Previous trips to Kuala Lumpur have differed from this one in two ways, firstly they've been much shorter, like 2 or 3 days, and secondly I've had a job to fund them with. Both have meant that when I've been here I've splashed the cash, staying in the mind blowingly good Mandarin Oriental each time. This trip is somewhat different though and so I'm currently staying in the more humble Alex's Guesthouse. I won't lie and say I don't miss the Mandarin Oriental but here does have some advantages, outside of the cost and the friendliness the main one is the location. Gone is the tourism of the KLCC and the Golden Triangle, replaced by normal everyday KL life. We're only a few minutes from the Mid Valley Mega-mall (the biggest in South East Asia), with its food hall and masses of global food chains, but for everyday meals we've got two Chinese restaurants and a handful of little hawker stalls over the road, the latter providing my breakfast everyday, which is normally something like this.
The flatbreads are roti canai and they're quite simply one of the tastiest foods known to man. Fresh bread is always good and here it couldn't get much fresher. A lump of dough is rolled out, then swung around and pulled even thinner on an oiled work surface till it's maybe a 1mm thick. It's so impressive to watch them work and I'll get some photos some day. I'm normally not too self conscious with the camera but here it's not at all touristy, it's just locals eating breakfast, and I do feel a tad self conscious. As we're the only white folk here though everyone's starting to recognise us, say hello and wave, so I think I'll get the courage soon. Once I do the snaps will be up here. Until then words and the finished product, snapped in the comfort of my home, is all you're getting. Back to the roti, once the dough is very thin it's folded back in on itself to form a 15cm multi-layered square which gets cooked in a couple of minutes on a big hot plate. What you're left with is a steaming hot flatbread that pulls apart in flaky but chewy layers. This is served with either dal or fish curry (light and dark bags in the snap respectively), both very watery and lacking lentils or fish. Both very tasty nevertheless.
Malaysia is very multi-cultural - being maybe 60% Malay, 30% Chinese and 10% from the Indian subcontinent - and as a homage to that (well more because I can) I supplement the very Indian roti with a very Chinese char sui pau (or bao if you're not in Malaysia) which is massive by UK dim sum standards. The roti are 1 ringgit (20p) each and the pau 1.40 ringits (so maybe 35p, the mango maybe 15p) - I tend to have some combination of these every morning, although I sometimes have a dosai (fermented rice pancake) from the same stall that does the roti, I'll cover them another day though. Breakfast here is probably my favourite meal of the day.