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Where and what to eat in Kuala Lumpur

  

Where and what to eat in Kuala Lumpur  

As Kuala Lumpur is home to Malays, Chinese, Indians and even British expats, Malaysian cuisine is awash with a diversity of flavours and cultural influences. As you visit a different part of the city, the cuisine offer changes, from delectable seafood dishes to barbecued skewers to friend rice and pipping hot bowls of noodles. Other Asian cuisines, particularly Japanese, are also popular in this city.
With some of the best fine dining establishments in Southeast Asia, a varied cuisine, and extremely cheap yet delicious dishes, Kuala Lumpur is a foodie's paradise.
Klang seafood
Get a taste of the local flavour and try delicious seafood in Klang - a nearby port that encompasses some of the best and budget-friendly seafood.
Chilli pan mee at Restoran Super Kitchen
With an explosion of textures and flavours, this Chinese-Malaysian noodle dish is an unmissable local delicacy. It consists of soft noodles topped with fried anchovy, deep fried onions, fresh scallions, crushed peanuts, shredded pork and a poached egg.
Restoran Super Kitchen is the place to try this dish. There you can add as much dry chilli as you like. Then you break the egg yolk and make a sauce that coats the noodles with spices, peanuts and onions.
Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is known as Kuala Lumpur's commercial, shopping and entertainment hub. There you can find Laksa Shack, a shopping mall, famous for its Malaysian laksa noodles. Go up to the second floor and get your noodles from the famous Assam Laksa.
Curry Laksa at Kam Fatt
Another unmissable place to taste the traditional Malaysian coconut noodle soup is Kam Fatt, which is only open for breakfast and lunch.
Upon choosing either egg noodles, flat rice noodles, vermicelli or a combination of those, the noodles get smothered in a think gravy and served with boiled Hainan-style chicken, fried tofu puffs, bean sprouts, cockles and green beans. As final touch, the noodles get seasoned with a squeeze of fresh lime and extra chilli sauce.
Brickfields
Alternatively, if you are eager to get your hands dirty and ditch plates and utensils altogether, head to Bricksfields - also known as Little India. The area is famous for its banana leaf food - a set meal which consists of rice, a crispy papadum and a choice of curries and chutney that are served on a banana leaf. You can also add chicken, beef, fish or vegetable curry to the meal. The best way to end the meal is with a traditional banana or mango lassi - a yogurt-based drink that originates in the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan. This sweet and cooling drink, somewhat similar to a smoothie, tempers down the heat of the spicy curry.
Head to Keveri, an open fronted restaurant, to try all things South Indian, which include meat and vegetarian dishes. Most dishes are served on the famous banana leaf, which makes it feel more authentic.
If you are curious to see Little India but not eager to try curries, the area also has a western fast food chain and it is famous for its Chinese coffee shops.
Afternoon tea
If you have a sweet tooth, head to Merdaka Square - famous for the predominance of colonial buildings - where you can indulge in a traditional English afternoon tea. One place to try it would be the Carcosa Seri Negara Hotel in the Lake Gardens. Surrounded by lush greenery, the colonial hotel is perfect for relaxing. If you go there between 3pm and 6pm, you will be able to try their special afternoon tea, which includes finger sandwiches, cakes and pastries, serve in white china and cakes on a large cake stand.
Japanese food
You might be in Malaysia, but might not stop you from craving some succulent Japanese good. If that happens, you should head to Wasabi Bistro in KLCC. Although their inventive sushi rolls are to die-for, don't miss out on their Udon - hot thick wheat flour noodles with soy sauce and Ugani sets - dishes with fresh water eel. Their lunches are very popular during the week, so be sure to book ahead of time.
Chinese food in Bunkit Bintang
If you are lusting after some Chinese food, instead, opt for Bunkit Bintang, one of the best Chinese restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. Despite being a reputable restaurant, Bukit Bintang is relatively cheap, although its speciality dishes are a bit more expensive. Make sure you book in advance if you want to try their speciality dishes, which include the ‘Har Lok' - prawns cooked in soy sauce - or the beef brisket in clay pot.

 

Malaysia Travel Tips

  

Malaysia Travel Tips

Malaysia is a multicultural and traveller-friendly Southeast Asian destination, with a good mix of touristic activities, ranging from scuba diving to remote island getaways, orang-utan spotting, fascinating tribal longhouse villages and even a heli lounge bar in Kuala Lumpur.

Home to a myriad of cultural identities that speak different languages, the society of Malaysia has been described as “Asia in miniature.” With a mix of Malays with the Chinese and Indian cultures, and an addition of Persian, Arabic, and British, the cultures of Malaysia are as varied as its wildlife.
Highlightsl; If you visit Malaysia, there are certain activities you shouldn't miss out on.
- Head to Sarawak, Borneo, and explore Malaysia's tribal world. There you can soak in Malays' tribal culture and tradition and even meet the locals in a tribal longhouse.
- Dive into the underwater world of Sipadan - Malaysia's only oceanic island situated in the Celebes Seas off the east coast of Borneo. Renown as one of the world's best dive spots, Sipadan Island was morphed and brought to life by coral growing on top of an extinct underwater volcano cone. As you explore its underwater world, you'll get to see some of the 3000 fish species along with the different corals that make Sipadan one of the richest marine habitats in the world. There you'll be able to swim with green and hawksbill turtles, spot sharks, barracuda, bumphead parrotfish, and even whale sharks if you are lucky.
- Some of Malaysia's wonder are out there in the open for everyone to see, so hire a car and explore the Peninsular Malaysia at your leisure.
- If you are up for a challenge, climb Mt Kinabalu, Borneo's highest peak. 20th most prominent mountain in the world by topographic prominence, Mount Kinabaly has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status. If you enjoy outdoor activities but prefer a less challenging quest, go hiking around the tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands.
- You can't leave Malaysia before trying Perenakan cuisine and roaming the colonial streets of Penang. You should also head to the Hawker markets to try a variety of succulent dishes. Order scrumptious treats from the numerous stalls that circle the central eating area and then take them to your table and dig in.
Customs and Etiquette
Given the country's diversity, it's important to know its etiquette and customs. As Kuala Lumpur is a multicultural city, there is a high level of tolerance for foreign rules and etiquette. Even so, it is important to avoid displays of public affection, as it is frowned upon between all couples, whether they are married or not.
Like other Buddhist countries, it is important to take your shoes off before entering a temple. It's also customary to do so when you enter a private residence.
While alcohol is not welcome in Muslim society, it is still widely available as the country welcomes people from all walks of life.
Try to eat with your right hand only, particularly outside urban areas. This rule applies specially in the conservative Muslim north where you have to dress respectfully, which means you need to cover shoulders and legs.
Money
The local currency is the Malaysian ringgit (MYR). If you didn't get a chance to exchange currency prior travelling, there are many opportunities to do so in Kuala Lumpur. You'll get a more favourable exchange rate with moneychangers in local shopping areas rather those in banks, hotels or the airport.
You'll need to carry cash to buy goods from local markets, although there are plenty of ATMs around if you are in Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, international restaurants, department stores, and upscale boutiques generally accept credit card payments.
Although tipping isn't necessary, it is appreciated by waiters and taxi drivers.
Weather
Probably one of the reason you are visiting Malaysia in the first place, it is a warm country all year round. Nonetheless, it is also humid, therefore it is crucial to stay well hydrated and take a break from the heat in shopping malls or museums.
The rainy seasons go from March to April and from September to November. Travelling during these months is still advisable as it is slightly cooler. Whether you travel during the months rainfall peaks or not, it is practical to always carry an umbrella as occasional downpours are likely to happen all year round.

 

Yuna: Malaysia impossible to categorise pop star

  

Yuna is one of Malaysia's most popular and famous singers and songwriters. A true icon of the country's pop scene, her triumphant career is a testament to her tenacity and talent.yuna malaysia pop superstar
Born Yunalis Mat Zara'ai in 1986, Yuna has been involved in music since the age of 14 when she wrote her first song. By 19 she was performing in front of crowds, playing her soulful acoustic numbers to rapt audiences. Her initial following in her home country was built upon her success on MySpace, where she uploaded her own, self produced recordings and promoted herself tirelessly. This would foreshadow the skills she has since shown as a canny businesswomen later in her career.
Her breakthrough Malaysian hit was Deeper Conversation, the lead track from her self-titled debut EP from 2009.
The big international discovery for Yuna came in 2011 when she was signed by the American labels Indie-Pop and FADER. Her debut US EP, Decorate, was released that March.
Her big breakthrough single, Live for Your Life, hit iTunes in January 2012. Produced by Pharrell Williams, it was brilliantly polished piece of pop that took Yuna's sweet vocals up to the next level. Her debut album came three months later, to mass critical acclaim. Quickly, Yuna began to garner a committed and fanatical fan base across the globe but particularly in her native South East Asia.
Since then, she has released three more international long players, Yuna (2012), Sixth Street (2013) and Nocturnal (2013).
Yuna's style is somewhat difficult to catagorise. On her original MySpace profile she called wryly described herself as a ‘cross between Mary Poppins and Coldplay', and it is a claim that has haunted her every since. Now, almost seven years later, people still quote it back to her when asking her about her influences. In reality, it shows how hard it is to put Yuna in a single box, as her musical palette tastes of everything from 70s rock to Garbage to Bob Dylan.
As well her musical accomplishments, Yuna is also a successful businesswoman, with her own line of clothing boutiques called IAMJETFUELshop.

Traditional Malay instruments

  

Malaysia is a country with a rich musical history. While all genres of music are popular in the country, the traditional Malay sound continues to be popular. If you are interested in learning more about it, here are the most common instruments used in traditional Malaysian music.
Harmonium
The Harmonium was first played in Britain, though it migrated to India in the days of the Commonwealth. The Malays began to use it as part of their ghazal poetic performances.
Rebabtraditional malay instruments
If you are listening to a piece of rhythmic Malaysian trad and you hear a sweet, pulled melody running through it, chances are it comes from a rebab, which is one of the most popular bowed lute in the Malaysian trad family.
Angklung
This comprises two bamboo tubes that have been attached to a larger bamboo frame. Each one is tuned to octaves and the player strikes them in turn to create a haunting, resonant sound.
Kompang
You'll see this percussion instrument being played in large ensembles, often to accompany choral singers at traditional ceremonies such as weddings.
Gamelan
Another percussion instrument, the Gamelan is made of brass, giving a deep, metallic drum pop sound.
Seruling
The Seruling is argued by some to be the earliest known instrument in Malaysian culture. It's a bamboo flute popular amongst Malay tribes from the jungle regions.
Gong
You've probably seen these before – a huge hanging brass tray that is hit by the player to create a resounding, echoing percussion sound from its centre.
Marwas
The Zapin dance is a very popular dance you will see in both Malaysia and Indonesia. Accompanying the dancers movements is likely to be a Marwas player, who will strike the instrument with one hand while the performers move.
Serunai
This wind instrument is made out of wood with seven holes in the upper part and a single hole one the other end. It is often played to accompany dances and martial arts performances.
Gendang
The Gendang is another Malaysian drum. Made out of buffalo and cow hides, it is slapped on both ends.
Gambus
This another member of the lute family, played in both zapin and ghazal performances.

The Malaysian hip hop scene

  

Hip hop is amongst the many genres of music that is followed with great fervour in Malaysia. It is not just Western exports like 50 Cent or Kanye West, however, that Malaysian rap fans enjoy. Since the early 1990s successive generations of home-grown rap acts have been bringing their own distinctly South East Asian flavour to the music.hip hop

The scene began with acts such as 4U2C, NICO and, particularly, KRU, who went on to found one of Malaysia's most famous labels and studios. Today, everything from albums to movies to books comes out under the KRU Studios label. Though influential, none of these bands quite made the mainstream breakthrough that hip hop needed in the country.
The real breakout rap group in Malaysia was Krash Krozz, who added a more RnB-ish flavour to the mix, something akin the New Jack Swing sound spearheaded by Teddy Riley and Bernard Belle in late-80s America. Krash Krozz had some success with their debut LP but fell away and disbanded soon after.
Though they were successful and very influential, Krash Krozz's fate speaks volumes about Malaysian hip hop in the 90s. In a country in love with rock, pop and traditional music, trying to convince people to dig rap was not an easy task.
The game-changing moment came in 1995 when an album called It's a Nice Day to be Alive hit the shelves. The debut LP from a young underground hip hop collective called Poetic Ammo, it packed a raw, hard edged sound that was the polar opposite of the more poppy attempts at rap that had proceeded it. It was a runaway success, making superstars of the groups four members: Yogi B, Point Blanc, Landslyde and C Loco.
Poetic Ammo's success paved the way for more Malaysian hip hop artists to get mainstream attention. Perhaps the most notable of all was Too Phat, the Kuala Lumpur duo whose first single Lil Fingaz was put on steady rotation on Malaysian radio throughout 1999.
Thanks to Too Phat, Poetic Ammo, KRU and Krash Krozz, rap music is now a part of Malaysia's pop music scene. Things have certainly come a long way since the early 90s.

 

The dazzling career of Malay jazzman Aubrey Suwito

  

Aubrey Suwito

A Malaysian pianist, songwriter and producer, Aubrey Suwito has been involved in the music industry since the tender age of six. That was when he first put his hands on a piano's keyboards and thoughts himself a few chords. It was the beginning of an extraordinary journey that would see Suwito rise right to the top of the South East Asian music scene, becoming musical director of Malaysian Idol and being awarded multiple times for his incredible contribution.

Suwito's gifts were apparent from early on in his life and so it was no surprise that he crossed the Atlantic and enrolled in the Berkeley School of Music in Boston in 1991. The most formative part of his education was his first exposure to the rich history of American jazz music, which would inform his song writing from that time on. He took a job at a recording studio after graduation and, quite quickly, his talents were noticed.

He began writing and producing songs for a diverse string of popular musicians, most notably Jaclyn Victor for whom he wrote the award winning smash Gemilang. As well as the work he has done for others, Suwito also boasts an impressive discography of his own LPs. His first album, One Busy Street was originally released in 2000 and fused his own Malay musical heritage with his love of Jazz and other American styles. It is a real treat for anybody interested in world music, as it brings together diverse elements of sound from different cultures to create a new and enticing audio palette. His second album, Christmas with Friends from 2010 was the sister recording for a fundraising concert he and his wife put on to help musicians in need of medical assistance. A jaunty though captivating collection of traditional Christmas hits given a jazzy spin, it packs some truly spectacular moments, including a superb rendition of O Holy Night.

A recent album is Home, released in 2011 and this is perhaps Suwito's most clear attempt to make a fuse Malaysian and American music to form a new sound yet. Typically, Malaysian rhythms play below jazz riffs before, occasionally, breaking into Asian pop melody. For anybody interested in Malay music, Aubrey Suwito is a must-listen. More on crankymusic.

SingleTrackMind: a star of sport and music

  
Though you might not know the name Alex Wong, if you have any interest in Malaysian music you will most certainly have heard of SingleTrackMind, Wong's stage name. Under this guise her has a released a string of very successful independent rock hits, plus two acclaimed albums.single track mind alex wong
Before taking to the stage as SingleTrackMind, however, Wong first established himself as one of Malaysia's most successful jet skiers. After debuting as a professional jet skier under the Wong's Way Racing banner in 1987, he went on to take numerous championships including the Dhanabalan Cup in Singapore in 1991, the 1994 Phillipine Championship, three Malaysian Championships in 1995, 1996 and 1998, a Korean title in 1995, an Australian championship in 1996 and the coveted Asia Pacific King's Cup in 1998.
Though he had an extraordinary and acclaimed career as a jet skier, Wong felt distracted by music and wanted to expand his brand into independent pop. Taking the name SingleTrackMind, he made his first live performance at the Rock the World 3 festival in Kuala Lumpur in 2002, before releasing his first album the following year. Titled No Reason, it instantly grabbed critical acclaim from the local critics, earning Wong three nominations at the 2004 AIM music awards, including Best Music Video, Best Engineered Album and Best New Local English Artist.
At this time, Wong was still signed to Jet Ski banner Petronas Jet Sport but quit jet skiing for good after the World King's Cup Watercross in Thailand in 2006. Throughout this period, Wong was hitting the stages across Asia, performing to crowds in China, Thailand, Phillipines and Singapore.
SingleTrackMind's second album was 2007's [hey.], most famous for containing Wong's recording of One Day, a popular Indonesian song re-interpreted in English. It also featured Seventeen (God at the Beach), which was a heartfelt ode to a friend of Wong's who had recently passed away suddenly. The album was recorded in LA.
Alex Wong has certainly had an amazing career. Few people could possibly make a successful move from professional sports to pop music, but he did it with remarkable confidence and certainty.

Punk rock in Malaysia

  
For much of the last 30 years, Malaysia has been crazy about rock music. A country where the kids like it loud, it is one of the big global powerhouses of the hardcore punk rock scene. Of all Malaysian cities, Terengganu is known as the heart of Malay rock. Though known as a socially conservative little town, Terengganu has been the home of many of the most extreme and revolutionary voices in Malaysian punk.punk rock malaysia oag
In 1986, a band called Malaria formed in Terengganu. They played rapid, rabid crossover trash music. They recorded one single demo, with just four songs on it, and then disbanded but the influence of that roughhewn demo and their fearsome reputation as a cut throat live act permeated across the country, from coast to coast.
Throughout the early 90s punk continued to buzz along as an underground scene, though by this time it had migrated to Kuala Lumpur. While punk was still miles from the mainstream, many bands who would go on to large-scale success were forming and playing in KL at this time: Carburetor Dung, Formation Bee, Stoink and Mechanical Baby amongst them.
At the same time, other bands began adopting the style of the British Oi-scene, like ACAB, The Official and Roots n Boots.
In the mid-90s the punk finally began to make inroads into the popular Malaysian culture. Many of those aforementioned acts became well known at this time as the sheer popularity of the scene amongst the urban youth forced it into the reluctant mainstream.
One major recent trend is for bands to sing in their native Malaysian tongue, as opposed to the English of their British and American influences. Nowadays the scene thrives, with hugely successful acts such as OAG, Estranged, Pop Shuvit and Bunkface. These acts adopted a style that was both more poppy and more Malaysian.
As well as being successful in their home country, these acts have also made international splashes, in countries like Japan, Indonesia and Singapore. In Indonesia, particularly, Malay punk rock is considered to be a huge influence on the local scene and local youth culture.

Malaysian pop-punk rebels: Bunkface

  

Sam, Youk and Paan are the three young men that make up Bunkface, one of the most successful groups ever to come out of Malaysia. Since 2005 they have been lashing out high energy pop punk riffs to dizzy teenage fans across the continent.bunkface pop punk rebels
After initially finding success with their English language Lesson of the Season EP in 2007, Bunkface's big break came with the release of their first Malay single Situasi in 2008. Though they had initially intended to record the track in English, in order to ape their American heroes such as Sum 41, The Offspring and Green Day, bassist Youk suggested a Malay recording at the last minute. It was an inspired decision, and the song went on to hit the number one spot on FLY FM.
After blitzing the first ever Shout! Awards and taking home three gongs, Bunkface released their debut album, Phobia Phoney, in 2010. A mixture of six English songs and 4 Malay songs it produced several more hits of the band, including Revolusi, Prom Queen, Soldier and Dunia.
Their second LP Bunk Not Dead followed in 2012, produced on their own Bunkface Productions label. This time they decided to add 9 English songs and 4 Malay songs. The long wait between their debut album and this follow-up is attributed to an incredibly hectic touring schedule that saw Bunkface play across Asia, Europe and North America to wide acclaim.
It's a heavier piece than Phobia Phoney, with lyrics that enter stranger, more troubled areas and a less obviously poppy sound in the music. Part of the reason for this increased heaviness had to do with an increasingly hostile attitude towards Malaysian punk from the country's established music scene.
For example, the previous year, the albums lead single Panik had been banned by Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM, the government's official station).The initially cited reason for the ban was to do with the repeated usage of the word ‘Reformasi' in the lyrics, which is a term often used by opposition political leaders. Bunkface themselves reacted angrily to the ban, saying they had the right to use whatever words they wish and that they had no political message that they were trying to put across.
Despite the controversy, Bunkface remain one of Malaysia's most popular acts, with a huge following of loyal punk fans.

Jaclyn Victor: from lounge singer to national icon

  

You might know her as Jaclyn Victor or you might know her as Jac. Whatever you call her, you should know that Jaclyn Victor is one of the most powerful and popular singers in the Malaysian pop scene. After winning the inaugural Malaysian Idol and Ikon Malayisa contests, she went on release a string of hugely popular and influential albums and represented Malaysia in Asian Idol and Ikon Asean.jaclyn victor
Before Malaysian Idol, Jac had already been earning a living by singing in clubs and bars across Kuala Lumpur. She had even recorded an album, entitled Dreams, and sang on a national television show but had not come to mainstream attention.
Malaysian Idol changed all that. She auditioned on the encouragement of her mother and stormed the show, with her faultless covers of staples such as Sweet Child O Mine, Lady Marmalade and If I Ain't Got you. In the final, she won an incredible 76% of the audience's vote, before singing Gemilang, the song written for the winner that would eventually become her signature tune.
She quickly released an album of the same name, which went gold almost instantly. Jac picked up award after award across the next few years, playing in various huge events across Asia. Her second album, entitled Inilah Jac, dropped in 2006. Supported by her first proper music video Ceritera Cinta with Rio Febrian, it was another critical and commercial success.
At the AIM awards in 2007 she was nominated for a four awards and took home one for Best Female Vocal Performance in an Album. She also sang on a special edition of the hugely successful High School Musical 2 soundtrack, helping to promote it across Malaysia.
Jac was also a very big part of the 50 Years of Malaysian Independence celebrations, headlining the Live and Loud KL concerts that ran across 10 days in the capital. This was followed by more touring concerts in Europe and Asia.
Since then Jac has released two more acclaimed albums and begun a successful acting career. She starred in Talentime, directed by Yasmin Ahmad in 2009, bagging an award for Best Promising Actress at the Malaysian Film Festival.
Jaclyn Victor is one of the most brilliant vocal talents in Asia. Her extraordinary career continues to be one of the most exciting things in Malaysian pop.

 

  
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