VieAMaggi.com

Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Category: Malaysia Page 1 of 2

Markets in Malaysia

 

The following post is a compilation of all the markets places we visited throughout Kuala Lumpur. Outdoor vendors that set up tables and sell all sorts of wares from raw vegetables and homemade cleaners, to ready made snacks and full entrees stir fried on the spot.

The focus of this post is on the food and the ability to see it prepared before my eyes. I also stop to note all the different food stuffs not readily made available to us in the North American grocery scene.

Our first stop is one of the most memorable, truly one of those places only the locals know to go. A shack in the middle of no where that offers various grilled fishes over a fire, served on a banana leaf. It is like a covered cafeteria which services the neighbouring mosque and schools. They offer everything from pickled sides, fresh fruits, and chilled beverages. But it was the vendor constantly frying up fish and seafood that was centre attraction.

He, behind the open stove is one of the most authentic things I have ever seen. I was in awe of how he was able to work such long period over this three wok grill. Three large pans, and cooking in each: enough protein to feed a family of 10, in full. Surrounded by the heat and smoke from sizzling meat, I was surprised by his endurance, and ability to withstand a heatstroke.

The fish is continuously being grilled and when fried to a blackened crisp, removed from the heat, and stacked in bins for self service. Each fish is priced accordingly and you dig through the mound to “fish” out the one you want to have and pay for. There is no fear of it cooling in the heat. There is also an attendant to help and write up your bill. You pay as you go.

My host selected the “Kelip fish”, fried crisp and served blacken for that kissed by charcoal flavour. The squid was my favourite. I enjoyed the way they cut off the tentacles and stuffed it back into the cone of the squid for easier eating. And this would be my first taste of stingray. It flaked off like any fish, and it tasted like any white fish would, but just without all the small bones. You are eating its wing, so it’s a length of bone and you are eating the chunks of meat off it. But overall they all had the same kind of fishiness to them. They are seasoned quite similarly. And it is the sauces you choose for dipping that sets it apart.

We made it a full meal by adding rice and sides, scooping whatever we wanted from all the metal bins. Mixed nuts, salted egg, cucumber salads, and bean sprouts; to name a few. I thought about stopping to question the sanitary-ness of their kitchen and their operation, but instead thought it best to just enjoy the moment.

As is common, various sodas and mixed juices are available for the taking. Instead of ordering each, you pick any up from the iced pre-made tray and they charge you for it. My host strongly suggested getting any such drinks.

Instead, we drank our dessert with “ABC” aka “ice kachang”. This is the Malaysian equivalent of shaved ice. A mountain of powdery ice flavoured with cane syrup, condense milk, red kidney beans, cream corn, tapioca balls, and cendol (the green tubes of rice flour gelatin). I have had this before, and it tasted just as how I remembered it.

 

The next market place was part of an international plaza with indoor alleyways that differentiated the vendor by what they sold ethnically. From Indian beads and saris, to Chinese stone stamps, Thai paper puppets, and African carved masked. It reminded me of a a flea market with all its corners and makeshift stalls.

Outside there were tables of fresh fruit stacked into a pyramid. Here, I tried a fruit that I have never seen before. It was red and looked like a pepper. It tasted like a hybrid between a pear and an apple. Crisp and sharp, yet juicy.

We also stopped for some fish cakes from a vendor that offered various tofus and meatballs on skewers. The one we had was served along side its sauce for dipping, in a small plastic bag. You basically eat them like potato wedges.

 

The next market was comparable to our night markets in Vancouver. Similarly it opens during the weekend, where roads are shut down for the durations. And instead, rows of food vendors are lined up on either sides of the street, offering up everything from chicken wings to ice cream. As is my typical strategy for such places, I insisted on walking the block to suss out our best opinions before deciding on which stand to order from.

We had the soy sauce chicken wings, a few of the dozens that were spun around and around over a flaming spit. They are served with the tips and a sauce dish of chilli.

Seeing and smelling them on the grill, it is hard to not be lured in by the smoke being fanned, and the sizzle of grease on the hot coals of the satay stand. We got one of each protein: chicken, beef, and mutton. Served with a refreshing side of red onions and cucumber chunks, and the traditional creamy peanut butter sauce from dipping.

This would be my first time tackling a whole frog, and “they” aren’t lying when they say it tastes like chicken. From the meaty legs to the crispy skin. They are skinned and kept chilled, sitting in ice with other aquatic marine life, ready for the frying.

They were almost as much of an eyesore as the seasoned chicken feet, claws pointed, ready for their time on the grill.

And as the sun set, a dry day quickly became a wet night. But a tropical, heavy and warm downpour was not enough to have us bailing on the night. We sought shelter at a “7-eleven” and ended up buying an umbrella therein, which allowed us to continue on with our evening, relatively dry.

I had to indulge in the multicoloured dumplings from the stall that featured large bamboo steamers. It gave you the ability to pick and choose what you want with tongs and drop it into a styrofoam takeout box. Each meat or seafood dumpling was wrapped in a shell dyed naturally by the vegetable used to flavour it. Beets were used to colour the shrimp dumplings pink, purple was from the taro yam used for taste and colouring, and the green of cabbage was paired with chicken.

We capped off the night with some playful cookies. These were regular biscuits combined with liquid nitrogen to flash freeze them. You ate one and it instantly crumbled under the weight for your tongue. And what is then left is the smoke from within it escaping through your closed mouth, and exposed nostrils. Hence its name, “dragon breath”. It really isn’t all that tasty, you more or less get it for the novelty, like we did.

 

The next market was like a Chinese farmer’s market, only around during weekend mornings. It was stalls set up table to table selling raw vegetables and meat, cooked food and pre-made snacks, and every kitchen tool in between. This is the kind of market you go to, to get fresh ingredients for the dinner you are making on the same day.

Skinned geese and black chicken with their throats slit to drain them of their blood.

Butchers offering their meat on parchment, and hanging off metal poles of their booth.

They are even crates of live frogs for sale. If you purchase one, they kill and skin it for you on the spot.

There were also beautifully bright flowers used for prayers, for sale.

We stopped at the vendor preparing fried rice noodles in cubes, stir fried over a giant steaming wok, under the hot sun. Your order is served in a plastic bag, despite being scooped up right from the wok, and should be hot enough to burn through the plastic.

And then we had some kueh stuffed with either coconut or red bean.

And were tempted by the Chinese doughnuts bobbing in the pool of heated oil.

 

We ate a fuller meal at the noodle cart offering various noodles in broth, and a place to sit and enjoy it at. We had some rice noodles in sheets with some sambal, sesame, and fried onions. And some egg noodles with barbecue pork.

 

The last market we visited together was one held only on Monday evenings. It was a Malay heavy market, where I found my highly coveted dish of “lou shu fen” in the covered food court area. I have never had these “mouse dropping noodles” in a clay pot or with a runny egg before. The noodles were tender and chewy with plenty of flavour from its brown sauce, ground pork, fish balls, fish cakes, and fried egg.

Also had kueh in green rice flour gelatine and blue sticky rice, this is the first time I have seen kueh dyed blue before. Although at this booth kuehs came in all sort of shapes and sizes, in every flavour combination highlighted in its own hue.

Like at the other markets. There was a steamboat cart featuring skewered items on ice, to be plunged into vats of boiling water to cook and steam.

There were also mass amounts of coloured dim sum, kept warm by the heat from the giant bamboo steamers they sat within.

My host was excited for me to try “otak otak”, a grilled fish cake made from ground fish meat mixed with tapioca starch and spices. It is wrapped and cooked in a banana leaf, on the grill.

And we capped off the night with one of the best servings of “Char kway teow” I have ever had (stir-fried ricecake strips). And it was from the makeshift kitchen on the side of truck. Another one I will be craving for, but won’t be able to recreate.

And this ends my account of all the outdoor market places we visited in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Out of everything I saw and tried during my trip, hands down, my favourite experiences were that of the culture and food scene within the markets above. This is where I felt closest to being a local.

Sight seeing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia has its fair share of landmarks, and my host brought me around to majority of them. We travelled by skytrain and double decker bus to explore much of Kuala Lumpur.

To watch the summarized version of this post, please visit the link below.

The majority of the sights following, we saw by way of a tour bus. The “hop on and hop off buses” were constantly doing a loop around the city, stopping at tourist attractions with your choice to stay on or hop off and explore more. And when satisfied you hop back on to any of the buses, to complete the circuit.

Our bus tour would start and end at “KL Tower”, the highest point in the city, and home to a revolving restaurant that we had dinner at. It was all you can eat with a bird’s eye view, and a dress code.

To read my review of the dinner we had there visit the link below.

KL Tower & its Revolving Restaurant

By day the tower is framed with white clouds and palm tree fronds. And by night it is highlighted in the glowing rotation of neon colours.

And here I was just as excited by the field of pineapple plants nearby.

Our bus past by a textile museum and the Malaysian cultural centre. I was interested in seeing the king’s castle, but didn’t bother getting off knowing that we would not be able to get a good view of it with the great distance in between the palace and us left barred at the gates.

We visited Malaysia’s little India. Its entrance is marked by a multiple elephant framed water fountain feature and a stone gateway. The walkways of the two blocks it is sprawled across was paved in brick and lined with colourful arches. It certainly differentiated the area.

The entire district was colourful. Hawkers offering dyed buns in vibrant hues, an alley of vendors displaying their hand sewn flower garlands, and grocery stalls selling a variety of fresh fruits and exotic fruits vegetables.

We paused here for a meal at what appeared to be a cafeteria. You help yourself to a plate and scoop whatever you want on to it from a heated food unit. After, you hunker down on any free seat, and one of their servers come to you to tally up your order and offer you drinks at cost.

Here we had a vegetarian plate of rice and sides. Most memorable was the “lamb” that they were able to mimic the texture of by using flour and many meticulous folds. If all vegetarian dishes tasted like this, I wouldn’t miss meat.

Next we went back on and off the bus to then stop at the bird park. Where we were trapped battling a tropical downpour, while being feasted on by pesky mosquitoes. But as the largest open space bird sanctuary in the world, it is certainly worth visiting. That and your ability to get up close and personal with all the fowl within its gated aviary sanctuary, is a unique opportunity.

Many of the birds are allowed out in the open and you are encouraged to interact with them, by purchasing pellets to feed them from gum ball machines. Though many approach you fearlessly or allow you to approach them, like majority of the peacocks did.

And park curators create feeding stations for visitors to get a better view of the birds either way. They were fed green apples and fresh papaya. And interestingly, a few parrots were seen clutching lengthy string beans and even red chilli peppers.

They were even various owls on display during the day. A guard kept watch over their open enclosure. Making sure the flash of your camera would not wake them.

More exotic birds like the “love birds” nuzzling together for warmth, and white and pink ones were caged up for their own protection

Although, I found myself most interested in the monkeys that made the tree tops and the net that kept the birds in this sanctuary their home. Watch a video of them climbing and walking across the netting by clicking on the link.

Next we visited the more religious side of Malaysia. We had planned to enter the largest mosque in Kuala Lumpur, so dressed appropriately to do so. However we got there at the wrong time, and were not allowed in due to the commencement of their holy prayers.

For those attempting to visit without the proper garments, you are able do so by borrowing a visitor’s purple robe. You dawn it and a head scarf to show your respect and modesty, as well as to highlight your tourist nature.

Although we never made it past the threshold, the exterior of the mosque is still quite the sight to behold. There are two separate entrances to differentiate the two genders.

The Chinese temple allowed visitors in more freely. This is the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia, and that I have ever visited. It has multiple rooms and several levels. Its ascending to the sky creates several wonderful view points.

But none as jaw dropping as the courtyard, meticulously lined with red lanterns, only slightly faded by the rays of the sun. It was a grand entrance into the temple itself.

Inside, gold statues sat on elevated stages. Surrounded by various deity figurines, flower bouquets, and fruit offerings. Everything was inscribed, carved, painted, and moulded with detail. From the ceilings to the floor. I had so much awe over the space, that I found myself praying, like I once did so religiously, growing up in a Buddhist household.

Similarly, the roof tops were decorated with just as much loving reverie. Red red tiled shingles and mystical animals taking flight in a rainbow of colours.

 

The rest of my trip, which is majority of it, went into eating and shopping for food.

Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown

The Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia isn’t unlike the others I have visited in Vancouver and other cities. The handful of blocks this area covers are marked by strings of red lanterns hanging high above. Given the heat, most of the laneways are covered and many stands offer shade to block out additional sun’s rays.

The traditional Chinese culture is well represented by seafood restaurants, fresh produce vendors, butcher and barbecue shops, and plenty of street food to snack on as you stroll. Shopping is almost exclusively China made goods: cheap kids toys, bulk clothes and undergarments, and little trinkets and souvenirs. But here bootleg merchandise is acceptable, and majority of the vendors are selling them to tourist like myself. Nothing was off limits from “Puma” sneakers to “Dior” bags. Even make up is well represented on these fold out tables. Like “Kylie Jenner’s” lip products and the “Naked pallets” from “Urban Decay”. Basically anything coveted in the North American market, has found its way here in well replicated dupes. It was impressive, but I am not about to consider products for my face, that are offered to me by a grisly man posted up next to the sewer. Not to mention they are an imitating bunch leering and calling out to you as you scurry past.

After the first block, it all looked like the same items over and over again. You walk down narrow corridors and are bombarded with these designer replicas and the individuals who insist that theirs is the best, and you ought to spend your money with them. I was warned to keep my electronics close and to wear my backpack on my front, less some one pick pockets from it.

Despite all this, as a tourist destination, this one shouldn’t be missed. Here, I enjoyed so much of the Malaysian-Chinese culture through what I ate.

There were metal drums churning and roasting chestnuts, despite the sun’s heat.

Carts of seafood on sticks were kept chilled by display units carved from blocks of ice. They offered hot pot to go, referred to as “steamboat” here. You choose a skewer and dip it into a lengthy basin of hot water, install within the cart. There, your dried tofu or fish balls start to cook and boil. And when done, you stand and eat, using any of the available sauces provided.

Naturally there were also many durian stands set up by the side of the road, or in the back of trucks offering the “king of fruits” (as it is referred to) whole in its shell of spikes, or carved up and wrapped up in styrofoam and Saran Wrap.

Many vendors make their snacks to order. This peanut cake was made using batter and sugarcoated, crushed peanuts for a starchy and sweet, chewy and crunchy texture. Although having it made to order, meant it was served hot, and not necessarily ideal for a tourist in this heat.

Although the freshly pressed sugar cane drink we had right after, helped to cool us down. Whole rods of sugarcane are fed into a machine that cracks the plant and extracts all its juices. It is fed through twice or trice, leaving only fibrous mulch and a cup of brown-ish green liquid that tastes like nectar and honey.

But out of everything we saw and ate within Chinatown, my favourite was this little noodle shop, hidden in an alley way. It was obscured by tarps, kept covered by pieces of metal strung together, and well lit by halogen lights.

Here they serve hot and spicy noodles out in the open. The broth is kept hot, percolating in tall metal pots. And the handmade noodles chilled in a metal box with ice.

You grab a seat at one of their plastic tables with matching chairs. Each table is set with a help-yourself can of chopsticks, and a squeeze bottle of sauce. If you need a Kleenex you aren’t going to get any here. Most outdoor restaurants, in such markets don’t supply you with a napkin. You are expected to bring your own, or to buy a pack of tissues from them at 50 cents a pack.

Upon seating yourself, you order from the first employee that greets you. The process is as simple as him/her relaying the message to the one manning the kitchen, and them bringing you the assembled bowl. This would not be my most sanitary meal in Malaysia, but certainly one of the most authentic. A link I quickly made, if I wanted to get the full immerse experience as a local.

It’s odd, despite heat in the air and the heat of the bowl, I kept going back for spoon after spoon of this hot and sour soup. It was that delicious. This would be a flavour I would forever crave. And thus ends our time in Chinatown. Assam curry. Actual stall in petaling street. Mint leaves and pineapple. Adds to it. Sour yet refreshing. Bouncyness to noodle. Chewy doughy. Thick. First for mint and pineapple in broth

To watch the video tour of Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, click the link and fast forward to 8:17 in.

Don’t deny your cravings.

TPC, Kuala Lumpur’s golf course

Golfer’s Terrace

On this day, our morning began with a visit to the “TPC Golf club”, a designated course in the golfing pro circuit. It is not only a Malaysian sight worth visiting. But according to my host, they also host a mean breakfast with seats on the terrace facing their luscious green.

The view alone and the ability to stand before it is enough reason to stop by. But you need more than just a desire to, to visit. Luckily my host had an invitation by way of his father: club membership that extended to offspring, that allowed us admittance.

Here we had Malaysian classics for breakfast. Not necessarily the first place I would think of when craving such fare, but certainly one of the most memorable.

Here we ate breakfast like the locals (who played golf) including “Kopi tiam boiled eggs”. Two soft boiled eggs, served with toasted thick white bread, kaya (a type of coconut egg jam popular in Malaysia and Singapore), and butter. You crack the still runny, partially gelatinized eggs into a bowl. And mix in some light soy sauce, to use it as a dip for your bread. To change the taste you smear some kaya over the toast and enjoy its sweet coconut flavour.

“Roti canai”, crispy flat bread served with chicken curry, dhal, and sambal ikan billis (anchovie chilli paste). It is a starchy and dense, yet light pancake dipped into sweet curry. It is wonderful as a snack you eat with your hands.

Similar in texture and flavour is the “Dosai”. An Indian style crepe served with dhal and two chutneys: a spicy tomato and a mild coconut. This too utilized a lightly fried starch as a spoon and base for some delicious savoury dips and meat spreads. This and the dish before looked and read with similarities, but their differences lay in their taste and texture.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Definitely one of the nicer places to eat in the city, if you get the chance. A wonder view, in a setting wonderfully rich with history, with a delicious meal to match. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

TPC
10, Jalan 1/70D & Off Jalan Bukit Kiara, Jalan Bukit Kiara, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
03 20119189
tpckl.com
Golfer's Terrace Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Orchid Conservatory at Majestic Hotel

High tea at the Orchid Conservatory within the Magestic Hotel

 

Here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia we bullied our way into the orchid room at the Majestic Hotel. Apparently enjoying a service here is so coveted that reservations during the weekday require a month in advance wait and a reservation during the weekend is three months in advance notice. And here we were strolling in just before the 3pm seating and being given a seat right away.

My host had made a reservation the day before and was greeted with a “yes”. However when we arrived today we were told we would not be seated and that their staff had made a mistake. That reservations could not be taken over the phone, but instead are only available to be made online. A seat for the same tea service was then offered to us in any of their other areas: the lounge, dining room, or parlour. I refused and stood firm on our first choice and they were able to accommodate us with a no show reservation. We were very lucky.

Wanting to be surrounded by orchids was the only reason why we were out here today. The orchid conservatory is the hotel’s green house. A climate controlled room set to a brisk chill, ideal for the growth of all their orchid plants. The room is set up to showcase the hanging garden and orchidscape within this glass atrium. It’s claim to fame includes being the only botanical wonder in the country, featuring a seasonal range of phalaenopsis orchids, and successfully housing thousands of stunning large-petaled blooms displayed in a re-creation of their natural habitat. As the seasons progress, so do the variety of orchids on display. They also have several tropical carnivorous plants, including the pitcher plant that traps insects in its petals, shaped like a pitcher. The benefits to dining here is not only the aesthetics, but for the scent all the flowers provide as well.

 

To experience the beauty of the orchid conservatory for yourself, click the link below to watch as our experience unfolds.

Our service began by choosing which type of tea we wanted. Then there is the show of removing it from its wrapper and setting it to steep, all completed as an exhibition before our eyes. A specific procedure performed carefully by the hands of one of their prim and proper staff. They wore uniforms and preformed with grace and ease.

A sand timer was turned upside down, and the amount that spilled from top to bottom indicated the completion of the tea brewing process. The bags were then removed ceremoniously with tongs and side plates. And then the tea pot filled with perfectly steeped tea is poured into our decorative porcelain cups. The rest is kept warm over the light of a heated pedestal.

 

Our tea for two came on a round display unit, instead of the tiered towers I am more familiar with from tea services in Vancouver. This was three tiers of shelves, and on each flat surface a glass dish or a shot glass. There were enough of the savoury items to give us one of each, but for the desserts we were meant to share.

And interestingly, our tower included a copper bento box of warm items to start. Two of each of the following fried items. Fried rice and mushroom croquette, scotch eggs, and a chicken drum with its end wrapped in tinfoil for your eating consideration. They were served with a side of creamy mayo and tangy plum sauce for dipping into.

The finger sandwiches included a cucumber and cream on white bread, chicken salad and lettuce on focaccia, and shrimp with alfalfa sprouts on a seeded bun.

The middle layer featured three scones, two plain and one with raisins, each buttery and light. They also made a serving of blueberry jam and clotted cream available as a spread for them.

The dessert course crowned the presentation unit. A roti-like bun topped with a creamy peanut butter whip and tart raspberry chocolate disc, and filled with luscious custard. A fresh fruit tart with zesty cream and a buttery crust. And a New York style cheese cake bite with a strawberry jam topping, accented by a pink leopard printed chocolate square. I liked the raspberry jam panna cotta with fresh blueberries and crunchy meringue bits the best. And appreciated the texture of the chocolate mousse over flaky pastry.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
When else can you enjoy a tranquil tea, set in such unique surroundings? Don’t deny your cravings.

 

ORCHID CONSERVATORY
Level 2, The Majestic Hotel, 5, Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, Tasik Perdana, Kuala Lumpur 50000
03 27858000
majestickl.com/orchird-conservatory.html
The Orchid Conservatory - The Majestic Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Village Park Restaurant, the best Nasi Lemak in the city

“Village Park” is well known for their nasi lamak, one of the most iconic dishes in the Malaysian cookbook. They are apparently one of the places that does it the best.

“Nasi Lemak” is a fragrant Malay dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf, so popular that it is often referred to as their national dish. So when in Malaysia for the first time, you bee line it to the place that does it the best. And according to the newspaper articles, the sea of people dining and waiting, and my host, this was the one to visit for the best Kuala Lumpur had to offer.

Apparently on this Sunday it was considered a slow day, whereas it is far busier on a weekday when the employees of neighbouring businesses join the crowd.

The heavy rain this morning wasn’t a deterrent for those eating out on their sidewalk patio or lingering around for a table of their own. The former just looked happy to be seated and able to eat, and the latter knew the wait in wet would be worth it. Although inside, the queue for a seat snaked around and in between the tables of those already served was long, and those in it impatient. We were lucky enough to grab a table for two just as it cleared. Though it is more often the case that you end up sharing a larger table meant for a larger group with your two. No one minds. This is the type of place where you eat and go. Service isn’t anything more than a taking your order, delivering your plate, then bussing it when you leave to pay at the counter.

You push through the entry way, past their hot food bar. They are in such high demand that everything is premade, but picked up so quickly that everything in their heated troughs see a limited wait time and a much quicker turn around. For those not willing or wanting to wait for a table, you can just as easy take out.

The chef at the fried chicken station was working with a constant chop, cutting down the blackened pieces of Malaysian style chicken to finish off each plate of Nasi Lemak with. He was doing this assembly style, bringing multiple plates to pass, without orders, knowing they would be requested for soon enough.

Naturally, we were one of the many that ordered this dish, and not surprising it was quick to come to our table. We added on some salted squid to have more to share between two. It was delicious. Despite its hue the chicken didn’t taste burnt. It was flavourful with Chinese spices and included an extremely crispy crunch. The various salty sides and the steamed white rice rounded out each bite of chicken nicely. Although I could have used some freshness on this all brown plate. Maybe some pickled vegetables, cucumber or carrots for balance?

Although we did get some vegetables in our curry dish. Potatoes, onions, green beans, and carrots with cubes of rice; all topped in a spicy peanut sauce. I liked the flavour of the sweeter curry, finding it enjoyable to sip from spoon as is. Although I wanted more from the dish textural. Everything on the plate was steamed or boiled soft, the peanut mix added some chew, but I wanted something more firm to sink my teeth into. The tender pieces of squid above would have been nice here, or even some slices of chicken, and maybe noodles instead of the cubes of rice? Although I acknowledge that the cubes were a clever way to remix rice into easy to eat bites.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
If the pushing and shoving of the crowd is any indication, this is definitely the one the locals recommend. So if visiting KL this is one place definitely worth trying. Just be sure to plan your day around a wait. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

VILLAGE PARK
No. 5, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
60 3-7710-7860
Village Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pantai Seafood Restaurant, over 30 live seafood tanks

Our original plan was to drive towards the water and have a nice seafood dinner with a view. However with the looming threat of heavy showers, we decided to satisfy our seafood cravings a little closer to our week long home.

We would be dining with my host’s parents, locals who knew where to go for good seafood. This restaurant is one of their favourites. A larger space, hidden in an industrial area, surrounded by smaller cafeterias and chain linked lots. But it was worth travelling to just to see their wall of live seafood tanks. The oversized king crabs in the restaurant’s surrounding trees and on its awning marked the spot.

Clearly one of their claims to fame was these six rows of live seafood tanks, housing over and offering over 30 different fish, mollusks and crustaceans for dinner. Something especially awe inspiring for me considering at most, seafood restaurants in Vancouver keep 2-5 different fish and shellfish at the ready, and charge a lot more for their freshness.

The restaurant had plenty of seating between three room and two levels, although didn’t offer the parking space to measure up to its seating capacity. Despite our reservation we were still given a table on the not so stable top floor (the ground shook with every step, and at weak points your foot sunk into the floor.) We were not happy with our seating arrangement, when the view was much better on the first floor, and seeing as there were still so many tables available there. The staff wouldn’t let us budge, and this small act would set the tone for the rest of our time with them. Disappointing service to match with the lack lustre attitudes of our servers. We even had one server go so far as to not make eye contact with us, in order to not have to approach our table. The others pitched in, but requests for utensils were forgotten, orders made never came, and I have never felt more like a burden at a dinner we were paying for in full and then expected to tip, than during this meal.

The experience was further confusing with external vendors approaching us for the sale of lottery cards. And beer company’s represented by women in branded short dresses hawkering their brand of brew. The salesman ship was too aggressive for my taste. It and the service was just disappointing, but at least the food measured up, and knowing that everything was as fresh as it could be, only made it taste better.

Without ordering or seeing the menu, the below is my best account of what we had.

The meal began with a serving of spicy pickled mixed vegetable called “achar”. You have them as a side, or in this case a hot start to get the appetite going.

We had juice from a fresh young coconut to cool our mouths down with afterwards. Although I was disappointed that the fruit was wrapped in cellophane and imported. Especially as the country has an abundance of such fruit, which is offered road side for purchase with ease.

The Singapore style sweet and sour crab was a nice chunky mix of sauce and meat. My dislike of getting my hands dirty stopped from trying much of this. Although had I chosen to, I would have appreciated the sealed wet wipe pre-set by each place setting for me to use as it would be needed.

The squid coated in duck yolk was my favourite of the night, and something I have to try to find available in Vancouver. The dish combined two things I like, not knowing they were even complimentary to one another. The chalkiness of the egg yolk became a coating for the rubbery squid, creating a new textural element. And its unique flavour of mildly salty and thoroughly yolky blended together made the pieces of squid one you can back for to experience again and again.

This was my first time having razor clam, obviously earning their name from the shape of their frame, they were like double hinged blades. Chewy pieces of steamed clam cut up and topped with minced garlic on one end of the shell, and a mouthful of vermicelli seasoned in its likeness on the other. Together they made a great bite. The texture of the clam was much like the squid above, perfectly cooked to have that ideal chewy texture that didn’t leave your jaw aching from a rubbery chew.

I don’t like leafy greens, but if all of them are prepared like this, I may have to reassess. This is a plate of gai lan (also referred to as Chinese broccoli) served two ways. The steamed version wasn’t all that tasty, but it offered a balance of vegetables and freshness for the dishes we had and the ones to come. Though how they fried the leaves to a crisp was magic. It gave it a great airy texture, one that was easy to pop into your mouth and enjoy as is, or to use as a side flavour for any of the dishes we had. If this was available at any place, I would order it from them at any time.

This was a clay hot pot of organ meat. Our host took my bluff when I said that I eat everything. I liked the texture of the liver, something I haven’t visited since my childhood. The stomach was a little too chewy. Well sauced and well seasoned. Delicious if you are already use to having textures like this with aftertastes that aren’t immediately deemed delicious.

The clams in black bean sauce had a great flavour. It was easy to pick out pieces of meat from open shell, though you needed a few on the tip of your fork for a more substantial bite.

And for dessert we enjoyed a plate of sweet cut mangos, using chopsticks. It was something refreshing and sweet to end such a flavourful meal on.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
The food was great, everything we tried, I haven’t ever had anything else like it. I just wish diners were able to eat by the live tanks for ambience, and that the service measured up to the splendour of our meal. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

PANTAI SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Lot 13575, Jalan Cempaka PJU 6A, Kg. Sg. Kayu Ara, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. 603-7725-5099
unique-seafood.com
Pantai Seafood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Macha & Co., a banana leaf restaurant

For dinner on our first night we travelled to “Curve”, an outdoor mall. It wasn’t as modern as “Midvalley” and it didn’t have as many enticing retail options. Although this is the only mall with an authorized Lego store and a Hello Kitty shop. It also had its own small skating rink and market bazaar lit in neon pink.

Though for the locals, this mall with its outdoor pavilion is better known as a food hot spot. The outdoor annex to the mall has its walkways marked by strings of lights, bridging the gap from establishments on the right to the ones on the left. There were two levels of restaurant after restaurant. Each standalone had its own well designed theme and look. It all felt like you were walking along a street, instead of in the courtyard of a mall. They had American classics like Red Lobster, Johnny Rockets, and Bubba Gump. And more options that were one of a kind serving both traditional Malay and other international cuisines.

We ate at the Indian chain, “Macha & Co”, also referred to as the “banana leaf restaurant”. As its sub title explained, it is a restaurant where you eat off of banana leaves. They take this traditional practice and market it to a mainstream audience, giving the food and restaurant more of a fast food vibe. A friendly way for tourists, like myself, to participate in this tradition in a casual setting.

It is customary to eat with your hands and then wash up at the sinks built within the dining room when done. And when your meal is at an end, the way you fold our leaf “plate” over indicates your appreciation for what you had. Folding it inwards, towards you indicates enjoyment.

The “Banana leaf set meal” starts off with a banana leaf placemat. Then one by one servers come to give you options on what you can have to eat off of it. They carry metal caddies and bowls that are ladled and scooped out before you. This includes white and/or brown rice, three of their vegetable dishes, two papadams (thin fried flour sheets), fried salted dried chilli, acar (a spicy pickle vegetable mix), and your choice of curry out of four.

Our indecisiveness got us a taste of all four curries including daal and a fish one. The veggies were steamed long beans, stewed cabbage, and fried lady fingers (okra), which I enjoyed the most. This assembly was a celebration of flavour.

We also tried their “Chicken 65”. An Indian style fried chicken seasoned with 65 spices. They were juicy white meat chunks, that surprising were not overwhelmed with all 65 spices. All little bowl of them went along way with spicy bites and herbaceous after notes.

The “Mixed tandoori” was a sight. Served on a hanging skewer table stand, that your server helps you remove meat from stick table side. It is really for the show, it worked on me wanting to order it. This one was with prawn, fish, lamb sheesh kebab, and chicken meat. Served with a cooling dip and undressed slaw. The quality of the meat was just okay, the prawn were overlooked and flavourless, the chicken meat drab and dry compared to the one above; and the lamb was seasoned the best, but it too needed some extra chewing to break its meat down.

My host also had a cup of “Masala tea”. It is served in a metal cup, with in a bucket.

For dessert we had their “Signature roti durian tissue gula melaka”. This is a cone of crispy cracker that is not soft, but thin and fragile like tissue. It is dressed with condense milk, durian syrup, and shredded coconut to finish. It was more fun to eat than it was delicious to taste. Not enough durian flavour and the shredded coconut took away from it’s enjoyable crispy texture.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
This was a great way to dip my foot into more traditional Malaysia cuisine, on my first day. Tourist friendly staff serving delicious food, off a menu that I am sure everyone can find something to enjoy on. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MATCHA & CO.
Ground Level, The Curve, 6, Jalan PJU 7/3, Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Selangor47810
03 772 63366
Macha & Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

KL Tower & its Revolving Restaurant

Part of our sight seeing brought us to “KL Tower”, the starting and ending point of the “hop on hop off” tourist bus tour. The tower is the highest point in the city, and home to a revolving restaurant and an observation deck.

To watch the video recall of this event please click below, and fast forward to the 7 minutes 30 second mark.

We visited during the day and came back in time for our 6pm dinner seating. This thoughtful planning from my host, guaranteed us a view of the city while it was still bright out; while also giving us the opportunity to watch the sun set and the KL light up with bulbs in its place. The trouble we had in reaching this altitude was definitely worth the view. And a good thing too, as the buffet was only impressive to look at; and after the first round, I didn’t find much I wanted to go back for.

By day the tower is framed with white clouds and palm tree fronds. And by night it is highlighted in the glowing rotation of neon colours. It was all you can eat with a bird’s eye view, and a dress code of smart casual or easy-glam.

But once again, getting to our sky high table would be a challenge. As with most tourist attractions this one had many traps surrounding it. Stores and attractions meant to distract and lure visitors in. This list included a Ferrari themed store and a miniature juggle-zoo. We had to wade past all these in order to earn our spot, in line at the front desk. Our reservation guaranteed us a table at our specified seating times. However the disorganization of the tower’s staff ensured we would be late for that seating. And with only a two hour time cap, we were left scurrying. When it comes to all-you-can-eat, and getting your money’s worth, time is definitely an asset.

But at least we weren’t the only ones left unhappily waiting. With just the one elevator going up to the very top, there was a chaotic queue to step into it. A guard wove in between those in line and those not, but did nothing to regulate. The staff were unable to organize the visitors into a single line for the elevator lobby, let alone one for the restaurant and one for the observation deck. As a result many budged through, and at one point a fight almost broke out at the front of of it. Once again the guard found no action to take.

With crapped patience we eventually go to the elevator lobby. It was a lot nicer than the elevator itself. With patterned tiles and a crystal and gold feature built into the ceiling, I was enamoured over the latter. Whereas the elevator was a tight box, giving us an ear-popping ride up, without a view.

Upon reaching the top floor, the space opens up. As promised the restaurant revolves with a wrap around seating area. This is cleverly done to ensure the maximizing of tables facing the view. It takes a full hour for the restaurant to make a full turn. You are shown your table and give free reign access to the buffet once settled.

Appetizers to desserts it was arranged to flow clockwise from start to finish. There were one bite canapés in plastic containers, pickled vegetables, and mixed seafood and greens salads for appetizers.

Bite sized samoas, spring rolls, and tandoori chicken with naan were all kept under heat lamps.

There were meat on skewers available face down in pots, along side a peanut sauce for dipping; and a couple of seasoned rice dishes and chunky meat stews.

Mains include meats and vegetables within individually heated domes. Steamed root and floret vegetables and roasted duck with rice crackers.

Two steamers kept a collection of dim sum dumplings warm. Rounds of pork and fish wrapped in neat, colourful bundles.

A basin filled with crushed ice kept their crustaceans and mollusks as fresh as possible. None-the-less I tend to stay away from seafood out in the open like this. The rule is, better safe than sorry when traveling, or a higher possibility of food poisoning.

The same went for the sashimi platters. Beside it was tray of curious sushi that I did partake in. The roll made with canned tuna and ranch dressing was most questionable. Yet it continue to be taken and tried, so much so that the three men who continuously rolled had to do so faster, in order to keep the platter filled.

For dessert there was a refrigerator of hard ice creams for you to self scoop, pots of dessert soup to ladle into bowls, mousse and jello in cups, and cakes cut into small rectangular bites.

The food was great the first round, given how long we waited and how hungry we grew because of it.

Though the second round had us struggling over what to get more of, and growing increasingly skeptical of the thawing and slowly discolouring seafood.

And finally the third round saw us sampling much of desserts and needing not to finish any of it.

Through it all the constant enjoyable portion was the view. It never stopped being breath taking. Though being spoiled by the visual nature of Vancouver, I found myself looking for mountains and bodies of water, where there was none. Instead, clusters of steel and iron surrounding sky scrapers, and an angled view of the twin towers. As the first time around, the novelty of this is still fresh for me, and even more so as a visiting tourist. But for a local or as a return trip for myself, it will have to be for the right occasion. The food wasn’t anything to revisit, even for seconds of.

I recommend coming for an earlier dinner like we did. The day light is the best for appreciating the view. It also allows for the best photos, without the glare and reflection off a window at night. Or do as many others did, come to celebrate an occasion with dinner. Tonight it felt like it was everyone’s birthday. One after another, tables were being sung too, and cakes with candles were being delivered to each table. The first three were cute, by the time six and seven rolled around, I just wanted to enjoy my meal in quiet.

Don’t deny your cravings.

 

Atmosphere 360
TH.02, Menara Kuala Lumpur, 2, Jalan Punchak Off Jalan P. Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur City Center, Kuala Lumpur 50250
03 20202121
Atmosphere 360 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

KL Petronas twin towers and the KLCC mall

We took the skytrain to the twin towers. The ride required the purchase of a token that gets scanned at the start of your trip and deposited into a giant coin slot and the end of it. If you should loose this particular token it would cost you.

To watch the video version of our adventure, visit the link below

At the base of the tower is a high end mall with its own patch of greenery and water fountain. A park with green grass and thriving trees, where you can sit and enjoy a cranked neck, upwards stare at the Malaysia’s twin towers. Now, the tallest twin towers in the world. They were joined together by a glass bridge. And apparently there is a fee to be able to ascend up and walk across it from one tower to the other.

Within the Suria KLCC mall I couldn’t help but gawk at the six levels to explore. Apparently as a business and a vendor you have to be invited to rent space here. The bottom layers are reserved for the high end brands. The top two tiers are for restaurants and services. And the middle was a mix of everything in between.

Here we drooled over a bevy of kuehs from a local dessert chain. I have never seen so many colourful kinds, although sadly get a chance to try any though.

We had tea time at the legendary “Harrods”, a luxury department store originating in London. Their representation here included a tea salon and a well stocked bar.

We then had a North American lunch at “Le Table”, a cafe set behind a bakery. Here they offered all day egg breakfasts, burger lunches with an Asian twists, and even fried chicken and waffles.

It is here that I checked another one off my foodie bucket list. I finally had my first taste of a black charcoal burger bun, with their new “Har jiong”(prawn paste) chicken burger. Juicy crispy chicken, a shrimp paste marinade, and charred pineapple, with a side of fries or chips. The bun didn’t taste any different, it was the salty shrimp paste partnered with the sweet pineapple ring that set it apart.

Whereas my host had a much more western style breakfast platter. A plate of scrambled eggs, sausage, grilled tomato slices and mushrooms, sweetened baked beans, and hash browns; with a flaky croissant baked in house. He claimed it to be uninspiring and that the croissant lacked lustre.

But the pandan panna cotta we shared was much more memorable. The flavour I love, with a texture that is silken and smooth, like cream in a bun.

Here we also had our first shared taste of Malaysian cendol together. This food court stall has been making cendol (a shaved ice and chilled coconut milk dessert), their way since 1936. Though sadly it just didn’t measure up for me. It was more watery than anticipated, with all the milk melting majority of the shaved ice. The durian fruit we added on was at least lovely. Fragrant and sweet, a wonderful compliment to an already refreshing and tropical dessert.

There was rumoured to be a gold toilet in the KLCC tower, as part of the mall. So we added urinating in it to our tourist experience. But this opportunity would cost us. $2.60 was the asking price to use this special toilet. It was the most I have ever paid to relieve myself, and therefore I was left expecting so much more.

Sadly, there was no literal gold toilet. “Gold toilet” was a term used to describe their premium toilet service. No physical golden throne, instead it was a regular porcelain bowl or squat trough. Each gendered room had two attendants to service it. They cleaned up after each user and sent you in with a specialty branded wet wipe. But other than that they were no different from the other toilets on the other floors. I didn’t even use the wet wipe. And although it was two ply paper, it was very difficult to pull the toilet paper from the napkin dispensers within each stall. So what I ended up using was shreds of what I could gather from clenched pulls. Needless to say this was not the best pee experience I have ever had, and frankly not worth the money, especially where it was free to pee on the other floors.

As for the rest of trip and for the rest of my bodily excretions, when it came time to use the facilities I had to inconvenience my host by insisting on a non squat toilet. At the beginning I psyched myself up on going like the locals. And was ready to give it a try. However, once I locked the door I realized that there was no toilet paper; and only a hose and nozzle with water, that made up their version of a bidet. I wasn’t apposed to using it after a good wipe for that extra clean feeling. But that would require the hassle of removing your socks, shoes, and pants. And then the question of how would you dry yourself off after it? The stalls with bowls each had toilet paper in conjunction with the biget. However, the one I was then standing in first had none. Just a hole in the floor and a hose on the wall. And I don’t trust myself or my accuracy to not pee on my own foot. Although in flip flops with a hose, I guess I could have easily cleaned up?

I would later learn that the best washrooms and the ones that had the bowls I was most familiar with, were typically located within hotels. So after this point there was a need to consume less fluids in order to not further inconvenience my host with trek after trek to newer malls and boutique hotels just to pee. We would walk great lengths to be able to use one of these facilities, and on every occasion it was well worth it. If I am going to drop trou and be bare bottomed I want it to be in a well sanitized arena. And these classy toilets were it. I wish I better documented this for my blog, as I often find myself writing heavily on washrooms and the bodily functions that happen within them. But I digress, I can and did go on and on about the toilet situation in Malaysia, to the chagrin of my host. And to this point, I still have many questions.

Once such washroom excursion led us to an extravagant hotel, adjacent to KLCC. There, we stopped to snack on their offerings of macarons. Naturally, we gravitated towards the more local flavours (exotic in my case). Like coconut, lychee, pandan, and durian.

This is definitely a must visit when in Kuala Lumpur, the only mall with a sight to been seen and good food to be had, all in one.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén