This particular day I woke up in a hostel called Kitez located in the heart of Chinatown. It was a newly opened place with a fresh coat of paint, an absolute gem in the city. It turns out I would end up returning to this hostel many times because it was a great place to meet travel friends.
The first thing on the itinerary was to explore what was outside the doors of this place — chinatown.
Day and night the main street named “Jalan Petaling” bustles with shoppers looking for replica goods and delicious food. Scattered in the alleys and street corners are local cafes, restaurants, hawker centers, and street food stalls. A very lively atmosphere to experience to say the least.
I ended up trying something called a meat bun. There were about four of these stalls on every corner of this area and since it appeared to be popular, I had to give it a taste. Constructed with pork jerky stuffed inside a buttery bun and topped off with shredded pork and spicy-sweet sauce, it was a savoury snack that left me wanting to indulge in more.
Continuing to wander around, I found myself at a place called Central Market. It was just on the outskirts of Chinatown and it looked like an interesting place to see since it was established over a century ago.
Central Market is full of locally made hand crafted goods as well as a good mix of imports. If you’re looking to buy souvenirs to take home, this place surely will have something you’ll like. I do also recommend walking around the outside of the building where there is a walkway of other merchants selling neat trinkets at bargain prices.
Hidden gem alert: Make sure to visit the hidden food court on the upper level (one floor above the food court that is built for tourists) for some real good eats at local prices.
Dining at a local hawker center
I dropped by a random local hawker center to try out the pork curry mee (noodles). I was craving for something with a lot of carbs since my energy was running low from walking so much. This dish really hit the spot. With the space being so small and a lot of folks wanting to have a quick bite, sharing tables with strangers is a common thing to do here.
The sooner the food came, the quicker it was gone. As like with my table mate who seemed to be in a hurry to finish and leave.
Experiencing Starbucks in KL
All the carbs made me a little sleepy and ready for a nap, but I wasn’t ready to call it a day since there’s still so much to see. The fix was to hop into the local Starbucks, guzzle down some caffeine and experience what the famous coffee chain was like on this side of the world.
I’d like to report that the experience felt exactly the same as it is in Canada where I live. While resting my bones, I took the opportunity to test out the macro capabilities of my new camera on a fly outside the window.
Bukit Bintang & Pavillion Mall Area
Situated by the Bukit Bintang train station, this area is one of the busiest of the city, boasting a luxury shopping mall, hotels and restaurants, and street buskers. The reason why I was here was to exchange money for the best rates in the city. Oh, and also to cool off in the air conditioning!
Jalan Alor Market
Just around the corner is one of the longest street market I’ve ever seen at the time, but as it turns out this is only second largest to another market in the country. The street “Jalan Alor” is lined with so many types of cuisines that it will make your head spin. As for the variety of drinks? I bet you’ll something you’ve never ever tried before.
I turned on my adventurous food spirit here. Walking by a group of people sucking on snail shells looked way too interesting to ignore and it’s curiously something I’ve never tried before. The diners made it look so good with their loud slurps and happy facial expressions.
Flipping through the menu and I decided to order two snail appetizers: stir fried snails in garlic and butter & snails in coconut cream. To my surprise it was…. absolutely delicious. If I didn’t think about the fact that I was eating snails, it was totally fine. The one I ended up coming back again for was the garlic butter, delicious!