A day eating and shopping at Malaysia’s Midvalley mall.
Given the heat and humidity of the country, many of its visitors and citizens flock indoors to keep cool and entertained. Therefore the city of Kuala Lumpur is speckled with high rise malls and shopping complexes. A few stand out, but many offer the same international shops. Below is an account of the handful we visited, what we saw there and what we ate within. Most of it is very modern, with some updates to that of the traditional.
Here is where I would learn how tourist friendly the city is. How majority of the locals are fluent English, so there is no need to speak in simple terms. There is English and Malay on most packaging and many signs, so you can read and navigate yourself. There is also a lot of familiar North American shops and international brand name boutiques to make you feel right at home. However we would not be visiting any of these, as I allocated all my funds in the support of exploring the Malaysian food scene.
And this food scene within each mall we visited, was very memorable. Pretty much every modern restaurant was consistent in delivering great service table to table. Everyone was super friendly and chatty. There were jokes told in exchange for a little extra in our servings. The energy was so positive, happy people socializing over delicious food.
We visited the “Midvalley mega mall” a handful of times, it is the largest in the city. It is advised that you visit them before 11am to ensure you get yourself an underground parking spot, or be forever searching for a stall round after round. The mall also offers a women’s only parking area, where it is sectioned off in pink, but not entirely enforced. The idea is to have a designated space, close to the mall’s entrance to give women a quick trip to their vehicle, and the feeling of safety while traveling.
To watch the summary of this mall account, click below for my video featuring the food courts of Malaysia.
The mall itself is huge, spread across two buildings. The main tower has four levels, and the higher end boutique side has four more. The second half of the mall is referred to as the “Gardens”, it includes stores like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Prada. As well as a TWG kiosk that ran down the length of a corridor, about 7 shops long.
We started at the very bottom of the mall’s main tower, at their basement foodcourt, where they offered more traditional Malaysian meals. At “Ting Tan Foo” they have a choose your own adventure of noodles. You begin by getting a bowl and picking through all the dried and fried ingredients. Using tongs, you place what you want in your bowl. And at the register you tell the clerk your choice of noodle, and what you want over it between a curry or chicken soup broth. They take care of the rest behind, topping it with fried onion and sesame seeds to finish.
Here, regular food court rules apply, your bowl is served on a plastic tray, you gather your utensils and take them to any free table. And once done you leave everything behind for the staff to bus up.
With the curry base bowl of noodles we had some “beef intestine noodles”. Noodles given their name based on how they look when being made. With it we had fish cake, artificial crab, and fish cake stuffed eggplant. The texture of these noodles were nice and starchy, a chew to them that I would crave for again
Our bowl of chicken broth noodles had two types of noodles a thicker yellow egg one, and a thinner vermicelli. With it we had a flattened fish cake, fried prawn cake, and a type of Chinese spinach. It is all cut up with scissors by the clerk before being topped with the broth and some fried onions. This was less tasty in comparison to the crimson soup above.
At the “I Love Yoo” stand, we had some coffee with condense milk in hot and cold. And a snack of deep fried glutinous cake. The cake was grainy like mash potato on the inside and crispy and fried on the outside. Not sweet, not quite savoury, just something hearty to fill you up with.
Given its appearance, I couldn’t miss having a bite at the “Dazzling Cafe”, only to learn that we had a location in Richmond as well. It is a well decorated, girly-themed cafe. A chic white and grey motif with pops of gold and a garden of orchids. I remember it well for its mezzanine-gazebo with hanging bulbs and trails of white flowers, and its white chairs with erect rabbit ears. It was all too cute.
We ordered one of their waffles based on its handsome photo in the menu. Here you are given a choice of texture for your waffles: Soft, normal, or crispy. This is a crispy waffle with chocolate chips, whipped cream, and a pour yourself jug of maple syrup. It is served with Valrhona chocolate ice cream. I have had my fair share of waffles, and deem this one pretty standard.
We visited the Kit Kat chocolatory where we customized our own chocolate bars as well as picked up some of their regionally specific flavours to take home. To watch the video of us customizing our own kit kat bars click here.
To customize your own kit kat bar, you basically work your way through the kiosk’s options. Choosing the base chocolate between white, milk, or dark. Then making it your own by adding up to three different ingredients with options like chilli pepper flakes, pistachio, and dried blueberry. You then get to customize the packaging by adding your name and photo to one of their preloaded backgrounds and titles.
After paying they begin crafting your bar. Behind the glass window of their work space you get to watch this unfold before your very eyes. Toppings, melted chocolate, cookie waffle, a hard shake and more toppings; then off it goes into the freezer. They text you when your bar is done, packaged your way, and ready for pick up.
We then moved on to making our own magnum ice cream bars and the “Magnum Cafe”. Here you can order one of their preselected flavour combinations or dare to come up with a mix all your own. We decided to test our imaginations and create yourselves a three ingredient combo on the spot. Once again it starts by picking your base bar from either white, milk, or dark chocolate. The bar then gets a dip in a pool of either white, milk, or dark chocolate; depending on your tastes. This is before being topped with the three toppings of your choosing. It is then finished off with a chocolate drizzle and their trademark and edible chocolate “M” embossed medallion. They are generous with everything here and what you get is one of the most sumptuous ice cream bars you will ever have.
My host had a white chocolate bar with a milk chocolate dip; topped with mango, hazelnuts, chocolate crisps, and a white chocolate drizzle. I had the milk chocolate bar with white chocolate dip. It was topped with chilli flakes, Assam jawa, and sour plum. His was sweet and crunchy, whereas mine was spicy, sour, and sweet from the ice cream. We both agreed that mine proved to be a unique combination worth revisiting.
Looking for something savoury, we stopped at the “Popiah” stall, to try a snack of the same name. It is essentially a thin egg crepe used to wrap several ingredients. This included julienned carrots and cucumbers, fried flour, eggs, and crushed peanuts. All sauced in a sweet and spicy dressing, and served to go in a plastic tray with chopsticks. Although it is much easier to eat it with your hands. It is the texture of the crispy bits and the heat from the warm crepe that really sets this one apart.
I stopped to admire the collection of “Dunkin Doughnuts” at their kiosk. A showcase of cake and sugar raised rounds filled or topped with various spreads, nuts, and sprinkles.
We also did some grocery shopping in the mall, as I am interested in what the people of other countries deem everyday and essential. Of note were all the displays of cooked food and raw meats out in the open. You were able to help yourself to each. Whole uncooked and seasoned chickens ready for the oven verses Japanese tempura, yakitori, barbecue, and fried foods on sticks. Using tongs you put what you want into an available plastic bags, then simply proceed to the cashier to pay for it.
Pork products and alcohol are kept in a separate room out of respect for the majority of the population, and their religious beliefs. I picked up a bottle of hello kitty rose from here and ogled the many cans of many flavoured spam.
I can see why malls draw in the crowds here. The weather is at times too warm, and the rain is unpredictable. Each tower full of shops offer rest and entertainment with the convenience of satisfying any of your cravings across their multitude of food courts and indoor restaurants. There is a mall practically around every corner for good reason.