the Kuala Lumpur story

It’s been a while since we’ve been able to post as we’ve been incredibly busy. After an epic two day multi-leg extravaganza we arrived in Kuala Lumpur. Why KL? Why not. Sun’s always wanted to visit and we knew that the food would be incredible. It was.

I was totally out of it when we landed and barely remember a thing about that first day. I guess it was Thanksgiving in Canada but for me it was about five hours long. Our hotel was very centrally located on a big intersection in between the bus station and the stock exchange. Around the corner was a Hindu temple and we popped into the restaurant next door, Sri Ganesh, for dinner. Mega yum. The cost for two people – under $5. Damn I love Asia.

I only made it as far as 9pm before passing out, and I stayed that way for 13 hours. We dealt with getting our Vietnam visas and proceeded to scope out the city. Give us the t-shirt: WE LOVE KL! There are three cultures there – Malay, Chinese and Indian. Straits Chinese originally come from the south of china but are their own entity by now, having been away from the motherland so long. Most of the Indians are Tamil-speaking Hindus from the south, as opposed to the Punjabi-speaking Sikhs back home. The Malay have a few minority groups. All this lot gets along. They work together, eat in each other’s restaurants and you’ll see temples and mosques on the same street. The food sometimes mixes cultures, as with laksa, the curry-based noodle soup. Seriously, laksa could not be better if I ate it in a dream. Noodles, sometimes multiple types in the same bowl. Coconut curry. Random stuff – could be egg, tofu, meat, beef balls, veggies – it’s never the same twice and it never matters.

KL is also a mix of classes, too. Lots of money here, with modern malls and office towers. The Petronas Towers are beautiful, for the record. But still the city has run-down apartments and sidewalk restaurants. It is ridiculously easy to transition between the two worlds.

So what did we eat? Glad you asked. A range of delicious noodle soups of all descriptions. There was a sort of a cioppino in a tin foil bag thing cooked over coals. Uttapam, roti Chennai and masala dosa for breakfast. Fried pork. Roast duck. Stuff we couldn’t identify. In the midst of all this blur of textures and flavours we realized that Malaysian/Singaporean food is among the greatest cuisines on earth and KL’s street food is some of its most defining cultural highlights. Mega yum indeed.

There’s not that much else to do. You can visit old growth (100 million years) jungle at Bukit Nanas, a small nature preserve in the middle of the city with hiking trails. You can go up the TV tower and get a view over the entire Klang Valley. Lots of shopping. Go buy some expensive stuff and then hit Chinatown for the knockoff version.

It’s a heck of a town and we didn’t want to leave, but we’re going to Hanoi so it’s off we go!

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