Teppanyaki mon amour

Trip Start Jul 25, 2011
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Trip End Sep 01, 2011


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Flag of Malaysia  , Wilayah Persekutuan,
Monday, August 1, 2011

Today it was time to try and grab some of the elusive local culture at the Museum of Islamic art. The building itself looks quite uninspiring from the outside, while it has some rich and masterfully crafted interiors.
After yet another bargain (5 MYR entrance price) the museum offered its best right from the beginning, with a beautiful display of the world's most famous mosques and Islamic buildings, from the Omayyad in Damascus to the magnificent masterpiece of Samarkand (I really hope to write about it on this website one day).


The museum also hosts very interesting and well realized collections of Islamic clothing, weaponry, coins, furniture and pottery, spanning every continent and civilization, with a special section dedicated to Chinese and Malay productions.
I appreciated finding bilingual, objective and, most of all, neutral descriptions all around the museum, especially on the sections describing the rise and fall of Islamic empires throughout the centuries.

There were no political or religious messages of any kind in the historical timeline concerning the Palestinian territories, which is something that the historian in me cannot condone; I can still remember finding piles and piles of leaflets all over the museums of Athens denouncing the theft of the Parthenon's marbles.

Regardless of who is right or wrong, a museum is never the right place for propaganda of any kind.

Since the museum itself didn't take more than a couple of hours, I decided to head back to Bukit Bintang and my favourite place in KL: Food Republic, the food court of the Pavilion Mall.

The court hosts several food stands that vaguely resemble the carts that you find all over the old parts of KL, mostly Pasar Seni. The food options are just mindblowing. Here's a list od what I can remember right now, surely there are at least 3 times more.

Chinese (at least 3 regional versions)
Taiwanese
Herbal soups
Western food (whatever it means)
Italian
Thai
Korean
Malay
Curry rice
Wok specialties
Teppanyaki
Indian
Fried breaded specialties and sweets
Smoothies and juices
Hong kong duck
Ipoh cuisine (whatever it means, it's good)
Singapore leaf-wraps

And the list goes on and on.
Personally I've been a fan of Japanese food for a few years, though I failed to eat a single piece of sushi during my visit to Japan, since it disgusted me back then.
Ironically, now I just love it. Shame and great death on you tasteless white devil gaijin!

Anyway! Until this trip my biggest Japanese experience was being dragged to one of those maid bars in Tokyo where the guest (which is called 'master') is served coffee and sweets by girls dressed as maids, hope it counts something on the Japanophile scale.
This time the Japanese lifestyle is running through my veins entirely- mostly those around the stomach, since all-you-can-eat sushi for 8 euros and hand-made teppanyaki for 4 euros aren't things we're going to see anywhere in the western world for a while- not without getting colonized by an entire colony of tapeworms at least.
So here's my typical day: eating out, going to the shops to try clothes that I will not buy, getting some culture at the bookstores and observing the locals.
If you dont hate me and my lavish lifestyle already you can either wish me a horrible Delhi belly or keep reading what I learned from personal experience these days.
Malaysia is a very mixed country, Malays of course are the native inhabitants of the area, who learned to live peacefully with the first wave of Chinese mining workers more than a century ago. Then add the masses of people from all around the continent and you see why English is not simply language of choice, but a tool of daily living.
Imagine an Indian doctor being forced to learn Mandarin and Malay in order to do his job!
This is also the reason why large business activities have mixed staff: everyone speaks his own language when communicating with their own ethnic groups, and use mostly English between themselves and to customers of another ethnic group.

The communities seem to be very friendly to each other, though I can imagine the difficulties of eating together due to religious requirements, customs and habits. I wonder how dating and personal relationships work...or don't.
 
And this is it for the day. See you in Singapore!

P.S. KL is nice and everything, but 3 days are more than enough 
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