Langkawi is home to a diverse international food scene, especially considering it's a tropical island. You can find Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Indian, and of course local Malay food.
We ate out most meals while staying in Langkawi. In fact our inside guy not only recommended these places, but placed our orders so we were trying the most delicious and popular dishes from the best eateries in town.
Whatever your taste, style and budget, chances are we've got you covered. Let's dig in!
Fine Dining With Beach Views
If you are looking for something special while on vacation in Langkawi you can’t beat fine dining on the beach. Best enjoyed at sunset (except when the dark, ominous clouds rule the sky).
Located on Cenang Beach, on top of the sea... literally! A beautiful location, with amazing 360 degree views. You’ll even find these views from the bathroom, which was clean and dare, I say, pretty? A rare find in Malaysia when soaking wet squatting toilets seem to be the norm.
Back to the food. We enjoyed a beef rending, cinnamon chicken, vegetables with oyster sauce and rice. While the kids chowed down on lasagna and fish & chips.
The food was beautifully presented, filling and delicious. Almost as awesome as the views – how many jet skis and banana boats can they fit on one beach?
Located in the Berjaya Resort this restaurant is perched on stilts in the turquoise-sapphire sea surrounded by panoramic views of luxury waterfront huts, endless ocean and a spectacular mountain backdrop.
We indulged in an entrée of mango salad and pandan leaf wrapped chicken, which was lip-smacking delicious. Followed by mains of green curry and omelette and finished off with freshly sliced mango and sweet sticky rice.
I couldn’t fault the food and it was very reasonably priced considering the luxurious fine dining experience. You're looking at about 30MYR (US$8) per individual dish and we made more than enough to share.
Located on one of the world's top beaches, Tanjung Rhu Beach, is the luxurious and prestigious Four Seasons Resort Langkawi. Within the resort complex is Rhu Bar which opens onto the idyllic beach, featuring a large swing and Arabian-inspired arches. It’s picture perfect and worth stopping for at least a drink.
Book ahead of time, otherwise you may not be allowed into this prestigious location.
Our family doesn’t eat a lot of seafood, but we do try it every now and again when it’s promised to be special. If you are looking for the best seafood in Langkawi then I’d recommend a visit to these:
This floating fish farm sits on the river nestled within the tropical mangroves of Langkawi, and was the first of it’s kind. Tour the farm which is home to various kinds of fish and crustaceans and then enjoy them at their freshest.
On a funny side-note, will we were being shown a particularly friendly stingray, he bobbed out of the water to greet us and unceremoniously sprayed us with a mouthful of water. Completely unexpected, but completely hilarious!
My favourite dish was the crispy calamari, while my son demolished a fresh grilled fish. We also had rice and vegetables included.
It’s slightly on the touristy side, but a must visit.
You'll find not just the freshest tank seafood (which induces long queues at dinnertime), but also delicious Chinese cuisine.
A pretty simple, yet pleasant atmosphere, with great prices. We ordered several small dishes at about 15MYR (US$4) each, and had plenty to spare. The chicken & cashew nut wasn’t a favourite, I’m not a fan of battered chicken for this dish. But the ginger and spring onion beef was delectable. Kids loved the sweet and sour chicken and we also managed to convience them to eat a whole dish of garlic broccoli, while I polished off most of the choy sum in oyster sauce.
If you are looking for lobster – choose your very own (it's best not to give it a name beforehand, otherwise it's harder to say goodbye later) and expect to pay around 35MYR (US$9.25) for 100 grams.
We visited this venue twice during our stay. Once for lunch and once for dinner. Our dinner was on a private wooden platform raised over the rice fields. So authentic and peaceful.
The kids loved the chicken satay, while Josh and I ordered a shared set menu including lamb shanks served in a large straw basket with prawn crackers, onion soup, fried chicken, rice and many other tasty bits and pieces.
The lamb shanks were tender and the gravy had enough hit to make it a delightful curry.
Our lunch was also a Malay meal which highlighted it's Indian and Chinese influences - beef curry, tandoori chicken, salad, soup, rice and vegetables in oyster sauce. So much food, be ready to share this meal family style.
On a side note the Western breakfast served was actually quite dismal. So when eating at Seashells stick with the local food.
Our guide drove us out to a small village in Ulu Meleka near Taman Sentosa where the locals cook home made food and share it in this simple eatery.
It’s a self-serve setup with choices including fish, chicken, beef, tofu, squid, soya and vegetables.
From what I gathered the cost is around 5 MYR per dish (but this varies) so a plate with 3 dishes is about 15MYR (US$4).
My kids ate all the potatoes in the beef curry, which also happened to be a favourite of mine. If you're looking for real Malaysian food the way the locals eat it, this is as real as it gets.
Finding a budget friendly dining option in Langkawi is easy. Most restaurants offer relatively low prices for the average Western budget. But these two particular stood out to us.
Located just off Cenang Beach along the main road, you can pick the right table for ocean views and let the kids play in the sand while waiting for food.
This restaurant served the best Indian we’ve had since our stay in Penang, Malaysia back in 2012. A spicy rogan josh, creamy butter chicken, tandoori chicken, expertly prepared garlic naan and a serve of rice left Josh and I more than full.
Meanwhile the kids indulged in cute heart-shaped chicken nuggets and a platter of cucumber and tomato cut into interesting shapes.
This is a government-owned food court located in Eagle Square overlooking the sea. At low tide the water can get quite smelly as it recedes to reveal mud, but the bay views are still stupendous.
Much like Long Beach in Penang, you can choose dishes from multiple vendors and enjoy at your dining table. We tried a coconut based beef curry and a tomato based chicken curry. The kids had plain rice and fried chicken.
There’s only so much rice a person can eat in one week and soon the kids were begging for anything but rice. Never fear, familiar food is here.
After one particularly adventurous morning involving being caught on a long boat in the middle of the sea during a tropical downpour, all we wanted to do is go back to our hotel room for a hot shower and some good old McDonald's. Plus the Minion movie toys were out.
After a morning ride up the steepest cable car in the world we spotted the SkyCup Bistro loacted in the Oriental Village at the base. Our kids enjoyed a pizza, I had a shawarma and Josh had a burger. The food was average, but they did make pretty special cigar-shaped ice cream, Cold Rock style.
While Western food is relatively easy to find in Langkawi, you really should make the most of your holiday here and eat as much delicious Malay, Indian and Chinese as you can.
Drooling yet? You should be. Langkawi is a family-friendly, affordable island offering a wide range of Malaysia’s best seafood and local delights. But you will be pleasantly surprised that fine dining won’t put a big dent on your wallet, which leaves more spending money for awesome holiday experiences... and a few sweet treats too.
Langkawi is only 1 hour from KL so if you are after city vacation, followed by beach relaxation this is the spot for a great Malaysia adventure.