Discovering Malay, Indian and Chinese food in Kuala Lumpur
In Malaysia you can’t be starving. There is food everywhere, around the clock. Like the population the food is diverse. Every area of Malaysia seems to have its own specialities but everywhere people eat Indian, Malay and Chinese foods. There are so many different meals to taste that after almost three weeks in the country I still have a lot of them to try! So to help you to start with this culinary travel here are some good addresses in the capital.
Malaysians people like food and we can tell it by just strolling in the different morning or evening markets here in Kuala Lumpur. Moving forward in a wheelchair in those markets is not always easy at they can be crowded and cars sometimes just cross it but it is worth it. In addition, most of the time, there is no accessibility issue to access restaurants because we just buy food and eat it in the street.
Masjid India Pasar Malam
We arrived on a Friday in Kuala Lumpur and we directly went to explore it. After five minutes we were so surprised when we found ourselves in a huge crowd in a night market: the « Masjid India Pasar Malam » night market. A real culture shock! We were in Malaysia for only a few minutes and we were now in the middle of an enormous market in Little India surrounded mostly by muslims. We were totally overwhelmed by Arabic and Malay languages, oils and spices smells, local clothes and hijabs and also by suspicious colourful drinks…
Usually this market takes place every Saturday starting from 3pm but that specific Friday was 48 hours before the end of the Ramadan. In Malaysia 25, 26 and 27 of June this year were public holidays to celebrate « Hari Raya Aidilfitri ». During the previous days Muslims get ready to celebrate the end of the fast by buying a lot of food and also new clothes. That is why we found ourselves in a sea of people. Apparently usually it is quieter. In any case this market is a good place to eat Indian and Malay meals. As for us, we chose Indian food: naans and chicken tandoori.
Bangsar Sunday market
Sunday it is time to go to Bangsar Sunday Market. A bit far from the centre, this market is quieter, smaller and less touristy. It starts at 1pm and ends at 9pm. We can find there Malay and Indian foods. We found fish and crab bites and pomegaranate juice were very average whereas we really liked “popiah”, a kind of spring roll with a crepe instead of a rice wrapper.
If you would need to choose one of the many markets just go to Jalan Alor. Every evening you will find in this street tens of food stalls and restaurants. Mainly Malay and Thai food made of chicken, fish or other sea food. Ingredients are steamed, fried, or stewed. When we have been there we had fried shrimps and coconut ice cream served in a halved coconut.
In front of every restaurant someone will try to convince you by showing you the menu. Fortunately they are not too persistent. Behind those sellers there are dozens of plastic tables and chairs. It almost looks like being at the canteen! So just sit and do as the locals: order several meals, put them in the middle of the table and share them with your friend and family! I love this way to do. It is so friendly!
Every evening there are a lot of food stalls in Chinatown streets. It is the perfect opportunity to discover Chinese food while strolling under red lanterns. Franck and I really liked Bao buns. They are buns filled with different flavours, savoury or sweet. We chose barbecue pork buns. That was so good! Juiceee fruit juices are also good and very refreshing but they are a bit expensive.
For a local breakfast this is the place to be. A lot of Chinese people seem to come here. We were almost the only tourists! It is the perfect place to eat a breakfast like a real Malaysian meaning eating a rice or noodles meal. Indeed you will find here all the country specialities: Nasi Lemak, Mee goreng, Nasi Kandar… You can also find some sweets like samosas, coconut and almond fritters and Kuih.
Most of the time really good restaurants in Kuala Lumpur don’t look very attractive but don’t judge by appearances. Locals are often eating in those small shops. Don’t be affraid to try one of those or if you want to be more careful here are two good addresses:
- Devi’s Corner. Bangsar Village 1, Jalan Telawi 1,Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur. A really good address to have a real south India experience. In this restaurant we eat on a banana leaf with the right hand and the food is really good. We loved it! Since that day we often go for an Indian banana leaf meal. Unfortunately this restaurant is not wheelchair accessible. There are a lot of steps.
Indian food is so good in Malaysia that at least every week we go to an Indian restaurant to try another meal! But sometimes that is not what we were expected… That day Franck ordered a “Dosa” without knowing what it is. He was stunned when he discovered his dinner!
- Wondermama. Bangsar Village, Ground Floor, 1 Jalan Telawi Kuala Lumpur. I really liked this Malay restaurant. Meals are tasty and they look good. In addition it is wheelchair accessible. I didn’t use the restrooms but I can tell that there are accessibles one in “Bangsar Village” mall just near to it. There is another Wonderama restaurant close to the Petronas Towers (Ground Floor, Avenue K, 156, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur).
You certainly got it: I loved discovering all these Malay, Indian and Chinese specialities, as diverse as the city itself. However I still am hesitant when it comes to try durian. Even if I am really keen on fruits I dread to taste it since a Malaysian offered Franck and I durian ice creams. Franck succeeded to finish it with pain and mine ended in a garbage… Just the smell is disgusting. It smells worth that a really old French cheese! It smells so strong that it is forbidden in public transports, even in baggage hold!
We don’t like neither the drinks that the locals are usually drinking. They are incredibly sweet. Malaysians drink so much sugar that there is no diet coke in fast-food restaurants! One usual drink is tea with milk and sugar. It can be cold or hot. That week in Kuala Lumpur was really rich in culinary discoveries but we had still a lot to learn… A few days later we eat chicken feet for the first time. But this is another story!
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