Kuala Lumpur: 5 – 7 April 2011

In April, on the way back to London, I finally got a chance to visit Kuala Lumpur. I’d been meaning to go for years when I lived back in Perth but always ended up returning to Singapore or Hong Kong. Malaysia Airlines was offering the best price from Perth to London this time, so I finally made the visit happen. KL reminds me a lot of Singapore. In some ways, it seems like what Singapore might have been like before it decided that it was going to rebrand itself as the ”Monte Carlo of Asia”. A bit grimier, a bit cheaper, but also a bit more ”real” than Singapore. Overall, they are both great places and both have their pros and cons.

Street food is a huge deal in Malaysia. In KL, there are little stalls like this on both main streets and little side streets, selling all kinds of delicacies.

This street was amazing. The entire street was just lined with Hawker stalls.

Snowflake is a chain of Taiwanese dessert shops. This was a frozen flavoured ice with sago balls and sea amber jelly. It tasted so good.

Shopping is another pass-time of Malaysians. There are huge malls with every international brand imaginable all over the city.

Hokkien char mee is a dish of thick yellow noodles braised in thick dark soy sauce with pork, squid, fish cake and cabbage as the main ingredients and cubes of pork fat fried until crispy.

It’s certainly not the healthiest of dishes, but tastes absolutely amazing.

I also had some lightly dusted and fried prawns.

Yut Kee is a great example of a traditional Malaysian Kopitam. It’s been around for over 80 and is an institution amongst locals in KL. I got the ”chicken chop” and a roti, and some Malaysian style iced coffee. It serves, cheap, great quality comfort food. Unfortunately the lease runs out this year and the place might be forced to move elsewhere. In Malaysia in general, the traditional Kopitam is giving way to the ”trendier” European style cafes. As I’ve said many times on this blog, progress is a good thing, but invariably has its downside in the loss of certain local traditions.

This is the ”little India” district of KL. It was full of shop upon shop selling all kinds of fabrics and traditional Indian clothing.

The National Mosque of Malaysia.

This is the old central train station of KL. It’s a grand building, and currently the government is looking at ways of using it once more.

Chinatown was a bit too touristy for me, and although there were certainly interesting spots in the area, overall it wasn’t my favourite part of the city. It was generally far too aimed at the western tourist trade.

The Petronas towers. The tallest buildings in the world when completed in 1998 until surpassed by Taipai 101 in 2004. They are very unique towers and every bit as amazing in person as I had expected.

Pelita Nasi Kandar is a chain of Nasi Kandar restaurants in Malaysia. Nasi Kandar is a meal of steamed rice, served with a variety of curries and side dishes of the eater’s choice. It was very affordable (as was all of the food I had in KL) and very good (as was everything else I ate in KL too!)

Restoran Wong Poh is in Petaling Jaya on the side of a motorway (about half an hour train out of KL) and I was recommended it by a friend who had been a few weeks earlier for the butter crab. It was the first time I’d ever tackled a whole crab like this before so things got a bit messy! The crab was amazing, and the butter sauce, mixed with the crab juices, poured over the rice was absolutely divine. Well worth the trip out of KL.

Another dessert from Snowflake. This one had taro balls and grass jelly. It was good, but not as good as the other one.



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