We had both been to Kuala Lumpur before, so our time here was mainly to try an organise our travelling lives. Oh, and of course, squeeze in a cooking lesson. We arrived at the hotel not long after midnight, with the counter staff looking a little weary. We soon discovered they had been up since 3am the previous morning as the local KL gangsters dropped off a couple of hand grenades due to a company nearby not paying their rent. We didn’t sleep well that night. Not because of the fear of grenades, but an inconsiderate dorm comrade decided it best to keep the light on all night to read a book. Lucky we had to get up at 6am to get across to town to an appointment.
Nevertheless we woke jumped on the monorail. After an appointment for the Australian Consulate, we headed back across town for the task of obtaining our Visa for Myanmar. We had read that it would be difficult and you should allow a couple of days, but we had given ourselves one. Thankfully, we were told the day previous that you no longer need to go to the embassy and instead needed to go to a travel agent. So, at 9am we were sitting in the waiting area of Ever Fine Tours & Travel (inside Happy Holiday Hotel) waiting for our turn to submit passports. You are to take a number, but it almost seems irrelevant as the majority of people there were locals working for an agency, and who clearly go there a lot and know one another. Therefore, if someone arrives and his friend has a closer ticket number – he will give them his 10 passports to add to the already massive pile. This can happen three or four times until the number is called and they submit them all at once. But the staff don’t care – they just do everything in separate files anyway while the rest of us sit patiently. Eventually when it was our go, other people from agencies would interrupt us so the staff would stop what they are doing and hand over the processed passports to the agencies, therefore, excruciatingly dragging out the process even more. But in the end she said our passports will be back in the afternoon.
We filled in the time by finally finding a replacement for our broken underwater camera and then eating at Jalan Alor where you can find many street food stalls. We returned back at Ever Fine around 4pm, when the passports were due in. They arrived half an hour later and the ticket numbers began to be called out. Again, this was irrelevant as the agency guys would push in and then call their friends over to collect theirs as well. After an hour we had hour passport with the correct visa, which was nice, as we had to buy the flights in and out in advance.
We headed on back to the hostel in search of a restaurant we had eaten at five years earlier. It was a dim sum restaurant and after all the successes of today, we discovered it had closed. We then spent a hour in search of Dim Sum, but to no avail. Eventually, we discovered one restaurant at the JW Marriott. We were in shorts and very sweaty as we walked past the Louis Vuitton, Versace and Chanel stores, until we found it amongst the other themed restaurants. It reminded us a lot of a Vegas hotel, but we found dim sum and ordered a glass of wine. It tasted of real red wine. So we got a bottle. Next thing you know, we are in another bar with another bottle watching a live band. I guess this things just happen.
We woke the next morning a little weary before getting picked up for our cooking lesson at La Zat. We joined six others and made our way to a local market. We were explained different ingredients and shown some other interesting things including black chickens. Apparently everything is black – skin, bones, eyes, organs – everything. Except their feathers, they are white, obviously.
We eventually arrived at the open aired kitchen on the outskirts of town, where we started our lesson. Of all the cooking lessons we have been to, this was one of the best. The instructors were great, the location brilliant and most importantly, the food was amazing. There is a different menu daily and we luckily arrived on a day where we got to learn one of our favourite meals – Beef Rendang. We started by creating the Rendang base, and while that was simmering, we made the golden prawn fritters. A dish, they said, was their breakfast as a child but we can see them as a starter, with a beer, at a BBQ, as an adult. Dipped in the special chilli sauce, they are delicious. We managed to get that recipe too, just by answering a question (thanks to google). As we wiped away the crumbs, we began the dessert of steamed sticky coconut balls in a rice flour dough. I was terrible at these, but thankfully ran out of dough, leaving a few left overs of the sugary coconut insides. After trying the finished product, we both agree that the extra effort in making the flour dough should be used in making more inside coconut goodness to eat on their own.
As the dessert steamed and the Rendang rested, we turned our attention to making a cooked Cucumber Salad. It was so simple, but very tasty. And, when added alongside the Rendang, as they do on special occasions, it made the meal even more incredible.
If you are in KL and like to cook – give this company ago. It was even rated as the best cooking class in the world.
Our final thing to do was to head to an airport hotel as we had the luxury of a 4am start to catch our flight to Yangon.