Twice a year I make a trip to Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur, usually staying for a week. I don’t go there for business. And I don’t go there for leisure. I just go to KL to eat.
Kuala Lumpur is a easy 2 hours flight from Bangkok, Thailand. With another 30 minutes worth of travel time on the fast train from KLCC2 international airport. Tack on another 10 minutes on the KL Monorail and I’m in the heart of a culinary bliss just in time when my hunger pangs set in.
Kuala Lumpur is a haven for top Eurasian and Southeast Asian cuisine. Their roots harken back to the days when Malays, Indians and the Chinese began coexisting when the city began booming on the tin trade.
In KL there’s no such a thing as fusion food. There’s ethnic Chinese, Indian and then there’s Malay. And although one culture may have influence over the other the locals look to their cuisine as one and uniquely their own. As a result there’s nothing but pure magic.
But if you’re looking for genuine authentic Maly, Indian and Chinese food you won’t be disappointed.
Sadly, it’s not all good news on this most recent trip to KL. Two of my favorite cafés shuttered their doors. Coffea Coffee’s Pavilion Mall location and Espresso Labs Plaza Low Yat branch were out of business. Probably due to the huge rent and Starbucks.
Starbucks branches in KL are the worst and I’ve been to more than a few branches.
Luckily I found Jamaica Blue also located in Plaza Low Yat. So I still have a place to drink some fine coffee and suck up Wi-Fi internet juice for hours.
Watching Bukit Bintang Change Before My Eyes
Bukit Bintang is like the Times Square of New York City or the Piccadilly Circus of London. There are huge LED screens and billboards displaying advertisements. Though Bukit Bintang is not as huge or even as gaudy believe you me it’ll probably get there in a few years.
Aside from enjoying my daily meals like a gleeful school kid every year in KL I can’t help but notice that buildings are getting taller and taller as construction projects all over the city begin to take shape.
I usually stay at hotels around Bukit Bintang, which is the main tourists hub of KL. Like most tourists centers around major cities you’ll find lots of restaurants, shopping centers and of course hotels. Plus nearby train stations as well for convenience.
As of writing Bukit Bintang only has the KL Monorail station which starts at KL Sentral, winding its way through the edge of Little India, Chinatown and onwards to Chow Kit with a stop at Air Asia Bukit Bintang station.
Today there is major construction underway for a brand new MRT subway line complete with station stops in Bukit Bintang.
I’ve only used the city’s subway lines once or twice in all the years I’ve been visiting KL. When the subway trains are up and running it’ll be a great way for me to explore more of Malaysia and find more good eats.
Every year I travel around I begin to see remarkable similarities between my home town of New York and many other major cities around the world. If a city is not expanding, it’s rebuilding and renovating. It’s as if a city is actually alive, not only to thrive but to survive.
In a way Kuala Lumpur to me is trying to reinvent itself as many ASEAN members are doing the same. And the city has come a long way from the days when it was just a tin mining town with people from neighboring countries flooding in for the hope of a better life and opportunities.