Multiracial Kuala Lumpur is an all-day dining experience

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 June, 2012, 12:00am


Malaysia is a melting pot of race and ethnicity; food carries influences not only from the Malay, Chinese and Indians who live there now, but also the British, Dutch and Portuguese who once did.

Holidays in Kuala Lumpur are all about eating, and for Hong Kong foodies, who like their dishes heavy on multiculturalism, there's no better weekend getaway.

For Burma-born, Hong Kong-bred engineer Henry Aung-Kyi, 'the nicest thing to eat in the morning is nasi lemak', Malaysia's national dish. Rice is cooked in coconut milk and then tossed with roasted peanuts, anchovies, sambal, a hard-boiled egg and sliced cucumber, before being wrapped in a banana leaf. You'll find nasi lemak shops on nearly every street.

If you're up with the sun, make your way to Petronas Towers in the downtown area of Kuala Lumpur, whose glass and steel fa?ade, designed to resemble Islamic art motifs, has left an indelible mark on the capital's skyline.

Tickets to the observation deck and sky bridge sell out very early, so hop in the queue right after breakfast. If you don't make the cut, go across the street to 20-hectare Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park, which houses a playground, public pool and assorted water features; these are particularly picturesque during and after sunset, when the spraying jets are framed by the Towers.

Time to eat again. Indian food in Kuala Lumpur, much of it of the southern variety, is phenomenal and cheap. You can find it on every colourful, chaotic street in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur's largest Little India, and around the Masjid Jamek LRT station. You have a lot more to eat before day's end, so split an order of buttery roti canai and banana leaf rice, in which white rice, vegetables, dal and papadum are served on a banana leaf.

Beyond eating, Brickfields has stalls selling saris, Bollywood videos, and all manner of Indian snacks.

Within the neighbourhood, along Jalan Scott, is Sri Kandaswamy Kovil, a century-old Hindu temple whose exterior is staggeringly ornate; photography is not allowed inside, so you'll have to do all your snapping on the street.

Work your way back towards the capital's Golden Triangle, home to the Towers and Aquaria KLCC, which is open until 8pm and houses 5,000 varieties of tropical fish.

After staring at fish for an hour, you'll be ready to eat again. Walk over to Jalan Alor Food Street and order chicken wings at jam-packed Wong Ah Wah, but save room for what awaits at Lot 10 Hutong.

This hawker-stall food court is home to 20-plus family-owned outlets serving Southeast Asian cuisine - mostly Malay and Chinese.

Working his way through the maze of stalls, You Kok-Hoe, who works in business development for a German industrial gas supplier, says: 'There's no one favourite. The whole thing is this Southeast Asian culture. Dining is an experience. We love to eat and we love our food.'