Guide to kacang putih
The history of the kacang putih (literally translated as ‘white nuts’) business goes back to the 1940s, when the British brought in migrant labourers from the Ettayapuram village in Tamil Nadu to Malaya. A few families settled down near the limestone hill in Gunung Cheroh, Ipoh – until 1973, when the residents were relocated to Teluk Kurin B in Buntong after a slab of limestone fell onto a longhouse, killing 42 people. It was in the new settlement that business kicked up. The new, larger homes allowed owners to set up retail storefronts selling kacang putih, as well as other fried Indian snacks like murukku and assorted fried nuts made using recipes from Tamil Nadu. Business was so brisk that the settlement’s unwieldy name was changed to Kampung Kacang Putih – and until today, remains as the heart of a growing kacang putih industry across the country. You won’t find kacang putih sold by the kacang putih manThe kacang putih vendor didn’t start by selling different types of murukku, fried nuts and potato chips – they just sold one thing: actual kacang putih, which are steamed lentils (also known as kacang kuda). But selling that alone wasn’t enough, especially as demand started to slow down and the burdensome steamer needed to keep the lentils warm made life difficult for cycling vendors. Eventually, they diversified their offerings to include snacks that were easier to carry around and had a longer shelf life – which is how we ended up with the modern-day kacang putih man s
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So you’re bored of dragging your feet to the office food court for chicken rice, and the allure of nasi campur is non-existent after you’ve mixed and matched all the options. Have your lunch delivered right to your desk or office lobby with these lunch delivery services in KL, set to make makan time less mafan and more fun.
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Just when we were worried that the year’s F&B scene will be little more than a succession of safe-betting brunch cafés and comfort-food restaurants, up comes Beta KL with their bold venture into modern Malaysian cuisine. Formed by the same folks behind Skillet @ 163, Beta KL radically departs from its European-focused elder sibling by focusing on Malaysian ingredients and flavours, while maintaining the modern techniques Skillet is known for. Beta KL is divided into a dining area and bar that combine contrasting elements of a modern restaurant and a laidback hangout. In the dining area, cool blue neon lights, dark-coloured walls and an expansive floor-to-ceiling batik mural are set against the abundance of natural light, live tropical plants and bare concrete floors; while the bar is an equally intriguing mix of a high-end bottle service bar – complete with an elevated dance stage and cognac-stocked 12-ft tall bar – and a chill tiki bar that’s decked out with rattan chairs. Helming the kitchen is Chef Raymond Tham, who is also the executive head chef for Skillet. A former culinary instructor at KDU University College – alongside Dewakan’s Darren Teoh, one of the chefs leading the charge for modern Malaysian cuisine – Raymond has used his research of regional cuisine and ingredients to craft a menu that celebrates humble and familiar dishes in new and surprising ways. The starter dishes provide an insight to Beta’s novel approach to Malaysian cuisine. In Ox Tongue (RM27)
The first thing you notice about Vantador is its sophisticated premises spanning multiple levels; think winding matte black stairs, copper light hangings emitting a warm glow, mahogany and deep olive walls, and industrial and vintage furnishings from the dry-aged steak boutique founders' own personal collection. As you walk into the place and are greeted by affable waitstaff, you won’t be able to miss massive German-made coolers stocked with dry-aged beef near the entrance. Dry-aged steak is a serious matter here, with a carefully curated selection from Argentinian chef Ramiro Moya that includes Spain's Rubia Gallega (Vantador’s pride and joy), Margaret River Wagyu, Tasmanian Angus and Victoria Hereford. Best to beef up on your dry-aged steak knowledge before you make your way to Vantador for a better appreciation of your meal: Dry-aged beef is hung in near-freezing temperatures (for at least 30 days in Vantador’s case) during which fungi will cling to the meat’s surface to form a dry, hard crust. Of course, this is discarded before cooking. This ‘breathing’ process allows the natural juices and flavours to be sealed into the meat and works especially well with fatty cuts. Hence, cooked dry-aged beef doesn’t release blood or juice when cut; instead, you get a syrupy sweetness when biting into the meat, with a tenderness and more concentrated flavour than wet-aged beef. Cuts for the dry-aged range here include tomahawk, rib eye, striploin and T-bone; the wet-aged selection
Poseidon Caviar & Seafood Bar
Helmed by the restaurant group Ironwoods – which also runs Ingrained at Cellar 18 and The Flowerpecker – Poseidon Caviar & Seafood Bar is where fresh seafood and affordable wines can be found in the affluent township of Desa ParkCity. Located above S’mores in Plaza Arkadia, the cosy interior exudes a cool Nordic vibe, furnished with items from the Red Dot Award-winning Normann Copenhagen. If you feel like you’re dining in a furniture showroom, that’s because you are – chairs, tables and selected tableware can be ordered or bought through the restaurant. The two-month old restaurant (at the time of writing) currently boasts a compact menu of seafood dishes. A must-have here are the freshly shucked oysters which are brought in on a weekly basis, and options include French oysters such as the Fine de Claire, Marennes-Oléron and Tsarskaya, and English ones from Morecambe Bay. For a more complete meal, start off with poached prawns sourced from Sabah, which are served with nothing more than slices of lemon to bring out its sweet freshness. The choices of mains are equally simple, highlighting their individual main ingredient without much fanfare; the tiger prawn aglio olio is a solid choice, or if you prefer fish, get the pan-seared red snapper that comes with seasonal sides. Lobster and Wagyu beef are also on the menu, but it’s best to check with the restaurant on their availability before coming over. Since you don’t mind splurging (you’re at a caviar bar after all), Poseido
As a professional food stylist, photographer and community manager for food discovery app Burpple, Trisha Toh is never short of recommended places to eat in KL. We asked her for her top five, and this is what she told us. Continue to follow Trisha's food discoveries on her Instagram.
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You’ve got to admit that a trip to a good café sets you in a cheery mood – the sun-soaked space, glorious sunny side ups and that tingling dose of caffeine. The Time Out KL team maps out the best cafés for every occasion, from Instagram eye candies to the brunch of champions.
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The Time Out Kuala Lumpur Food 40 is our monthly, definitive guide for where to eat in the Klang Valley. Establishments will only appear in this list if they offer cuisine of a very high standard that is truly unique and worthy of your custom. No entry into the Food 40 has provided any Time Out team member with a free meal or other incentive – although plenty have tried! All have been chosen honestly, anonymously and after a great deal of deliberation by our team of expert food critics.
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Get in on the healthy food movement and start eating clean at these top restaurants for healthy eats in KL. We've also included a quick guide to meal portions and healthy-eating alternatives as recommended by some of the individuals behind these eateries. RECOMMENDED: Guide to eating clean