Malaysia Truly Asia, a very popular tagline that we’ve been hearing since ages. The tone is very clear and you can repeat it as many times you can at the top of your mind and even loudly utter it word per word for free! That’s the beauty of childhood! but now as I grow older and older, this tagline occurred to me like ” oh wait! The tagline must be something. There must be some explanation to it” and for me to know this , I should be in there and experience it first hand. So i decided one day I will go to this place and witness if this is really truly Asia . Guess what? after months of checking airfares trying to see if this country was really worth it and after searching #discoverKualaLumpur nth times , I finally made it to the land of Nasi Lemak and Kopi Ice.
At first, I thought Malaysian food would be just plain and simple like a straightforward meal and drink but it was really one of a hell of a big lie that I just imagined haha .Jokes one me! If there is a more exaggerated word than buffet or extravaganza then i will go ahead and use it to refer to such complex and very tasty food of this country!!!. Okay so much exclamation point on that let me take you to the story of this trip.
Day 1 : Arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport and some Kuala Lumpur sight seeing
The plane landed as scheduled and my body would now like to have a rest. but oops! I forgot we really didn’t book an accommodation for that night since I planned on exploring KL first then heading directly to Penang , a UNESCO heritage known for its architecture and delicious street food. So we stayed at the airport until the KLIA expressed was open. Too bad the train was too pricey. From my initial thought of 9 RM i was shocked when i heard it to be 55 RM. yes from 9 to 55 RM real quick! The blame is on me. soooooooo
Travel insider #1 : Always check the publish date of the blog that you’ve read/ reading prior the trip. Yes you might be reading the old information so doube check. better safe than sorry!
So because of that incident we decided to use grab instead. Malaysian SIM card by the way, is available on the red shop located outside the airport for 35 RM ( roughly 450 php), that’s already unlimited data for 7 days. the grab costs us 76 RM for almost 50 minute ride to reach the city center.
They always say do not expect too much right? but i wanted this trip to be just perfect. buuut no matter how hard you try, it will not be and will always not be so why the hell bother. Going back to the trip, I thought of humid Kuala Lumpur at first but what greeted us on our first day were light thunderstorms and moderate gush of winds. Before deciding if we’re going to get a room to stay for only 4 hours we first tried checking 7/11 and Mcdonalds in the area. To our surprise, It was all CLOSE. yes C L O S E as clear as that! though it’s raining but i know what I’ve just read haha even convenience stores are closing in Malaysia Waddup! thanks for the surprise! . To my disappoinment, we checked in at a budget hotel near the Masjid Jamek Area. NO umbrella and NO jacket for me for this trip sooo it’s time for…
Travel insider # 2 : Always make it a habit to bring Jacket or umbrella. Since it is a tropical country, i decided not to bring any of those but Who am I kidding? the least you expected always happens ( Murphy’s law) or as the saying goes “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” So imagine a scene where my tropical design polo and white sneaker (what I’m wearing from PH to KL) got all dripping wet from all the puddle that I’ve accidentally walked in plus the drizzle that I got when i ran from those areas without roof. oh wait I’m still on the insider section of this entry why am I sharing the personal events already.? but since you’ve you just read that so let me continue.
Me Clears throat* after that 4 hour nap or should I call it rest? comes the highlight of the trip. just kiding! just a mural beside that Malaysian hawker where we’re going to eat. For me, murals are one of a kind. I used to go to the famous murals in BGC in Taguig and have my photo taken there. Always excited to have that art fest!!!! Enough of sharing those hobbies. So we head on to this nearby Hainanese Chicken Rice Stall where we savored this huge serving of Hainanese rice together with some dry noodles, roasted pork and to finish it all of, Kopi Ice or in other words. Iced coffee.
I’ve been to Singapore. no written entry cause I have not discovered my passion in writing by that time ( wow passion! big word! ) passion comes from the word that means suffering. so meaning passion is something you would really love to suffer for . Suffering would always be there but it’s your choice where or what would you like to suffer for thanks Mr. Mark Manson for the idea. Sooo where am I? Singapore. Yes singapore! I’ve tasted their chicken rice. It was good but this one from Malaysia’s way way too flavorful for me! We tried it with roasted pork which was really sinful!!! I was surprised I even finished the huge amount of rice and the dry noodles!!. The noodles was rich in sauce not that dry as they describe it with pork and some sambal. the perfect texture of rice made it all worth it. finished it with the kopi Ice which has a bold and creamy taste at the same time to refresh us from the scorching heat of KL ‘s sun ( and yes! Mr. sun already appeared and said hello that day)
thanks for viewing haha (even if it is inevitable) now we proceed to the itinerary as planned. We first stopped at Masjid Jamek Mosque. Nothing much special in this mosque but since It was first mosque in KL i decided to have my photo taken in here. Admission in this mosque is free even the rentals of the proper attire if you’re wearing shorts is also free.
korean in Malaysia. Forgive me for not being able to blend in during the first day :0
Next on the list would be Sultan Abdul Samad Building or SAS building in short. Probably the most photographed building in Kuala Lumpur with clock tower. It has appeared to the IG feed of most travelers who have already been to KL. So i also didn’t miss that chance to have my photo taken in there as well. Take a look of the building below. of course there’s no other way to finish the article but to just scroll down right? haha Thanks for doing it for me.
Across this building is the Merdeka Square, where the flag of Malaysia was first raised after their independence from British Empire. After that, the next important landmark is Kuala Lumpur City Gallery. An indoor museum showcasing the history of Kuala Lumpur I personally would love to see this not just to take a photo of that famous I love KL sign ( check again below) but of course to know the country in greater detail and to understand what happened to their history and why they are like this as of the moment. The entrance to the museum is 10 RM don’t worry you’ll have the 5 RM as a voucher for you to buy drinks or eat inside the touristy cafe ( still expensive) so i just had lemonade instead.
Not so far from the KL city gallery is the National Textile Museum. Malaysians are known for their unique kind of Fabric, Batik and in this museum they have unraveled the secretes and the history of this Batik. Lots of hard work was put into it for it to become popular as of now across the different countries. the admission in this museum is also for free. more free attractions please!
One day is not enough. Skipped Central Market for the very famed Temple located on top of the city. Thean Hou Temple, probably you’ve heard of this temple in other countries like in Vietnam but this one is huge. It houses lots of chinese lanterns, the usual architecture in some temples just like the ones in Taiwan as you will see later in the pictures. To be honest, it has a distinct smell of temples if you know what i mean haha nevertheless the view on top of the temple was priceless.
To continue our journey that day, we headed on our way to the most famous touristy / pricey food street of all in KL. None other than, Jalan Alor Food Street. When referring to this street you should know the whole word because Jalan means “street” So if you’re just ‘going to metion Jalan jalan. They will go like Jalan What hahaha. so again Jalan Alor for emphasis.
It was almost close to dinner when we arrived at the said food street. It seems at first that there are a lot of chinese food that are servt siing served. Crabs, lobsters, mussels, pork rind and of course the fried rice. But since this is malaysia! I personally ditched these chinese MSG goodness but instead tried to search for the authentic malaysian cuisines. Char Kwey Teow, Malaysian Satay and their ice Kopi again. i would love to have some beer but since we have a flight to catch no beer for me that night. Along with the different malaysian food, we order Lechon Macau. I know this is not malaysian but the presentation was just on point we could not say NO! .
Judgement time! So for the first Char Kwey teow. I just finished it right away that I almost ordered another plate. As a foodie, seeing this plate of noodles makes me very happy ( as i would always say). In the Philippines, if it’s char kwey teow it would just mean fried and oily noodles with lots of chorizo in it. Here in malaysia they really mean it when they say Char Kwey Teow! It has seafood in it ( oysters and shrimp) , noodles of course, i guess there’s egg in it, right amount of flavor and not so oily just the taste of this dish that I’ve imagined.
For the satay. This one we really had 2 orders of this. The peanut sauce was totally worth every single dip! The skewered meat tasted so perfect and tender paired with the cucumber and onions on the side plus the peanut sauce. Definitely Satay! perfect with beer but oh no i cannot have alcohol that time so just iced coffee or Coke. Lastly, the Lechon macau that tempted us as we are eating was full of mystery.
Mystery in a sense that the pork skin was crispy yet the meat itself was too flavorful and soft. I actually don’t know what technique they have used in it! but all i know that time as I put it inside my mouth the sound of that crackling skin and taste of that meat was really on point. Since it’s a tourist place, we paid 50 RM for everything on the table
From Jalan Alor we went back to KLIA to catch our flight going to Penang we Initially though of going there by train but we realized the time and effort that we will be albe to save when we fly instead. so from KLIA2 to penang. It was just a 45 minute flight to this land of emerging art, coffee and hawkers. Supposedly it will be 5 hours but we had enough more time. So first order of business in penang…. FOOD. They say that Malaysian food has it all and yes they’re absolutely right. Craved for indian food and there it is Nasi Kandar Peilta a must try in penang or anywhere in Malaysia. If you’re a person who loves curry or any other bread aside from pan de Sal or french bread willing to try different spices and sauces with different colors and aroma. then you’ll definitely enjoy it! Even at night I still didn’t quit my love for coffee! hahaha i still tried the iced coffee that the indians / malaysians would love to taste. In Metro Manila, i would always try to have tandoori on my plate when I’m in buffet or personally would order Indian food to other indian food stalls. Sooo that night I sampled that goodness directly in Malaysia. Take a look at the photo below. drools*
During our first night we stayed at cititel penang. It was a great and modern hotel , be careful to book this hotel sins Cititel express hotels which caters their service to more budget travelers.
Travel insider # 3: Try to use Agoda.com in booking your accomodations you can earn points from your partner airlines like Get go or Mabuhay miles depending on your airline of choice. Plus you can save a lot when you book your rooms early!!!
Day 2 : Exploring the heritage city and it’s hidden gem
Woke up late that day because the weather was not too good so we decided to just stayed in our hotel until 12 PM and just rest for a while before exploring the town of Penang.
I am already famished since our hotel does not come with free breakfast ( intentionally did that to savor more of malaysian food in Penang ). so we landed on this nearby hawker food center near our hotel. To my surprise everything that I searched in the google was almost there!
Hookien Mee , Curry mee, Nasi Lemak , ayam Goreng and different fried food including my favorite, soya or tofu! The Char Kwey Teow was quite different than ones in KL. So I thought that the ones in KL was already good and perfect but this one has more soul and flavor. The right texture of the noodles, the seafood, beansprouts, sausage and some oil together have made it a very unforgettable dish in Penang. Plus it was served on top a banana leaf. So that’s it for the famed noodle dish of Malays.
What I had that day was Nasi ayam Goreng.” Ayam” means chicken in Bahasa, their language. So definitely it will have chicken. But not only chicken it came with that nasi ( rice ), special sauce, peanuts and anchovies. Not exaggerating here , but seeing this meal in front of my eyes almost made me cry cause I’ve never imagined that i’ll be able to eat such delicious meal in my life. Just a flashback, I recorded on my personal journal the time that I get to taste the Singaporean Laksa, indian curry and even the most delicious Chicken Inasal in Bacolod. I always value each and every first that I will have, In this trip, i shall include this Nasi ayam Goreng. My palate was overwhelmed how delicious this dish was, oh i forgot there’s also egg in it. A hard boiled egg which makes it more delightful. so each and everybite has egg, rice, chicken , anchovies and that very special sauce. I could not ask for more. This malaysian meal that I just had made me very happy that day…. btw, everything was paired with malaysian iced coffee!!! but more on their food later on. see the photo that we devoured on our first day in penang below.
Burp!!! brunch already done but my hunger is not yet satisifed or should I say I would love to maximize my stay in Penang. So without blinking an eye and second thought I’ve searched for this Cafe nearby Lebuh Campbell. It is Toh Soon Cafe, a cafe known for it’s original kaya toast that will be paired with soft boiled eggs, and pepper. Of course, who who am I kidding? this is a cafe they do have their iced coffee and iced malaysian tea or (cold te). We were very lucky enough that the said place did not have long queues that day sooooo fast forward to the food. I order this Famous kaya toast ranging from 2RM – 5 RM depending on how special you would like it to be. The iced coffee is only 2 RM as well as the cold Malaysian Tea.
At first this Kaya toast does not seem very delicious. But rumors are true. I personally loved my every bite. This toast has special Kaya spread and served with soft boiled egg. so how do you eat it? First you add soy sauce and pepper to the egg, mix it and put it on top your toast. I know it should be eaten as a dessert but who cares I would just love to try this one with egg. What special about this toast is they make use of charcoal grill enclosed in a large tin can. So the griddles and markings on the bread really made it tasty and moreover authentic! Don’t forget to try this! Really a must when you visit Penang!!!!
Right now, you might be thinking, ow did he managed to eat everything in one go? To those who don’t really know the writer of this blog was really a pig and a fat kid back then. Sooo he really can HAHA he just tried to exercise and lessen his intake of rice for him to achieve his physique right now ( let’s add the college stress!!!) . Enough of that! I came here in Penang not only for food but also for it’s art. before I’ve been reading articles and travel magazines about it’s art. From magazines to this hide and seek of murals in lebuh Armenian.
Trave insider # 4 : for those who would like to see the murals in Penang. I highly suggest to do it with the use of a trishaw ride. the weather of Penang was very humid that time and I initially thought that these murals is contain only in one street. but NO grab a map on your hotel or in Penang International airport as you arrive and you will know already that the paintings are all scattered in the island. soooo better be ready to walk or again ride the trishaw ride but prepare to haggle cause first it will be for 40 RM first but you can haggle your way down to 27- 30 RM that really depends on your haggling skillls .Here are some of the murals that I’ve personally enjoyed.
After heading to the murals , we’ve decided to stop by on this very great mosque in the center of the city. The Masjid Kapitan Keling Mosque.The architecture of this mosque is grandiose. neatly painted with white and blue green for some of it’s details. I decided not to go inside since I am not a muslim but instead just enjoyed the view from the outside.
* Strikes a pose…
The sun already sets and we’re just craving for more Malaysian delights. Thought of the evening to be somehow cold and dull. but no. not that night! The burst of colored lights from signages and smell of different food kept me awake as i stroll around the different stalls. Most of the stalls are selling Assam Laksa, a noodle dish with fishy yet addicting light broth. Others were busy mixing fruits with shrimp paste and nuts! Yes that’s what they call Rojak, very unique in Malaysia. Dried squid can also be sampled here together with the different sausages .Please also not that it is a little bit pricey compared to the ones in the city center since there are always a lot of tourist in the area.