Kuala Lumpur Recommendations

This might be a bit of a long shot as I’m not sure this board region has lifted off the ground, but worth a shot!

In a few weeks I’m heading to Kuala Lumpur for 3 nights, prior to travelling on to Penang. I’ve been before and feel compelled to get some street food on two of the nights, from Jalan Alor (we really enjoyed the kam Hiong crab at WAW) and Wai Sek Kai (based on an excellent post by klyeoh - http://www.chowhound.com/post/kuala-lumpur-night-market-food-street-wai-sek-kai-pudu-1012485), and hopefully fit in a trip to the Imbi Market and maybe a banana leaf place if I can fit it in.

But to keep it simple for the first jet lagged night, I’m looking for a restaurant. I’m not really particular about the budget, but I’m looking for something I can’t experience in London, and something that won’t be better in Penang.

I haven’t figured out what that might be yet, we’re arranging the trip quite late so I’m still figuring out what Penang’s specialities are, but it seems like they have better hawker food, nasi kandar and Nonya places.

I’m tempted to go to a solid Cantonese place like Restoran Oversea Imbi, especially after all the praise on CH for their roast pork and char siu, but I wonder whether that won’t be an order of magnitude better than places in London like Four Seasons, and they seem to regularly sell out.

Any ideas?

I don’t think @klyeoh has been here recently but flagging him on this thread.

Check out my trip report on Chowhound for my KL / Penang trip in Nov. 2014. Imbi Market will be moved compared to when I was there.

BTW, the taxi cabs are awful in KL! Uber was available, and I’d try that if I visited again.

I met up with Klyeoh in KL in March and he took me to some great places in Chinatown. Report from Chowhound here.

http://www.chowhound.com/post/singapore-malaysia-part-3-5-kuala-lumpur-report-1009250.

I have his email so will see if he wants to post here but he has a FB group now. As for the cabs mentioned by Hyper Klyoeh would certainly concur but I used the metro while there and found it fairly easy to navigate.

I also went to Penang. Report here but my faves were Mama’s and Line Clear.

Thank you both for sharing your trips. We used a few cabs last time we were in the city and found it pretty bad, but then awful taxis definitely aren’t a problem unique to KL. We had a long distance trip to the Cameron Highlands last time and I remember the driver complaining about sharp increases in the price of fuel, so it’s probably naivety but I wondered if that was a cause of their general reluctance to use a meter.

Paprikaboy, did you ever write up part 5, Langkawi? Not sure if I’m just failing to find it or whether it’s not there.

We’ll be heading there to finish our trip after Penang. I get the impression it’s going to be an anti climax in terms of food, but we’re hoping to unwind a bit and see some nature.

Hi Guys - sorry for the hiatus. I recently re-located from Kuala Lumpur to Penang after a change of jobs - my new company (a Singapore one) allows us to locate ourselves anywhere in Malaysia whilst we handle Malaysia-based projects and I figured that since I’d already spent 5 years in Kuala Lumpur, why not move to Penang instead, where there’s better food, nicer environment and a smaller, easy-to-navigate city (500,000 populace compared to KL’s 5 million). I just moved into my new place in George Town end of Dec, so starting my food exploration soon - yesterday, had a fab “lam mee” (pork-shrimp noodle soup dish) at Penang’s Victorian-era Campbell Street Market, at the junction of Buckingham St, Carnarvon St and Campbell St. I don’t see this dish in KL, but it’s similar to Singapore’s Nyonya “lam mee”.

Jalan Alor is still KL’s answer to Singapore’s Newton Circus - 80% of the food places are dedicated to BBQ seafood and targeted at the tourists. It’s nice, but not so much for KL locals who go to specific, very small clusters of night food stalls for their fix. Wai Sek Kai is one such place which you must explore - go after 6pm. and make a beeline for the Daipu Hakka noodle spot: it tends to sell out before 9pm on busy evenings. KL doesn’t really have really interesting night food streets like Penang’s Kimberley Street and Chulia Street.

Oversea at Imbi is always worth visiting if you want the best Cantonese in town. It’s not cheap but very affordable as the ringgit is pretty low these days vs the USD or GBP. The best crispy-skinned roast pork in KL can be had at Wong Mee Kee in Pudu, whilst the best BBQ pork or “char-siu” is at Soo Kee in Ampang (not to be confused with Soo Kee in Pudu which is renowned for its noodles with freshwater prawns). But Oversea can produce respectable versions in much better surroundings than either Wong Mee Kee (which opens at 12 noon each day and sells out in one or two hours!) or Soo Kee which is located way out on the city’s outer limits. Try and catch these Cantonese roasts in KL, as Penang doesn’t do them as well - Penang’s Chinese populace is mainly Hokkien and Teochew - similar to Singapore’s, whereas KL is mainly Cantonese.

I joined the Malaysia Food Whisperers FB group (an offshoot of the Singapore Food Whisperers) last year, but they’ve made me one of the administrators since. I have some very detailed write-ups on food places in KL, Penang, Ipoh, Malacca and other Malaysian cities if you’d like to join the group:

BTW, I’m now in Penang (unless I’m on home leave in Singapore or away on project work in KL or somewhere in Malaysia), so anyone who’s in town and wants to catch up for a bite can always drop me a line.

Rgds

Klyeoh

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Lex, I’d love to tell you that your impression about the food on Langkawi is wrong but unfortunately that was my experience. It was the worst food in Malaysia by a mile and given the great food I had elsewhere I didn’t have the heartto write up such a disappointing experience. Dinners were pretty much a write off even at the night market. I was staying at Pantai Tengah and the food was very much aimed at tourists. The nasi campur place wasn’t bad especially the beef curry. Also stopped for nasi lemak on the cycle back from the cable car ( worth a visit BTW) it’s about 3 miles from the cable car towards the airport. A little shack with a nasi lemak sign.
I don’t drive and there’s no public transport on the island so you may fare better if you have a car as I was limited in my choices.

Does that mean there is proper Teochew congee over there?

Honestly, I’d not found good Teochew congee commercially in Penang - and, come to think of it, neither in Singapore. I’d only come across them in Bangkok, esp. in Yaowarat/Chinatown there.

The most famous congee in Penang are Cantonese ones - one on Kuala Kangsar Road morning market, and one at New Lane which opens from mid-day onwards. Don’t miss either one if you’re in Penang - amazing flavours.

Klyeoh - great to see you posting. Your relocation may be a good excuse to revisit Penang and see if I can navigate to better food this time.
Cheers
Phil

Anytime, PhilD. Just come to Penang - it’s a street food haven, and I’m always happy to show folks around :-

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold