[Kuala Lumpur] Trip Report

Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa

It always seems to rain like clockwork in the evening when we’re in KL, so by the time we’d got to our hotel and waited for it to lapse, it was pretty late. We wandered to Kampung Baru as I’d read about this place last time we were in Malaysia and thought nasi lemak would be a good start to our trip.

Was spaced out from the flight and not interacting with the staff very well, so meat wise only ended up with a wing of chicken rendang, otherwise I should have tried more things. The rendang was fragrant, and the ikan billis here were good, but my egg was over boiled (this was true pretty much everywhere we went, must be the norm). Partner had a fried egg that was better, and chilli fried chicken. There was connected drinks stall selling all manner of coconut drinks and floats. Overall, nothing amazing but a good start - definitely not a dud.

Imbi Market

Visiting in the middle of Chinese New Year meant that some of the more well known stalls were shut (Ah Weng Koh for the hainan coffee and most of the stalls around it), but the chee cheong fun stall was open. The owner was very friendly and critiqued our toppings, praising our selection and suggesting other things to try. Our selection included okra, beancurd skins, aubergine, lotus root and a very pink but nicely spiced sausage.

Venturing further towards the wet market there were still quite a few stalls operating, including another place serving hainan coffee tea. I tried a Sarawak style laksa from a stall here, which looked like it was only available on a Sunday. I’ve only had Sarawak laksa once before, a few years ago in Kuching, so can’t remember enough to judge how authentic this was, but it was certainly good eating.

With the egg tart shop shut, we opted for apam balik. There were two stalls selling pancakes, I’m not sure on the names for the different variants, but one was thin and crispy, and the other (which we opted for) were the more spongy ones filled with sweet peanuts.

Pudu Wai Sek Kai

Wanted to try something other than Jalan Alor, so was eager to try here after reading Klyeoh’s post on CH (http://www.chowhound.com/post/kuala-lumpur-night-market-food-street-wai-sek-kai-pudu-1012485).

We tried the Hakka noodles, BBQ sotong rojak, char koay kak and fried chicken here. Each one was delicious.

Think I may have paid the tourist price for the rojak, or it’s a pricey dish indeed. At 17rm I think it was the most expensive piece of street food on the whole holiday. It was a really interesting dish, I enjoyed it but my partner found the dried cuttlefish too strong in flavour. Sweet and at the same time very savoury and smoky.

This was the first of many char koay kaks, and a great start it was. I’m still unsure whether this dish is made with radish cake or rice cake, or whether it varies based on the vendor.

Ordered a single thigh from the fried chicken stall as it was perpetually busy so I had to try it. This was surprisingly moist, I was expecting it to be a bit dry but it was actually really really good.



“Think I may have paid the tourist price for the rojak, or it’s a pricey dish indeed. At 17rm I think it was the most expensive piece of street food on the whole holiday.”

You’re not the only one who thinks so - I was charged a hefty RM18 when I was there, and I suspected then that I was being overcharged as she detected my non-KL/Singapore accent when I ordered. It was also the priciest hawker dish I’d paid in my 4 years of staying in KL!

Devi’s Corner

We fancied banana leaf and had read that Bangsar was a good destination - mainly from 5 year old chowhound posts but nothing more recent contradicted. It was a toss up between this place or Sri Nirwana Maju, which appears to be really well known, but has a fairly mixed reception online, so we ended to Devi’s Corner, just around the corner. The banana leaf is served upstairs, and comes complete with 4 vegetable dishes . Two of them were really good: a lentil dish and one made with okra, which was deliciously firey. The third which was possibly potato or squash (it was slightly sweet) was a bit bland in comparison, however it was much milder, so as a cooling accompaniment it wasn’t bad. The last was a portion of fried bitter gourd, which was excellent - extremely crispy, I’d not had it like this before.

We also ordered a mutton curry and a chicken curry which were both good and very generous in portion. The mutton was very spiced and tender with a deep flavour - I don’t remember the chicken in detail but there were no complaints.

There were 4 sauces to try from, I tried the crab and then the mutton sauce, and the waiter was happy to keep piling on more whenever required. As if that wasn’t enough, there were also papadums, and a choice of 4 pickles/chutneys. The raita here was a bit watery, but the lime pickle was good.

A huge spread of food, and all in all, very enjoyable! I think we paid either 30 or 40rm for two with drinks.

DR.Inc

We got pretty hot on our walk to/from Bangsar, and cooled off in a place called DR.Inc by Bangsar LRT. We didn’t notice it in 2013, but KL (and Penang) has a large number of hipsterish “third/fourth wave” coffee shops selling the antipodean coffee varieties that we drink back home. This place also offered some more inventive coffee-based drinks such as a “Presso Bomb” - A bomb shot inspired drink consisting of an espresso dropped into a cream soda that was made in Melacca.

Simply Mel’s

We fancied something slightly different, and as we still wouldn’t make it to Melacca on this holiday, wanted to check this place out for it’s Portuguese influenced Kristang dishes. As it happened, we didn’t end up ordering anything too adventurous and we weren’t hungry enough to try some of the Portuguese inspired starters.

We visited on a Monday evening, and it was very quiet- I think this is more of a lunch place. It was a bit of a trek from where we were staying, but we fancied seeing some other parts of the city, and using Grab (what was My Teksi) meant we were always guaranteed meter using taxis! This was a revelation after our experiences last time.

“Kari Captain” threw me a bit. I was expecting it to be a Chicken Kapitan but this was very different from what we’d had before, although not in a bad way. The dish was chicken and potato in a large amount of a red gravy, which was both sweet a bit tart, probably a tomato base (not the coconut we were expecting in a Kapitan). It was very spicy, and a bit light on chicken.

Beef “Semur” was a vinegar beef stew, very similar to the Goan variety, spiced with pepper I think, rather than chillis.

The menu (which was surprisingly vast, not usually a good indicator of quality, but not a problem here) made us interested to try a Buah Keluak dish, as I’d not heard of it before, and was interested in its “love it or hate it” qualities (another one to add to the approved list with Durian and shrimp paste). The menu described how the nut has to be buried and fermented - it didn’t however say this was to remove the cyanide that is otherwise present!

We had it in the form of a sambal with small shrimp which wasn’t unpleasant - very earthy but quite hard to describe, unusual.

We found it very easy on this holiday to neglect to eat anything green (especially in Penang), so a side of kangkung belacan was gladly received. This could have had a bit more belacan in it, but was otherwise a good side dish.

Another successful meal, but with a menu so large I found it hard to know what to order.

Photos taken with a new camera which is why they’re not very focuses - not mastered getting a good enough depth of field at large apertures.

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Presso Bomb is a very Malay-Muslim non-alcoholic take on Jager Bomb - which is not accessible to KL’s Muslim population (43% of KL-lites are Muslims as opposed to 45% Chinese and 8% Indians who’re non-Muslims). The local Islamic authorities here generally discourage Muslims from going into eateries which are not halal-certified.

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

― Jonathan Gold