Obligatory shot of the Petronas Towers. Yep, I was splashing around in a wading pool with all the other kiddos. Sweltering 90 degree heat and what feels like 200% humidity will do that to you, dignity be damned.
Exhibit at the National Museum featuring the three major ethnic groups in Malaysia (Malay, Chinese, and Indian). Nationally, Malays are the largest ethnic group, but in Kuala Lumpur Malays and Chinese make up the same percent of the population, and Indians are a sizable minority. It’s a multiculturalism reminiscent of back home, and it makes for a fascinating experience walking around the city. The common tongue is Malay, though you hear plenty of Cantonese and Tamil in the respective Chinese and Indian enclaves. Chinese and Malays chowing down on roti canai (see below!). Few restaurants serving beef, and even fewer pork (Malays are–by definition–Muslim).
Nasi Lemak, considered the national dish of Malaysia. Very popular breakfast food — almost every Malay (and many non-Malay) restaurant had it on the menu. Coconut milk flavored rice accompanied typically with a boiled egg, cucumber, fried anchovies, and peanuts. Traditionally wrapped in a banana leaf (portability!), although most restaurants just serve it on a plate. Usually there’s a meat side dish you choose to go with it, in this case a very hefty chicken thigh smothered in some kind of red gravy.
Tastes much better than it looks. At many of the Malay restaurants I visited, the custom is buffet style dining: You start with a plate of rice and get to choose from several usually stew-like dishes. The pricing scheme is a little confusing — I think they just kinda eyeball it and come up with a price on the fly. This particular dish I wasn’t able to identify much but I think the dark red meat stew on the left is beef rendang.
Roti canai. Another popular breakfast food in Malaysia for Indians and non-Indians alike. Usually a pretty simple affair: flatbread eaten with some kind of curry — in this case, dhal (lentil curry).
Entrance to Batu Caves, located just outside the city. The giant statue is of Murugan, the Hindu god of war. I actually just barely missed visiting on Thaipusam, a Hindu festival where thousands of devotees ascend to the caves, many under trance and bearing loads of several hundred pounds.
A giant mound of fried rice (nasi goreng! they have it in Malaysia too apparently, not just in Indonesia) that was my mid-afternoon snack. I still haven’t gotten used to the larger portion sizes here. Can’t quite do the same 5-6 dishes / day that I was doing in Thailand. (I mean, I tried but… endless food coma)
Breakfast at one of the many Chinese restaurants near where I was staying. Chicken and roast pork, coconut bao, chicken seasoned rice, and chicken broth. Good way to start the day!