When it comes to food, Kuala Lumpur benefits immensely from its conjunction of Asian cultures, particularly Indian, Chinese, and (of course) Malay. Although you'll find Western food and other international cuisines represented well, the genuine experience in KL would be lacking if you didn't spend your time at mamak stalls, in food courts (or kedai kopi), and eating in typical Malaysian kitchens. Here is a quick run down on where to find the food that will leave fond culinary memories of Kuala Lumpur.
If you're looking for a cheap variety of foods, then your two best options are street stalls and food courts, both those found in malls and in the collection of food stalls they call kedai kopi. The food stalls are everywhere, especially if you are strolling through the Golden Triangle, although a craving for inexpensive Indian food can be sated at the Mamak stalls that can be found particularly around Jalan Doraisamy in Tuanku Abdul Rahman. Typical dishes to be had at Mamak stalls include nasi lemak (rice and prawn wrapped in banana leaves), roti flat-breads with all kinds of sauces and stuffings, Goreng variations (fried noodles), and teh tarik (coffee). We feel somewhat shameful in even recommending this, but you'd be surprised at the amount of traditional street foods that can be had in KL shopping malls. Believe it or not (believe it), authentic Malaysian food can be found in the mega-malls in the Golden Triangle, like Lot 10, which is known for its collective of indoor street food vendors. It will be somewhat more expensive here, but there is air-conditioning and a more hygienic environment.
For a great range of Chinese, you can follow your nose to Chinatown (Golden Triangle), where kedai kopi (Chinese coffee shops that are known more for their grub than their coffee) and other Chinese eateries are ever popular. Just east of the Klang River, there are a lot of places here to get tasty, genuine Chinese, while other excellent options (Restoran Seng Lee on Jalan Batai and Oversea Restaurant on Jalan Imbi come to mind) also exist throughout KL.
Since you are in Malaysia, you'll undoubtedly want a taste of local cuisine. Although many foods are borrowed from other cultures (the rati bread from India, the skewered satay from Indonesia, the noodle variations from China), local kitchens have made these dishes their own over time. The most popular Malaysian dish is the aforementioned nasi lemak, which can be had at any street stall. For more upscale Malay dining, try Enak at the Starhill Gallery or Bijan on Jalan Ceylon; for more moderately priced Malay, head to the Pavilion and try Madam Kwan's or Grandmama's.
For more specific information on restaurants and food stalls in Kuala Lumpur, take a look through our listings.