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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

KL Getaway: Just the 2 of Us!

Since our marriage 6 3/4 years ago, we have made it a point to go away on our wedding anniversary. With our children it got harder, especially in the early years, and especially for me, the mother. I remember bawling my eyes out in our Batam resort when our oldest was still about half a year old, accusing my husband of forcing me to leave our baby behind! 

But fast forward a couple of years, and with two active boys underfoot, I have really started to anticipate and appreciate these precious times away. Our anniversary also falls in December, making it a good time for us to take stock of how our marriage and family are doing, recalibrating and setting a focus for the year ahead.

So it was a special treat when we got to go on a last-minute getaway to Malaysia's capital city Kuala Lumper, without the kids. We had a one night stay at a Copthorne group hotel to redeem, with Mark's American Express Kris Flyer miles card.
Enjoying a substantial ramen meal at Marutama Ramen in Fahrenheit 88, Bukit Bintang. The free flow side of crispy garlic chips is a real treat. Fond memories here - this was where our older son slurped his first bowl of ramen noodles, 3 years ago!
We decided to give ourselves two nights away, as staying one night would be tiring with a 4-6 hour coach journey back and forth from Singapore. What happiness when we found a SGD36/ night hotel, U Pac Hotel, which was ranked #25 out of 272 hotels in KL, for the first night! Fantastic service at the reception, clean and cosy rooms. A simple but nourishing breakfast spread is provided, which is amazing for the price. The best part - the dim sum place directly behind the hotel! We both decided that meal alone was worth the 6-hour coach ride that day.
Mark's contented grin says it all. You can't find this quality of dim sum in Singapore, or at least that's what we think.  Delicate flavours and textures, each juicy bite was unique!
A close-up view of our feast on a rainy evening in Pudu, KL
With our minds (and stomachs) still focused on food, we checked out of U Pac Hotel early, hoping to cover some of the food places featured in Lonely Planet. Jalan Alor was one of those we hoped to visit. According to the Malaysian tourism website,

Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Alor is one of Malaysia's most popular food haunts. Relatively quiet during the day, the street is transformed into a bustling outdoor food court when the sun goes down. Hawkers fire up their woks as hungry customers start piling in, sitting on makeshift tables and chairs lined by the roadside.
The streets are interestingly chaotic in KL. We love how every meal we had at a street stall was a scene of a drama unfolding - cars parked every which way, drivers arguing, people dashing out from their cars to get some packed food.
The stark contrasts between the old and new are perfectly felt at Jalan Alor. We love how KL has allowed the olden day atmosphere of some neighbourhoods to remain, despite the sprouting high rise buildings all around.
Lonely Planet had recommended the 'drunken' chicken noodles at Jalan Alor, with the stock made from rice wine. I don't know why I didn't catch the cue from the word 'drunken', but those noodles were potent! Even Mark, who usually holds his alcohol well, said they were strong. 
Pre-Chicken Noodle 'Drunkenness'
The noodles were steeped in extremely strong rice wine. A few slurps was enough to make me dizzy! It was an aromatic stock and the fried eggs complement the chicken pieces. This dish is probably best shared among a few people. The stall sold other kinds of noodles, which also seemed to be popular.
The rest of the day was spent shopping around the Bukit Bintang area and catching a late night movie for only RM20 for 2 tickets, which is about SGD4 per ticket. We enjoyed a substantial ramen dinner at Marutama Ramen at Fahrenheit 88 before retiring to our extremely comfortable room at the Grand Millennium, KL. 
Our luxurious accommodation at the Grand Millennium KL
The next morning (and our last), we embarked on a purposeful search for the Jalan Imbi Market. It is featured in Hungrygowhere Malaysia, as well as in many food blogs, as a food paradise. Some of the must-eat items are the chee cheong fun, crispy popiah, and egg tarts. We were really looking forward to a hearty breakfast, but somehow could not find the place after walking around for 30 minutes! 

We stumbled upon this place instead which seemed to be popular, based on the many newspaper articles featured outside. Turns out that Pau Kee is cited in Hungrygowhere as having the best Ipoh Hor Fun in KL! The noodles were indeed of a very fine texture and seemed to melt in the mouth. The wanton noodles were served with prawns. We were still a little sore about not finding the Jalan Imbi Market, but concluded that we would just have to come back again to KL for another trip.
We stumbled upon this gem, toted as the best Ipoh hor fun in KL.
A simple and nourishing breakfast
We spent the last few hours before our coach journey doing some last minute shopping at Pavilion, just opposite our hotel. Glad for the rest and the time away, and looking forward to our next getaway without the kids in December! 

A final snack before our coach ride - Snowflake Taiwanese dessert. All ingredients are freshly prepared. The taro pieces were chewy and not too sweet. Delicious!

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