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Around Kuala Lumpur

Currently about 12:45am, early Sunday morning, December 4th, in Kuala Lumpur.

!!Happy birthday, Gia!!

I had a more elaborate entry composed, but the computer I was working on in this Internet cafe decided that I should start over. So here's the run and gun version.

Beef ball noodles, dry style, with iced Chinese tea and the communal chili sauce.

From this well-known shop next to my guesthouse.

The Petronas Twin Towers are the semi-official icon for KL.




I think this may be the perfect bite of Hainan Chicken Rice so far on this trip. With some crispy pork belly added, because they had it, with crunchy cucumber, some green onion, and ginger/chili sauce. It's also on Tengkat Tong Shin, across and two over from my guesthouse. The place across and one over is pretty good as well, but the chicken is chewy.


On a different day, for take away, with char siu added instead.

From the first night in KL at the nyonya restaurant, petai (stinkbeans) with a shrimp paste/chili/garlic sauce. There's a strong "green" flavor in these beans, and an odiferous side-effect the next day.


At a night market, this street vendor is making large ming jiang kueh, a crisp pancake containing sugar, crushed peanuts and sometimes fruit. This one had a really crunchy texture, so naturally I really liked it. [This is also called appam in Tamil]


One for Dad - roots of a ficus growing toward the ground on it's "host" tree.


This cart is making and frying you tiao or oil stick, or around here they're called yau cha kwai. Fresh fried dough of any kind is hard to beat, but even so, these were really nice - not greasy, barely sweet, and the you tiao had good strong texture. Below is the menu - each piece is 60 Malaysian sen, or about US$0.16.



Similar to roti canai, this has margarine and sugar added for a buttery, dessert type of roti. The gent at the shop called it roti platha, which I'm guessing came from roti paratha. I admit, I'm usually a snob about using real butter, I'll go get French butter for certain things, etc., but there's an intensity about margarine that works. Like "butter-flavor topping" on popcorn at the movie theater. Of course, my first thought was to substitute ghee, but the margarine tastes pretty darn good.


Wings seem to be many people's favorite part of the chicken, and they like them all kinds of ways, but at a lot of hawker stands they sort of pre-smoke them up top, then move them lower to crisp them when they're ordered. Then they're served with fresh chili/ginger sauce


I must admit, I knew next to nothing about Malaysia, and it surprised me in a good way. Some people don't like it since it's so modern. Sometimes, walking on the streets or in the malls felts like I could have been in Newport Beach, or Van Nuys, or Beverly Hills, or Chicago. But maybe because I went into some of the older parts of town, and the less developed areas, I got to see a little more of the everyday life of some of it's residents, rather than the bright and shiny side the government would like to present. Bahasa (the Malay language) uses Arabic letters and has many borrowed words which are phonetically spelled, like kompleks and telekomunikasi, so it's quite easy to get around. I'm especially thankful to the Tan family, who were so generous in their time, knowledge, and hospitality.

I'm off to Phnom Penh, Cambodia tomorrow, then Siem Riep to see Angkor Wat. After that it will be Vietnam, possibly Thailand for another few days, then India. For those of you scoring at home, the visited countries count is currently 5, and the passport stamp count is 4.


Great blog! As if I was there. Are you going up the Petronas Towers?

is that your pimp ride?

I took the tour up to the 41st floor Skybridge. Quite a view. My pix aren't so impressive, but I'll put some up at some point.

I can't remember if I already said this, but there's a softness to the sunlight here, partly from cloudcover and pollution, but also for reasons not obvious to me. Almost has a Matrix-ey surrealness to it. It seems to me that people don't wear sunglasses very much around here. But I guess that would be compared to LA and Hawai`i, where they're pretty much standard issue.

Yeah, I rented one of the locally made vehicles that doesn't have such wimpy add-ons like uni-body construction and crumple zones and cabin reinforcement. Purely style and transport. Just kidding about renting it.

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