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Malaysia Restaurants


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Day 2 continued

After our lunch, we rushed down to the basement of the Gardens to get a treat. Someone on another board mentioned I should try Homi's Chicken Curry Puffs as part of my curry puff quest. Unfortunately, they only have chicken curry puffs (hence the name), and no potato or even sardine! Oh well.

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We got a couple to go. They were fresh out the fryer, but we were too full to eat them right away, so we waited until we were back at the hotel. The crust was perfectly flaky, and was the type I was looking for. In terms of crust alone, this was probably the best one. Judging from the colour of the oil pooling at the bottom of the bag, however, they really needed to change the oil in their fryer. The puff was sooooo greasy!

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The crust was good, but the filling was too cumin-y, and I'd rather have had plain potato.

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We weren't very hungry later, so we walked over to Suria to the food court. Food courts are generally much better in Asia than in North America, and there were plenty of options to choose from. One place (no picture) even had huge lobster-like crustaceans for only RM30! My mother chose this place, which had one of the longest lines:

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And she had something but I can't remember what it was. Nasi Lemak, maybe? :rolleyes: I remember it was chicken, but that's it. She said it was good, but the chicken was dry.

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I just nibbled on the dried fish and peanuts with some rice, because I really wasn't very hungry.

On our way back to the hotel, we stumbled upon some sidewalk vendors. We saw all sorts of things (grilled corn, some kind of seafood, etc.), but only the juice stand picture came out.

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We didn't try any of them, unfortunately. We just went back to the hotel, had a few snacks at the lounge, admired our view of the city, then went to bed. Yes, we had a boring NYE, but we were tired!

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Day 3—New Year’s Day!

We got up bright and early (easy to do, since we went to bed early, too) to catch the first Hop-on Hop-off bus of the day. I like Hop-on Hop-off buses, especially in places like KL where the interesting things are spread out all over the place. If you don’t have a car, these buses can be very useful. The only problem is that there is no set schedule. They say the run every 20-30 minutes, but actually, we had buses go by after just 10 or 15 minutes, which meant we missed a lot of buses. Oh well. At least we didn’t have to wait long till the next one!

By the time we ended up at Central Market (a disappointing place marketed to tourists rather than a cool market like Chatachuk in BKK, which is what I thought it would be like), we were hungry. Really hungry. So we ended up at yet another food court.

Mom went to a buffet-like place. You could choose any number of dishes and you paid by the piece or spoonful. She had a hard time choosing, and the poor guy had to follow her back and forth while she tried to decide between several dishes. I can’t remember everything she had, but the fried chicken, at just MYR2 was mine. And that fish only cost MYR1! It was so cheap, and I think that entire plate was only about MYR7 (US$1.95). Or maybe MYR10 (US$2.75). It’s too bad most of the food was cold, and if I remember correctly, something on the plate was quite tough.

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I had char kway teow from another place. Beef, I think it was. I could only manage to eat about half of it. The serving was too large for me, and it was only MYR5, I think.

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After finishing our KL tour, we rested a bit before going to Chinatown. We were supposed to go to Chinatown the night before, but we missed the shuttle (we were waiting on the first floor for the van, but it left from the lobby which was the second floor at the hotel. It was very annoying because the front desk told my mother it was leaving from the same place as the Gardens shuttle, which was the first floor! :angry:). Upon arriving, we walked around for a bit looking for a place to eat. Our shuttle driver said, “Look for places with yellow tablecloths, but don’t eat at the red tablecloth places. They’re too expensive!” So we walked around, but couldn’t find any kind of tablecloth restaurants, at all! There were a lot of sidewalk stalls, though, and I would have been happy to eat at one of them. Unfortunately, my mother comes from a long line of germaphobic hypochondriacs, and she would have none of that. :rolleyes: What’s the point of eating in Asia if you don’t get to try some of the street food? I wish my dad had been there, because he would have been all for it!

We walked across the big street to see if we could find some restaurants on the other side, but all we found was a mall or department store which had a food court and some shops that were closed. “Let’s just eat here,” my mother said. I did not want to eat at yet another food court, so I said, “Fine then! Why don’t we just go to McDonald’s! Or Kenny Rogers!” :angry: We crossed the street again, and it was a good thing we did because we came across this man.

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My mother stopped and said, “OK, let’s eat here.” :shock: I couldn’t believe my ears, but I had to take advantage before she changed her mind, so we ordered some beef satay. “No beef, only chicken.” :sad: They were out of beef satay, so we had 6 sticks of chicken satay.

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“For here or take away?” My mother said take away, so our satay came in this little plastic bag complete with sauce at the bottom.

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Mmmmm. . . doesn’t that look good? gallery_11355_6395_48374.jpg

Although my mother had insisted on take away, we sat down at a table to eat our satay. Odd, isn’t it? But as I was sitting there, I looked at my mother and said, “I know why you were willing to eat here. It’s because the satay was freshly grilled, so you knew all the germs would have been killed.” She gave me a dirty look, but she didn’t deny it, so I knew I was right. That’s also the reason she chose take away—the plastic bag, in her opinion, would have had fewer germs than a plate washed in who-knows-what water. Oh well, at least I got a little bit of street food, and it was really good street food, too!

The couple who ran the stall were very sweet, and the man even basted the satay so I could get a more exciting picture.

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We also had our last coconut of the trip, no ice, of course, because who knows where the ice had been?

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I wanted to try the Kickapoo Joy Juice, but didn’t. I had always thought it was an imaginary drink from the L’il Abner comics, but I guess it’s not!

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And so ends Day 3. We had to get up early the next morning, so we went back to our hotel and went straight to bed!

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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What? No scallop for you?

For her main, my mother had Pan Seared Hokkaido Scallop with Civet of Crayfish.  I don’t know how it tasted, because despite my hints (“Wow!  Look at that scallop!  I wonder what it tastes like!”) I did not get even a smidgen of it.  I think that meant she really enjoyed it, because otherwise she would have shared some of it (my mother usually shares her food unless it’s something she really really likes). 

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With my family members, I usually yell "Look, it's Elvis" and then make a grab while they're rubbernecking.

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With my family members, I usually yell "Look, it's Elvis" and then make a grab while they're rubbernecking.

I can just see my mother squinting at me and saying, "Who?" Mel Torme, however, and it just may work!

Day 4--our last full day!

We once again woke up bright and early to catch a bus. The day before we had made a last minute decision to go to Malacca/Melaka for a few hours, so we bought our bus tickets when we were in Chinatown. No luxury bus this time, but just a regular intercity bus. It was only a two-hour bus ride, though, so no matter that our seats were broken. .

As soon as we arrived we tried to get a taxi. According to the little booklet we got from the tourist agency in KL, it’s about MYR10 per ride or MYR30/hour. Prices have gone up a little, because we were quoted MYR35/hour. We tried to bargain the driver down a little since we wanted the taxi for two hours, but no such luck. Tourists in Melaka really have few options in terms of transportation, especially when coming from the bus station, but it was only MYR5, so no big deal.

Our first stop was the Tung Fang Food Court. I read about the Melaka-style curry laksa there on Eating Asia, the fabulous blog of very occasional eG poster ecr, and I really wanted to try it. We arrived around 9:30 am (or maybe it was 10:30—I can’t remember so well now), and they were sold out! I have no luck at all! :sad: So I settled for the chee cheung fan, which was the other reason I wanted to come to Melaka.

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I ordered the char siu cheung fan and it was amazing. The noodles were so soft and tender, but not mushy at all. They make them fresh with ever order, and although I didn’t get any pictures of the process, you can see them at the link above. This was really the perfect char siu cheung fan—I’ve never had any better (not even in Hong Kong, but I haven’t searched for the best cscf in HK, yet).

I can’t remember what my mother had, but I think she had the wonton mee. I forgot to take pictures of it, because I was too busy talking to the couple at the table with us. They agreed that we made the right choice to come all the way to Melaka to have the cheung fan, but it was too bad we weren’t spending the night, because weekend evenings are when the action happens. Oh well.

My mother wanted to do at least a little sight-seeing, so I didn’t get to try any cendol or Chinese chicken rice balls, or anything else that was supposed to be good in Melaka. And because we took the bus rather than rent a car and driver, I didn’t get to try the number one reason I wanted to go to Melaka i.e. the kuih keria which I know I would have loved. But I suppose it’s good to leave some good stuff for next time!

We had to get back to KL early, so we took the 12:30 bus back. Like I said, it was a short trip, but I think with the char siu cheung fan, I got my money’s worth!

We also got some goodies to go. Sardine pastry for my mother, and coconut bun for me. The sardine pastry uses puff pastry, and it gave me the idea to surprise my mother with some one day. I just have to figure out how to make the filling, or I could just use sardines in tomato sauce. I loved the coconut bun, and so did my mother. Unlike some people, I shared some of what I loved!

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And Melaka is famous for palm sugar, so we had to get some of that, too! That’s the palm sugar in the middle, and some dudol on the right. Dudol is coconut milk, palm sugar, and rice flour boiled down, I think. I didn’t get to try any, and my mother took it back to the Philippines with her. And on the left is not a product made from palm sugar, but it is made of sugar! Yes, it’s cotton candy! I know I can get cotton candy anywhere in the world, but this was really cheap! Like 25% or less of the cost of the same-sized bag in Japan! And it was goooooood! :wub:

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I’m almost done with Malaysia—just one more dinner, and it was the best one!

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I’m almost done with Malaysia—just one more dinner, and it was the best one!

Take your time...... Give it a lot of careful thought....no need to rush these things! :biggrin:

Brunch at the Four Seasons again this morning. I'll be back to normal online connections soon.

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Take your time......  Give it a lot of careful thought....no need to rush these things!  :biggrin:

Brunch at the Four Seasons again this morning.  I'll be back to normal online connections soon.

I'm going to the Philippines next month. Think you'll be done London and Bangkok before I can finish Cambodia and the Philippines? You'll have about a one month headstart! :raz:

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Day 4 Dinner

We caught the bus back to KL and I was wiped! I thought I was starting to get sick, or maybe I was just tired. But no matter. This evening was the meal we were most looking forward to—dinner with some KL eGers! After seeing all those pictures of KL-based eG get-togethers from years past, I knew we’d be shown some good food.

My mother and I met Tepee at one of the LRT stations, and we drove somewhere far. Maybe not far, but since we hadn’t seen much of the city, it seemed far. My mother and I didn’t know where we were going, but I knew the KL contingent knew how to eat, so I just went along for the ride to. . . Fatty Crab! What a great name for a restaurant. And guess what they serve? Crab! And some other stuff, too, but definitely crab.

While we waited for the others to arrive, we had some satay to start—chicken and beef this time. I love beef satay. :wub: It was good! The beef was tender, and both were moist, not dry. During our travels around Asia, it seemed the meat we got was almost always dry, but these were perfect.

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I think I preferred the peanut sauce from the night before, but my mother preferred Fatty Crab’s. The little stand had chunkier sauce, and I like chunky.

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Shortly after the satay arrived, so did boo_licious! She doesn’t participate in eG, but she knows a lot about food and she writes for a local food magazine. She also has a fabulous blog called masak-masak. If you’re planning on a trip to KL, masak-masak and Eating Asia are two great blogs to help you get your food planning done (and hopefully you’ll have a car, so you can get to all those great places). And then Shiewie arrived, too! She also knows a lot about food. What is it about Malaysia that makes everyone so knowledgeable about food?

This was my favourite dish. I love chicken wings, but rarely get to eat them. They weren’t just ordinary grilled chicken wings, but they had a wonderful flavour. My mother still talks about these, too. She keeps asking me what was in them. I just remember they were grilled! Were they fried before being grilled? I have a vague memory of a wok full of oil, but that might have been from somewhere else (this is one of the reasons you shouldn’t wait too long before posting about your meals—you tend to forget important details).

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The fried rice. I can’t remember much about it. It was a little salty, like salted fish and chicken fried rice (my favourite kind of fried rice in the world. One can never get too much salted fish!).

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And of course we had crab! This was sour and spicy crab. Or something like that. It came with toast with which you could mop up the sauce. I’d have liked to spoon the sauce on some freshly cooked white rice. It was just spicy enough to make your nose run a little, but not so much to obscure the flavour of the crab. My mother keeps talking about the sauce, too. (We talk a lot about food in my family, in case you hadn’t noticed.) She wants to try to recreate it, which really means she wants me to try to recreate it.

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Steamed crab was my favourite, though. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture until there was just a wee half left! I’m a simple girl at heart, and I loved how the sweetness of the crab meat really came through.

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Plum pudding! OK, this wasn’t on the restaurant menu, but Tepee graciously shared some of her Christmas bounty that came all the way from England from another eGer! Oh my gosh, this was rich! The only plum pudding I remember having was Walker’s, and I thought it was pretty good. But now that I know what plum pudding can be, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to eat Walker’s again. Tepee made brandy butter to go with it, too. Butter makes everything better!

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After dinner, we walked down to a Filipino bakery, but it was closed. Too bad, because I wanted to see what they had. Filipino bakeries are almost always really good. We dropped in another bakery which was just about to close, and I picked up some pineapple cookies. They looked like little sausage rolls that were filled with pineapple jam. They were a big hit with the office, and were one of the first New Year’s gifts eaten up!

Shiewie and boo_licious were kind enough to drive my mother and me back to the hotel, and they took us a on a little tour, too! Who knew there was a little foodie haven right behind the Maya Hotel? We certainly didn’t, and it was most unfortunate because instead of eating at food courts, we could have been eating really good food right behind our hotel! I can’t remember what the area was called, but it’s an old area where the property owners have, at least for the meantime, resisted selling out to the big developers. There was a hotel in the immediate area (or was it a little shopping mall?), but not much else in terms of skyscrapers like the rest of KL has. Of course, those were just a stone’s thrown away, but it seemed to have retained some of the character of what KL must have been like before all the development. And at night there were a lot of fruits and vegetables for sale, and I wanted to buy some plantains to sneak into Japan, but I’m a bit of a chicken so I didn’t. I should have, though, because as usual, customs in Japan more or less waived me through! Anyway, had my mother not been so tired, we’d have enjoyed walking around more, but she can only walk so much in a day.

Mom’s last meal in Malaysia was on the bus back to Singapore. What was it? Leftover plum pudding with brandy butter! gallery_11355_6395_6326.jpg

She really relished that plum pudding, and didn’t even want to share it with me (remember, she doesn’t share what she loves). But unlucky her and lucky me, she forgot to bring the last little bit back to the Philippines with her, so I got the rest! Ha! I told her it was her karma for being greedy. . .

We had a great time with the KL contingent, and I wish we could have spent more time with them. I know it was a busy time for everyone, but I am so thankful Tepee, boo_licious, and Shiewie were able to meet up with us. I hope we can meet up again, and I hope the other KL locals can come, too (some were held up at work). We will most definitely be back in Malaysia one day. We had just a little taste not knowing what to expect, but now I want to rent a car and drive all around the country. Imagine the food I could eat!

Oh, the only thing my mother and I could bring along with us to share was some special candy my mother’s fourth cousin makes called “Turron de Pili”. Pili is a type of nut, and the candy is sort of like a soft toffee or dulce de leche. Tepee might try to replicate it one day, and it’s a good thing we shared it with someone as skillful as she is, because my mother’s cousin passed away a couple of weeks ago. That means no more Turron de Pili!

The pressure is on, Tepee! I still have one box left—should I send it to you for comparison’s sake?

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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:biggrin: Volunteering to try and replicate that turron would be a pleasure and reward (yay! I get to have more!! PM'ing you my address).

Reading your malaysian food adventure, I pronounce you (and mom) seasoned makan-ers! In future, you'll be able to spot and weed out the disappointments. It was fun sharing a meal with both of you....always a delight to eat with people who appreciates food as much as yourself. I only wished we had more time and tummy room! Here's my pix of the sweet-sour crabs, which isn't the usual tomato based sweet sour versions.

LOL, the ongoing food tussle (you're such a polite daughter!) between you are so funny. jackal10's pudding was truly The Real Stuff, wasn't it?

See you!!

TP

p.s. I see you mentioned the giant tiger prawns at Suria food court. We were passing through on the way to Madam Kwan's with a pair of Shenzhen relatives recently. They caught his attention too! :laugh: We got it for him and he had it with his lunch, and, I must report it was a disappointment. Looked better than it tasted. He said it was a waste to fry like that...like your preference for the plain steamed crab, he said the prawn would have been better steamed, the marinade drowned the flavour of the meat and it must have been overfried, the meat was rubbery. Still, he sucked the crustacean clean...pardon the extra info.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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  • 4 weeks later...

When staying in KL, where should we base ourselves? Will only be there a day and half and would just enjoy walking through hawker courts and food stalls for malay, chinese or indian food (though eating some great indian food in penang right now!

Also, is anybody attending the 2009 Penang International Food Festival? Will be therewith the wife tomorrow (Friday) if anybody wants to meet up. Sorry for the late notice but I just noticed it myself.

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eternal, I hope that some of our KL-area members see this post and reply soon, but just in case no-one gets to it in time, keep in mind that aside from public transportation, there are plenty of taxis in KL, so you really aren't very limited. I even stayed in Petaling Jaya (outside of KL) and took taxis back to the hotel late at night, when the LRT had stopped running.

All that said, if you want to be in an area where there are a lot of stalls, you probably want to be in or near Chinatown, which centers around Jalan Petaling, or the Masjid India area. Bukit Bintang is interesting, too, but at least as I remember it from my last trip in 2003, not really a neighborhood with so many stalls; instead, there are many hotels, restaurants, and night clubs on Jalan Bukit Bintang and environs.

People who live in or are more current on KL, please correct any mistakes in my post and add useful information.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Thanks for the info! We are in Chinatown, right on Paitang Street. Had some great curry laksa for lunch. Still have tonight and tomorrow here to find good food. If anybody wants some company for dinner or lunch, let me know!

Also, the Battle of the Chefs in Penang was good fun. I took a lot of good pictures and will post a slideshow once I get them all on flickr.

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Yesterday, I attended day 1 of the 2009 Penang International Food Fest along with the 12th Annual Battle of the Chefs. This was just luck as we happened to be in Penang and saw signs for it. After some research online, we got all the details and went over the next day on the local bus (the buses in Penang are very nice).

The fest was OK - mostly big commercial vendors pitching fried fish or rice paste makers or something - but the Battle of the Chefs was good food, if a little exhausting. There were many battles that day but I paid most attention to the "Western Pacific Seafood" competition. I saw 2 battles from front to finish. Each "battle" was an hour long, chefs could bring whatever fish they wanted. They had to provide everything themselves. They all made their own creation. Some were pretty boring - I got stuck with a newbie on one match who didn't do anything particularly interesting - and others went all out with foie and truffles, etc.

The battles went on all day for this one competition and I *think* the best would battle again on Sunday. I also met one of the judges who was from Arizona. He runs the culinary program at AI and was very friendly. He came up to speak to me probably because I was clearly the only white person in the audience. He said he had 43 courses of fish that day...and then the organizers were taking them out for seafood later... ha!

Anyway, I made a slideshow. You can view it at http://www.flickr.com/photos/14628299@N00/...242495348/show/. I wish I could tell you what was in everything but none of them (save one dish) came with a menu. After a chef was done with his 4 dishes, one was placed on the table for public viewing and the others were taken in for judging.

Now in KL and won't be able to go to Sunday's finale but if you are there, I would recommend it. It only costs 3 ringgas!

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  • 8 months later...

I'll be in Malaysia in February during my Spring Festival break - right now it looks like I'll be starting in Kuala Lumpur and then going through the Cameron Highlands, and then to the Tioman Islands - or the Perhentians. I haven't decided yet. Anyway, I don't know my nasi from my lemak, so I need to be schooled. Looking through this topic, I know that I must must must get some satay and chicken curry puffs, but other than that I'm open. I guess traditional Malay food is what I'm most interested in, and hawker stalls in particular - although I wouldn't turn my nose up at fine dining, either.

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For good 'homecooked' Malay food you should visit Puteri Restaurant or Rebung.

I can vouch that Rebung's spread is not only delicious but also authentic. Rebung's buffet spread for lunch is only at US$10 while the buffet dinner cost slightly more. You must try the pulut durian dessert - it's really good. :biggrin:

My link

Unfortunately, Puteri Restaurant does not have a website.

Where will you be staying in KL?

There is one fine dining Malay restaurant in the Bukit Bintang area called Ibunda but I wouldn't recommend it. You'd be way better off eating at the "regular" restaurants.

My link

My link

As for Nasi Lemak, I have not found any that I really, really like. Except for a stall near my place - they sell Nasi Lemak Kukus (kukus=steam). I guess any Nasi Lemak serve at the hotels' breakfast buffet are alright. I love the ones you can buy from roadside stalls in Penang. The Penang Village also serve decent Nasi Lemak. They have various outlets in KL. It's easier to recommend places if I know where you will stay in KL and for how long. :biggrin:

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I actually haven't decided where I'm staying yet - we'll be visiting friends, but we'll be staying at a hotel - any recommendations for a good, food-centric area? We also don't know how long we'll be in town. I'm a pretty flexible traveller, obviously. :smile: We'll be there for less than a week, that's about all I can say with certainty. We won't be going to either Penang or Melaka, we're actually heading to the beaches at Tioman.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay, let me add a few more suggestions to the already wonderful list going on here.... I'm going to stick to traditional malay / Catonese haunts, to fit with the theme (though must be noted KL has some really stellar French/Italian (eg Lafite, Frangipani), along with Middle Eastern (eg Tarbush, Al Amir).

Sek Yuen, Jalan Pudu

63 year old Cantonese restaurant, used to be where people held wedding banquets, and now a backstreet gem for an old school meal with friends. It has a retro-frontage, giant firewood stove with elderly male chefs slaving over it, and more importantly..... INCREDIBLE food! We had a deep-friend fish head braised in house-special sauce (goregiously soft fish with tasty serve and size would feed an army); eight treasures duck (must be preordered, and was out of this planet - succulent duck will with lilybuds, white cabbage, wood ear fungus, ginko nuts, chestnuts, dried oysters, etc). Be sure to fast before going, or ask for a takeaway bag afterwards. Being true to it's 1950s timewarp, it has not website, but just google it for tonnes of photos from delighted diners.

Bon Ton, Jalan Kia Peng

Possibly not the best food, but many people count it as a "must go" too, and I'm mentioning since it's a nice complement to Sek Yuan aboe. This too is a throw back to the 1950s and is a bungalow-style, high ceilinged restaurant, but subout Catonese and replace with Malay. It is actually rare to find 'fine dining" Malay (Bijan is a notable exception, which a previous poster mentioned!). Has traditional dishes - which can be quite heavy being malay style - so if you're looking for 'lighter' fare the prawn and mango salad and the fish soup are a welcomed changed. If it tells anything about the restaurant, Bon Ton is best known for its cheesecake (no, this is not a traditional Malay dish!).

Restoran Buharry, Heritage Row

Ok, this is the only one with "restaurant" in it's name, but of the three, it is actually more like a hawker stall.... a mamak stand if you will..... cheap and cheerful at its best. It's not worth going out of your way for, but if you're staying at Sheraton Imperial or somewhere nearby Heritage Row, this is the best food on the strip! It provides a refreshingly informal Malay nasi kandar (rice meal) rather than the rest of the poshness of Asian Heritage Row. Popular dishes such as nasi ayam (chicken rice) and fish head curry are served on plastic plates, whilst a radio blairs malay songs in the background. For those without a family history of diabetes, I can recommended pairing your meal with a refreshing mug of iced tea,sweet Malay-style teh tarik (hot tea), or a Dinosaur float.

PS - Also a minor correction from on of the previous posts I noticed: Cilantro is no longer - it is now Sage, at the Gardens Residences. Same chef, still worth it.

Edited by Piglit (log)
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Those look like great places, thanks! I'm especially interested in the hawker stall-type places, as I have access to lots of great Cantonese in China. Resortan Buharry sounds like just the sort of atmosphere I love. I do have a family history of diabetes, so consider me warned about the tea!

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  • 1 year later...

Since we are in the topic of Heritage Row, a must is the South Indian Restaurant at the entrance of the strip facing Wilayah Complex. For a truly authentic Malaysian dining experience, try the small packed Nasi Lemak that the put on the tables there.

And don't forget the soup that they have there, you can have any parts of a cow and mutton available and plus chicken soup. For the adventurous you try the ox tongue soup, ox tail, tripes or even the Famous 'Torpedo' which is the private parts of a male cow(to put it in a subtle way). It might seem a little bit exotic, but if you are in for the experience, give it a try.

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