Spending New Year Eating In Kuala Lumpur.

 

First and foremost Happy New Year 2015 everyone! Hope you’ve been spending the past few days planning (or not planning) on new resolutions, new travel destinations and new adventures. I had a nice New Years eve in Phnom Penh followed by Kuala Lumpur on New Years day itself. It’s nice to spend it between two cities on the first day of the year.

If you asked me what I missed the most about my city and country (besides my family) is most probably the food and more food. There is something about our food in Malaysia that is so authentic with variety of multicultural flavors that gets to me. No doubt there are also plenty of new cafes with fusion menu sprouting in Kuala Lumpur and I don’t mind it at all as long as the quality of the food and service is not compromised.

Since Malaysia is my first country to travel to for 2015, I went on a food trip or rather a food fest with my family and friends over the course of four days.

 

Food 1: Nasi Ayam (Chicken Rice)

The first thing we ate when we landed in the city was the Malay version of chicken rice in Taman Melawati area. Although the name of the stall says ‘Hainan Chicken Rice’, the dish is not Hainan because it is served with roasted chicken in black soya sauce with a splash of chili. The soup was slightly salty but the rice and chicken portion was just nice for me. We also ordered a bean sprout vegetable as a side dish paired with a teh o’ ice drink on a hot afternoon.

Where: Nasi Ayam Hainan, B27 Medan Selera (Taman Melawati Foodcourt), Kuala Lumpur | Remarks: There is also nasi campur (mixed rice), beehun sup utara (beehun soup) and a frying stall for ala carte dishes. | Price: RM 4.00 per meal        

Food 2: Buah Berangan (chestnuts)

We could smell the burning chestnuts when we walked out of the food court and Bartotie quickly searched for the seller. I am not a big fan of chestnuts but since he is, he got himself RM10.00 worth of chestnuts to eat at home. He has the patience to peel the chestnuts one by one and savoring them while it’s still hot. The same can’t be said for me. These chestnuts were sold together with roasted peanuts stirred in small black pebbles and coal to burn it quicker. You can find the Uncle selling this on his motorcycle just across the food court area.  

Chestnuts roasting over an open fire (yes just like the song).

Chestnuts roasting over an open fire (yes just like the song).

Where: Outside B27 Medan Selera (Taman Melawati Food court), Kuala Lumpur | Remarks: The uncle is very friendly. | Price: RM 5.00 for 300g         

Food 3: Kacang Campuran (snack)

When at home, my dad makes sure that there’s biscuits or snacks for us to munch on when we’re hungry. I just happened to see this jar of kacang campuran or what they call Bombay Mix in the UK, a traditional Indian snack on the table and tried it. The snack was crunchy and tasted a bit spicy but otherwise truly addictive. Once you put them in your mouth, you’ll find it hard to stop.

Kacang campuran or what they call Bombay Mix in the UK.

Kacang campuran or what they call Bombay Mix in the UK.

Where: Little India / Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur | Remarks: There’s also other traditional Indian snacks that can be found such as the muruku (my favorite).      

Food 4: Black Pepper Steak

Writing this makes me hungry. I haven’t had a good black pepper steak in awhile since it’s hard to find a halal version in Phnom Penh so I took this advantage to order something western during a dinner outing with my dad and cousins family. It wasn’t in a fancy 5-star restaurant but rather a stall opposite a row of shops in a residential area. Qaahwa Express serves coffee from Vietnam to Malaysia and on this particular night I chose the Ipoh white coffee because the others were dark and bitter for my taste. My dad took the Vietnam dripping coffee while everyone else decided on juices. The beef was tender and the gravy was superb although the mash potatoes could have been better. Since it was outdoors, we had no problem getting ourselves a long table and continued chatting the night away after dinner.

Black pepper steak in an Ampang Jaya stall.

Black pepper steak in an Ampang Jaya stall.

Where: Qaahwa Express, Ampang Jaya, Kuala Lumpur | Remarks: Family business in a residential area only means limited seats available. Come early. | Price: RM 12.00 for black pepper steak.        

Food 5: Nyonya Laksa

When I met my friends in Cafe Lapis, I decided on the Nyonya Laksa which is made of slightly sweet and spiced rich coconut gravy. The dish is usually fish-based but the one I had came with a prawn, tofu, sliced fried egg and fishballs. The authentic Nyonya Laksa is almost red in color and very spicy. The best ones are in Melaka, 2 hours drive away but there are also some good ones in the city I reckon although I have yet to find them. There are many other types of laksa that is available throughout the city and the country such as assam laksa, laksam, Sarawak laksa, curry laksa among a  few.

Spicy Nyonya Laksa with a prawn.

Spicy Nyonya Laksa with a prawn.

 

Where: Cafe Lapis, Jalan Wangsa Delima 1a, Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur | Remarks: Family business in a residential area only means limited seats available. Come early. | Price: RM 12.00 for black pepper steak.

 

Food 5: Roti Canai with Mutton Curry My dad loves to cook when we’re home and on a Saturday morning, he prepared roti canai with mutton curry for breakfast. I don’t really eat mutton, however the curry for this particular meat is usually thick to cover the strong (meat) smell. The bread was crispy and hot and eating that with curry tasted so good. Couple this with hot coffee or tea for a warm tummy that lasts until lunch.

Food 6: Nasi Goreng Embah

I met another friend at the newly opened Kedai Sebelah on a late afternoon between lunch and tea-time. We were both hungry so we decided on the Nasi Goreng Embah (Embah fried rice), Teh Botol (my favorite), french fries followed by desserts of soft ice cream and pengat pisang. The entire ensemble was delicious although the ice cream was a tad too soft for me. Otherwise the fried rice which looked like Chinese fried rice except it was spicy and coupled with fried shallots (bawang goreng). The cafe ambiance was artistic, personalized and cozy. I was surprised that the price was reasonably cheap for a nice set-up like this and worthy in taste.

Spicy Nasi Ambeh in Kedai Sebelah.

Spicy Nasi Ambeh in Kedai Sebelah.

Where: Kedai Sebelah, D-G-02, Jalan SS6/20A, Kelana Jaya, Kuala Lumpur | Tel: +60 12 302 0595 | Remarks: There is an art gallery/workshop just beside the cafe called ‘Kedai’ that’s worth to check out. | Price: RM 4.00 for nasi goreng Embah.

Food 7: Kueh Teow Goreng (Fried Kueh Teow)

Another of of my dad’s home cooked dish that he often prepares for us is the kueh teow goreng or fried kueh teow with prawns and bean sprouts. My youngest sister loves this dish and would often ask my dad to cook it whenever she’s back home. This is an alternative to fried rice as it’s filling and can also be cooked with seafood especially cockles (kerang).

Another home cooked dish by my dad, the kueh teow goreng.

Another home cooked dish by my dad, the kueh teow goreng.

 

As you can see, the time spent in Kuala Lumpur was circled around food, family and friends. I wouldn’t have it any other way especially since it’s the one thing that I miss about the city. Lucky for us there are a few Malaysian restaurants that can be found in Phnom Penh. Even if the feeling is not similar to back home, at least the food is there to remind us of home.

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What are some of your favorite dishes in Kuala Lumpur?

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About Yafieda Jamil

A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.

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