 Restaurants
Have a craving for Chinese cuisine? Let our MICHELIN Guide inspectors show you where to get your fix in Kuala Lumpur & Penang!
Updated on 13 October 2023

As early as the 18th century, Chinese immigrants settled in Malaysia and brought with them their rich Chinese food culture. However, this was not their only contribution as the Chinese also shared their unique eating habits with the locals, adding more colour to Malaysia's food scene.

Among the many influences seen in Malaysian dining culture, Chinese food is recognised as one of they key and dominant cuisines that have impacted Malaysia's gastronomic landscape. It is also evident in today's modern food scene in Malaysia that Chinese cuisine is one that gets the locals enthusiastic and excited.

Here are eight MICHELIN restaurants in Kuala Lumpur and Penang that serve the best Chinese food, spanning traditional Cantonese dishes, dim sum, Teochew dishes, and more.

Heun Kee Claypot Chicken Rice (Pudu)
59 Jalan Yew, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
$$ · Cantonese

Set in an old but neatly organised dining area not far from the Pudu wet market, Heun Kee has long been loved by locals. The charcoal stove at the front of the restaurant adds intense heat to the claypot, producing cooked rice with intense charcoal flavours and interesting textures and aromas. Choose from a variety of soups, vegetables, and side dishes to enrich the dining experience. However, bear in mind that claypot dishes can take up to 30 minutes to arrive.

Restoran Pik Wah
Basement Level, MABA House, 6 Jalan Hang Jebat, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50150 Kuala Lumpur
$$ · Cantonese

Tucked away from busy traffic, this Bib Gourmand spot could be hard to find, but all efforts will be rewarded with some of the most authentic Chinese food one can get in town.

Apart from familiar staples available in all Cantonese restaurants, the longstanding household name also serves rarer items not found elsewhere, such as frog and venison. Restoran Pik Wah's famous dishes that come in sizzling claypots are simply unmissable. Reservations are recommended, especially on the weekends.

Elegant Inn
02-01, 2F, Podium Block, Menara Hap Seng, Jalan P. Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur, 50250 Kuala Lumpur
$$ · Cantonese

Since 2008, Elegant Inn has been feeding gourmets with Cantonese classics, especially some Hong Kong-style favourites. The wood-rich interior is traditionally decorated, alongside tables on the balcony for al fresco dining. At lunch, exquisite dim sum takes centre stage, with deep-fried taro pouch being a highlight. Double-boiled soups are not to be missed and need pre-ordering. Sizzling chicken with bitter melon in claypot also stands out.

Li Yen
2F, The Ritz-Carlton, 168 Jalan Imbi, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
$$$ · Cantonese

Li Yen is located at The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, which was renovated at the end of 2018. Embroidered wall panelling, a semi-circular velvet banquette, and mirrors in bronze frames prime diners for a luxury dining experience.

On the menu, classic Cantonese dishes take centre stage — think dim sum prepared in both traditional and innovative styles, honey-glazed BBQ Iberico pork, and roast goose. Also check out the chef’s recommendations on the first page, often featuring one hero ingredient prepared in a myriad of ways. Most of the staff come from Guangdong, and most items are available in various portion sizes, depending on the number of guests.

Yun House
5B, Four Seasons Hotel, 145 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
$$$ · Cantonese

Located at the Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Yun House is set under high ceilings and sports a remarkable dining room with nice views, making it a great choice for both casual and formal gatherings.

A specialist in Cantonese cuisine, the chef has lived in Southeast Asia for many years. His concise menu is pork-free, with a quality selection of seafood and dim sum. Don’t miss the daily Inspirational Soup or fresh prawns simmered with glass noodles. Wrap up the meal with a crispy red bean pancake. The signature duck must be ordered in advance.

18 & 20 Lebuh Carnarvon, 10100 George Town
$$ · Cantonese

This no-frills joint in George Town, Penang, has won the hearts of serious food lovers since 1965 with its well-made traditional Cantonese fare and fusion creations with a local twist. Chinese couplets on the wall and red table cloths give the clean, simple room a festive vibe, and dishes such as deep-fried homemade tofu in an egg white glaze with prawns and dried scallops are a must. Dishes seasoned with assam tumis or sambal are also worth trying. Expect a long queue during peak hours.

Bao Teck Tea House
25 Lebuh Melayu, 10300 George Town
$$ · Dim Sum

Having opened in 2020 and run by the owner of a famous local Cantonese restaurant, Bao Teck Tea House — also in George Town, Penang — is named after the owner's father to commemorate the long-established dim sum shop he operated in Ipoh for many years. Entering the restaurant, one will find antique décor with fine details, such as marble furniture, beautiful paintings, and a tea cup collection.

Bao Teck Tea House is the place to go for an authentic yum cha experience and tasty Cantonese dim sum in Penang, with highlights being the steamed har gow dumplings made with local shrimp and the deep-fried yam puffs in airy honeycomb crust. The owner also runs a bakery, and their Chinese baked goods are excellent. All dim sum are freshly made and in limited quantities, so it's best to come early. Reservations are highly recommended, keeping in mind that the restaurant's operating hours are extended to 6:00 p.m. on the weekends.

Chao Xuan
90 Lebuh Melayu, 10300 George Town
$ · Teochew

Established in 2018, Chao Xuan has a relatively simple interior. The shophouse has a Chinese-style façade: a wooden plaque bearing the shop’s name, wood carvings ,and red lanterns. Young diners flock here in droves at lunch, so arrive early to beat the crowd.

Kuih, or Teochew dumplings, are the must-try items seen on every table — try steamed or fried mangkuang kuih (see-through dumplings) with yam bean filling. The yam cake and dry noodles with char siew are also delicious. Besides Teochew food, they also serve Taiwanese braised pork rice.