Kuantan, to the Gaya Travel team, seems to be going on the right direction, providing friendly, laid-back dining spots that serve affordable serious food for both locals and travellers alike. The city is turning into a major culinary centre on Peninsular Malaysia’s East Coast through its wide range of eateries in the forms of artsy cafes, classic kopitiams, fine dining and traditional ethnic stalls, so diners will never have any problem in satisfying their palate.

For travellers who are new to Kuantan’s gastronomic scene, allow us to introduce you some of the best places to dine, where memorable meals can be enjoyed without having to pay through the nose or drive extra miles to the outskirts.

Check out our best 7 spots to dine in Kuantan

BREAKFAST

1. 90 Degrees Café & Art

Why not greet the day by having a hearty meal at 90 Degrees Cafe, where the food is delicious and the place is highly instagrammable. Its location is quite hidden though, but that will only make you feel like an insider.

The menus here are full of classic dishes with some luxurious additions such as Egg Royale, Mango Avocado Salad and Egg Waffle. Should you prefer dessert first thing in the morning, try the café’s homemade natural ice cream and see how it uplifts your mood almost immediately.

If you appreciate art, the cafe holds monthly exhibition by an emerging East Coast Artist in Residence (ECAiR) at their trendy community space upstairs.

Operational Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. (Thursday) & 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. (Friday-Sunday)
Tel: +6 09 505 5905

LUNCH

2. Joe Mee Calong

Beserah is a thriving fishing village located north of Kuantan, which main products include fresh seafood and dried salted fishes. But that’s not all; travellers can also find plenty of eateries selling the area’s quintessential dish, mee calong, which is Kuantan’s version of noodle soup served with fish balls, egg and fried tofu. Some may even cook it with chicken carcass. But what sets Joe’s noodles apart from the rest is that he makes all of the main ingredients like the noodle, fish balls and even the tofu from scratch. The shop’s décor would not win any design award yet remains functional and decent.

It is located on the roadside in front of the Petronas petrol station.

Operational Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Monday-Sunday), closed on Friday
Tel: +6 013 903 0910

3. DaeBak Café

Once you’ve had your share of the city’s abundant local offerings, stop by at DaeBak for a change of flavour. The cafe is run by a lovely Korean lady, Madam Min, and her husband, Mr. Lee, so do not expect them to discount authenticity. The menu changes from time to time but is consistent in terms of quality as both dishes and drinks are made from fresh ingredients, some even include original Korean products in them. Try the lip-smacking rappoki (traditional noodle with added vegetables and fish cakes) and expect the sensation coming from the clever blend of spicy and cheesy goodness in your mouth!

Other signatures include fruit smoothies, organic fruity soda and vanilla crepe. The cafe also features eclectic components that complement each other in a homely yet hip vibe, appealing to the young crowd. On top of that, Madam Min organises short classes for those interested in learning the Korean language.

Operational Hours: 1:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. (Wed-Mon), 8:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. (Tues), 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. (Weekends)
Tel: +6 017 914 8747

TEA

4. Cendol Air Putih

Malaysia is generally hot and humid throughout the year, so it is only natural that Malaysians appreciate delicious, cold dessert to beat the heat especially after spending time outdoors. For instance, Cendol Air Putih has been stealing the hearts of many for over 35 years with its three different variations of dessert: mixed cendol; cendol with red beans; and cendol with glutinous rice.

We suspect that the quality of its cendol – which is freshly made by hand every day using real pandan leaf – woos a long stream of loyal customers. Portions are generous despite its modest prices, so you may want to share the dessert with your sweet-toothed dining companion… Or not! Price ranges from RM2.00 to RM2.50.

Operational Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. daily.
Tel: +6 016 950 8626

5. Karoza Puding diRaja

Puding diRaja (Royal Puding) is an iconic delicacy of Pahang, often served exclusively to the royal family on special occasions such as coronations, birthdays and anniversaries back then. Today, one can now have a taste of this special royal treat without having to visit the palace since it is available abundantly in the market.

Pudding by Karoza, however, is special because the recipe is said to come from the palace kitchen itself. It is immensely rich in flavour and texture derived from the sweetness of the fruits (banana, prune and cherries), crunchiness from the cashew nuts and delicateness of jala mas (golden threads made from egg yolks). The pudding is best served cold with a thick luxurious custard sauce poured on top. Public can buy the pudding at the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) Kuantan close to the Darul Makmur Stadium.

Operational Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. every day
Tel: +6 012 908 7001

6. Akar Kopi

Judging from the daily long queue in front of Akar Kopi, it suggests to us that people in Kuantan have found the right go-to spot to have their caffeine fix and light snacks. When you get to the place, expect to see many white-collar workers after office hours because the shop is strategically located within a business area. As night approaches, a different set of crowd patronises the place, turning the atmosphere relaxing and convivial.

The coffee served here is rich in flavour, but slightly acidic with a long aftertaste. Pair it with the kopitiam-style soft-boiled eggs on toast or homemade pastries and you’ll realise that good coffee doesn’t exclusively come from swanky establishments – even coffee snobs would attest to Akar Kopi’s calibre.

Operational Hours: 4:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m. every day except Sunday
Tel: +6 013 953 1526

DINNER

7. Burgerak

Truth be told, gourmet burger always seems to taste better than those served in a fast food chain. But as the quality gets higher, same goes with the price. Fortunately for people in Kuantan, to eat a succulent burger with smoky patty won’t require them to break the bank. ‘Burger Anak Kuantan’, simply known as ‘Burgerak’, specialises in burgers that are made to order with fresh produce, juiciest meat and best-kept secret marinade.

Travellers can peruse through the menu comprising meaty meals with quirky names – our personal favourite is the lamb burrito. Though this dish might not look pretty, once we have tasted it, we knew that we need to go back for seconds (and thirds)! The burger shop features a dimly lit room with an open kitchen for diners to get a glimpse of the action. It also has an al fresco dining space for those who prefer sitting back and relaxing while enjoying their burgers.

Operational Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. (Monday-Saturday)
Tel: +6 016 219 2442

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