There are a plethora of blog posts out there about the things to do in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia. While researching for our very quick visa run, I noticed a common theme in all of the travel blog posts that I read, most of them were about the Batu Caves, the Petronas Towers, Petaling Street or China Town, and Little India. All of the posts were great and informative, but I hate to beat a dead horse, so my goal with the trip and for my subsequent blog post was to eat a ton of yummy meals and document them for you here.
Unfortunately the short period of time that we were in KL got the better of that plan, and so this blog is a little bit about the food we ate (not nearly enough if you ask me, you all know I live to eat good food!) and some tips that I wish I would have known before going.
So without further ado… THE FOOD OF KL
Okay, so really I shouldn’t title it as that, I should title it “The Food One Can Stuff Themselves With in Two Days in KL.” That “One” being me, of course. I really do wish I had a larger stomach capacity sometimes, especially when in KL.
We arrived on a Tuesday afternoon and checked into our cute little bed and breakfast (Rainforest B & B) and immediately started looking online for where to eat. Chad had heard of a pub that served good microbrew beers called Taps Beer Bar and we really wanted to check it out. While Thailand has a good set of cheap beers to choose from, Chad is a beer connoisseur and amateur brewer himself and has been craving “good hoppy” beer for some time. We knew that it was meant to be when the restaurant was literally around the corner from our hotel.
Taps Beer Bar had more of a tapas and western pub food menu, but their beer list, and more importantly their cider list (my personal favorite) was impressive to say the least. Chad tried a few different micro-brews, and I tried a few fruity ciders, while Zoë kept herself busy eating delicious Belgian French Fries (not on the menu, but ask for them and you will get these savory parmesan covered thick cut fries for about 10 RM) and vegetarian nachos and running and climbing all over the couches that we were sitting on. Luckily the place was empty the whole time we were there, so no one could judge us on our exceptional parenting of our wild two and half year old climber.
After eating (ok, drinking) ourselves to extreme fullness and satisfaction, we walked around a bit and checked out the neighborhood. The place we stayed was in a prime location, within walking distance to the Petronas Towers, Bukit Bintang Shopping Plaza, and China Town. We went and checked out the BB Plaza and the mall which housed an H & M. We did this until we processed our previous meal enough to then try out a curry buffet and restaurant that was on Jalan Nagasari, the main road right around the corner from our hotel.
Unfortunately, I did not get the name of this restaurant, but their naan bread was amazing, and the chicken masala I ate was lovely and had just enough spice to leave a bit of a burn after I was finished. This was also the restaurant where I tried my first 100 Plus, a soda that reminded me a bit of Squirt back in the States, but was a bit crisper and less sugary. This became my addiction for the time we were in KL (I actually still crave it and wish they carried it here in Thailand).
The next morning, we had a pitiful breakfast of corn flakes and bananas at our hotel. It was free so we decided to make do with it. It was really disappointing to waste precious eating space on such a disappointing free breakfast. We decided to walk to the Petronas Towers to burn off some of the breakfast and make room for lunch (or at least that’s what I was doing, I think Chad and Z were sightseeing and not thinking of food… I know… I don’t understand it either).
After we went to the Petrosains Discovery Centre, it was lunch time! We took a taxi back to a place called Nagasari Curry House which was directly across the street from our hotel (I could not have wished for a better place to stay as far as location… if you can… stay at Rainforest B&B!). Chad and I were starving, we ordered quickly and then waited… and waited… and waited. In all reality it took about 20 minutes, but when you are hungry, 20 minutes is an eternity! When my butter chicken, Chad’s curry chicken, our rice, butter naan, and cheese naan (or cheese pizza to Z) were set upon our cheap laminate table, we realized that the wait was well worth it. I would like to say that Chad and I ate in a civilized manner, but the flavors and our hunger won over, and people probably thought that Z was actually being raised by wolves.
There was only one problem with our luncheon at Curry House, we were too stuffed when we left! We couldn’t bring ourselves to eat anything until much later, and sadly to say it was mediocre mall food at the Petronas Towers (we went back to take Zoë to the Aquaria KLCC). I will probably regret that for the rest of my life, yes I am being a bit overdramatic, but yummy food is just that important to me.
The next day we decided to forgo the free breakfast, and went to a cafe a couple doors down from the Rainforest that had lovely gourmet breakfasts. I had an omlette with sautéed mushrooms and tomato compote, and Chad had their “Big Breakfast”, which consisted of tons of bacon, eggs, and toast. We were satisfied and then had to head to the airport to travel back to Thailand.
All in all, the food we did try, made me want to try more. I will HAVE to go back to Malaysia and just become a foodie and eat for a month straight or something. Must eat more food…
Now for THE INVALUABLE QUICK TIPS FOR A QUICK TRIP IN KL
1. If you decide to go to the Petronas Towers and do some shopping or go to the Petrosains Discovery Centre make sure that you find a small booth on the ground floor that gives out the “Tourist Privilege Card” to anyone with a foreign ID or passport. This card will save you 10-20% at many of the stores and the Discovery Centre. We saved 20% off the admission price for the Petrosains, which was well worth the 5 minutes it took to get the card.
2. If you choose to take a taxi in KL, make sure that you ask if they will use the meter, and if they won’t, wait for the next taxi. There are so many taxi’s and you will not have to wait long to get a different one if the first one refuses. This will save you lots of money, once we started demanding that they use the meter, our fares were cut in half.
3. At the Petronas Towers there is a taxi booth that charges 2 RM extra to call a taxi for you. Chad and I decided to try it once and learned the hard way. Not only do you pay the extra 2 RM, but then the taxi meter starts a 4 Rm more than normal. You end up paying a lot more for a taxi ride. Just go out to the street and find your own taxi (its only about a 1 minute walk from there to the main road that has taxi’s lined up and waiting.
4. If you decide to go to the Aquaria KLCC, make sure that you check out their feeding times before you go. We arrived there about 20 minutes after most of the feedings had finished.
5. At the KL International Airport, there are buses that will take you to your hotel doorstep for 18 RM each. There is a booth for the bus as you arrive, but it is in the restricted area, so make sure to have some RM before you arrive… OR, you can go directly to the bus station area and buy your tickets there for the same price.
6. For all you ladies out there, KL is primarily a Muslim city. Be aware of the differences in what women wear. KL is extremely diverse in culture and dress, but one of the things I didn’t really see anywhere were women wearing tank tops or shorts, which of course is all that I packed. Obviously I did not research dress “codes” at all. If you are going to KL and are female, make sure to pack knee length skirts/dresses, short/long sleeve shirts, and capris. It is really hot and humid, so you can bring pants if you can handle the heat. I felt a little under-dressed the whole time we were there.
Do you have any tips for travel in Kuala Lumpur or in Malaysia in general? Leave a comment so others can travel to KL and have all the tips they will need in one place!