Adventures of the Appetite
Famed for vivid dishes and flavours that pack a punch, there’s no better place than Kuala Lumpur to satisfy the most ravenous gourmet.
The melting pot of cuisines borrows from the best of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Thai traditions resulting in a heavenly hodgepodge of bold tastes and enticing aromas.
Kuala Lumpur’s tantalising offerings tell a story about its fascinating past. Home to many ethnicities during colonial rule, Chinese and Indians tin mine workers influenced the country’s fare with their culinary heritages, producing a truly unique style of cooking found nowhere else in the world. The melting pot of cuisines borrows from the best of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Thai traditions resulting in a heavenly hodgepodge of bold tastes and enticing aromas.
One of Kuala Lumpur’s greatest draws is how little one needs to spend to experience a mind-blowing meal; in fact some of the best finds are enjoyed roadside. Head down to Jalan Alor, an endless stretch of stalls and open-air restaurants that provides an authentic induction into the local food scene. The offerings are so drool-worthy you will barely notice the plastic cutlery or lack of air-conditioning. It’s the best kind of sensory overload – clanging woks and tantalising aromas signal your arrival at foodie mecca.
Be sure to bring your appetite, and preferably a large group if possible, to sample the widest variety of dishes. Satays are a must - most commonly succulent pieces of grilled chicken and beef, served with a delectable peanut sauce (comprising cow’s milk as opposed to the coconut milk of its Thai counterpart) cucumber, onion and nasi himbit, pressed rice cooked in banana leaves. Try the grilled stingray, a delectable combination of delicate flaky white meat and unctuous skin reminiscent of eel.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with ice kachang, a refreshing dessert of palm seeds, red beans, sweet corn, grass jelly and agar agar topped with shaved ice and generously doused with condensed milk, red rose syrup and palm sugar. For the more adventurous, the slightly intimidating durian fruit is also a specialty. An acquired taste that people either love or hate, its sweet, buttery flesh provides a stark contrast to its unmistakable stench.
Many hawkers offer a single specialty, so you can be sure it’s top notch despite modest surroundings. Malaysians are discerning food critics and often visit stalls for a specific dish. Sri Nirwana Maju Banana Leaf is a popular spot for the traditional banana leaf lunch of rice, vegetables, pickles, pappadums and curries. For authentic Malay favourites ikan bakar, grilled fish with sambal and a squeeze of lime, Sambal Hijau is simple but stunning. Kim Lian Kee is renowned for its Hokkien mee, thick wheat noodles with seafood and pork fried in a rich sauce over a charcoal stove to impart a mouth-watering smoky flavour.
Although Malaysian food is best appreciated in a casual, vibrant setting, options with a more refined atmosphere are also on the rise. Bijan offers a charming al fresco area and traditional staples like rendang and ayam percik, barbecued chicken. Enak is even more upscale, but despite the contemporary presentation of the dishes, diners return for home-style recipes handed down from the owner’s family, which include chilli prawns and fried chicken with blue ginger.
The city is home to almost every cuisine imaginable and Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur showcases an impressive collection of international fare. Winner of Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence and Asia Inc’s Business Dining awards, luxurious Lafite’s signature dishes include braised lamb shank; qwehli prawn and crab salad and spiced strawberry cobbler with balsamic ice cream, showcasing Head Chef John Nash’s classical French training applied to seasonal produce, inspired by his world travels.
Shang Palace offers traditional Cantonese cuisine and ACE Rising Star Winner Chef Tan Kim Weng presents lavish dishes comprising bird’s nest, freshwater king prawns and Australian lobster. Meanwhile, Zipangu boasts cutting-edge gastronomy with sushi, grill and kappou counters offering a higher level of showmanship. Purists will adore chef Ishii Takayuki’s impeccably executed foie gras maki, salmon sashimi and chawan mushi.
Once satisfactorily sated, head to Traders Hotel, Kuala Lumpur for cocktails in the city’s hippest nightspot, where you can enjoy a highlight other than sumptuous sustenance – a jaw dropping view of the iconic Petronas Towers. Famous for hosting the best New Year’s party in town, the relaxed poolside bar is the perfect setting for revelry. Listen to chilled-out tunes as you admire the gorgeous sunset, a majestic oasis placing you quite literally on top of the world.
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I'ts a real pleasure to stay here, at Trader's. You are all so welcoming, which is what I appreciate best.
Moreover, I never get bored looking at PETRONAS TOWERS
I hope to come again very soon.