In Malaysia, you shouldn’t just ‘eat’, you should experience. In the vibrant city of Kuala Lumpur, there are plenty of food experiences that can take you beyond the act of eating. You can learn about the local culture and lifestyle at the same time!
Meet a friend in Malaysia and the first questions often hover around food.
“Where do you want to eat?”
“What would you like to eat?”
“Shall we eat?”
Or, it could simply be a statement about food:
“I know this great noodle place where we can meet!”
Just as such, they are likely to offer to meet in a café, restaurant or at the corner of a street filled with hawker stalls, because in this country of mixed cultures, being passionate about food is the common denominator among the locals.
It comes to no surprise that in Kuala Lumpur, in a city where races and faiths of Malays, Indians, Chinese, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are intricately mixed, the best way to experience its lifestyle is to be immersed in its food culture, and here are three ways to do it.
Join A Food Tour
A food tour is the most ‘delicious’ way to see Kuala Lumpur. Not only will you get to try the variety of cuisines that make up this city’s culinary puzzle, it is also a good way to explore the side streets and hidden parts of the city where you wouldn’t normally venture to
Try the street snacks from the colourful Brickfields, indulge in refreshing cendol and munch your way through the bustling streets of Chinatown.
At the same time, you would have walked through the flower markets of Little India, toured through old Taoist temples, Hindu worship sites as well as small street mosques and joined the locals of Kuala Lumpur as they go about their daily business.
Learn To Cook
A woman who called herself Ana runs a cooking school in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur said eating is one of the most important aspects of the Malay culture.
“In Malaysia, we celebrate each and every occasion with a specialty dish… and we have a lot of cultures and faiths in Malaysia with its own special occasion almost every day, it means Malaysians are always eating!”
For true foodies with the desire to take their local culinary adventure further, a cooking school experience is a must.
Learning the method of how dishes are created allows you to understand not only their significance in local customs, it also gives you the in-depth knowledge of how they should taste. You’ll also subsequently be able to recreate the same authentic dishes when you get home!
A cooking class usually starts with a tour of the local markets, where the bustling trade in aromatic ingredients happens. The magic of putting these ingredients together happens back in the classroom, and rest assured your ‘teacher’ is on hand to make sure you don’t make a complete mess!
Go Where The Locals Go
You can go anywhere in Kuala Lumpur and get a good meal, that’s one of the perks of this wonderful city. However, to get the best meal you’ll have to go where the locals eat!
As you would expect, some of the best places to eat are on the streets. Behind the shopping centres in Bukit Bintang is Jalan Alor, where you can find some of the best street food in the middle of Kuala Lumpur. From food carts to hole-in-the-wall restaurants, there’s flavour oozing out of every corner.
Chinatown is an obvious choice for cheap and delicious meals. This is where you can find a lot of the non-halal delicacies, from pork noodles to duck rice, and a lot of little things on a stick from the street side! Petaling Street is a good place to start your culinary adventures.
A favourite to those with a taste for curry is the banana leaf rice served by some of the restaurants at Brickfields (also known as Little India). Delicious hot curry is poured over a generous pile of rice, service with fragrant side dishes and pappadam and eaten by hand! Try Vishal’s (22 Jalan Scott, Brickfields), which is said to be the best in town.