Malaysia is well-known for having one of the most diverse cuisines in the entire world. This is also the top reason why I recommend Malaysia to you as an all-time best place to travel for food.
Incredible variety from centuries-old influence of both Indian and Chinese cuisines is part of it – and don’t forget the amazing plant and animal biodiversity of local Malaysia as well, adding an incredible list of native ingredients to go with the ancient styles of cooking.
One dish that stands out above the rest is Fish Head Curry – one dish alone that can show you a perfect example of Malaysia’s incredible food diversity.
This is simply a stunning dish, a personal favorite for sure, and it is food that I want to share with you right now.
We’re having a great version of it today for lunch at the Tugu View Cafe, so thanks for joining me. Let’s go!
Tugu View Cafe
Located in Kuala Lumpur, the Tugu View Cafe is a ‘nasi campur‘ restaurant. This is a meal of mixed foods over rice, and it is probably the ultimate lunchtime food across Malaysia (if not all of South East Asia as well).
Pile on both cooked and fresh ingredients over a mound of steaming white rice, there’s never enough room on a plate for all the things you’ll want to try.
Plate Layout and Strategy
In a full-buffet version like the one at Tugu View Cafe, you choose from creamy and spicy curries, meaty soups, always at least one entire fish, as well as piles of locally grown fresh and steamed vegetables.
Eating like a local means at least one bonus ladle of your favorite curry sauce, dumping it over all the rice beforehand. When eating with your fingers, there’s no better way to maximize flavor than this Malaysian curry-rice move right here.
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Its gorgeous. Its perfect. It gets even better too when the restaurant not only serves a huge nasi campur buffet with rice, but also boasts an incredible specialty dish of their own.
You’re Here for This Curry
Fish head curry here gets the fish heads from Red Snapper (‘Ikan Merah’), which is an ocean fish, and in this case a perfect fish for this recipe.
When a fish naturally grows up wearing such a large, meat-filled skull, and that fish finds its way into a curry cooked in Malaysia’s spicy style – its truly a joyous thing to behold.
Due to the huge amount of meat it carries in its head, cheeks, and even its eyes, digging out the soft meat from a fish head will satisfy (and entertain) happy eaters for hours.
As any lover of this Malaysian delicacy will tell you, meat from within the fish’s head will always bring the most flavorful bites you’ll find in any fish.
Fish Head Curry in Kuala Lumpur
There are plenty of restaurant in Kuala Lumpur serving huge plates of fish head curry. Out of all the ones we are lucky to visit today though, Tugu View Cafe is the best place to go (see Mark Wiens’ full video here).
I have been lucky enough to visit Malaysia several times, but on this specific trip, on one joyful day we ate three fish heads in a row (you should watch the video). I was literally blown away, how different the three of them were, but also how impressively delicious this food is.
So good in fact, that I can honestly be just as happy during meal number three on a day like this, as I am for meal number one.
Fish, Curry, and Friends… Success!
With a meal of such incredible and spicy curry over rice, and your monstrous plate of fish head, all that’s left is to find a shady spot to sit with friends.
The Tugu View Cafe provides all of these things, and I will say this combo will guarantee you one of the better ways to spend an afternoon.
Equal Parts Rush and Relaxation
A meal of Malaysian food can always somehow manage to both excite an eater to rushes of elation, while also at the very same time, relax you to the point of happiness just to be in the moment and alive.
The culture of Malaysia is so wonderfully laid back, it is sometimes hard to believe how amazing and flavourful the cuisine is – its magical!
I would think that if everyone in the world was so nice, and so easy-going, that every country in the world should also have succeeded by now in creating a cuisine of such epic proportions as the one found on every street corner of Malaysia.
Tugu View Cafe has a very friendly staff, and while this restaurant does not openly welcome large amounts of photos or video footage, it is an absolutely great choice for any and every day of food touring you have time for in the vibrant city of Kuala Lumpur.
Tugu View Cafe – Restaurant Info and Location
The cafe gets its name from the famous Tugu Monument located slightly farther down the same hill on which this restaurant is built.
Its a famous landmark in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and almost all local friends of ours (but curiously, not every taxi driver) visits at some time or other throughout the year.
The area includes a nearby park with a huge flower garden, and large open walking areas beside the impressive monument itself.
The Tugu monument was built to commemorate the bravery shown by Malaysian soldiers during the country’s fight for independence. Its only fitting that within walking distance there is also a monumentally glorious dish to represent Malaysia’s delicious local cuisine.
Note: The actual entrance to the restaurant is not so obvious if you are coming by foot (maybe walking over from the gardens nearby). The closest entrance is up several flights of stairs, and you have to pass through a small shop selling ice cream and frozen durian (the shop looks like its blocking the stairs, but its only trying to sell ice cream to the Vietnamese and Chinese tour bus passengers when they occasionally park nearby).
Name: Tugu View Cafe
Location: (Google Maps)
Hours: 7am – 6pm (closed Sunday)
Prices: Our entire meal came to 144RM (US$35), but a smaller fish head (at half the price of ours) would have been fine for two or three people.