Best or Good Place to Buka Puasa

Best or Good Place to Buka Puasa in Malaysia

Come the fasting month in Malaysia, most of my friends would ask me - Where is the best place or a good place to Buka Puasa? To be honest, every year it is the same thing when it comes to the fasting month of Ramadan in Malaysia. Hotels compete against each other in offering the best selections for buka puasa while price will always be one of the main concerns and a number of people will put on some weight. So, is there a best or good place to buka puasa? No, there is none. Each place has it's own speciality therefore read on.

Lately, in April 2015, Malaysia imposed the 6% Goods Sales Tax or GST and this created a domino effect where food prices were increased across the country. This however was a huge topic and eventually people got used to it. But for the hotel industry, it is a dog-eat-dog world here and many are trying their best to outdo one another and offer affordable buka puasa buffets for the locals.

Malaysia buka Puasa Photo
Vascos offers some mouth watering dishes during the fasting month in Malaysia
Who goes for Buka Puasa Buffets? 

Nowadays in Malaysia, going to a hotel for a buka puasa buffet has become a very normal event during the entire fasting month. Socialites, politicians and VIP's are known to host these sessions while the general consumer would be visiting with family and friends, and many times too during Ramadan. 

If you ask me, my personal opinion about buka puasa or breaking fast started as a corporate trend in the country where companies and corporations would take advantage of this time and host a buka puasa session at selected hotels around the cities. They would then invite suppliers and clients to attend this chance to do some additional networking and business.

Things have changed over the years where it has become normal for just about anyone to participate in breaking of fast here in Malaysia. For the tourist visiting Malaysia in June and July, be sure to go for the Buka Puasa Experience at any of the hotels or even at the Ramadan Bazaars. This would be a very interesting experience for you.

Malaysia Buka Puasa Food
Local Malay food variety found at most hotels - Image DiscoverJB
While most hotels would look forward to these corporate clients, there is a huge growing pool of general consumers that would personally go on their own for the buka puasa buffets. Again, I know some friends or acquaintances that attend hotel buka puasa buffets, simply because they like it and can afford it. 

Prices? Well, in most popular hotels around the cities, the price range per person is anywhere from RM80++ to 120++ and some even above RM150. Yes, quite a steep price if you ask me, but society seems to have no qualms about it. I remember back in the day, prices were around RM35-RM50 and many thought it was expensive. Much has changed in the last decade.

Good place for Ramadan Buffet
Some of the selections from Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur
Buka Puasa Choices

So, what is it that you will get at the hotel buka puasa buffets? Well, if you have attended some of these, you would most likely know that the hotels sometimes go all out to impress the guests. I have to be utterly honest here as I have attended some invitations to see what food choices are being offered and in most cases, they are just on a normal level for me. 

Some hotels shout highly about their traditional Malay kampung menu offering mouth watering local delicacies prepared by their chefs, but as I have tasted them, they are just averagely edible. Not kidding, especially if you know your Malay dishes. Why I'm saying this is that many people have not tried the authentic Malay kampung food from the real places hence do not know how to pass judgement, especially when doing reviews.

Buka Puasa Malaysia
You can find all sorts of traditional Malay dishes at Ramadan Bazaars
Buka Puasa Foodies

To be a good foodie in Malaysia, you need to have a vast knowledge, taste and experience for the local Malay Kampung foods found all over the country. Not going to some cafe or restaurant claiming that they are the original thing and passing judgement based entirely on that. Again, a subjective matter. 

Let me give you an example - Let's use Beef, Lamb or Chicken Satay, served in the hotels, it's always average though they claim the chefs have learned and mastered it, but when you compare it to the real satay served on the streets, it is miles apart.

This is a catch 22 situation and my point is that most hotels can never get their satay right. In many cases, they bulk cook the satay and leave it for guest to take, and most of the time, the satay is hard, cold or under average.  

Malaysia traditional buka puasa food dishes
Terengganu traditional buka puasa food dishes
Anyhow, in my honest opinion when I write this, the best or good place to buka puasa is always where you like to have it. Home, your favourite hotel or restaurant, it's very subjective.

When you read reviews of buka puasa, you will always see writers or bloggers selling the event extra highly even though they are just bloggers or writers and not professional food critics. However, for writing purposes, I have some examples of places to buka puasa below and just based on years of experience.

PJ Hilton Ramadan Buka Puasa
The PJ Hilton is a popular place to buka puasa
Best or Good Places for Buka Puasa 

Holiday Villa Subang is one of the top recommendations during Ramadhan where their variety is claimed to be one of the best in Klang Valley. I have tried it and I would agree on their selections. 

Shangri-la Hotel KL is one of the old timers in the buka puasa scene and most patrons would know that the feast comes at a price and also quality. 

Concorde Hotel KL is one of the places where their food quality has been on par with many other places. 

Petaling Jaya Hilton or PJ Hilton is one of the oldest players in the buka puasa buffet scene as for many years, they have held high respect from locals on their choices of food. Place tends to get fully booked and it is recommended to book well ahead here. 

For the above, they are just based on my experiences at these places over the years and if you think there are other hotels that make this list, please feel free to let me know by commenting in the form below.

Malaysian Ramadhan Bazaar
A typical scene at a Ramadan Bazaar in Malaysia
Buka Puasa in Reality

Ramadan in Malaysia
Blue Rice? 
While the urban community favours hotels to break fast, the more common layman does their buka puasa at home or at general restaurants, cafes, warungs and coffee shops. Ramadan Bazaars in KL are also a very popular place where locals flock here to get their fix of local Malay food dishes to take home for breaking of fast.

At times, you can find some of the best Malay foods at these food bazaars which are located at strategic places around the Klang Valley and also across every state in Malaysia.

Some of these Ramadhan Bazaars have well known and famous Malay dishes where long lines are seen at these stalls. Sometimes, people wait for 30 minutes just to buy that one dish here. My recommendation would be to pay a visit to these food bazaars and try the local experience as it is a fun and unique experience, especially if you are a traveler or visitor to Malaysia.

On a side note, doesn't mean that you have been to one, you know it all. Different bazaars have different experiences and different styles of food overall. It's like eating one type of pizza and passing judgement on all types. 

This is one of the festivals and events that make Malaysia Truly Asia where you can find all walks of life congregating in one area just for the sake of food. Again, Malaysia is a multi-racial country offering all kinds of foods from the many different races here. Ramadan is just one of them.

Common Ramadan Bazaar in Malaysia - Image by JohorKaki
Conclusion

You may also have contradicting views about my article, but let me just point out that this is a general overview based purely on my own experiences. I may not be a professional foodie or food critic, but I have had my fair share of sampling local and traditional food from all over Malaysia as my job takes me to these places.

The next upcoming one should be about the rare and unique Bario Food Festival or Pesta Nukenen Bario, held in the highlands of Bario in Sarawak. Here, the ethnic Kelabit people celebrate their harvest festival with a unique showcase of their age old traditional foods which are all harvested and sourced from the highlands. 

Overall, you may think that certain places hold strong values to their food and I won't agree or disagree as food is and has always been a very subjective matter to all humans. End of the day, we all like to read and hear about the best or good places to Buka Puasa in Malaysia. 

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