In my continuing quest to visit new places where I have local friends, I went to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July, 2019. Actually, Ho Yu currently lives in Bangkok, but is Malaysian and was raised in Kuala Lumpur. She is a friend whom I’ve known for about 7 years through my brother. They met through the Young Presidents Organization (YPO).
Whenever, we see each other, she laments how much she misses the food in Malaysia. And if I say that I like Singaporean food, she is quick to insist that Malaysian food in KL is far better. She promised that if I ever visit Malaysia she would join me there and be my tour guide. Who can turn down an opportunity like that?
In preparing for my visit, Ho Yu (very organized) sent me the following itinerary:
Dinner: Wan Tan Mee Sungai Besi for wild boar curry & mun Hokkien mee
Late Night: No Black Tie / Pisco Bar / Opium / Pisco Bar / The Rum Bar
Breakfast: Seng huat bak kut teh klang
Lunch: Limapulo Nyonya Laksa / Alor Corner Laksa / Purdu Cendol Sulaiman
Dinner: Mun Hokkien mee
Late night: Iron Fairies Hive
As you can imagine this trip was all about food. And it did not disappoint. We didn’t make it to all the restaurants in the itinerary but had fun trying. And we tried different places off the list.
I absolutely loved the laksa (Limapulo Nyonya Laksa). The favors were so rich and utterly addictive. The soup base was fishy and the extra hot sauce burned in a good way. We didn’t make it to the other laksa place. Her favorite dish was the mun Hokkien mee. We had this a couple of times, including at the Wan Tan Mee Sungai Besi, a sit down street food fare. The noodles were yellow and flat served in a dark soya sauce. In Asian foods, texture is a big part of the “flavor” and these had a nice firmness to them.
At nights, we wondered through the outdoor food market, Jalan Alor Night Food Court. I still remember the aroma in the air from the eclectic street foods from all the stalls lining the vibrant street. We settled on some sting ray and one of the best versions of chicken wings that I’ve ever had. We also downed a lot of beers in the hot Malaysian night.
I also have another local friend who lives in KL. He is an executive at an international landscaping architectural firm and lives in the upscale area called Damansia Heights.
He invited us to some swanky bars in this neighborhood, including BAIT. While most of the country is Muslim, there are many happening spots in KL, frequented by foreigners and local Chinese and Indians. We ordered bottles of fine whiskey, pounded a few tequila shots and admired the beautiful crowds. In a moment of weakness (or courage), I even showed our group how Americans do body shots. That was my contribution to the Malaysian experience. Pretty sad, but was fun.
I only spent four days in KL, so I want to go back again. In the end, I have to admit that as much as I enjoy the food in Singapore, this trip opened my eyes to the “specialness” of KL foods. Of course, having a couple of local friends taking me to their favorite places enhanced the experience by orders of magnitude! For that, I’m very thankful.