How A Post About Batu Caves Actually Turned Into A Post About Food in Kuala Lumpur
Hello Kuala Lumpur
Since we knew we would be heading to Kuala Lumpur for a month way back in January I had my list. My list of must-sees and on that list was Batu Caves. It is considered one of Kuala Lumpur’s most frequented tourist attractions. What draws the many tourists is the juxtaposition of the massive statue erected outside welcoming you. The other, the 272 steep stairs. These stairs take you up the limestone hill where 3 different caves await you. It’s also considered a religious landmark. It has been a Hindu temple for over a hundred years. The temple features many idols and statues erected inside and around it. As such it a mix of those there for religious purposes and those like myself to see the caves. It is said that interiors of the limestone are around 400 million years old!
Sound pretty cool right? From a tourist standpoint, I felt it was utterly underwhelming. I can’t speak on the religious experience as I am not religious. The feelings one might feel there to experience the temple as is, is probably much more profound and different than for me, a tourist. I don’t mean any disrespect and I think that if you have time to spare in Kuala Lumpur, a visit should happen.
Would I go out of my way to recommend it, probably not? What I will recommend are the following three places to eat when in Kuala Lumpur because let me tell you. I knew the food was good here. It is the one thing that people continuously rave about AND THEY ARE SO RIGHT.
A Little Bit Of History…
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Malaysia, the country let me give you the quick basics. It is the definition of a melting pot of cultures. Their tourist slogan is “Malaysia truly Asia” and you can understand why when here. From beaches to skyscrapers surrounded by heritage houses and highlands, it is multicultural travel experience. In one road you can pass a skyscraper, temple and Mosque and jungle. Malaysia consists of three main races, Malays, Indians, and Chinese. It is considered one of the most peaceful multicultural regions in the world and you can see the influences throughout. Including its food. Delicious, tasty and affordable food.
Late last year I was on a low-carb diet but in Asia, they don’t do zoodles. Cauliflower is expensive and the only rice they will serve you comes in jasmine, coconut or plain. Soy-milk is easy though (whoda thunk?!). As such, I’ve said hello once more to carbs and have enjoyed it. Even if it means more squats in the gym. In Malaysia, due to the Indian influence, there are a lot of bread and curries. Curries that are made with cream and butter. Bread baked in a tandoori oven and smothered in butter. In the Malay and Chinese influence, noodles play a big role in the dish component. I enjoy every damn bite.
If you make it to Kuala Lumpur make sure to have a stop at one of these places to satisfy the foodie in you. Full disclosure, I’ve only been here two weeks so this isn’t a full list. It’s just what I have loved since being here. I will update at the end of my trip with more places to eat cause I know what’s important. Food. Very good food and if you are gonna enjoy yourself, make sure to go to one of these places. From one food lover to another, you won’t be disappointed. Better yet, pair one of them after your morning visit to Batu Caves so you get some culture and overwhelmingly good food!
Back before Sean and I quit our jobs to work for ourselves, brunch used to be the highlight of my week. And not sure why, but we haven’t really thought of doing it while traveling this time around. That changed when I took a look at the Birch brunch menu and knew I had to go. Their lemon ricotta hotcakes were speaking to me on a spiritual level. One grab ride later and we got there. It was packed but we got a table.
Highly recommend a reservation and wear a dress or loose fitting pants. I stalked everyone’s plates around me. Honestly, everything looked good. If I could have, I would have ordered beyond the hotcakes and my iced latte. Sean ordered the Birch Benedict (a popular choice for the number of times I saw it served). The service is decent enough and the attention to the decor is spotless. Every table, plant, drinks, food is an instagramable moment. It’s not overrated. Expensive for local standards but for roughly $25 including service charge, affordable for the quality.
If I close my eyes I can still taste the first bite of the tandoori chicken I had. My visit to Batu Caves might have been so-so but this meal was EVERYTHING. You know your curry and dal is gonna be good when it’s served in Cooper pots and this little hole in the wall did not disappoint. Not pictured the veggie samosa, fresh chicken tandoori and mango lassi. 🤤All for the high cost of £8 😮
It might not look like much but with its plastic chairs, the smells of deliciousness and extensive but not too big of a menu it was one of the best meals we had in Kuala Lumpur. To be honest, there are a lot of incredible Indian restaurants in Malaysia so if you are smart to plan to eat at a few to try different elements. Only order a few dishes at a time because it is so filling and be prepared for the gas…
When you go to Chinatown to visit the temple and shops make sure to stop at Old China Cafe. Well known for its fusion of Chinese and Malay delicacies. Also known as Nonya. This originates from the Baba Nyonya communities of Malacca and features many Chinese ingredients but cooked with Malay spices. It has constantly evolved and is a must try when in Malaysia.
The service is appalling slow but the tenderness of the meat and intricate flavors makes it alright. The building itself is full of history with many parts of it remains unchanged despite the years and years of service. It is considered a pre-war shophouse and though small is beautiful. When walking through the doors of Old China Cafe you really do feel like you are stepping into the past. Price is slightly high and portions are small but won’t break the bank.
PS some incredible street art can be found around the area of this place. LIKE BEAUTIFUL street art.