Experience the best of Malaysia’s capital city from the comfort of your living room (or bed)
While much of the world may be on lockdown at the moment, there are still plenty of ways to go exploring without stepping outside your house. From trying out recipes from some of the city’s top chefs and sipping on locally roasted specialty coffee to touring interesting art galleries and participating in a virtual Ayurveda session, our Armchair Travel guide to Kuala Lumpur showcases the best of what the city has to offer – sans passport, visa and air ticket – until we all get moving again.
9am: Breakfast time!
Start your day on the right note with a delicious local breakfast. Try making your own nasi lemak (fragrant pandan-infused coconut rice with hard-boiled eggs, cucumber, fried peanuts and anchovies along with a spicy, piquant sambal sauce) at home by following this recipe from acclaimed chef Christina Arokiasamy’s cookbook The Malaysian Kitchen: 150 Recipes for Simple Home Cooking. Fun fact: Arokiasamy, who was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, was Malaysia’s first-ever Food Ambassador to the United States.
11am: Explore the city’s best museums
Get a dose of culture by taking in virtual exhibitions at not one but two Kuala Lumpur museums. The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia is Southeast Asia’s largest repository of Islamic art, and most of its 12 expansive galleries and over 10,000 stunning artefacts are on view via virtual tours through their website. Additionally, contemporary art gallery Artemis Art has collaborated with Jakarta’s Art Serpong Gallery on “Monochrome” – a virtual exhibit featuring thought-provoking works by six artists hailing from both Malaysia and Indonesia.
1pm: Whip up a delicious fine-dining meal
For lunch, whip up a hearty meal following a recipe from chef, entrepreneur and Asian Food Network host Ili Sulaiman. After training in the kitchens of top fine-dining restaurants in London, Ili returned to Malaysia and currently resides in Kuala Lumpur. You can find step-by-step recipes on her website, as well as lively and easy-to-follow video tutorials on her YouTube channel. While there’s a plethora of different cuisines and dishes to choose from, the steamed fish tiga rasa, chilli pan mee and mochi doughnuts look particularly appetising.
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Mushroom and Tempeh Rendang on @asianfoodnetwork facebook live today at 5pm. I will be sharing some tips on how to cook Raya Food at home because I know many of you are not travelling back home for Raya and will be stuck at home cooking your own Raya Feast. So please come by, I will be sharing tips, you can ask questions, and we can just hang out for an hour. Link in my bio to watch later at 5PM (Malaysian tim) #rendang #mushroom #raya #masak #facebooklive #asianfoodrecipes #asianfood
3pm: Embark on a local tour, treat yourself to an Ayurveda session after
Kuala Lumpur-based travel experience company LokaLocal has put together a series of online tours so that people from all over the world can experience another country’s cities, culture and cuisine. The platform offers virtual experiences set in Kuala Lumpur that you can take part in from the comfort of your home. You can explore Kampung Baru – the city’s last surviving traditional Malay village – via a Zoom tour with a local that includes stops at Kampung Baru Mosque, Chow Kit Market and Tatt Khalsa Diwan Gurdwara Sikh Temple.
Also on offer are an Ayurveda session that involves a dosha quiz, assessment and analysis with an Ayurveda diet and lifestyle coach based in Kuala Lumpur and a class on how to make elegant pieces of jewellery with a team based at Kuala Lumpur’s Shangri-La Hotel.
5pm: Support a homegrown retail brand
Times are tough for retailers, but you can show your support – and pick up some new threads while you’re at it – by doing some online shopping with these Kuala Lumpur-based stores, all of which offer global shipping. Check out fashion label Twenty3 for womenswear by young Malaysian designers; apparel brand Tarik Jeans if you’re in the market for slick streetwear; and lifestyle shop Ninth Gallery for a wide selection of clothing, stationery and homewares. Accompany your browsing with a cup of home-brewed coffee using beans ordered online from a Kuala Lumpur-based roaster such as Collective or The Roast Things.
7pm: Recreate Dewakan’s award-winning recipes
For dinner, why not recreate recipes from Dewakan, the first Malaysian restaurant to earn a spot on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list last year? It’s just introduced its new “Cook Like Dewakan Food Kit”, a set of pre-cooked ingredients and easy-to-follow instruction cards that you can use to effortlessly replicate chef-crafted meals inspired by Dewakan’s own menu. Each box feeds up to four, which is perfect for an intimate dinner at home. Take your pick from a delicious Beef Short Rib or a rich Crab Curry, even a bottle of wine to go with.
“In times like these, cooking can become a form of escapism for people,” shares Darren Teoh, chef at Dewakan, who’s also revealed his go-to at-home Tempeh Sandwich recipe with us.
9pm: Wind down with a film
End your evening by taking in the city through a film. Those in the mood for a romantic comedy can opt for Crazy Rich Asians (2018) – while the film is set mostly in Singapore, the Carcosa Seri Negara, Astor Bar at The St Regis and BLVD House in Kuala Lumpur all functioned as filming locations. If you’re feeling like a heist flick, sit down to Entrapment (1999) starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones, where you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the Petronas Twin Towers and Bukit Jalil LRT station. For something local, The Big Durian (2003) by Malaysian director Amir Muhammad – which was the first Malaysian film to be screened at the Sundance Film Festival – is both set and shot in Kuala Lumpur.