One Week of Food Spending in Kuala Lumpur

After reading Ringgit Oh Ringgit’s post on Personal Finance Blog Ideas, I have decided to update on my food spending for the week! (It is also fortunate that I kept the receipts this time around.) Here goes, my meals for the week and how much they cost, and some pictures.

Where do you shop for groceries?

Living a car-free life in Kuala Lumpur means I have extremely limited choices of grocers around me, i.e. I can’t go to the wet market, or head to the cheaper ones. I make do with what I have. There are two grocers around me and the nearest one would be Village Grocer. While people associate Village Grocer with high prices, I think their fresh (vegetables etc.) prices are fair, and they are as fresh as the name. For meat, prices are on the higher end, and fortunately or not, I am mostly a vegetarian.

How do you plan your grocery shopping?

To give you some ideas about how I plan my grocery shopping for the week, there are several considerations.

  1. Price The first section I check out is always the ‘Reduced Price’ section. I will check out what is available and plan my meals around it. I will also check out what products are on offer and purchase those.
  2. Longevity of the ingredients – I take stock of what I bought and prioritize cooking those that wouldn’t last long.
  3. Rough recipes in mind – Sometimes, I head to the grocers with particular recipes in mind. Maybe it is palak paneer, dumplings, cake, etc.
Photo by Matheus Cenali on

How is your eating habit like?

Honestly, I used to eat a lot more when I was weight lifting. I can’t go to a workout hungry, hence I wasn’t able to practice intermittent fasting for a while. Recently, due to the closure of gyms as a result of the MCO, I am mostly doing yoga and low intensity workouts.

My ingestion period is between 12pm to 6pm, and in the morning I have only black (instant) coffee. There are of course times I break the fast past 6pm (life is hard especially if you love food shows), but I will try to limit the snacking to low calorie stuff like seaweed.

So, show us the meal plan!

Honestly, I am really proud of some of the pictures. Check out my instagram for more!

The Detailed List:

The total cost for the week come to be: RM 122.50.

As you can see, there are a lot of repeats in the list. Most of the time, I would just cook for one round and have the food for a few days. You can also see that I eat a mostly vegetarian diet. There is very little meat in my diet.

I also took the chance to assess my eating habit. I think you will be able to tell I have a sweet tooth (demonstrated by the highlights). My packaged food consumption is limited and I would like to keep it that way. I only ordered delivery once, good job to myself! You can see how the delivery blows the budget out of proportion.

RM122.50 for a week’s of food spending in Kuala Lumpur. Is it surprising? Some of my (frugal) friends in UK/USA can keep their monthly food budget to be around £100 / $125. I am spending about the same amount as them in absolute currency terms (~ RM500), but the percentage of food to income is a lot larger. While people talk about how cheap food in Malaysia is, on a relative scale, it is actually rather expensive. While food costs about the same in developed countries in absolute terms, people make a lot more.

Should I cut my budget for food further?

I do think I can trim my food cost further if I do it ERE style and eat lentils all week, but for now, I would be happy if I can keep this spending level.

I am also sharing the calculations and recipes below.

Expand to see!

  1. Nescafe Gold – RM21/packet from Shopee, one pack typically lasts about 3 months. I drink it daily. 
  2. Cream Spinach and Scrambled Eggs – 3x eggs (RM 1.30), 50g of Brazilian Spinach (RM 0.90), Cream (RM1.50)
  3. Banh Bo – 7x Eggs (RM 3.00), 400ml of Coconut Milk (RM 4.20, 1l of coconut milk is RM10.90), 320g Tapioca Flour (RM 0.40), 80g Rice Flour (RM 0.30), 300g Sugar (RM 0.90), Pandan Leaves (RM 0.40)
  4. Steamed Butter Kaya Bread – 2x of Gardenia Bread (RM 0.50), Kaya (RM 0.15), Butter (RM 0.15)
  5. Baked Bell Pepper and Cucumber – Bell Pepper (RM 2.20), Cucumber (RM 4.00)
  6. Chicken Sandwich – 2x Gardenia Bread (RM 0.50), 1x Cheddar Cheese (RM 0.80), 2x Chicken Slices (RM 1.00), 2x Butterhead lettuce (RM 0.30)
  7. Tuna Sandwich – 2x Gardenia Bread (RM 0.50), Tuna Mayonaise (RM 6.50)
  8. Dole Whip Smoothie (Vegan) – 1x Pineapple Pack (RM 3.90), Coconut Milk, 1x Cavendish Banana (RM 1.00)
  9. Carrot Smoothie – 4x carrots (RM1.10), Greek Yogurt (RM 0.80), Coconut Milk (RM 2.20)


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