I love that many young open-minded KL-ites aren’t just living by the standards and expectations dictated by the historical culture of Malaysia, but are trying to make a difference for their city and country. At the very least we are aware of the issues surrounding us and are discussing them. Although we’re such a small community, we do our best to host events, screenings, exhibitions, gigs, festivals, panel discussions, plays… we don’t get things easy so we have to make it happen for ourselves. Everybody knows everybody, and if you’re a newcomer, we’ll take the time to get to know you too. We’re just excited to hear your ideas and your stories.
I live in a city where I can get the best Malay, Indian and Chinese food, and to me – the mixing of these cultural tastes is what I call Malaysian food; it’s impossible to have a bad meal in KL. Everyone here can speak at least two languages, most of us more, some of us are even fluent in karaoke.
A lot of KL’s activity centres around the malls dotted around the city. Each one has a different emphasis in the atmosphere and stores. The coolest of them all is Publika which is the most indie-minde. Here you can hang out in the outdoor square and enjoy gigs and nightly free movie screenings, or pop along to any number of art openings at the small independent galleries that line the outside units of the mall. The mall offers these spaces to young emerging artists and small home-grown and handmaking individuals at a reduced rate to offer them exposure to a greater audience.
One particularly great option is Briyani on Fridays! You have to get there early as it’s only a small “mamak” (side road stall), but the briyani is incredible. It’s located on Lorong Chow Thye, Titiwangsa, just on the corner of Lorong Chow Thye and Jalan Pahang.
Plus there’s The Bee – a perfect combination of restaurant, bar and gig space that also sells the best ice-cream made by “The Last Polka” – as far as I know, the only people in the world making Malasian-specific ice cream flavours!
Drinks: Heli Lounge Bar
The most exciting place you’ll find for a quick cocktail hour is on the roof of the Menara KH building, on an active helicopter landing pad! Every day at dusk, all flights are stopped for a few hours and drinkers are welcomed up to enjoy the best 360 views across the whole of KL. Watch your step near the edge though – Malaysia doesn’t really deal in health and safety, and with helicopters coming and going the rest of the day, there are no barriers!
Kwong Tong Cemetery
Not everything in KL is about drinking (actually, very little since we are a mostly Muslim country) so you really have to share where the good spots are. Another bar that I think you would only find in KL is located right in the middle of Kwong Tong cemetery. There’s not much on the menu, but it’s a truly original setting to sip a cold beer and think about the bigger picture.
Just giving four options is definitely not enough as KL food is AMAZING! And it’s not about finding the place that looks the best, you absolutely have to follow the masses – they know best.
Photos by Ruth Bartlett