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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2024

I had a 2 day stopover at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during my Singapore trip. Malaysia is adjacent to Singapore so a lot of Singaporeans usually vacation there (Kuala Lumpur is just an hour flight from Chiangi Airport).

My brother and his wife were flying into Kuala Lumpur International Airport around the same time but with a different airline as me. What we forgot to check is if we were flying into the same terminal. We didn't realize we were in different terminals until after we landed and that the two terminals are pretty far apart. We realized it when we got there and had a private driver waiting to drive us to the hotel. I was in Terminal 2 and it took them about 15 minutes to get here. There are no trams like some US airports. Keep that in mind if you get to that airport as the only quick way to get to the other terminal is by car/taxi or KLIAxpres which it the dedicated train system but you would have to purchase a ticket.

The hotel was about an hour drive from the airport. Luckily there was little traffic until closer to the hotel. We stayed at the KL Robertson, which is and apartment. Ours had two bedrooms and two baths and a kitchen. It was a gated building with guards up front (and not very friendly). It is conveniently located next to a couple of Malaysian and Indian restaurants, plus there were about 3 convenience stores including a 7-11.

Pictured: Living room, dining/kitchen and outside view from KL Rpbertson apartment.

Since we arrived at the hotel at 9pm, we just had time and energy to go to 7-11 and get some snacks and drinks for dinner. I did amass some interesting Malasia-specific drinks.

The first stop started with Indian Dosa and Prata (filled with egg) with various curry and chutneys. There was also a savory donut type snack called Medhu Vadai which you can dunk in the curries. Plus some nice desserts, which i forgot the name of. There is also a buffet style section where you pick out what you want and they charge you accordingly

Pictured: Dosa, Prata, Medhu Vadai and unknown desserts. Also a view pof the buffet section

As we made our way to one of the temples, we came across some nice street art

The next stop was the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple. A lot of interesting art

Next items were dumplings and pork filled buns. They were nice but really nothing specially. They did hit the spot.

The next stop was the Petaling Street Market. It was a long line of street vendors probabloy spanning about 5-6 blocks. It was pretty bustling at 11am.

Pictured: Petaling Street Market

Next stop was a higher end restaurant within the Petaling Street Market. It was a sit down restaurant with air-conditioning, which was a welcome change. We started off with a Malaysian Coffee drink called Cham. It is coffee (Kopi) with tea blended in, and sweetened with sugar and evaporated milk. It was quite refreshing (even if it wasn't 89 degrees F with 80% humidty).

Pictured: Cham

The next dish was Nasi Lemak, Nasi lemak is a dish made of rice cooked in coconut milk. Aromatics, such as pandan leaves, bay leaves, lemongrass, ginger, garlic and fenugreek, can be added to it. It is commonly served with fried chicken, roasted peanuts, ikan bilis (fried anchovies) and sambal, The chicken is usually marinated overnight with turmeric and other spices. It is also pretty popular in Singapore. There are other versions with different protein such as pork cutlet or beef rendang but fried chicken is the most common.

Pictured: Nasi Lemak

We ended the meal with a Durian spring roll. It is the durian fruit wrap in, I believe, rice paper, then fried. For the unitiated, Durian is a Asian fruit known for its pungent smell. It is so bad to some people that it is banned in certain places. In Singapore, we had to sign a waiver to not bring during into the hotel room or face a fine. You cannot bring Durian into the subways and other places. Nevertheless, the fruit has had a notorious reputation. They say that if you can get past the smell, it's actually nice and sweet.

Pictured: Durian Spring Roll

This is the first time trying durian, and I liked it a lot. It was pretty sweet and the smell didn't bother me as much (it may be how it was prepared, as frying may have mellowed the smell). The surprising thing is how custardy the fruit is. Frying aside, I heard that durian is naturally custardy.

Next stop was a Laksa stall. It is one of those authentic Asian food stall with plastic seats and tables and the cooks are working at a cart full of food with buckets of broth. I haven't been well versed in Laksa, and actually the first time I've had Laksa was at one of the airport lounges rigth before the flight to Malaysia. I wasn't impressed with it but it was airport/lounge food so I wasn't expecting much.

Pictured: Laksa stall working their magic

Laksa is a spicy noodle dish popular in Southeast Asia. Laksa consists of various types of noodles, most commonly thick rice noodles, with toppings such as chicken, prawn or fish. Most variations of laksa are prepared with a rich and spicy coconut soup or a broth seasoned with sour asam (tamarind)

Our guide ordered both the Assam and Chicken Curry Laksa. The Assam Laksa had the sour broth with pieces of fish (not sure what kind of fish). The noodle was a little thicker than usual for Laksa. It was more like Udon noodles and they were chewy. The broth was fantastic! It was the right amount of sourness and had the Umami of different spice elements that I could not figure out but I enjoyed it a lot. Outside of sushi and fish tacos, and fish and chips, I'm not much of fish eater, especially with Asian fish dishes. This dish I really liked. The curry laksa was good too. It had the usually rice noodles whjch were much thinner. I really love chicken curry and this was good, but I must say I preferred the Assam Laksa better. Our tour guide recommended mixing both broths in one spoonful to get a good blend of both. It was a great combination and we all agreed that this dish was the highlight of the tour. Unfortunately we were getting full. I wish this dish was earlier in the tour.

Next up was a mochi dessert. It was rolled mochi covered qwit peanuts. There were different flavors, which I forget what they were. They were great, but I was full.

All in all, it was a great tour and a good introduction to the food culture of Malaysia. One of the main standout of this tour is that they give you so much food. Most other tours, they divide up the food items in small pieces. Even though there may be 8 - 10 stops, the food isn't filling. This tour, you get full entrees/meals.

Later that night, we went to the KL Convention Center to watch the water show. It also had a good view of the Patrones Towers which is iconic for Kuala Lumpur.

Since we were at a large mall enjoying the air conditioning, we noticed a restaurant that served live lobster. Looking at the menu, we realized how much the exchange rate was for US vs. Malaysian Ringits. Since we didn't want to inch our way back to the apartment, we decided to Burger and Lobster.

My brother and his wife split a lobster roll. I opted for the Lobster Laksa. It was really good. It had a nice coconut-based broth and the and had the right amount of curry spice and turmeric. It was a kinda high-end restaurant, but with the exchange rate, it was relatively cheap.

The next day I mostly had to myself as my bother and his wife had a arts/craft class. I headed over to the Jalan Alor Street Market since it was pretty close, but unfortunately it was primarily a street market and I went there in the morning. There wasn't much open

The rest of the day, I went back to the Center and Petaing Market. Lots of interesting food vendors. I settled on a random roast meat place and got roast pork with rice and iced Milo.

A lot of plans changed, mainly due to the heat. We had to postpone the Batu Caves as we found out at the lasrt minute that we booked our tour of the cave on a major public holiday and they were expecting abuot 2 million people around tyhat area. Plus large crowds with 90 degrees with 90% humidity is not a fun time. It was scheduled after I left to go back to Singapore. Darn :D

I was pleasantly surprised with Malaysia. It is as much as a food destination as Singapore, and is much, much, more cheaper overall. I only used up about 1/2 of the ringits I brought over. It turned out to be hotter than Singapore but we were able to seek refuge in random shopping malls.

Anyway, I highly recommend Malaysia / Kuala Lumpur. It is more in tune with Thailand and Vietnam, whereas Singapore is clean and easier to navigate (and a good gateway to South east Asian countries). Malaysia may prepare you more for Thailand and or Vietnam. Maybe.

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