When Malaysians congregate, the discussion quickly turns to food. The first question they ask each other is: "Sudah makan?"(have you eaten?). And any visitor to Malaysia is eagerly asked by locals whether they like the food, especially the spicy dishes. It goes without saying that Malaysians live to eat, and with so much variety at affordable prices, it won't take visitors long to get into the swing of things. A decade ago, dining mostly meant enjoying the delights of Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine, but urban sophisticates now travel extensively and have broadened their culinary horizons. This is reflected by the global smorgasbord found in restaurants around Kuala Lumpur. It's not only the food that's fascinating, but also where it's eaten, which ranges from roadside stalls to some of Asia's finest restaurants. Typical evenings in the capital start with a meal and end with a late-night snack, with a range of other activities in between. Malaysian hawker or street food is considered some of the world's best, while numerous nasi kandar (rice, vegetables and various meats) stalls are popular. The national beverage, teh tarik - tea made with condensed milk - is enjoyed in kopitiams or coffee shops. Locals would argue the finest Malay food is served in hawker stalls, but for those seeking a more refined ambiance, the restaurants Bijan and Enak stand out. The capital has several famous food streets, with Jalan Alor being the best known. At night, the street becomes a hive of activity, with numerous dishes being served. While many love Jalan Alor as it is, City Hall is set to give the street a US$3.5 million makeover to create a more engaging atmosphere. In Chinatown, Petaling Street and its surrounds are bustling throughout the day and reach a crescendo in the evening with lively market banter. Stalls selling mostly Chinese dishes and chilled beer add to the colourful atmosphere. Malaysians dabbled in fusion cuisine long before it became fashionable. Nonya cuisine, for example, combines Malaysian spices with Chinese cooking techniques. It can be sampled at Old China Cafe and Lima Blas, which serve iconic dishes like assam fish, beef rendang and laksa. Pubs and clubs are located around Kuala Lumpur and its suburbs such as Bangsar, Sri Hartamas and Bukit Kiara. Changkat Bukit Bintang, or "pub street", is one of the city's liveliest bar precincts and within walking distance of Jalan Alor. Marini's on 57 is situated above Nobu at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre, offering the city's finest views, contemporary Italian cuisine and sophisticated cigar lounge. Other bars at altitude include SkyBar at the Traders Hotel and Luna at the Pacific Regency Hotel. Pasar malam, or night markets, are another way to experience evenings around the capital, as most suburbs have markets on specific nights. Hawkers in makeshift stalls sell fruit, vegetables, meats and snacks. Hotel concierges can provide information on the locations of these markets on a certain night of the week. For those seeking cultural encounters, Dewan Filharmonik Petronas at the base of the Twin Towers is home to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. They accompany world-class artists in a stunning performance space at prices that will amaze most visitors. And the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre in suburban Sentul West is home to plays, recitals and dance performances. Dining scene opening to wider world of cuisine Kuala Lumpur's global dining credentials received a boost when Japanese chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa opened an outlet of his acclaimed restaurant, Nobu, at Menara 3 Petronas near the Twin Towers. International cuisine including Japanese, Korean, Italian, Spanish, French, Thai, Vietnamese and fusion styles has recently blossomed in the capital. Kuala Lumpur's popular fine-dining outlets include Cilantro, Kampachi, La Scala, La Vie en Rose, Maison Francaise, Prime, Sage and Tamarind Springs. Sao Nam, located in a downtown terrace with a cool vibe, consistently delivers the city's finest Vietnamese cuisine. Patriotic Vietnamese posters create a vibrant ambiance, and regulars normally phone ahead to reserve the restaurant's signature mangosteen and prawn salad. Marble 8 is a place to impress guests, with its signature marbled Australian steaks. The finest cut is the tomahawk beef, which is capable of serving several diners and comes with a hefty price tag. Its opulent interior and Kuala Lumpur City Centre views make it popular with those clinching a business deal. Troika Sky Dining is home to Cantaloupe, Strato, Fuego and Claret. Perched 24 floors up beside the Kuala Lumpur City Centre precinct, its skyline views are as striking as the hipster ambience and fine food.