You don’t have to travel all the way to Ipoh to get your hands on the city’s famous ‘nasi ganja’; Nasi Vanggey Ipoh – and their two Shah Alam outposts in Section 7 and Kompleks PKNS in Section 14 – offer a worthy substitute. What makes the difference here are the ayam goreng merah, mix of house-made curries – which carry deeper, but less spicy flavours compared to other nasi kandar curries – as well as coconut chutney paste served on the side.
The long queue outside this stall in Section 24 after 5.30pm suggests that there’s something special going on here. What draws the consistent crowds is the rich and refreshing cendol made using fresh santan and homemade gula Melaka syrup – there’s none of the cloying sweetness of artificial syrups or odd aftertastes that come with prepackaged santan. When durian season hits, opt for their durian cendol (RM10), where a bowl of regular cendol is topped with two or three large pieces of fresh durian. Aside from the main outlet, they can be found in food trucks parked across Section 17, 18 and 20.
For a day out with the family, head up to Taman Botani Negara Shah Alam, where a RM3 entrance fee grants you access to a fairly large park in which you can walk around amidst nature (if it’s a hot day, bring an umbrella and a bottle of water). Alternatively, rent a bike and cycle around for a breezy outing. Check out the park’s mini zoo (no additional fees) occupied by horses, porcupines, owls, deer, tortoises and more.
Located a few kilometres away from Shah Alam’s city centre is Brew and Bread, a café that has served fresh bread, pastries and specialty coffees to the Kota Kemuning community for the past eight years. Among their signature drinks are The Bombshell – a complex-tasting cold brew that takes at least 16 hours to make – and Snow Black Coffee, a refreshing cold brew served with cream and topped with pink salt.
Street art fiends, check out Laman Seni in Seksyen 7 and Seksyen 2. The backstreet art installations and murals at Laman Seni is part of the city council’s project to redefine #lorongbelakang.
Get sloppy at Holy Smoke Café
This Americana-inspired café in Section 13 is known for their full-on burgers. One crowd favourite is their signature Holy Smoke Burger, featuring a beef patty topped with grilled onions, cheese and a generous dollop of bolognaise sauce. Be prepared to get messy.
Shah Alam Extreme Park comes with a skateboarding park, rock-climbing and bouldering facilities, paintball, archery and even a futsal court. Spot skateboarding dads starting their kids early in the game.
The RM70mil Raja Tun Uda Library overlooks a serene lake where lotuses bloom and has a cool kids section plus five storeys of books and study areas. Certain areas are shoes-off zones and they didn't skimp on the sofas – most of them are very comfortable. Also available: a 6D motion cinema, a Mac computer zone and a gym.
Check www.ppas.gov.my for updates.
Buku Jalanan is a larger movement, but Shah Alam’s edition does it well. Enthusiasts gather at the Lake Gardens to catch film screenings, participate in book exchanges as well as forums and discussions on themes from feminism to couch surfing and a lot more activities.
Happens on alternate Saturdays, 5pm. Check facebook.com/bukujalanan for updates.
Get a pair of new (but seasoned) kicks
If you like your shoes weathered and with character (as opposed to shiny new ones), get a pair or two from this second-hand store. A cult favourite with shoe fans, they stock up on old Dr Martens, Converse, Nike and many other shoe brands. They also have an outlet in Uptown Shah Alam if you don’t feel like venturing all the way to the far ends of Padang Jawa.