Visit Malaysia: Top Things to Eat (and Drink) in Kota Bharu, Kelantan

Kota Bharu is a cultural and culinary heaven. As the capital city for the state of Kelantan on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Kota Bharu is the mecca for Kelantanese unique traditions and heritage. I am blessed that my current job allows me to have work trips all over Peninsular Malaysia and with that, I could do more domestic travels and learn more of my own country. Recently, I had the chance to go to Kota Bharu and from my short stint there, here are the top things to eat (and drink) in Kota Bharu, Kelantan:

1. Nasi Berlauk  

Nasi Berlauk or loosely translated as rice with dish is the staple breakfast for Kelantanese people. While most Malaysians have nasi lemak or roti canai for breakfast, Kelantanese opt for heavier breakfast, savouring on packed rice with dish that mostly consists of fish or chicken curry. The most famous nasi berlauk is Nasi Berlauk Air Dingin, which can be found at Kopitiam Kita and some roadside stalls. Nevertheless, nasi berlauk is available citywide in Kota Bharu. Almost every corner serves this menu for breakfast. Most stalls allow you to choose your dish to be packed together with the rice.

2. Roti Titab

Roti Titab is a toast but with a twist. I do not know where the name titab comes from but yeah, that is the name of the food. Roti titab is a toast with half boiled egg put in the centre of the toast and four small dots of kaya spread put on the four corners of the toast. To eat it my style, I would break the egg yolk so that it will be evenly spread on the toast and I would spread the kaya fairly on the toast. The taste? Amazing! Roti titab is available at Kopitiam Kita for RM 5 per set (as of 2015). To go to Kopitiam Kita, just inform your taxi driver. If you are driving, here is the address: Taman Desa Jaya, 4357-A, Jalan Pengkalan Chepa, 15400 Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia. The place is also available on Waze and Google Navigation.

3. Colek

Throughout my entire life, I have never heard or know about colek until my recent visit to Kota Bharu. I was wandering around, looking for food when I entered the food court at Stadium Muhammad V. A lot of people sell colek there, but what is colek? Colek is actually fried finger foods dip in spicy sauce. The finger foods range from sausages, tofu, sweet cekodok, keropok lekor, cow’s lungs etc. The items will be deep fried and then put on a plate together. The sauce then need to be poured onto the fried foods. I guess colek is a bit unhealthy considering the fact that it is deep fried and consists of internal organs too. But, unhealthy foods are usually the most delicious!

4. Laksam or Laksa Kelantan

Laksam and laksa Kelantan are two different dishes but with the same soup. As we all know, Malaysia is famous for its laksa especially the Penang Assam Laksa which make it as Top 50 Best Foods in the world by CNN Travel. Then, Malaysia also has Laksa Sarawak, Laksa Johor, Laksa Utara and other variants of the laksa. All of the laksas are different in terms of the noodle and the soup. As for the Kelantan version, Laksam and Laksa Kelantan have the same soup which is fish-based soup but white in colour, probably because of the coconut milk. The taste is very good and sambal (chilli paste) is also added to give that extra spiciness. However, the difference lies in the noodle. Laksa Kelantan uses the normal laksa but laksam uses rolled flat noodle. One of the best Laksa Kelantan that I have tried is at Restoran Aneka Hamzza Selera, located opposite KB Mall, on the same row with Tune Hotel Kota Bharu. Great food at very reasonable price!

5. Teh Tarik Madu

I save the best for the last. Malaysia’s favourite drink is teh tarik or pulled tea where the hot tea is pulled to make it warm and that act of pulling causes foam to develop on top of the drink. However, teh tarik madu is different because the foam is just… crazy! I got the chance to taste it and while some of my friends call it as the ‘diabetes drink’ because it is too sweet, for me, I think the taste and especially the foam is so nice. Teh tarik madu is one of the famous servings at Warong Pak Mat, Pulau Pisang. To go here, just head your way towards Pantai Cahaya Bulan and turn left upon seeing signboard showing Kuala Besar. This restaurant opens everyday from 7 am to 3 pm except on Tuesday.

Here is a video of teh tarik madu that I took. Ahh, can’t wait to have it again!

So, what is your pick? Do you have other alternatives on top things to eat and drink in Kota Bharu?

Wandering child of the earth
Do you know just how much you’re worth?
You have walked this path since your birth
You were destined for more

-Adriana Figueroa, Wanderer’s Lullaby

9 thoughts on “Visit Malaysia: Top Things to Eat (and Drink) in Kota Bharu, Kelantan

  1. Haha..banyak berjalan ni bro..aku org Kelantan pon tak sempat merasa teh tarik madu tuh..hehe…time balik kelantan selalu time cuti sekolah..orang ramai sangat smp malas nak kuar…haha

    1. Alhamdulillah bro. hehe. ni pun urusan kerja tapi ada masa terluang sambil-sambil.. hehe

      Sedap bro teh tarik madu tu… Tengok buih dia tu.. perghhhhhhh! hahaha

  2. Great post. Very informative. It is always good to learn of different styles of laksa. I did a post on laksa a while back but I didn’t know about this type from Kelantan. I have tried the Penang Laksa though (and not just in Penang ;)) and would love to try more varieties. I also love teh tarik. A great way to wash down some laksa! ;) Like you, I hadn’t heard of Colak – but if it’s just fried finger foods, then it must be tasty! Trouble is, I have a lot of…problems…with Malaysian food in terms of digestion (don’t know why). Colak looks like something I would be sick after eating, but it wouldn’t stop me from trying it!

    1. Thanks for the compliment Lee!

      You should try laksam or laksa Kelantan because the taste is very different from others and the soup is very very delicious! I am thinking of the taste as I looked at the photo above! ;)

      If I am a non-Malaysian, I will feel the same if I eat something like that too. Just like how I will have stomach ache after eating street foods in Indonesia. But it did not stop me to still try to eat the foods coz actually they tasted great. And I think you should try colek too and I bet you will love it… or maybe not? hahaha

    2. Lee, colek is a general term really…there’s a bunch of colek in Kelantan…colek actually referring to the gravy that comes with it and many forms too depending on the dish..for “fruit colek” (colek buah in Malay so that you can google the pics :) ), it’s usually a few types of local fruits with spicy gravy, “intestine colek” (colek perut in Malay) is a boiled cow intestine with some vegetables and many others.

      Colek loosely translated means dipping – because you usually dip the ingredients into the gravy but usually it’s just poured on top of the dish and mashed up :)

      1. Wow bro, this is interesting

        I didn’t even know there is colek buah!

        Tapi hari tu rasa, memang best! Pedas-pedas manis sos dia. :)

  3. Sedapnya semua makanan ini.
    Aku tak pernah pergi Kelantan.
    Tapi pernah melawat Kuala Terengganu.
    Laksa sana pun warna putih macam tu.
    Aku orang Johor tapi saya suka laksa Singapura. :) Ha ha..
    Kamu pernah cuba laksa Katong? Ada kerang, daun kesum :)
    Best sekali.

    >Nice art gallery! How much is the entrance fee?
    I have actually been to that gallery like 5, 6 times.
    The first 3 times were free. They only introduced entrance fees a few years ago.
    Current price is £5 (approx RM30) for adult. But I got the 4-6th entrance free because I had National Art Pass. :)

    1. Oh Terengganu pun sama ya laksa putih??

      Baru tahu. hehe. Orang Johor laksanya ala-ala Barat sikit kan sebab guna spaghetti.

      Saya pernah cuba laksa katong di Pak Li Kopitiam di Shah Alam. Sedap!

      RM 30 is not bad for such art gallery. But the fact that they have National Art Pass over there is amazing. At least we can save some while visiting the places. Maybe Malaysia should have such pass too!

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