(I am writing this from lovely Vientiane, the capital of Laos, where we arrived this afternoon from Siem Reap. The connection was so bad in Siem Reap that I could not even open the blog page. I am writing this from the hotel reception, but I hope to be able to report soon from my own computer. Thanks for your patience!)
This post will be a series of photos I took in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We had a good time there and remember interesting food experiences and lovely, talkative and friendly people.
This driver we saw had a monkey pet at his motorbike’s back seat. While I was taking photos I was warned by locals that the driver is very protective of his pet and he does not like it being photographed. Anyhow, the monkey seemed content and calm. This was taken in Chinatown.
(PS more than one month later from taking this photo I received a message from this driver! How he found my blog, who knows. I learned that his name is Jamil Ismail but people call him Jamil Kucing, the Catsman (kucing means cats). He has an animal (mainly cats) rescue shelter in Kuala Lumpur. His blog can be found here: http://jamilthecatman.blogspot.com)
CHINESE NEW YEAR
Decorations were everywhere. We were explained that Kuala Lumpur is a city of immigrants and many of them use the opportunity (of extended New Year holidays) to return home to the family, so the streets were rather quiet. We enjoyed relaxed walks and the first day we walked in Chinatown and in Little India (more or less followed the itinerary suggested by the Lonely Planet with few exceptions).
There are many temples in Chinatown and we watched people burning paper and fake money, which is a part of the Chinese New Year traditions. It was idyllic and calm. There was a feeling of something communal: everyone had his mind set on the new year and welcoming it as properly as possible.
Not all temples are Buddhist. There is also a temple from Tamil Nadu, South East of India, with a typical, colorful gopura.
Upon arrival at our hotel (Capitol, recommended!) at midnight we were very tired but at the same time very curious about what the city has to offer. Instead of going to bed at a reasonable hour we went out. We were not even hungry –we just wanted to get a taste of local flavors. I had an excellent egg noodle dish with chicken and dried anchovies. I have to say I am not too keen on mixing the chicken and fish (I find it a bit strange as a combination, but then again, in France they often mix lardon (sort of bacon) with fish!). My dish was very tasty and our stomachs soon very full. At 3 am we finally fell asleep…
NEW YORK CITY MEETS KUALA LUMPUR
Been to New York city? Know the Flatiron building?
We named this building the Flatiron of Kuala Lumpur. There is a hotel in it, but the exterior is more interesting that the inside.
No one had told us to look for the old heritage buildings in Kuala Lumpur. We thought that these small pieces of history here and there added a lot of charm to the city which is so modern nowadays (I felt it was a little bit the same thing in Bombay: no one really talks about the old art deco buildings that are everywhere, but once you start seeing them, the city starts looking very different in front of your eyes). Once we started paying attention to these tiny jewels in Kuala Lumpur, we also understood the history better.
In one of the nicer parts of the city we found this building with a green wall made of plants. It reminded us of the French architect designer Monsieur Blanc and also of Miami architecture. I think it is such a great idea to use plants in the architecture and I loved this wall we saw in Kuala Lumpur. I do not know what plants they were planting, but I know from my discussion with Monsieur Blanc at a cocktail party in Paris that it requires serious research to realize this kind of an architectural project.
After a long walk, we had a massage at one of the places near our hotel. A lovely owner offered us clementines and chatted with us while the Burmese women took care of our feet, neck and shoulder. One hour cost approximately 12Euros.
Many of you have already read about my obsession with frog porridge? Well, this is what it looks like. The taste is quite bland and frog meat tastes like chicken but I think I prefer fried frog legs to ones in the porridge. Slices of ginger saved the dish but otherwise it did not have a lot of taste. I thought afterwards that maybe it suits better the morning time, but I was told it is considered an evening dish. Oh well.
Many of you may know the grilled chicken chunks marinated in a peanutty sauce? It is a classic Malaysian dish and I am pretty sure everyone loves it.
ps I love the color contrast of rusty orange color against the light-blue-colored plates!
Excellent, one of the best dishes if not the best that we had during our stay in Kuala Lumpur. The sauce seemed to have peanuts in it, too. I do not know the name of this particular seafood but it was similar to mussels yet smaller. When we return to Kuala Lumpur in March, this will be our first order!
FANCY A SKEWER?
Many food stalls offer a wide selection of skewers and even if we did not try any, they looked delicious. Pick you choice, but it may be difficult as there are so many!
…OR PREFER A SOUP?
Again, I just love these colors! (maybe even more than I loved the food itself…)
We purchased these soups for next to nothing in Little India. The stand provided the usual “pick your bowl and we fill it up with hot water” eating experience. Not bad but not very tasty either.
STREET PARTY FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHINESE NEW YEAR
The street behind our hotel was very alive in the evening of February 10, the first day of the Chinese Snake Year. Everyone was out and happy. Fireworks were making noise. Let’s hope that the year continues as well as it started for all of us in every corner of the world. Happy Snake Year once again!!