Next stop as we zoom on our litttle Vespas through the crowded night streets of Kuala Lumpur is the Wet Market on the fringe of Kampung Baru. For us American's, think of it as a Farmer's Market, but on steroids. You can find everything here. If it grows or lives, you will find it here at the Wet Market. The cool thing is that this market is at night, specifically for the locals to do their daily shopping. The market happens nightly and the produce and meat are as fresh as possible, with fresh cut fruits and vegetables, foraged jungle greens, seeds and pods, and small animals butchered while you wait (no pictures needed). This is truly a chef's paradise. As we stroll through the stalls, Kingston starts to quiz us on the more exotic offerings such as durian, mangosteins, rombutans, to name a few. While I feel I did pretty good on my identification quiz, I was definitely stumped by a number of local foraged delicacies. I could just imagine myself here every night shopping for the next day. It makes eating paleo/keto/primal/clean a cinch!
Time for a little dessert to clear our palette. Wait, didn't we just have some dessert at Kak Som? Oh well, what's another sweet gonna hurt
We stopped at a small hawker stand and enjoyed some Putu Bamboo and Pulut Inti, glutinous rice with brown coconut topping wrapped in banana leaves. They were really good. Not too sweet, but filling. We are getting our fill of rice on this trip, in all of it's forms.
As we meet our chauffeurs at the end of the market street, we are off again. This time the drive is a little further, a little faster, and the night air starts to cool, just slightly. Our guides wanted to inject some culture into our tour that didn't have anything to do with food... time for a history lesson. We sped into the textile market, only to find the stalls closing up for the night. So next stop, Independence Square.
Independence Square, or Dataran Merdeka is a dear place for the Malaysians as it's the site of the burgeoning independence from the Brits in 1957. The square is flanked on one side by the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, a Moorish style building built in 1897 that originally housed the offices of the British Colonial Administration. A truly interesting site to behold in the clear cooling night of KL against the backdrop of towering skyscrapers and a full moon.
Across the bustling street of Jalan Raja, lies the cricket greens of the once Selangor Club Padang, or simply Padang. Once used for raucous cricket games amongst Brits and Malays, now is a central meeting place for all of KL to play soccer, sell car parts and of course food and drinks, and just enjoy life. Past the cricket lawn is the actual Padang building, built in 1884 it was the official meeting place for high-ranking members of the British colonial society.
But the most important piece of Independence Square is the flag pole. Where on August 31st, 1957, the Union Jack was lowered and the Malaysian Flag was raised, signaling their independence as a nation. The flagpole itself is one of the tallest in the world coming in at 95 meters. Interestingly, the Malaysian flag (Jalur Gemilang, Stripes of Glory) has a similar look to the American flag with 14 alternating red and white stripes, and a yellow sun and crescent on a blue background. The design for their new flag was an open competition amongst the citizens of Malaysia with the winning design originating from a young man from northern Malaysia.
As we took in the sites, you could feel the palpable energy that rushed through the square as children and adults were playing alike, and car clubs cruised along Jalan Raja showing off their tricked out rides, and street peddlers were selling drinks, trinkets, toys and sweets. Everyone in a happy mood as a cool breeze blew across the lawn.
And off to get more food!
It's time to visit another Chinatown of KL to have some Pudu Wai Sek Kai, true Chinese street food. Away from the central Chinatown of Petaling Street, we bark at a dark alley only lit by the hawker stalls and their cooking foods. As we dismount, our senses are instantly hit by the aromas of rich dark sauces, wok-fried noodles and boiling cauldrons of broth. I knew we were in for a culinary extravaganza unlike anything we have back in the states.
Kingston asked, "are you okay with questionable hygienic conditions?"
Sticking to the rule of no roadside ceviche, and making sure everything was cooked, Dyann and I were game to try it all.
It's time to select our food. As usual, Kingston and Vincent coordinate our dishes, going in opposite directions to get it all brought to our Lok Lok table.
Check out our Instagram page to see all the pictures from our adventure and stay tuned to finish hearing about our crazy adventure.