Food Tour of Kuala Lumpur? Yes Please!
We looked at a couple of companies offering food tours, having read they were a great way to experience a new city and try some wonderful food. Food Tours Malaysia had the best reviews and reasonable prices. We booked one for George Town, Penang for when we are there next week and then decided to also book one for Kuala Lumpur, costing 110rm per person for all the food and soft drinks we would eat and drink.
We arrived at the designated meeting point of Bangsar LRT about 30 minutes early. As the start time approached several couples of obvious tourists appeared and we checked they were also for the tour and introduced ourselves, right friendly we are. By the time Charlie our tour guide arrived there were nine of us, a lovely couple from New Zealand who were about our age, everyone else looked to be mid to late twenties, a couple from London, a really friendly couple from Australia and Scotland and our lone female from South Africa. Charlie is Malaysian of south Indian decent and was super friendly, funny and a great tour guide.
We started our tour by walking through the back streets of Little India, there weren’t really any obvious signs of a specific culture, we passed a Muslim cemetery and really it could have been the backstreets anywhere. Until we reached an alleyway filled with flowers. They make flowers garlands and leis every day for the temples. All of the women in our group were asked to step forward and were given a beautiful flower bracelet. The facial characteristics of the men and women working here were very definitely Indian and we were taught how to say Thank you in the Tamil dialect that they spoke. We walked through the alleyway enveloped in wonderful scents to emerge the other side as if by magic in Little India Brickfields, Indian music playing and Saris in the shops, cars bibbing incessantly, just like in India, it was like a magic alleyway!
At this point we were wondering if this was a food tour or a walking tour, we’d skipped breakfast and were starving. We walked a bit further, crossed over the road and walked a bit more before coming to an open kitchen, bowls and pots filled with all sorts of yumminess being served up for people to take and sit in the outside seating area. The chef had the most beautiful smile. Charlie explained what everything was and we were given heaped plates to share between us. I, being allergic to chilli was given my own plate heaped with rice and several different vegetable dishes. There is an outside sink for you to wash your hands and then the eating begins – with your right hand. I’m convinced food tastes nicer when eaten with your hands. This was all washed down by a lime juice drink, delicious! We will be trying to find this wonderful place again.
On the way to the next stop we passed what looked like a fudge stall, some of us badgering Charlie to find out if it was fudge, apparently not. At the next stop they were making little erm well mini Cornish pastie looking things and deep fried doughnuts, all of which apparently had chilli in so none for me AND more fudge looking stuff which after more badgering Charlie we all got to try, not fudge, but maybe nicer.
I’m not sure if this was next or later but we stopped at a shop where they were making fresh roti and we had a dessert each which, well, the best way to describe it was a doughnut hole soaked in syrup, probably pretty bad for you but rather tasty. We also began to notice a lot of blind people. Charlie told us this area is home to the largest blind population in Kuala Lumpur, there is a very large Blind association and countless Blind Massage shops, where the masseuses are highly skilled and give some of the best massages around. Men to men, women to women and no funny business, once our tattoos (ah yes more on that later) are healed we will be back to give one a go. Charlie recommended PB traditional Blind Masseurs on Jalan Thambypillai.
A bit more walking, still in Little India but I think just on the outskirts and we stopped at a cendol stall. Cendol is shaved ice topped with coconut milk, soya jellies, cane sugar, carnation, mix it all up and it is the most delicious refreshing dessert. We’ve never seen anyone use so much carnation – evaporated milk, condensed milk, both – anywhere ever as we have in Asia. Other types of cendol have sweetcorn and grape jelly and kidney beans added. The couple running the stall had been running it for 12 years having taken it over from a friend and were shaving the ice in front of us from a big block. I think cendol is pretty delicious so loved this stop.
The beautiful sunny morning had at this point changed a bit and it had begun to spit as we made our way to and then through Nu Central Mall to get the train to our next stop at Pasar Seni for China Town.
The rain just holding off we made our way past an elaborate Temple through a wet market to emerge in the middle of China Town. Up the stairs we went into a large room where we would have our last food of the tour. Steamed buns and all sorts of noodles followed. The rain descended while we were eating which was pretty perfect timing. More lime juice, beers for Jason and I, we’ve discovered lime juice and beer is pretty lovely, and then a few more steamed buns, pork ones and Kaya – coconut jam ones.
We were together just under 4 hours in the end. Our group wasn’t super chatty but they all seemed perfectly nice enough. The New Zealand couple were really warm and we bumped in to them a few times afterwards as we each wandered around Central Market (we only covered a corner of it so more of that another time, although I have already fallen in love with a ruby and emerald Hamsa ring).
Kuala Lumpur seems a city of many parts Indian, Chinese, Malay all working together, I am looking forward to exploring it this week and again when we come back in September Xx