The Kuala Lumpur Of My Childhood

When I posted this photo on Instagram and Facebook, many people asked: “Going back to KL again?”

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Crossing the Second Penang Bridge towards mainland

Yes, I am back in KL again for the weekend!

I’m not going to talk about the reasons for this unplanned trip home. What I am going to talk about is that, for some strange reasons, I found myself back in downtown Kuala Lumpur with 2 hours to burn. By downtown KL, I mean the area in the vicinity of Central Market and Petaling Street, the area where I used to spend most of my time growing up. So I parked my car at Central Market’s carpark and settled for retracing the path that I used to walk so much as a school kid.

This is not me writing a travel guide to KL. This is me reliving the fond memories of my childhood.

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Wisma Hangsam from afar

Wisma Hangsam is where the British Council used to be located. This was where I studied proper British English language for a few years, with properly certified English teachers from England.

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Dayabumi

The Dayabumi Complex was one of the earliest skyscraper in KL. It was completely built in the year 1984. It was the tallest building in Malaysia before the times of KL Tower and KLCC. My dad originally opened his shop in this building before moving to Central Market after I was born. Even after we moved to Central Market, dad still used Dayabumi’s carpark because they had the monthly rates going.

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Central Market

Central Market is where I spent most of my time growing up. My dad moved his shop to this shopping complex after I was born. He closed down the shop when I was spending the summer in Liverpool, so in all, we had the shop going for 23 years. I will talk more about this in my next post. For now let’s keep talking about the area.

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Jalan Tun HS Lee

Nothing special about Jalan Tun HS Lee, except for the fact that the buses that I took from my home has here as the final destination. There were 3 buses that I used to take to come to KL: Cityliner 176, Intrakota 66 and Metrobus 79. Intrakota and Cityliner has since been consolidated into RapidKL or whatever it is called now.

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Mydin

I don’t have fond memories about Mydin the wholesale market. I have fond memories about the building. Before Mydin, it was Metrojaya and British India. This was where I bought most of my clothes as a kid. I mean where my mom bought most of my clothes for me.

Whenever people rave non stop about which char kuay teow in Penang is the best char kuay teow in Malaysia, my response is always: “Sorry guys, I know Penang’s char kuay teow is generally better compared to KL, but the best char kuay teow in Malaysia, in my opinion, is not in Penang. It is in KL.”

There was this coffee shop, off Jalan Silang. Inside the coffee shop was a char kuay teow stall called Raymond Char Kuay Teow. You can talk all you want about Lorong Selamat or Ah Leng Char Kuay Teow in Penang, but they are not nearly as good as Raymond’s. At least that is what I will insist.

Sadly, I can’t say this anymore. That coffee shop is no more.

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It has now become a mobile phone shop.

Man, this totally sucks. If there is anyone reading who knows this Raymond Char Kuay Teow and better still, knows where he moved to, do let me know. Pretty pretty pleaseeeeee…

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Lai Foong Coffee Shop

Kedai Kopi Lai Foong was where I bought most of my chicken rice and pork noodles when in KL. I think this coffee shop is pretty famous as far as KL goes. And right behind this coffee shop, in the alleyway is the even more famous Lian Bee Hokkien Mee. Too bad Lian Bee only does business at night, or else I would’ve gotten a grub. My mom hates Lian Bee though. Actually, she hates the fact that I love Lian Bee so much. Actually it is not the cleanest Hokkien Mee you can get in KL. The stall operates out of an alley where buses passed by from the main road frequently, emitting those thick black smoke. Whatever you eat has a high risk of being contaminated by poisonous bus smoke.

But they’re still fucking delicious!

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Petaling Street entrance

I was going to explore Petaling Street, but the weather had other ideas. It began to rain, so I had to cut short my outdoor walk and quickly head back into Central Market. I will talk more about Central Market in my next post.

34 Comments

  1. A nice nostalgic post! I hope you find out where Raymond Char Kuay Teow has gone, and let me know because Char Kuay Teow is da bomb! I’m going back to Malaysia this January, I can’t wait!!

    • I have been asking around since forever, but nothing came up. Hopefully I will have better luck the next time I go back.

  2. Although I’ve never been there, I feel like I would absolutely enjoy exploring it! Wonderful picture. Would it be possible to explore it for less than $25 a day? You know me :D!!

    • $25 would get you more than RM 80 here. Definitely yes! Let me know when you are coming, and I could probably give you some tips on where to go and what to do, but probably not on accommodation and transport. This place is my hometown, but I haven’t lived here for like 6 years now, there’s a ton of changes that even I do not know!

  3. This post certainly brings back a lot of memories as I grew up in that area too…Leboh Ampang actually, though most of it is quite blur. The thing that I do remember is the delicious chicken pie and a Chinese nasi lemak with stewed “char yoke” and hard-boiled eggs from around the Central Market area.

    • I think I know the Chinese nasi lemak, but I’m not too sure about chicken pie. How is that possible? I am supposed to know everything within Central Market’s vicinity!

      • The chicken pie I’m referring to does not look like an (English) chicken pie…maybe I should call it some kind of a biscuit with chicken filling. This stall used to be with the Chinese nasi lemak but they’ve moved to Lai Foong (don’t know if it’s still there). The Chinese nasi lemak moved to Petaling Street and then it’s gone.
        Hey, we can’t know everything lah…that’s why we share!

        • Ah, the pastries stall at Lai Foong. Hmm, I don’t remember having any chicken puffs from there, I only remember egg tarts LOL!

  4. Raymond Char Kuay Teow?This sounds familiar. I think there is one at a coffee shop at Damansara Kim. I used to hang around at Kotaraya/Sungei Wang Plaza/BB Plaza. That was a long time ago πŸ™‚

  5. Wah a very detailed post about those areas.. Although I’m from KL, I have to admit I never frequent those places.. I was from PESS (Pudu English Girls School) and I only frequented areas like Majestic, Pudu, Bukit Bintang area.. Especially Pudu Plaza and Sg. Wang, hehe..

  6. Rain? No problem at Petaling Street now – they’ve constructed a roof, shaded from the sun and the rain…but no, it’s no longer the same anymore. Sad how time passes and things change.

    I was in KL when they opened Dayabumi…and started the Central Market – 1986, I think that was. I don’t recall British Council being in a building like that – I use to go there, somewhere near the National Mosque or somewhere…can’t remember now. My old brain, failing me already.

    I loved Bukit Bintang then, all the coffee shops and stalls with all the nice food…and Cathay Cinema – not the same anymore, these days it’s all about massage palours, pimps (Ah Hia, you want China girl?)…and hooligan taxi drivers (Pertama Complex? RM50! No going by meter – used to be those parked a distance away from the taxi stand, now not anymore).

    • I think you went to British Council’s main office, which was in Bukit Aman, right next to the police HQ. Some of the exams are done there. Wisma Hangsam was the where the school was, where most of their lessons were conducted.
      China girl? Now what girl also have. China, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and even local Malay girls if you go far enough from the main trail. It’s an interesting (and unsettling) experience to drive through Bukit Bintang area at night nowadays..

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