A professional cook for 10 years, Sara Khong’s love for home-cooked Malaysian food started when she was a child. Her mother would cook dinner and prepare lunch boxes filled with all her favorite Malaysian dishes.
Today, Sara continues to share her love of Malaysian cuisine with locals and travelers in Kuala Lumpur, where she runs and teaches cooking classes at New Malaysian Kitchen.
Part cooking masterclass, part tour, guests receive a crash course in Malaysian cuisine and can explore her on-site garden.
Sara grows over 50 types of vegetables, herbs, spices and flowers used in everyday cooking, including turmeric plants, which most people only ever see in its yellow powdered form.
Sara loves showing guests how to cook Malaysia’s popular hawker foods, as well as understand the Chinese, Indian and Malay influences behind the cuisine.
“As travellers have very little time and Malaysia has almost never ending list of great food, I’d recommend the best and most popular Malaysian dishes, such as Nasi Lemak and Teh Tarik.
I also love letting people smell belacan (shrimp paste) and see their reaction. To many people, it's pungent. To me, it’s perfume!”
Sara loves to make sure her cooking classes feels like friends cooking and having fun together. Her classes are not conducted in a professional cooking studio, but in her family home of more than 40 years.
“I love food and cooking. But what I love more is people and conversations… the shared activity of making food together from scratch, and enjoying our hard work after while chit-chatting about food, culture, and life.”
Some of her guests visit during seasonal events and get to experience local culture and seasonal food.
For example, a guest who came during Chinese New Year played mahjong with Sara’s family after class. Once, Sara even invited a guest to try durian at the local stall behind her house.
Lately, she’s been having fun showing people how to open mangosteen and rambutan with their hands.
Aside from her cooking school, Sara is also a food stylist, recipe developer for food brands, a food blogger, and the author of four Malaysian cookbooks.
If you’re heading to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, don’t miss out on joining a hands-on cooking class with Sara at the New Malaysian Kitchen!
You'll leave with new food-loving friends, knowledge about where your fresh produce comes from, and authentic Malaysian recipes to recreate in your kitchen at home.
Sara’s Favorite Hidden Gems in Kuala Lumpur
1. Longest Night Market in Kuala Lumpur:
On Wednesday nights, there’s a night market near my home. It's the longest and most popular one in KL. You can find all sorts of yummy street food and knick-knacks.
2. Moustache Chicken & BBQ Pork Rice Shop
My family love getting chicken & BBQ pork from a vendor near my place. The friendly seller has a Mario-like moustache and calls his shop 'Misai Chicken Rice' (Misai means moustache in Malay). I've seen him happily preparing the pork and chicken at the back alley. I think his BBQ pork is better than many higher-end restaurants!
3. Small Coconut Factory in a Hut
This is a great place to buy fresh coconut from a lovely couple. At my market tour, I always bring guests to this small hut. The friendly coconut seller often offers us pressed coconut milk first, and then whatever snack they happen to have (e.g bananas that they planted themselves).