[Kuala Lumpur] Best Gujarati in town at Ganga Cafe.

This sensational Gujarati eatery has taken KL by storm since it changed ownership last year. Nowadays, it’s packed with a largely North Indian (especially Gujarati) clientele and the Bangsar in-crowd daily. It’s easy to see why: tasty cuisine all round and owned/fronted by a genial Gujarati couple, Prabodh and Meeta Sheth, who exude warmth & friendliness to all who come.

  1. My lunch plate consisted of (clockwise from top-left): Kadhi (chickpea gravy and sour yogurt, with gram flour dumplings), Daal (yellow lentils), Parwal Vatana nu Shaak (spiced gourd and peas), masala chapatti, millet chapatti, Bataka Daal nu Shaak (spiced potato & yellow lentils), steamed rice with fennel, spiced spinach and poori:

  1. One of the refreshing juice drinks here is the Ganga Tea Crush: chilled lemon, lime and mint in iced tea:

  2. Gujarati khandvi - melt-in-your-mouth rolls of steamed mixture of gram flour and buttermilk, spiced with ginger, green chilli & spices. My fave Gujarati food item:

  3. Banana pakoras.

  4. Aloo gobi (spiced potatoes & cauliflower).

  5. Coin-sized millet chapatti - greaseless but very aromatic & tasty.

Sunday lunch crowd - Ganga is extremely popular with KL’s Gujarati community.

Address: The Ganga Café, 19 Lorong Kurau, Taman Bukit Pantai, 59100 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: +603-2284 2119.



Please forgive my considerable ignorance here. I know how ethnically diverse Malaysia is - and that point has been highlighted by your batch of recent posts. It raises a question for me - how do the various ethnic groups communicate with each other? Is there a common language that most people speak or is it a matter of knowing enough, say, Gujarati, to get by if you happen to eat in a Gujarati restaurant?

Hi John

Malaysians normally communicate with each other in English, or more specifically, Malaysian-English, which sounds very close to Singapore-English, so-called because we sometimes add a local Chinese or Malay word here and there into our English sentences.

Malaysia (or, in its previous incarnation, Malaya) was under British colonial rule for 170 years (starting with Penang in 1786, Singapore in 1819, then the other Malay states), so English was widely used in business/commerce and everywhere in our daily lives ever since. Standard of English is maintained in Singapore, but has deteriorated in Malaysia in the past decades - but you’ll still meet street hawkers, cab drivers, etc. who speak English passably.

Education in Singapore uses English as a medium of instruction - it was the same in Malaysia until 1971 when Malay replaced English as a medium of instruction (Malaysians still learn English as a second language in school).

Malaysians of different races can also opt to communicated with each other in Malay, though that’s rarer in Singapore where English remains the main language.

Chinese of various dialect groups in Malaysia/Singapore (Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, Hainanese, Teochew, etc.) will communicate with each other in English, or else Mandarin. Indians of various ethnicities in Malaysia/Singapore (Tamil, Malayalam, Punjabi, Bengali, Telugu, etc.) will also communicate with each other in English.

Living in urban centres in Malaysia like Kuala Lumpur and Penang is akin to back in Singapore for me, where English is spoken widely - but if you move to smaller towns in Malaysia, you may have a problem if you don’t speak Malay. I usually switch between speaking English, Malay or the various Chinese dialects to people I meet without being aware of it, actually - but I always start with English as a default language at the beginning when I speak to public bus drivers or cab drivers.

Malaysia and Singapore are indeed ethnically diverse - Singapore has a 78% Chinese population (mainly Hokkiens, but with smaller numbers of Teochew, Hakka, Cantonese & other dialect groups), Malays form 14% of Singapore’s population, followed by Indians (7%) of mainly Tamil ancestry. Penang has about the same composition (also mainly Hokkien dominated), whereas Kuala Lumpur has a 45% Chinese populace (mainly Cantonese, like in Hong Kong), 43% Malay and 7% Indians, mainly Tamils.

The different races have lived together for 200 years, so we’re very familiar with each other’s culture, mannerisms and cuisines. Where else in the world would you be able to see Indian toddlers wield chopsticks with great dexterity to eat Chinese noodles, or Chinese 3-year-olds using their hands, Indian-style, to eat South Indian parathas with dhal curry for breakfast?

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Many thanks for the insight. Appreciated.

Your mention of switching languages reminds me of something here. I was in a bar in rural Wales. There were two couples chatting at the next table and they seemed to move seamlessly between Welsh and English. The conversation was about nothing of consequence that might have “required” a change - just the sort of usual chitchat between friends - but there must have been something that triggered a change with one person and everyone else just carried on, before the next change.

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You need to come visit us here in Singapore & Malaysia, John. I can show you around :blush:

Thanks for updating this information. It will be useful for the most of Indians who visits Kuala Lumpur to eat a delicious Indian food in overseas.

Most welcome, AkritiSharma.
FYI, the best Indian restaurant in KL at the moment, IMO, is Mumbai-born Yogesh Upadhyay’s extraordinary Flour. Don’t miss it!