Wednesday, March 28, 2012

KL In 48 Hours

I was in KL for two days. If you have been following this blog for some time, you'll know that KL is one of my least liked city. After this trip, I think maybe that Bangkok is not so bad after all.

Again, KL's taxi drivers take the prize for worst taxi service. I fail to understand why the government can't  get the taxi drivers to use their meters. That just tells so much about the government's efficacy. KL is a totally hostile city for walking and even short distances are best travelled by car. The standard unmetered fare is RM20/USD6.70, twice the cost of a metered ride. It is common to see tourists bargaining with taxi drivers.

I walked in the cold in Shanghai on streets that were straight and clean but in KL, I couldn't walk because it was so hot and the government just doesn't like trees. Even if there are trees, Kl is still not walkable because it's not a city built sensibly. Buildings are here and there, with a car park or other structures in between and no walkways are provided. If they are, the walkways are uneven and broken with deep open pits here and there. Rubbish is everywhere. KL is unbelievably dirty, even on Jln Bukit Bintang, the main shopping street. I am ashamed of our capital city.



On our first night, the taxi driver driver dropped us at Petaling St because he said that was a happening place where we can eat wood-fired hokkien mee. We walked up and down Petaling St and it was filthy, just horrid. We finally sat down at a restaurant and ordered Hokkien mee and fried mee just because there were lots of Europeans eating there and we figured that if they can eat in such dirty places, so can we.

The next morning, I wanted to eat pork noodles at a shop (a dirty restaurant called Kedai Mei Sin) behind Park Royal Hotel because that's where I used to eat whenever I was in KL during my working days.

The stall is now run by the son and the noodles aren't as good anymore. The sang yuk meen (pork noodles) in KK are tons better.

From another stall in Mei Sin, assam laksa. This was bad. It's strange why nobody can make assam laksa as good as those Penangnites.

This is beef noodles at Soong Kee in Lot 10. Nah, KK's beef noodles are tons and tons better!

"Imbi pork noodles" at Lot 10. Not outstanding.

Pig stomach soup. This was good, very peppery and thick.

We were around the Bukit Bintang area and wanted a nice place to rest our feet and perhaps nibble on some nice cakes. It was about 2:30 pm and none of the hotels had any afternoon tea. From The Westin to The Grand Millenium to JW Marriot to I can't even remember which hotel, there was no afternoon tea! Dim sum at the Grand Mliienium was made with pork (hooray) but they were just closing when we got there. We found ourselves in the Pavillion, a very nice shopping mall, and stepped into Ben's. I was thrilled that they served afternoon high tea, on those silver multi-tiered trays, for only RM48 I think. Scones, sandwiches, cakes. Then the waiter came and said they've run out of scones and sandwiches. I grudgingly ordered the moist coconut cake,

This wasn't moist at all but it was still quite good.

Tasty and cheap at RM2.50.

Imported mochis. I found them too hard, even after 50 minutes of thawing.

Dinner was buffet (we ran out of ideas) at The Westin Hotel. We swear after every buffet that we'll never have buffets again. We swore again.

I don't get why this building was allowed to be built right up to the walk path. Worst of all, this is right on Jln Bukit Bintang. It also blocks off the entrance to Starhill. Amazing how some people can get away with anything.

This was the best thing I ate on my KL trip: chili pan mee, something we don't get in KK. The pork oil, the el dente noodles, the crispy ikan bilis, the delicious sauce, the fragrant fiery fried chili flakes just made this an awesome dish. 

The soup pan mee was ordinary after the dry chili pan mee. I was surprised to find sayur manis in KL pan mee.

The kick ass chili was SO good that we asked to buy it but the old man was adamant that he didn't have enough to sell.


Fine, I thought, I'll figure out what's in the chili. See those thin bits of crystals? MSG. This is just dried chilies, deep fried until crispy, processed until fine and seasoned with salt and plenty of MSG.


Would I go back to Restoran Kin Kin, recommended in food blogs and magazines, on Jln Dewan Sultan Sulaiman Satu? NO. The chili pan mee is delicious but look at the shop and the environment. I still can't believe I ate there. It looked like an area for drug dens. It very likely is. On the way out of the area, we nearly stepped on a smashed dead rat. I felt sick.

We decided that we had enough of exotic restaurants and ended up in the Inter Continental Hotel for dim sum. I won't bore you with the same old photos of ha gow and taro puffs but this was the final straw for us. The dim sum was very average, devoid of pork (dim sum without pork is not dim sum) and at the end of the meal, this came:

Unless you are in an American Chinese restaurant, fortune cookies have no place in a good, authentic Chinese restaurant.

I harboured a desire to eat a meal of bak kut teh before going to the airport but I knew that Hub had enough. It had been a pretty rough food adventure this trip. We ended up eating KFC at the airport. It was good.


YuinTing said...

Hi Terri,
Many years back, my hubby and I invited 2 Singaporean friends to a famous coffee shop in Pudu. Until now I feel so bad because there were dogs walking in and out the shop when we were having our meal...and that place was run down and not clean at all. At that time we were just too young and ignorant, ha ha!

Michelle Chin said...

Hello terri,

I think you went to the wrong places to get afternoon tea. :)

I wouldn't recommend kin kin to anyone. my mom hates that place. i actually kena-ed from her when i said lots of food bloggers love it.

if you had just shoot me an email, i might be able to recommend you some places that you will surely like. :) maybe not the hawker food. i think hawker food in ipoh is the bomb and far better than kl. haha.

and yes, kl is not a walk-friendly city. you have to own a car.

Blur Ting said...

Even for a Singaporean, I'm finding Kl to be too expensive for my liking. I only like the nasi lemak in KL. Madam Kwan's is nice but expensive.

The taxi fare is something I cannot understand. Fuel and cars are so much cheaper yet the fares are sometimes higher than what we pay here.

Nate @ House of Annie said...


wow, you are really down about KL! I'm sorry about your misadventures. Surely, with better planning and arranging you would have ended up with a better experience.

Still, your complaints about the dirtiness, heat, lack of trees, lack of planning, poor urban design, and bad taxi service (in the country's capital city, no less!) are very valid.

June said...

Not sure if you had tried Ritz Carlton Hotel they do have afternoon at their Lobby Lounge heard many good reviews =). same goes to their dim sum in Li Yen.

jean said...

dear terri,

i've been reading ur blog n salivating..n ur daughter is so talented! what a happy family :)

come to ipoh, not everything is good, but then again, not everything is bad. if u go to the right shops, u end up with more good than bads.

i worked in kl for three years, studied there for 8.plenty of good food, if u know where to find, but u're right, kl is a filthy place. what a shame!!!

ipoh gal

btw, this ipoh boy blogs about good food around ipoh/malaysia. more hits than misses!!! good luck!!!

jean said...

whoops! sorry, the food blogger's url

terri@adailyobsession said...

yuinting: i know exactly what you mean. i brought some friends frm Melbourne to a seafood place tt was highly recommended by another blogger (i've nvr been before) n the food was so embarassing!

michelle: i actually looked your blog up, in desperation on the second day but it wasn't easy with an iphone. it occurred to me then tt i would most love to lunch with your mom one day!

about hawker food, i've always found kl hawker food very very good but not SG. i wanted to do hawker food this time bc the previous trip we didn't.

blurting: no way, i found SG more expensive than even HK! yes, the taxi thing is totally not acceptable. when we insisted on using meter, they told us to try another cab. tt never happens in SG, the country with the best cab drivers. n the most trees. n the most cleanest streets.

nate: i thought tt it'll just be a 24 hour trip so i didn't check any blogs. i read about kin kin in Time Out, a magazine. you mentioned about sabah's illegal immigrants n its true but still, we are better off than kl. the way i see it, kl is a goner. 8 more years to a developed nation n he still said yesterday tt we can be an advanced nation?! what crap is the old man talking about! the sad thing is, some ppl still believe him.

june: oh, i did see a sign, ritz is behind JW? ok, tq, next tiem i'll go to ritz:)

jean: j2kfm, i know the blog n used to hv it on my links until they moved. ok i'll def check them n ipoh out:)

Rita said...

Little Penang (midvalley & klcc) has nice penang assam laksa. But if you are at Pavillion, the food court at basement also sells pretty good penang assam laksa.

June said...

yup it's right behind JW . there's a link bridge from Starhill Gallery to Ritz Carlton too ;) . so you won't have to walk in the hot weather it's much cooler to walk in the building .

Lucy said...

Hi Terri, Stumbled upon your lovely blog. I enjoy reading all your stories very interesting especially about dirty KL. You're a fantastic writer. You keep me intrigue with all your wonderful story around the world and your wonderful lovely story about your beautiful children not forgetting all the awesome food you share. Looking forward to more of your story. Save me money buying story books and magazines..Thank you again for sharing. God Bless you and your love ones...

The Real Mother Hen said...

You're absolutely, nobody can make assam laksa as good as the Penangites :) oh now I truly miss Penang!!!

Food so delicious! said...

Haisehhh..... next time call me and I shall bring you to places to eat. You gotta know where to find food in KL. Hehehehe...

Afternoon teas are not big in KL and most hotels do serve them. I wont recommend Delicious! afternoon tea set.

Taxis.. Hmm.. you just have to get in and tell them the place. Dont negotiate. If they want a flat fee, just open the door and walk out.. take another. I take the taxi everyday and I dont have a problem.

And yes, lack of trees, cleanliness, poor urban planning.. sigh.. I am very ashamed of such thing.

Anyway, next round. Call me and I will cook you a good asam laksa.. bring you to a good Bak Kut Teh or two so you can compare the 2 versions.. Hehehehe...

Terri said...

Rita: i've eaten both b4 n the one in midvalley was better, i think. But still not as good as penang's;)

June: oh cool, really cool-no sun cool mean:)

Mothermary: er my intentn was not to entertain ppl about myself n family! I like to share my recipes n also enjoy making new friends.Plus keep an account of whay happens so tt one day when i can't rmber i can read about how my life was...

Realmotherhen: me too...must go eat penang laksa this yr. Preferably during durian season!

Food: agree, hv to know where to go. If u r sure, i def will drop by for a bowl of laksa! thnks!

ninien said...

i moved back to KL about a yr ago.. from Dubai after working there for 3 yrs plus. i must say.. nothing has been changed.

the Taxi sucks! still no GPS system.. thelRT/trains system is bad! we are not moving forward.. our country is stagnant. Sad but True.

FOOD wise... i would always prefer KK's food over KL's! hehehe.. sang nyuk mien is much better, beef noodles r much tastier.. grilled chicken wings are also yummier!

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putbest said...

Perhaps you shouldve become a town planner :)

Unknown said...

taxi service in nagpur has the highest quality taxi service in the world, but operating taxicabs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in this great city also comes with great challenges

Anonymous said...

youre such a big complainer and a sour bitch.. if nothing ever satisfies u why dont u juz stay home and eat maggi and starve to death? talk till like you damn atas and all that shit.. i bet behind the blog u jz stay at ur small flat and eat your dog's leftover dogfood everyday thats why ur tastebuds are shit.. lighten up zz

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