"Your guide to eating on Langkawi"
The local bartender at Ah Chong Beach Bar laughed when a tourist approached asking where to eat. "These people ask me a hundred times a day, but you know how do I know what type of food they like, better that I don't recommend something that they hate so they are angry at me". I sipped my cold soda water and nodded.
Two minutes later another tourist asked the same question. This was a recurring theme, and one the bartender did well to avoid. Having personally spent a lot of time on Langkawi I decided it time to make a guide so that at least some people might find it by accident and perhaps enjoy a good meal.
Be warned, this guide is where local people eat. It is not a tourist guide. If you want to try real local food, then head to one of the places below, however for the sake of posterity I will include a couple of places that are more approachable for a two week vacationer.
The best restaurants in Langkawi
Halim Gp Gulai Panas
Undoubtably the best plate of food you'll eat in Langkawi. Almost right at the entrance to the airport, the locals turn up in hordes to sample the fresh seafood here cooked in rich, flavourful coconut broths. Get there early before all the best pieces of fish are taken!
NASI DAGANG PAK MALAU
This traditional eatery set in scenic rice fields serves delicious curries and rice. The food is reasonable and less sweet than a lot of other places on the island.
Restoran Kak Yan Nasi Campur
Local buffet style restaurant under a massive roof, always packed, always tasty. Expect long queues at lunchtime.
PAKTEH BIHUN SUP
More than a thirty minute drive away if you're staying in Cenang or Kuah, but in our opinion worth every moment spent on the motorbike. This family run small shack at the side of the road specialises in beef noodle soup. The broth is umami laden, the beef tender, and their home-made chilli paste kicks it all up a notch. Worth going out of your way for!
Restoran Selera KampunG
Another local lunch place with a huge assembly line of freshly prepared food. Extremely cheap and cheerful. Though it may be counter-intuitive, reach for the plates that are starting to run out, it means they are the most popular with the locals.
A new kid on the block in terms of the Langkawi scene, but by far the best Indian food we have tried. Their curries are authentic, home-cooked style, packed with flavour.
Kedai Bakso Kak AnI
This local shed near the airport churns out authentic Indonesian food for those who fancy a change from the local cuisine.
Situated in Kuah, this Syrian Restaurant churns out authentic middle eastern food. Though service can be painstakingly slow, it's worth the wait.
Staying with the middle eastern theme, Yasmin serves decent versions of all the classics and is far closer if you stay near Cenang Beach.
ZHONG HUA LOU
For over 18 years, Zhong Hua Lou has served Langkawi's locals with authentic Chinese dishes. You can order small portions here so it's perfect for sharing. Try their spicy fried rice and chilli chicken!
The best coffee in Langkawi, housed in an artistic old building with views of the fields. Come here before or after visiting the Mahsuri Museum which is across the road. Our recommendation is their Nitro Cold Brew which is caffeine packed but lacking in the sour-bitter notes.
AH CHONG BEACH BAR
There is no better place for a sundowner than here. The music is not too loud, the bartenders are friendly and the views are exceptional.
"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"
CITIES / Places