10 Famous Food In Kelantan: A Local’s Unique Guide
If you love food, you have to come to Kelantan! There are famous food in Kelantan that will give you an authentic feel.
Offering wide varieties of food, from savoury to sweet dishes, Kelantan’s famous local food can satisfy your craving and will never fail to impress your belly.
WWB Writer and local gal Nadrah guides us through all the best food spots in Kelantan to get your food fix.
Famous Food In Kelantan
- Nasi Kerabu Ayam Percik
- Nasi Tumpang
- Nasi Sup Perut Air Asam Daging Bakar
- Roti Titab
- Nasi Ulam
- Teh Tarik Madu
- Mee Celup
- Maggi Ketam
- Nasi Kakwok
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Before we proceed to the famous food in Kelantan, there are things that you need to know.
Where Is Kelantan?
Kelantan is located in the north-east of Peninsular Malaysia and bordered by Thailand to the north.
Kelantan also has a few duty-free zones, where you can buy cheaper stuff compared to the average shops. These duty-free zones are also located next to Thailand, and you can easily cross the border to go to Thailand.
Fun Fact – Did you know that a Kelantanese doesn’t need a passport to go to Thailand?
They just show their identity card to Immigration, then off they go. But this is only limited to places around the border.
Protect yourself against identity theft and contactless fraud by using an RFID Blocking Card
Few Things You Need to Know about Kelantan
Kelantan is heavily influenced by the Thai culture, due to its location.
Due to Kelantan’s relative isolation and a largely rural lifestyle, Kelantanese culture differs from the Malay culture in the rest of the peninsula.
It is reflected in the cuisine, arts, and the unique Kelantanese Malay language, which is unintelligible even for some speakers of standard Malay.
Kelantan has also been called Negeri Cik Siti Wan Kembang, named after one of the legendary woman rulers.
She also had been known as a warrior princess, who ruled Kelantan for over 30 years.
Although Kelantan has always been seen as a poor state due to a lack of infrastructure, you will see women there are crazy about jewelry. Due to their economic status, it is normal to see Kelantanese opening up restaurants or food stalls, to support their living expenses.
Ok enough facts, we want food! Without further ado, let’s check Kelantan best food!
1. Nasi Kerabu Ayam Percik
Nasi kerabu is a traditional food in Kelantan, a type of nasi ulam (steamed rice mixed with various local herbs and vegetables), in which blue-colored rice is eaten with coconut sambal (chili sauce or paste typically made from a mixture of a variety of chili peppers with coconut, shrimp paste, garlic, scallion, palm sugar).
The blue color of the rice comes from the petals of Clitoria ternatea (butterfly-pea) flowers, which are used as a natural food coloring in cooking it.
In Kelantan, most people eat Nasi Kerabu with Ayam Percik (marinated chicken that is traditionally slowly grilled over charcoal. Generously seasoned with a spice blend that usually incorporates coconut milk, cumin, turmeric, coriander, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, and chili peppers)
Ayam percik Kelantan is different from regular Ayam percik, due to the thicker gravy and white. These two combinations are a perfect lunch when you stroll around Kota Bharu, Kelantan.
Restoran Yati Ayam Percik
Get this flavoury combination here. This restaurant is usually packed during lunch hour, so be prepared to queue or you can come during non-peak hours.
Price: RM5.30/ $1.31
Address: 847, Jalan Long Yunus, Kampung Paya Bemban, 15200 Kota Bharu, Kelantan (Google Maps)
Opening hours: Everyday (12pm-11.30pm)
One of Kelantan’s famous local food is Laksam. Laksam is made from flat rice noodles topped with a thick, fish-based coconut milk gravy and served with ulam (local raw herb and fresh vegetable) and sambal.
This is different from the usual Laksa Penang or Laksa Johor. Laksam is eaten with a gravy made from fish meat and coconut milk mixed with several other condiments. The thicker the gravy, the better it tastes.
Add on chili sambal for a kick!
Laksam Special By-T
Try the best laksam in Kelantan at this eatery. You can also add on quail eggs and beef floss to enhance the taste.
Price: RM5.00/ $1.24
Address: Laksam Special By-T, Jalan Raja Perempuan Zainab II, Kampung Belukar Lanjut Kumumin, 16100 Kota Bharu, Kelantan (Google Maps)
Opening hours: 15:00 – 22:30 (Closed every Saturday)
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3. Nasi Tumpang
Nasi Tumpang is exclusively Kelantan traditional food, unlike any other rice dish. Nasi tumpang is rice with a different layer of dishes such as curries, eggs, cucumbers, and spicy coconut flakes, wrapped in a cone shape with banana leaf packed
Uniquely packed in a cone-shaped banana leaf, it comes with fish or prawn curry, fish or meat floss, a dollop of sambal, and sometimes a slice of an omelet.
Fun fact about Nasi Tumpang.
Traditionally, it was Kelantanese food for sailors and farmers in Kelantan to bring to work.
They usually will go to work in a few days, and the wives will prepare Nasi Tumpang for their food. They are packed in cone-shaped to minimize space, and easy to bring.
Kedai Kopi White House
This place also serves Kelantan breakfast food, including coffee, toast, and half-boiled eggs. You can start your day here and fill up your fuel before having a tour on Kelantan.
Price: RM9/ $2.23
Address: 1329-L, Jln Sultanah Zainab, Bandar Kota Bharu, 15000 Kota Bharu, Kelantan (Google Maps)
Opening hours: 8am – 1.30pm, 9pm – 1am (unpredictable day-offs)
4. Nasi Sup Perut Air Asam Daging Bakar
There is so much food in Kelantan you must try, you have to spend a few days just for a food hunt.
One Kelantan best food that you cannot find elsewhere is Nasi Sup Perut Air Asam Daging Bakar.
Simple comfort food, sweet marinated charcoal-grilled meat served with tangy sweet and hot chili sauce, and hot beef tripe sweet air asam (Kelantanese style spicy-sweet-sour soup).
Restoran Kak Ti Pasar Lama MPKB
Get this for lunch, or dinner at this eatery. Also known as Restoran Nasi Sup Perut Air Asam Daging Bakar, Paya Bembam. This restaurant also serves other sides such as beef soup, lamb grill, and many more.
Price: RM13.50/ $3.34
Address: Pt 2431, Tingkat Bawah, Jalan Hospital, Kampung Paya Bemban, 15200 Kota Bharu, Kelantan (Google Maps)
Opening hours: 8 am–12 am (closed on Friday)
5. Roti Titab
One of the Kelantan famous food is Roti Titab.
What makes it so special?
Until today, the bread is still prepared traditionally, grilled by fiery coal. The aroma that comes from the grill makes the bread taste unique.
It comes topped with a perfect half-boiled egg, with coconut jam spread on each corner of the bread. You can taste the perfect sweet and savory match from the egg and the sweetness of the coconut jam.
If you come to Kelantan and do not try this famous Roti Titab, your journey to the famous food in Kelantan is not complete!
You can get Roti Titab here at Kopitiam Kita. Did you know that the owner of Kopitiam Kita patented Roti Titab? It is to ensure originality and to make sure travelers or tourists have the best experience when they try Roti Titab.
Price: RM5/ 1.24
Address: Jalan Sri Cemerlang, Taman Desa Jasa, 15400 Kota Bharu, Kelantan (Google Maps)
Opening hours: Every day (6 am- 2 pm)
6. Nasi Ulam
If you feel like food in Kelantan is unhealthy and you feel guilty about your body, fret not!
You can opt for Nasi Ulam if you want a healthier meal.
Combined with several raw vegetables, paired with boiled fish dipped with budu (anchovies sauce), you will taste all the flavor in your mouth! Guilt-free!
Restoran Nasi Ulam Cikgu
This restaurant also offers varieties of combo and also a la carte. This restaurant is also special because it is now the remains of Kelantan Royal Palace, and you can see the beautiful architecture there.
Price: Varies according to your choice
Address: Kampung Kraftangan, Jalan Hilir Kota, Bandar Kota Bharu, 15300 Kota Bharu, Kelantan (Google Maps)
Opening hours: 10.30 am – 5 pm, closed on Friday
7. Teh Tarik Madu
Never leave Kelantan without this!
Teh Tarik Madu (honey milk tea) is the best, especially in hot weather. The sweet taste of Teh Tarik, combined with honey gives a unique taste, unlike any other regular milk tea.
You can also have float milk tea, and what makes this float milk tea different is that it comes with Teh Tarik ice-cream flavor.
This is truly famous food in Kelantan because they also opened up other branches at Selangor and gained many loyal customers there.
Warung Pak Mat Pulau Pisang
This restaurant is also well known for its head fish soup. Located next to the Kelantan River, you can have this ice tea while catching the wind of the Kelantan River.
Price: Original – RM6/ $1.49. Float – RM12/ $2.98
Address: Medan Ikan Bakar, Jalan Kuala Besar, Kampung Kedai Buloh, 15350 Kota Bharu, Kelantan (Google Maps)
Opening hours: 7.30 am – 4.30 pm (Closed on Tuesday)
8. Mee Celup
Different from mee rebus Kelantan, Mee Celup has a stronger taste and combined with many condiments.
It has few similarities to the Thai soup noodles.
It comes with lime and assorted sauces on the side to enhance the flavor. You can eat it with chicken, beef, tripe, and even chicken feet!
The name “Mee Celup” comes from the way they make it. They will cook the soup first, then dip (celup) the mee, bee hoon, or kuey teow in hot boiling water, then they will add it into the soup.
You have to add condiments to get an extra kick in your Mee Celup!
Restoran Kak Na Mee Celup
This restaurant is famous for its signature telur mata gedik (wriggly sunny side up egg).
Price: RM3-RM5 / $0.74 – $1.24
Address: Jln Pasir Mas – Tanah Merah, Kampung Pengkalan Rambutan, 17040 Pasir Mas, Kelantan (Google Maps)
Opening hours: 12 pm – 7 pm (Closed on Wednesday)
9. Maggi Ketam
We always eat Maggi with eggs, have you tried Maggi with crab? Maggi is one of the famous instant noodles here in Malaysia.
This Kelantan cuisine is extraordinary and will always be one of the Kelantan best foods. Crab gives the gravy a unique taste to the gravy.
Restoran Alemy Maggi Ketam
This restaurant also provides frozen Maggi Ketam for you if you wish to cook it at your home.
Price: RM20++ / $4.95
Address: 10, Bazaar MDPP, Jln Semerak, Pekan Cherang Ruku, 16700 Cherang Ruku, Kelantan (Google Maps)
Operating hours: 5 pm – 2 am (Open every day)
10. Nasi Kak Wok
Last but not least, the most famous food in Kelantan or even in Malaysia is, Nasi Kak Wok.
The name is derived from the cook who created this dish, Mek Wook Hassan. This is just a simple dish, white rice, with chicken gulai (sort of curry), bite-sized fried chicken, and complete with sambal and cucumber.
Although this dish looks simple, the combination of sambal and gravy gives you a whole new taste in your mouth.
Pair Nasi Kak Wok with ice syrup, perfect for a hot sunny day!
Price: RM4.50 / $1.11
Address: 213, Jalan Masjid Lundang, Kampung Lundang, 15150 Kota Bharu, Kelantan (Google Maps)
Operating hours: 7.30 am – 2.30 pm (Closed on Saturday)
Unique Tips You Should Know When Visiting Kelantan
A Home to Traditional Malay Desserts
Kelantan is indeed a food haven for locals, and tourists. The most famous dessert from Kelantan is Akok. It is made with flour, sugar, eggs, and coconut milk. Mixed the ingredients, and baked in a mold.
Locals said the wrinklier it gets, the better it tastes.
You can have this dessert or snacks anywhere in Kelantan. Personally, every time I go to Kelantan I will buy it here. It’s just a small stall but this is where the tastiest Akok I ever taste.
You should also try other desserts and local cuisine at Wakaf Che Yeh. They usually open until 3 am. If you crave late supper, just hop into this market. You can also shop here as Wakaf Che Yeh is famous for shopping.
Famous For Duty-Free Zones
As I mentioned above, there are three duty-free zones here in Kelantan. They are located at Rantau Panjang, Pengkalan Kubor, and Bukit Bunga. You can buy almost everything here. From local snacks and desserts, toys, cookware, clothing, to a mattress!
Shopaholics loved it here because they can have cheaper prices since it is duty-free. People will usually buy in bulks here, and resell at their places.
Since these zones are located between the borders of Malaysia and Thailand, you can also find Thailand products here. You should come here to experience the Thailand-Malaysia shopping spree.
You can also visit Pasar Siti Khadijah for shopping. This building has 4 stories, where you can also find everything in here.
Malaysia’s Biggest Sleeping Buddha Statue
Kelantan is very near to Tak Bai Thailand, which explains why you will see many Buddhist Temples in some parts of Kelantan.
Wat Photivihan also called the Phothivihan Buddhist Temple or Wat Yamu, is a Thai temple in Tumpat District, Kelantan, Malaysia.
It is one of 25 temples found in Tumpat and is one of the most popular in Malaysia.
If you like seeing ancient statues and structures, you can go to Wat Phothivihan. Don’t forget to enjoy local food there, there are several interesting places to dine around the temple, and you will find several unique delicacies there.
Perfect For You, The Adventurers!
If you are more to adventure than shopping, Kelantan is perfect for you! It has the tallest waterfall in Southeast Asia, a rock-climbing site, and a state park where you can enjoy mother nature.
- Jelawang Waterfall, Gunung Stong State Park
This seven-tiers waterfall is acclaimed to be the highest waterfall in Southeast Asia. Located in Gunung Stong State Park, they also provide a few chalets if you want to have a jungle night there.
Make it easy and fuss-free by bringing along with you a Portable Large Picnic & Outdoor Blanket
It is not advised to summit Gunung Stong if you are not an advanced hiker due to the elevation and terrain.
Address: Dabong Forest Reserve, 18200 Kelantan (Google Maps)
Contact: +609 748 2014 (Kelantan State Forestry Department)
- Taman Etnobotani Gua Musang
Climb up! Gua Musang is a famous location for rock climbers all around the world, aside from Keteri, Perlis, and Gua Damai Batu Caves, Selangor. Providing several routes from easy to hard, you can have fun with your friends climbing real rock.
Address: Bandar Baru Gua Musang, 18300 Gua Musang, Kelantan
Opening Hours: 9 AM-5 PM daily. Closed on Fridays and for special activities
Entrance Fee: Free. But you must book via KESEDAR before your visit
Contact: +609 912 1788 (South Kelantan Development Authority) KESEDAR
- Tok Bali Beach
If you are not keen on those types of adventurers but adore nature, plan your visit to Tok Bali beach. Surrounded by many resorts there, you can also have this Celup Tepung (deep-fried seafood covered in many kinds of flour) and also slurping coconut shake while enjoying the breeze.
Address: Tok Bali, 16310 Bachok, Kelantan (Google Maps)
Enjoy paddy fields and beaches when in Kelantan, the scenery will give you a new perspective and experience. Locals there are friendly but beware of their driving.
There you have folks! All the best food in Kelantan you can get! Whenever you are in Kelantan, always go out with an empty stomach so you can stuff your belly with love, I mean food.
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