Em, Borough Markets, London
Millennium Bridge split
Spectators at South Kensington
Primrose Hill, London
When in Kuala Lumpur you may think
They’re not, that’s that charming Asian City bi-product pollution, or forest smoke (from Indonesia, not Malaysia of course) depending on the day of the week/who you ask. It can be the difference between a night inside your condo and an evening sipping cocktails at The Heli (as in pad) Lounge Bar looking over to the stunning, sparkly Petronas Twin Towers (THE TALLEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD for 4 years a while ago, and clearly inspiration for Rihanna’s hit single ‘Diamonds’).
You’re at a café in Canberra.
No, that decidedly hipster café in the ‘burbs with good coffee is just one of many new foodie offerings hitting KL. Pancakes? Check out The Grumpy Cyclist (Canberra, am I right?). Or taco’s and a smooth flat white that draws a whispered ‘Melbourne…’ from your lips- see Sitka Restaurant. There are no high-chairs in an effort to keep ‘that crowd’ out, but the ex-pat babies are coming in droves- that battle is lost my friends, baby chinos all round.
You’ve seen it all.
You probably haven’t. Chinatown, Little India, a rooftop bar and a shop at one of the world class malls are good things to tick off, but there is no way the fusion of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures can be totally understood in a mere couple of days. That said, a trip off the beaten track to Imbi Market for a breakfast of kaya toast, popiah rolls and Hainan iced tea (which tastes so much like coffee you would assume a language error except that everyone speaks English), followed by a pork pie and an egg tart, is a good start. And if you manage to get out to Suzi’s Corner to demolish a steak with a side of garlic cheesy naan and a coconut to drink and still don’t know what I mean by ‘cultural fusion’, this city is lost on you and you should vacate that table immediately for someone more astute.
KL feels like the dorky sibling of Singapore, and although it’s going through an awkward growth spurt with more scaffolding than walls, it’s eagerness to catch up means it just may be the dark horse of South East Asia.
Petronas Twin Towers: Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Sitka Restaurant: 8-5 Jalan Batai, Damansara Heights
The Grumpy Cyclist: 36 Jalan Datuk Sulaiman, Taman Tun Dr Ismail
Imbi Market: Pasar Rakyat, 8 Jalan Melati, Pudu
Suzi’s Corner: Jalan Ampang, Kampung Desa Pahlawan