George Town: Tried & tested
Penang is a bit of an anomaly. It’s in the tropics but cannot boast of clear seas and powdery sand. Connected to the mainland by two iconic bridges and a rickety ferry service, the difference is apparent as soon as you step foot on the island. It’s by no means idyllic and its history dictates that what visitors see, taste and hear now is the result of centuries of colonisation, immigration and inter-racial connections. Food For Malaysians, Penang is synonymous with food – from roadside stalls and market treats to unique cuisine highlighting the centuries of cultural fusion. Considered the unofficial foodie capital of Malaysia due to the proliferation and variety of hawker food, the best places have withstood the test of time. Everyone has their favourite spot and many a (friendly) argument has been started about where the best char kuey teow stall is or whether the Nyonya cuisine in that restaurant really is that good or is it just for ‘tourists’. Our advice is, when in Penang try everything! Breakfast in Penang requires a hearty appetite and the ability to sniff out good hawker food. The Pulau Tikus Market is a bit of an institution for Penangites; it’s where our mothers and grandmothers bought their groceries and where chickens used to be slaughtered á la minute. It’s less wet now and the chickens are already dead, but the surrounding food stalls are still churning out the same cholesterol-inducing goodness they always have. Chee cheong fun, Penang prawn noodles and ap
What’s on this week in KL
Cinephilia film screenings
This month, Cinephillia explores the works of celebrated actors such as Gena Rowlands, Cate Blanchett, Setsuko Hara and more to highlight their acting prowess and versatility. Each week features different actors. Visit the event organiser’s website for complete list of films and the screening schedule. Admission requires a minimum donation of RM10.
Bobo KL presents Christian Palencia
For the month of June, Bobo KL’s resident artist on Wednesdays is indie singer-songwriter Christian Palencia. He’s a popular name in the local music circuit thanks to his artistic versatility and way with words. His predominantly folksy tunes will make for a relaxing mid-week session.
New restaurants and bars in KL
What started out as a humble vegetarian eatery in Bangalore almost a century ago in 1924, Mavalli Tiffin Rooms – or MTR – now has multiple outlets across Asia and the Middle East. Its latest outpost in KL promises hearty South Indian vegetarian fare that’s not only affordable, it’s also good for your waistline. Inside, posters on the brand’s long history are plastered on the bright red walls, while simple furniture and a spotless space allow the food to shine. The expansive menu is made up of familiar South Indian dishes like idli, vada, dosa, thali sets and more. A must-have is the masala dosa (RM9) – light and crisp, made with a mixture of grains and pulses laced with ghee, filled with spiced potatoes, and accompanied by green chutney, lentil sambar and even more ghee. The smooth, shiny surface of the crust is telling of a good dosa; here at MTR, it’s good. If that doesn’t fill you up, go for the Mini Meals (RM13). Don’t be fooled by its innocent-sounding name; this hefty meal consists of palya, vegetable sagu, plain rice, curd rice, sambar, rasam, papadum, pickles, payasum and a choice of either plain dosa, poori, chapathi or akki roti. If you’re really hungry, the Special Mini Meals (RM19) comes with even more items such as bisi bele bhath, kosambari salad and a dessert. If you’re working in the vicinity, you’ll be happy to know that MTR offers daily specials alongside the regular selection. We visited on a Thursday, so our options were pulliogre (RM8.50), thatte idly
Bangsar has gone through many phases – unobtrusive residential area, clubbing haven, arts and culture quarter, and now, café district. From the busy streets of Telawi to the more laidback Jalan Bangkung and Jalan Kemuja, we round up the best restaurants, bars, cafés and things to do in Bangsar.
Populated by expatriates and upper middle class families, Hartamas is fancy – even its name says so (‘harta’, treasure; ‘mas’, gold). This isn’t saying that the area is inaccessible for us 'mere mortals' – in fact, it’s quite the opposite now. With many cafés and eateries opening up around the 'hood, plenty of non-Hartamas residents flock here, and not just for the lineup of Japanese restaurants. By the way, we're also including the best places to eat and visit in neighbouring areas Mont Kiara and Solaris Dutamas. Fun fact: The area was the premise of a local TV show titled (surprise, surprise) ‘Hartamas’ starring Ida Nerina and Rashidi Ishak.
The wide land that is Damansara has the privilege of being both KL and Selangor. It can be confusing – Bukit Damansara for example, is not exactly near the main Damansaras while Ara Damansara is somewhat Subang (and sometimes even Shah Alam). To make things easier for you, we've picked some of the best restaurants, cafés, bars and things to do in each Damansara area.
Damansara Utama is home to Damansara Uptown, the land of hard-to-find parking spots and more cafés than you can shake a stick at. We say park in the new Starling Mall and walk about the area before you eventually step in to an eatery. Here are our picks of restaurants, cafés, shops and things to do in the area. PS: If your favourite spot isn't featured here, let us know in the comments.
Let’s not mask the fact that Sunway is an area dominated by students, which isn’t saying that it’s a bad thing. If you need help getting around the area, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is making things better. It’s fast – not a concept Malaysians are accustomed to hearing and practising. Let’s not also forget about Sunway Pyramid and Sunway Lagoon, where there are plenty of things to do. If you don’t have plans in Sunway, you do now.
The best of Kuala Lumpur
100 best local dishes and drinks in KL
We are a food city. One that caters to the food-obsessed; one that alternates between street and traditional dining, at any budget and time of the day. Here are the 100 best dishes and drinks that truly defines us, from the contentious nasi leamk to the humble roti canai. Loosen your belt – you've got much eating to do.
Best nasi lemak in KL
We pick the best places in town for a satisfying plate of the country's pride and joy – the mighty nasi lemak. Hunt down these nasi lemak joints for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even supper, because our national dish doesn't restrict itself to a certain meal time – which is why we love it so much.