cho-cha foodstore, kuala lumpur

We didn’t have one bad meal on our recent trip to Kuala Lumpur, so the bar is very high, but the one meal I remember most was a snack I had during a 9km walk I did around the city on Sunday morning.

The place was called Cho-Cha Foodstore which is a restaurant in an old hotel building at the Southern end of Chinatown/Petaling Street.

From the outside it looks like an old hotel:


As soon as you enter inside you find a restaurant but they’ve kept a lot of the original interior design and have given it a modern/urban/industrial edge:

I ordered the fried chilli squid and a homemade pineapple soda. It was hands-down the best fried chilli squid I’ve ever eaten: so much flavour including kaffir lime leaves, lemon, fresh lime and it came with nuoc cham which complimented it perfectly.

Feeling very satisified I left to continue to explore the great street art around Southern chinatown in Kuala Lumpur.

10/10 would eat fried chilli squid at Cho-Cha again 😊

batu caves and malaysian monkeys

We’re all in KL at the moment. I’ve never seen a monkey outside a zoo, so this morning I caught an very overpriced cab to the most humid place I’ve ever been, in anticipation of seeing one. I am finding the Lonely Planet Kuala Lumpur guide generally inaccurate, I wonder if it’s because the author hasn’t actually been here. It said the Batu Caves were amazing, which they weren’t. The only thing the guide did get correct is that the caves are full of monkeys. So seeing these little guys on arrival at the stinking caves made it all worth it.

t is for tourist, a is for alien

T is for Tourist

I am really surprised to admit that I enjoyed visiting Kuala Lumpur more than Bangkok last week. Why? Like Tyler Durden and Marla Singer, it comes down to the t word: tourist.

Not only is Bangkok full of actual tourists, but also a whole heap of tourist leaches who think you’re one and try to con you out of all your baht and dignity, quickly making you feel like an asshole because you pretend you can’t speak English. During our ten days in Malaysia I didn’t encounter this once. Not once.

After a day in Bangkok I felt like buying this shirt. But that would make me a tourist too, wouldn’t it? (see my new 5ive)

Photo by dittmeyer

A is for Alien

I found a Chinese arrival card in the seat pocket on the plane. I thought the use of the word Alien is hilarious. Not that I’d be going to China anytime soon, why would you want to go somewhere where they censor the internet?

photo gallery of kl & langkawi highlights

These are some of the things we found interesting/tasty in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi.

street art in kl

It was our last full day in KL today, so we took the super quick light rail to Chinatown. When we got off the train at Pasar Seni station I was surprised to see lots of great street art, mostly stencil based.

We are flying to BKK tomorrow morning. I can’t wait.

our first night in kl

We spent our first night in KL last night and it’s been heaps of fun so far.


We flew out of Coolangatta on the Gold Coast early Saturday morning, the quick turn north providing spectacular takeoff views of the entire Gold Coast coastline.

I have to admit that we weren’t expecting much from Air Asia X considering our flights were less than $350 return, but we were actually very impressed. The Airbus A330 was configured 2,4,2 so we got two seats to ourselves next to the window in the second row from the front (the front row, with more leg room, costs more).

We were suprised to note upon takeoff that the four middle seats next to us (front row, heaps of leg room) were empty so after takeoff I made myself comfortable on them. This meant Kitty had two seats to herself and I had four, and all of mine had no seats in front of them so I really could stretch out. Because of this, the eight and a half hour flight was a breeze, best long haul flight ever!

I slept for nearly two hours, watched a couple of movies on the personal video device we hired (MYR35, or about $11 for the entire flight) including Horton Hears A Who which was really good! The food wasn’t bad too, and it was cheap as it was in Malaysian Ringit.


We landed at KL International Airport Low Cost Carrier Terminal which is 20km further from the standard KLIA. We caught a cab for the 70km journey into the KL city centre (KLCC). It was hilarious to be in the back of a late seventies/early eighties four cylinder Datsun like cab driving down the tollway doing 130 kmph when the speed limit sign says 90 kmph. Plus I don’t think the cabbie indicated once, and I couldn’t count the number of times he drove across two lanes.

Traders Hotel KLCC

The hotel we booked is amazing, definitely the best I have ever stayed in. We got upgraded to a suite, which means it has separate living areas and a massive, massive bathroom stacked with a huge amount of products. First time I have seen a bidet too. We look out onto a massive park with a swimming lagoon and straight at the Petronas Towers.

The view at night was amazing. Lots of people told us to go to the SkyBar in Traders because of the view, but from our room it was just as good.

Fish Spa at Pavillion

We went for a walk to the Pavillion shopping centre which is very new and modern, but quite sterile. The food court on level one was amazing because they have just about every type of cuisine to choose from. I didn’t come to Malaysia not to eat Malaysian so I order chicken satay sticks with fried rice which were very yummy. After we ate we went to the fifth floor to the Kenko fish spa.

Basically they have large tanks of Turkish fish that you dip your legs into and they nibble off your dead skin. We didn’t know there were two different tanks, small fish and big huge fish, so we accidentally started on huge fish. It’s a very strange sensation, not entirely pleasant, but unique. All the promotional material showed a few fish nibbling, but in reality there wasn’t much surface area without a fish.

After a few minutes of discomfort you almost forget that they are there, unless you are Kitty and insanely ticklish to last more than a minute. I spent about 30 minutes having my legs nibbled and I can honestly say they feel smoother and cleaner. Weird.

Malaysian Curry for Breakfast

The hotel offers breakfast as part of the room rate. Just like the room is the best room ever, I think that the breakfast was probably best ever. They offered so much variety it was astounding. I tried lots of different things (pastries, omlettes, fruit juice) but my favourite was Malaysian curry with chicken and potatoe. I don’t think I have eaten curry for breakfast before, but it was definitely a really good thing.

Langkawi here we come

We fly to Langkawi this afternoon which means another potential dodgy cab ride to the KLIA-LCC again. Woohoo.

to do: in kl & langkawi

It’s only a week until we leave for our mini Asian vacation. I’ve started a list of things to see/do. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any more suggestions.

Kuala Lumpur (KL)

Shop in KL

  • Peter Hoe Evolution: (pictured above) modern interior design and homewares: 2 Jalan Hang Lekir, Kuala Lumpur (link)

Relax in KL

  • Kenko Fish Spa: a heap of fish nibble on your dead skin: Pavilion Shopping Centre: 5th Floor (link)

Fun in KL

  • Cosmo’s World Theme Park: indoor theme park: Berjaya Times Square (link)

Eat in KL

  • Seri Melayu Lunch Buffet: 1 Jalan Conlay: apparently amazing and worth the trip alone. (link)

Travel in KL

  • From KL LCC Airport to Hotel: Buy voucher in arrivals hall: MYR56.60 (link)

Stay in KL

  • Traders Hotel: KL City Centre (next to KL Convention Centre) (link)


Relax in Langkawi

  • Pantai Cenang Beach

See in Langkawi

  • Cable Car to the summit of Gunung Mat Cincang at 700m for a spectacular view of the islands including neighbouring Thailand.

Stay in Langkawi

  • Beach Garden Resort: Pantai Cenang (link)

Travel in Langkawi

  • Taxi from Airport: to Pantai Cenang is 18km and MYR15.

already packing for kl & bkk

One week on Saturday we’re heading overseas for an Asian holiday, specifically KL, Langkawi & BKK. Kitty is so excited she’s already started packing, which is very impressive. And she’s really good at it.

I spent a few hours this afternoon researching our travel destinations. I found out that the New York Times’s travel site is well wicked, and I also found this really really cool food blog.