A Week (Almost) in Kuala Lumpur

Hello hello… I am currently in sunny Kuala Lumpur to attend a conference so yeah, it’s a work trip. Had arrived on Monday afternoon and will be back home tomorrow. It’s a pretty long week and whatever spare time we have, it’s spent on, what else, but the local delights :)  We didn’t have that much personal time anyways…

For the first time, I’d taken a budget airline which also means it’s the first time I had been to our budget terminal (BT). Heh, I’m working at the airport and I haven’t been to the BT. Unlike the main terminals where we can take the sky train which connects all 3 terminals, we would need to take a free shuttle bus to get to the BT. The only food choices are Macs and Hans… Doesn’t seem very enticing so there’s really not much incentive for us to go there if we are not taking a flight.

Anyway, it’s not that I’m scorning budget airlines. For our vacations, it’s either our travel package, which we had booked through the agent, had already factored in a specific airline (and it’s usually not any of the budget airlines) or in the case of Tasmania, there wasn’t much of a difference in the price for Qantas and Jet Star.

So for both the arrival and departure legs in this trip to KL, we had taken different budget airlines. I had flown into KL via Firefly and will depart via Air Asia while my colleagues had arrived via Air Asia and depart via Tiger etc. It’s not because we 吃饱没事做hor. It’s more for purpose of our work to experience the passenger handling, including self check-in, of budget airlines… Maybe one day, I’ll bore you with more on what my work entails…

At a quick glance, Firefly looks like the smallest plane I’d ever taken but I think the domestic flight (either Delta or Alaska), which I took from San Francisco to Portland, is even smaller. It’s a single seat on the left side and 2 seats on the right with a very narrow aisle. At least for Firefly, it’s 2 seats on both sides. In any case, still a pretty small aircraft. There’s only 1 toilet at the back and it looks like it’s built for a hobbit.

I noticed there are propellers on the wings of the aircraft… Erm, propellers do not give me a very reassuring feeling. Ok, I think too much lah… But these thoughts vanished as I dozed off shortly after I took my seat in the plane.

Within an hour or so, we had landed at Subang airport in KL. Baggage pick-up and customs clearance were super fast. There wasn’t much of a crowd anyway. If you are taking a cab, you would need to pay in advance and get a coupon at the taxi counter near the main entrance/exit of the airport.  

We had stayed at the Shangri-La cos that’s where the conference would be held. It’s a very nice hotel, the room is huge and all… BUT… and I am saying this in a very pissed off tone… my colleagues and I CANNOT connect to our work emails. Bloody hell!!

For some reason, the hotel network failed to connect to our office server. I had called our office IT helpdesk as well as the hotel IT technician but the problem cannot be resolved. Believe there’s a technical explanation for this but it really sucks when you can’t access your emails unless I am on vacation which is a different matter altogether. I had no choice but to pop into a nearby Starbucks earlier this evening to download my emails.

Anyway, to put that major grouse aside…….

It had been a long week… The conference stretches over 3 full days where each day starts pretty early at 8.30am and ended around 6plus pm in the evening. Each day would have ended earlier if they had shortened the coffee break from an hour to 30mins or less. Good thing we are staying in the same hotel where the conference is held so during break times, we can just go up to our rooms to rest or whatever. If only we can connect to our work emails!

On the first day of the conference, each table had one of these boxes at every seat. I’d reckoned there were about 100 tables so I guess around 1,000 boxes. What makes this simple looking box (it’s supposed to be a unit load device (ULD) for storage of cargo and to be loaded onto an aircraft) “attractive” is the $1 bill stuffed in the opening at the top. Most of us were scrutinising, holding the dollar against the light and sniffing it, wondering if it’s real. Yes, it is real. What an effective attention grabbing gimmick!

Heh, I shall not be so cruel to put you to sleep with details of the conference…

Think it is more exciting to talk about what we had done, after the conference, for the past evenings. Other than a hosted dinner, we had spent most of our evening time at Bukit Bintang area. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of time to explore other places so we’ll make do with the fantastic food street along Jalan Alor which we had visited for 2 evenings.

The last time I had visited KL was *gasp* 7 years ago. On a sentimental note, it was the first overseas trip for Gary and me. A way to get to know your new boyfriend/girlfriend better would be through an overseas trip cos that’s where you guys would get a glimpse of the other person’s habits while travelling as well as staying in the same room together. Thankfully, there were no shocks during our first vacation. Think I was pretty well behaved then so whatever bad habits of mine (and his) probably surfaced up later… LOL!

Jalan Alor seemed much cleaner now. Some of the eating houses had gone through  some renovation as well. Probably to enhance their appeal especially for people (like me) who are very picky about the cleanliness of a place and the toilets. Toilets in Malaysia, even if they are in the city and especially in traditional coffeeshops or non-shopping malls/hotels type of places, can be very grimy. Well, it’s a fact. I’d also admit that some toilets in Singapore are also pretty gross.

On Monday night, we had randomly picked one of the eating houses for dinner. The Malaysian style Hokkien Mee fried in black sauce, Bak Kut Teh and Wanton Mee are a must-try. These are popular local delights which one must go for when in Malaysia.

As you can see, these ain’t your healthy salad-and-soup kind of diet. The Hokkien Mee is laden with so many lard pieces which makes this dish ultra sinful but oh-so-good. I generally don’t like Bak Kut Teh but this version is not very oily, doesn’t reeks of herbs and pepper, which I hate, and yet very flavourful. The Wanton mee, with its springy noodles tossed in savory sauce, is good too. Screw the diet, you can always compensate by hitting the gym everyday for the next one month!

We had also ordered the “Chicken Fish”. What the fish right? In case you are wondering if this is mutant fish, a friend on Facebook had “educated” me that this is actually the “Leather Jacket” fish. While the sambal spice smeared on the fish is awesome, I didn’t particularly like this fish. This is one tough bastard where the dry texture of the flesh is reminiscent of chicken breast meat. Probably the reason for those names. At RMB 48.00, it’s actually quite pricey.

On our second visit to Jalan Alor, we had a target eating house in mind- “Wong Ah Wah”. It’s located right at the end of Jalan Alor, next to an open car park, if I recalled correctly. Heard their roasted chicken wings are super duper awesome, among their other equally fantastic dishes.

Pictures of the lady bosses and celebrities adorned the wall inside…Wait a sec… who’s that I spot?

*GASP* It’s one of my favourite Hong Kong actors- Kevin “八爷” Cheng (bottom right)!!! AHHHHH!!! *Go Bonkers*

As mentioned, the chicken wings are bloody GOOD! Dunno if its roasting method, the heat, the marinade or all of the above… There’s something about the wings that are a little different from the roasted wings back home… Whatever it is, these wings are droolsome, finger-licking fantastic. Don’t miss the wings if you are there for the first time.

The clams are equally good. Reasonably sized and sweet. Would be perfect if the portion is larger though. I’m a sucker for clams…

I am a little skeptical when the stingray was served “naked”. Usually, there will be a thick layer of sambal chilli, partly to mask the ammonia smell, typical of stingrays especially those that are not fresh. On the contrary and also fortunately, the stingray which we had ordered does not stink and the flesh is, in fact, pretty tender unlike the “Chicken Fish” we had 2 nights ago.

But the Hokkien Mee isn’t as savory and doesn’t have as much lard pieces as the one we had previously. Ha, the lard does make a difference! The salted egg crab is just ok for me. I would prefer if there’s a little bit more gravy…

Well, that’s about it for our week in KL… I had managed to squeeze some time to take a walk within Bukit Bintang area. Seriously, I can’t recall how this area is like 7 years ago but I think a couple of new malls had sprung up since then.

Perhaps next time, I can check out the bridge connecting the Petronas Twin Towers. With the affordable pricing and convenience of budget airlines and proximity of KL and Singapore, we can always do a weekend getaway someday. I believe Gary who, being a foodie like me, would be drooling with envy upon the sight of these yummy local delights…

Back to Singapore tomorrow and off to Bangkok next week for another conference…

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One thought on “A Week (Almost) in Kuala Lumpur

  1. Pingback: What I Do… | Living Out Loud

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