Why do many people hate Malaysia

Gourmet tour in Kuala Lumpur

Koala what? Quite a few of my friends asked that when I told them that I was moving from Berlin to Kuala Lumpur. My new place of residence is not only exotic in name, but also on the plate. Jalan Alor is the "eating mile" of the Asian metropolis, to which my new work colleagues drag me on the first evening. The hustle and bustle begins with the darkness. It's still 30 degrees, there is a smell of curry, grilled meat and other delicacies. The crowd pushes us from one stand to the next. It's the start of my culinary adventure. Our table is full of seafood, chicken skewers and lots of rice. I opt for a green curry that will also make my forehead sweat. It's spicy but tasty. Whether Thai, Chinese or Indian - this street in the Bukit Bintang district is a cross-section of the cuisine that you can find here on every corner. In Kuala Lumpur - or KL for short - people eat all the time. Six small meals a day are quite common.

A piece of China in the middle of Kuala Lumpur

A few days later I explore the city and head to Chinatown. Jalan Petaling was the center of the former Chinese business district. Today, in addition to fake watches and designer handbags, there is one thing above all: the best Chinese food in town.

Chinatown is a popular area with tourists and locals alike

Red paper lanterns dangle over the street. There are several open-air cookshops and small restaurants. Fried rice, noodles, wonton and meat skewers as far as the eye can see. A Chinese colleague recommended the Kim Lian Kee Restaurant to me. It's been around for over 100 years, and the noodles there are said to be fantastic. I order a portion. From the rickety table I watch an old man swirl vegetables in a wok. In the middle of Kuala Lumpur, I feel like the Great Wall of China is just around the corner. A little later my food arrives, freshly prepared and really tasty.

Food good and cheap

Only a few kilometers away you can immerse yourself in a completely different culinary world: Little India. In the lively Brickfields district you will find colorful textile shops and jewelry shops as well as plenty of small restaurants serving dhal, curry and many other Indian dishes on banana leaves. Together with a watermelon shake, I pay the equivalent of 3.80 euros.

Bollywood sounds and the scents of spices are everywhere in Little India

Temple of pleasure

I am planning a trip to the famous Petronas Towers. A local neighbor gives me a tip on the way. Instead of eating in one of the huge malls there, I should rather make a detour to the Buddhist temple around the corner. The Dharma Realm Guan Yin Sagely Monastery runs a public canteen. But I should be there early, from 1 p.m. everything is usually grazed. The temple is really beautiful and the canteen that goes with it is culinary heaven on earth - especially for vegetarians and vegans like me. The display is full of all sorts of vegetables. I even like the tofu here: nice and spicy and not as limp as I'm used to from Germany.

Malaysia's national dish, Nasi Lemak

The national dish of the multiethnic state can be found at the many mobile cookshops in the city as well as in good restaurants. The rice dish Nasi Lemak is cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaves and served with cucumber, roasted peanuts, egg, dried anchovies and hot chili sauce. The delicacy is also available in a banana leaf for on the go. Most of the locals eat nasi lemak for breakfast.

Nasi Lemak is the national dish in Malaysia

The forbidden fruit

There's nothing like food, everyone really agrees on that. Except when it comes to durian. You either hate or love durian. I am one of the latter. The fruit is also known as the stink fruit. There is often an anti-durian sign in hotels and public buildings. The smell is reminiscent of a mixture of onions, cheese and who knows what. That's why people meet here at small stands in the open air to enjoy their durian.

The durian is not called a stink fruit for nothing

Everyone gets plastic gloves before the adventure begins. The taste also takes getting used to, especially for Europeans. The durian comes from Malaysia and is considered a delicacy among locals. On a weekend trip to the island of Borneo, which partly belongs to Malaysia, I found out that a woman there feels flattered when a man takes her out on a date for a durian. With us in Germany it would probably be over with great love.

There is something for every taste

It gets a little more suitable for the masses when it comes to sweets. I'm going on a trip to the Batu Caves. A huge golden statue and many colorful stairs that lead to a cave where people pray and tourists take photos. The 272 steps give me the rest.

The Batu Caves are home to several Hindu temples

But after this ordeal you can treat yourself to some of the brightly colored sweets and numerous biscuits at one of the stalls in front of the temple. A seller draws my attention to his cookies made from chickpea flour and nuts. He's already putting one in my hand. I drive home with a huge plastic container full of cookies. Admittedly, the bulk pack did not last long.

There are tons of sweet temptations at the stalls around the Batu Caves

After my first few months in Kuala Lumpur, I realize why my new apartment, like many others here, does not have a stove. You eat out, preferably with friends. And on every corner of the Malaysian metropolis there is a different culinary delicacy that shows how diverse this city is. KL probably not only stands for Kuala Lumpur, but also for culinary passion. Well then: Bon appetit - or rather "menikmati makanan anda".