A hot air balloon may be able to go round the world in 80 days but your legs can carry you around three mini worlds in one day in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is a bubbling hubbub of thriving, colourful and distinct cultures and let’s cut to the chase, their food is goddamn good! Chinese for breakfast, Indian for lunch and Malay for dinner? Hell yeah! Teacake hit the streets of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia with With Locals to seek out the best nom noms and oh boy, was it lip-smacking, tummy-loving good! Loosen your belt, we’re off on a Food Marathon!
With a disgruntled stomach kicking up a fuss and eagerly looking out for its first meal of the day, I hopped right on over to Chinatown for a yummy kick start on Madras Lane behind Petaling Street. I stayed at The Travel Hub Guesthouse which is just round the corner. Madras Lane is a wonderfully cozy and local backstreet place with very little foreigners so lucky you will be getting the real local experience. If you’re coming here from Monday to Friday, you gotta be early to get the good stuff! Workers will grab this grub at an hour some of you travellers may have not seen in a while, so ask yourself how much you really want it. If you come on a Saturday or Sunday though, you’ve got a better chance and will be able to be fed before 12.30pm. ‘What’s the Chinese good stuff?’ I hear you cry.
Yong Tau Foo is a scrummy Hakka Chinese dish that involves tofu or vegetables being stuffed with a ground meat mix or fish paste. Eat them with the sauces they serve up or thrown into a clear yellow bean soup. Line up with the rest of the eager beavers, pick which pieces you want and the servers will bring them to your table for you. The stall we went to charged 1.30 RM a piece = $0.30/£0.20. A soup like this for 7 Malaysian Ringgit? Yes please! Watch out though, it’s closed on Mondays. Not my absolute favourite though as I am all about the spicy and sour thrashing at my tongue.
Oh my word! Don’t come to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia without eating Curry Laksa. It’s a signature dish in the Chinese Malaysian community here for all the right reasons. It’s crammed full of noodles and packed full of flavour with a beautiful balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy in a heart-warming coconut milk-based soup. Ingredients vary from safe-sounding chicken and prawns to ‘blood cake’. Little explanation needed there guys. Good news though: there’s a safe amount of chilli in it for all of you who fear the spicy heat!
I’m going to go one better though and tell you to skip Curry Laksa if Asam Laksa is on the menu. The experience my taste buds went through with this particular dish was magic. Total Food Magic. Woop! What makes it so spectacularly special? The tamarind base and mint on top is to die for! The tamarind gives the soup its sour and zesty flavour and I personally am all over that kind of taste!
Similar to Halo Halo in the Philippines, The Queen of Malaysian deserts ABC translates as ‘mixed ice’. The possibilities with this Malaysian delight are endless. I ate so many different variations throughout my stay here and never got a bad variety. Traditionally, ABC used to be just shaved ice and red beans but now, it’s play time for the chef behind that sweet station! You’re most likely going to find a large serving of palm seed in there with red beans, sweet corn and grass jelly. What I crave most is the evaporated milk they pour all over it and you may even find a big dollop of ice cream balanced on top of it. Yas! This particular ABC cost 3.50 RM = $0.80/£0.60.
Yep that’s right. You’ve just eaten desert before lunch. Screw it. Break the rules…and you know what? You’ve got more room for Chinese sweet stuff right? Get up from your plastic stool and take a stroll through Petaling Street. For some shoppers, a bargain-hunting haven. For others, a claustrophobic haggling nightmare. Try it out and see how you get on and if you are struggling, keep working your way through for the Tau Foo Fah in the middle of the maze! Tau Foo Fah is as soft as tofu gets. It takes some getting used to.as it really is quite a slimy affair. Once you’ve managed to balance it on your spoon, you may be debating how pleasant it feels for this slippery bean curd to be sliding down your throat. If you can’t take it, the sugary ginger syrup it’s swimming in rocks!
The dude at this infamous family-run stall is quite a celebrity and locals get their munch on here continuously throughout the day. Definitely worth a go!
Indian Food! If I had to choose one type of cuisine to eat for the rest of the my life, Indian would be it. The spices they use blow my mind and all the wonderful vegetables and sauces that I can soak up my rice in, makes one happy Teacake. I picked up the pace as I walked through Kuala Lumpur Malaysia into my next mini world: Little India.
There are plenty of places to eat in this part of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia but for a genuine experience, navigate yourself through to the vegetarian restaurant Saravanaa Bhavan at 26 Leboh Ampang. Their Thali is a pic ‘n’ mix of divine mini mouthfuls. For a mighty cup of tea, Teh Tarik is Malaysia’s infamous drink but whilst you’re here, go all out and order one of their Masala Chais.
Take your time to soak up the temples, alluring smells and vibrant splashes of colour throughout this charming neighbourhood before moving on and if you wish, there is a mega Indian mall here to check out. It sells some clothes David Bowie would have been all over (God rest his groovy soul).
Time for a food break! Are there any architecture enthusiasts in the house? I hope so! I got a treat for you!
Make sure to make your way through this impressively resilient close-knit community of Malay Muslims. Their houses are essentially standing on a goldmine of land that the big modernistic boys over the road would love to buy…but nope, the locals are refusing to sell up and go anywhere. As one of the oldest communities here, the government has finally held their hands up and backed down. Makes for some seriously cool snaps too right?
Chonburi Seafood is a neighbourhood joint which is packed to the brim in the evening. They have lots of wonderful dishes to choose from. Choose what you fancy, if you have any room left in that stomach of yours. They’ll bring it right on over for you once you’ve sat down. This Nasi Kerabu Dengan Ikan was certainly tasty and Hey ho! It’s dessert o’clock again! You need to fit these in!
Hop along to Chow Kit Market! The street food stalls here are soooooo good! Also known as Turnover Pancake, this super sugary but oh so devilishly-good street candy will satisfy your sweet tooth. What’s so awesome about the batter is the coconut milk in it (ooooh yeah) and if peanuts are your friend, this guy had a generous handful of them crushed up in each of them. Food happiness right here!
Get the vendor to grab one of these out of his glass box! Steamed rice with coconut milk and coconut filling. It’s a stick of tasty that you’ll be chomping on and finishing within a minute. Hope you’ve got room for one last thing!
Let’s finish on a healthy note! Going clockwise from the top we’ve got a lovely water apple, a mangosteen, longan and snake fruit. Grab some and see what you think!
I recently stayed at the Paper Plane Hostel and love its funky and arty character. It’s budget friendly too!
You can go on an amazing Night Time Tuk Tuk Food Tour In Bangkok!
This experience was made possible by With Locals, an awesome company who get local people to show you around their neighbourhood. This can be anything from food tours like this to exploring jungles or trying a new traditional craft. Thanks With Locals! Nonetheless, if this food tour was terrible, I happily would have said so. Opinions, as always, remain Teacake’s own.