Food and Cultural Extravaganza at Kota Bharu: Kelantan Festival

Calling all festival-lovers…


Malaysia really knows how to celebrate festivals and stir some magic with traditional performances. We hear of food fests, cultural festivals and creative competitions every now and then. Although it has been raining for the past few days, it hasn’t dampened the spirit of the people out here. Presenting one such beautiful festival connected deeply to the roots of the State -> Kelantan Festival – an initiative that paints the town in the colours of Kelantan.

Let’s go food tripping…

What: Kelantan Festival

Where: Perkarangan Stadium Sultan Muhammad IV

When: 28 Sep – 07 Oct, 2017 (10:00 A.M. – 11:00 P.M.)

To know more about the festival, check out their festival page.


When we first moved to Kota Bharu (capital of Kelantan, Malaysia), we attended a Thai food festival at the same place, near the stadium. The on-going festival brings back a lot of memories. As the name suggests, the festival showcases glimpses of Kelantan through various media: traditional art forms, cultural performances and food. While the festival is on, a number of activities are lined up every day: kite flying, fire show, shadow play and puppets, group singing, gasing and a lot more.

Keep your eyes peeled for performances on the stage and walk to the other side of the stadium to enter a section of clothes, shoes, bags and other shopping materials.

Let’s get to the main attraction of the festival now – FOOD. Lyf&Spice has always focused on food (…and travel …and culture) more than anything else. Food adds life to any festivity and marks the beginning and closing of any festival. Everything else comes in between. While there are endless stalls serving authentic Malaysian food, Thai delights, dessert, iced beverages and coffee, let’s choose the top few and take you food tripping.

Seafood-egg fry in the making…

Since the brochures and pop-ups are in the local language, let’s take you all on an all-English food tour, so that you’re tempted to plan a visit to Kota Bharu the moment the next festival is announced. This way you’ll know exactly what to order.

Nescafe tarik: A variant of teh tarik that has nescafe coffee powder blended with or without tea. The liquid concoction is poured into water and pulled all the way up to mix the blend from one glass to another.

Seafood goreng: Seafood, lamb, chicken or sotong (squid) goreng is literally any of these meats deep-fried in oil. The accompanying sauces just add to the tasty crunch.

Jumbo squid anyone?

Colek: This thin sauce or dip is best eaten with seafood fritters or fruits. There are a couple of stalls serving variations of colek.

Roti tisu: The tissue-like paper-thin roti is made with flour. The crispy roti is then rolled with condensed milk or chocolate. Sinful right?

Roti Tisu with condensed milk

Kuih: Although a term generally used for cakes, this refers to a variety of dessert and snacks, more in the form of small bites and finger foods. The variety out here is immense.

Delcious crispy confection with cream and chocolate

Dodol: A sticky toffee-like confection made out of palm sugar, coconut milk and rice flour, it is available in various colours owing to the addition of natural fruit extracts.

Dodol and dehydrated fruits

Fried rice: Also called nasi goreng, this delectable dish contains vegetables and chicken sausages as well. Have it the Thai way, with a big scoop of rice rolled in an omelette.

Seafood omelette: Choose your favourite seafood and get it beaten with egg yolk as you watch them fry a perfectly blended omelette. Ignore the oil and focus on the taste.

When he said: Selfie please 🙂

Coconut shake: Made with home-made coconut ice cream flurry to which sabja seeds, condensed milk and additional scoops of fresh ice cream are added. It could get sickly sweet, but for people with a sweet tooth, it should be just fine.

I love watching them make it

The best part of the festival is that the culture of Kelantan is showcased through its delicious food and beautiful performances. Stop by and have some fun.

Spread the word.

Check out our travel & food posts on Instagram.


Read – Travel – Enjoy

26 thoughts on “Food and Cultural Extravaganza at Kota Bharu: Kelantan Festival

  1. Hi.. Nice to know about your visit to Kota Bharu. There is o dedicated site for the food fest as such, but yes, you ca always get i touch with me before you plan a trip there – The book I wrote should serve as a useful guide.


  2. I was fortunate to spend time in Kota Bahru way back in the early ’80’s and would like to take my wife for a visit. As I would like her to see the traditional sports etc at Gelanggang Seni and summer commitments I have here we will need to go between April and September. either this year (maybe too close) or in 2019. What website is the best to see what else could be on like the Kelantan Food Festival ? Do you know already anything that has been booked in for those dates ? I have enjoyed reading your site. I will be combining the visit with a trip on the train from KL to KB, stay for maybe 4/5 days, and then fly across to spend 10 days in Georgetown. Any tips or info would be appreciated. It appears buying your 50 Tips from a Local book would be a good start.


  3. I fell in love with Malaysian food when I visited! I should have attended this festival when I wasn’t there last year! Great post! My mouth is watering!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re making me crave Malaysian food so badly!!! I love teh tarik, when my ex-boyfriend and I went to KL last time, we ordered 4 cups of it with every meal. Yeah, each. I think I have a problem, haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kelantan food festival Pics and Description is very well done.
    It is really very nice to see how you describe in finer details.
    keep it up such mouth watering ——festivals alive—–!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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