Friday, October 28, 2011

A quick runaround Kuala Lumpur

Recently (meaning in September....ahem), I had a bit of a crazy 2 week trip, in which I visited 4 countries, spent about 30 hours on planes and only spent about 2 nights in each country I was at.

The trip was a bit for work, a bit for play and some house keeping errands as well. So basically, I landed in Kuala Lumpur, spent a few nights there, then went to Vietnam for a networking event, back to KL for a few nights to recoup energy, over to Hong Kong to get my HK ID reissued, over to Bangkok for a meeting with some friends and then finally back to KL, before I made my way back to Melbourne.

Yeah. I'm tired reading through all that too. I don't think I ever slept so much as I did when I got back!

So I normally do like to blog about each restaurant I go to individually, but as I really did not do a lot of exciting eating out, as it was constantly raining all the time and I was working for most of it, here's just a quick summary of the first three days I had in KL...

Whilst I don't often go for Malaysian food when I'm in Melbourne, drop me off in Malaysia and it's all I want. May as well have it where it (should be) really good and really cheap! I personally find Malaysian food to be one of the heavier Asian cuisines, lots of fried noodles, fried rice, curries and so forth (by the end of two weeks I was hunting down salads...), but it is also surprisingly diverse. There's the men who man the Chinese Malaysian hawker stores, the Indian nasi kandar, and a bit of who else knows what.

This trip in KL, I stayed at Prince Hotel, which is literally a 5 minute walk away from the super luxe mall, Pavilion, which also means, heaps of food. Hoorah! Mall culture in Asia is so bizarre to me sometimes, can you imagine going to a mall specifically for dinner? May as well throw in some shopping while you're at it I guess...

One of the first things I wanted when I got to KL was a Nasi Lemak. My favourite (literally translated), fat rice.

The last time I had been to the Pavilion food court, I was quite unimpressed by the nasi lemak, so decided to see if I could try somewhere else. My dad had never ever liked Madam Kwan, but there she was and since I had never been, I figured I could not be a judge unless I tried it.

Teh tarik is also one of my favourite drinks to have when I'm back in Malaysia. It is known as 'pulled tea' and made of black tea and condensed milk, so you have the nice tea flavour, that has a sweetness to it, without being too milky. Typically served hot, but I was in the mood to have mine cold...

The nasi lemak at Madam Kwan was (by Malaysian standards) a little expensive, somewhere between 15 to 20 ringett. I found the curry chicken a little bit dry and oddly sweet, although it was tasty. The sambal lacked a little kick to it as well, but as it was my first nasi lemak in a very long time, I wasn't really complaining too much. Although a little expensive by Malaysian standards, I thought it was fairly okay.

Sushi trains in Malaysia bewilder me. They always have the oddest things on the menu. Isn't collagen that suff you inject in your face?!

My brother and I actually discovered our love for sushi and all things Japanese flavoured by eating at a sushi train somewhere in Kuala Lumpur and smashing down 20 plates between the two of us.

I know, why I am having sushi in Malaysia? Because it's a sushi train, and I love the novelty, and it's much cheaper than in Australia. May as well indulge right?

On my own I only had 3 or 4 plates, but the standard has dropped a lot from the last time I was here, this goes for both the sushi trains in Pavilion. The rice was always a bit hard and chewy, meaning they don't do much turn around of their plates and everything was covered in mayonaise for the most part.

On day 2, I decided to go down to the Lot 10 food court for lunch, as per some recommendations.

Whilst I was hoping for something that was more hawker-style, I found Lot 10's food court had a lot of Chinese stalls, and not so many Malaysian stalls unfortunately. Although there was a massive variety of Chinese cuisine, from hot pots, to soup noodles to roast duck. The place was also quite nicely decked out, although a touch hot due to the fact it was quite crowded and all the stalls really close to each other!

I did manage to find one store though, where they sold what they called 'Penang Style Zu Cheng Fan', but to me, just looked like my favourite chee cheong fun. Chee cheong fun is essentially a rice noodle roll and the Penang style uses a shrimp paste which is quite dark and sweet. They also usually mix in a bit of chilli with it and at this stall, a sprinkle of fried shallots and sesame seeds. Mmhmmm. I love this dish. It's typically served at kopitiams for breakfast, but having been spoilt on Western styled, usually lighter breakfasts, I can only fathom having this at least for lunch!

It was really good and incredibly satisfying, carbohydrates mmhmmm! And of course I had to have some awesome teh tarik...

Day three, I kept it simple and went for some nasi kandar in the food court, which was actually pretty decent. At nasi kandar's the will usually have a selection of different curries, vegetables and proteins, usually in bain marie's, to choose from which is then served to you with rice. A healthy serving of rice, some chicken curry, some lamb curry and some veggies on the side. Can't go too wrong.

I was also craving some cendol, which is probably my favourite Malaysian dessert (I like it more than ice kachang, gasp!), but the offering at the Pavilion food court, which I forgot to mention is called the 'Food Republic' was quite dismal. The pandan tasted all burnt for some reason! I won't elaborate more on what it is as I have a much better example saved up for a later date....