The world’s best Chinatowns that aren’t in China

Posted by - August 1, 2018

MOST METROPOLITAN destinations in the world host little cultural enclaves such as Little India, Koreatown, Vietnamese suburb, Japantown, and perhaps the most popular town of the kind, Chinatown.
Whether you’re in Cuba or San Francisco, the concept of a Chinatown is the same across the board: an ethnic enclave of Chinese people located outside of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan.
It’s often a unifying factor for the Chinese in the area, offering Chinese-themed shopping centers and markets, Cantonese restaurants and cafes, decorated in giddying lanterns and flashing lights, and is often the place to be to celebrate festivities such as Chinese New Year.
The heart of heritage: A glimpse of Bangkok’s Chinatown If you’re Chinese, no matter where you are, a Chinatown will make you feel right at home. And for travelers, a Chinatown is simply a taste of China.
Chinatowns are usually found in an urban setting, so don’t expect peace and quiet if you plan to take a stroll down the cramped streets. Do, however, enjoy being in between all the action in the old and the new, as tradition and modernity blend together to become one.
Here are some of the world’s best Chinatowns that aren’t in China:
Manila, The Philippines Located in the Binondo district of Manila, the Philippines’ Chinatown has influence that extends beyond Quiapo, Santa Cruz, San Nicolas.
Considered the world’s oldest Chinatown, it was established in 1594 by Spaniards as a settlement near Intramuros for the Catholic Chinese.
Source: Shutterstock.
Aside from its Filipino-Chinese businesses, Binondo is also famous for The Umbrella Alley where street food is aplenty and historical sites such as the Seng Guan Temple and the Kuang Kong Temple.
Niu Che Shui, Singapore Niu Che Shui, which means “ox”, “cart”, and “water”, Singapore’s Chinatown was once an enclave for the island city-state’s immigrant population.
Today, Niu Che Shui is a sharp but pleasing contrast to the high-rise buildings that surround the area and is heavily visited by both locals and tourists.
Source: Shutterstock.
From its historic ornate Chinese and Buddhist temples to the traditional medicinal halls to the bustling street market and food streets, as well as the hip new watering holes and lifestyle shops, there’s never a dull moment here.
Bangkok, Thailand The sights, sounds, and smells of Yaowarat area will be an assault on any visitor’s senses but in all the best ways.
Get ready for an adventure when you stroll down many of Thailand’s Chinatown in Bangkok and sample the treats from its street food vendors, while occasionally whipping out your camera to take shots for the ‘gram.
Source: Shutterstock.
Yaowarat’s fascinating mix of Chinese and Thai cultures sets it apart from other Chinatowns in the world and it’s not an experience that you should miss.
Kolkata, India Located in the eastern part of Kolkata, Tiretta Bazaar was established in the early 19th century and was once home to 20,000 ethnic Chinese Indian nationals.
Today, the area is still very much loved, dotted with Chinese restaurants that offer traditional Chinese cuisine and Indian-influenced Chinese food.
Source: Shutterstock.
During Chinese New Year, throngs of Chinese Indians flock to Tiretta Bazaar to celebrate and also to witness the lion dance performances that continue to be held every year.
Yokohama, Japan Located in Yokohama, just south of Tokyo, the Yokohama Chinatown has a history that spans about 150 years long and a population of about 3,000 to 4,000 Chinese people.
Established not long after Tokyo opened its port to foreign trade in 1859, it’s the largest Chinatown in Japan and also in Asia, and one of the largest in the world.
Source: Shutterstock.
Yokohama Chinatown is home to over 200 restaurants serving Japan-influence Chinese cuisine, an eight-story entertainment mall and theme park, Chinese grocery and medicine stores, and two elaborate Chinese temples.
Melbourne, Australia In Australia, the Chinese community is well-represented, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. In fact, Melbourne’s Chinatown is popularly known as the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world and the oldest Chinatown in the southern hemisphere.
It was established upon the arrival of Chinese immigrants during the Victorian gold rush of the early 1850s, a period of extreme prosperity for the Australian colony.
Source: Shutterstock.
Home to many Chinese restaurants, cultural venues, businesses, places of worship, architectural heritage and annual festivals, Melbourne’s Chinatown is a major tourist attraction.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia At the heart of Malaysia where the city never sleeps is a lively and colorful destination with sprawling flea markets, beautiful temples, and quirky art galleries. It has to be Chinatown.
The large covered market is known for its fashion shops selling both must-have items as well as designer rip-offs, handicraft and souvenir stalls, as well as stalls dishing up delectable Chinese food and refreshing beverages.
Source: Shutterstock.
Shopaholics will love haggling for and scoring dirt-cheap steals and deals whilst other travelers shouldn’t miss this mindboggling sightseeing activity.
The post The world’s best Chinatowns that aren’t in China appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

This Thailand-based platform will match travelers with locals

Posted by - June 26, 2018

MODERN DAY TRAVELERS seeking off the beaten path attractions and experiences at their destinations like a true local will appreciate TakeMeTour.
Created by robotics engineering graduate Taro Amornched, the online platform aims to match travelers with locals – but not in the sleazy Tinder kind of way.
Bali’s ‘Airbnb Experiences’ second most popular in Asia Specifically, it matches travelers with locals who can show them around.
So whether it’s a gastronomical tour of Bangkok’s Chinatown, a hiking trip along Japan’s nature trails, or a dance in a sunflower field your heart desires, TakeMeTour will connect you with the experts with all the know-how.
“On our website, a traveler can browse tours, itineraries, and experiences that are offered by locals. Currently, we have more than 20,000 local experts from 55 different cities. It’s like having a friend, some people you can trust, to show you around,” Amornched said in an interview with The Jay Kim Show.
Let’s get started Log in to the website and select a city you’d like to visit.
Source: TakeMeTour.
Then, choose from the list of one-day tours and experiences available. Once you find what you like, pick a date on the calendar or chat with said local for availability.
When all details are confirmed, book with them directly. Bookings will only be valid once the payments are made through Take Me Tour with a valid credit card.
It’s like making one new local friend with every booking.
“All the local experts speak Thai and English. We have been focusing on English-speaking travelers in the past two years, but starting this year, we will start focusing on a third language. That means you would see local experts who can speak Japanese, Chinese, and French as a starting point,” Amornched added.
About safety and security Is it okay to throw caution to the wind and simply follow a local around in a foreign country?
How safe is it, really?
A post shared by TakeMeTour (@takemetour_thailand) on Mar 23, 2018 at 10:30pm PDT
“We have very strict security measures. We check the ID, bank account, criminal record, and the like to make sure these local experts are actually legitimate. We also make sure we know how to find them,” Amornched explained.
Newly-listed tours will go through stages of approvals by both TakeMeTour as well as its network of bloggers to assure they’re meeting quality standards.
What if things go bad?
“If something bad happens, we can still make refunds. We also provide accident insurance for both travelers and local experts,” Amornched said.
Every listing also includes reviews from previous guests so travelers can gauge if the experience is something that they’d like.
Healing on a holiday: Cheap rehabs boost Thailand’s medical tourism Currently, the Asian countries that TakeMeTour covers are Thailand, Cambodia, and Japan. The platform is looking to expand to Myanmar next month.
Check it out here.
The post This Thailand-based platform will match travelers with locals appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Malaysia vs. Singapore: Food fight

Posted by - June 25, 2018

IS MALAYSIAN FOOD the same as Singaporean food? Which country does it better? Who really owns chicken rice?
It’s an age-old food fight between the neighboring countries that will never truly end.
Food tourism: Where are the top food destinations in Asia? Malaysia and Singapore often get compared because of their proximity to each other and similar demographics. Much more so than Thailand and Malaysia.
Although the assumption is the two countries are quite literally joined at the hip, the differences between their cost of living, the standard of living, palates, and cultures are what sets them apart.
This includes food, of course.
Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur is famous for many food stalls and outdoor dining. Source: Shutterstock.
Often, Malaysians and Singaporeans debate over the quality of their food and for years, the nations have been staking claim over some identical dishes and what they think is rightfully theirs.
Case in point: The well-loved Hainanese chicken rice. Said to be one of the world’s 50 most delicious foods (according to CNN GO), the dish has been caught in this tug of war for decades, with Singapore calling it their national dish.
“(They say) chicken rice is theirs (and) if we’re not careful, ‘char koay teow‘ will become theirs (one day too),” Business Insider quoted Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng as saying.
‘Char koay teow’ is a popular noodle dish in Penang, Malaysia. It’s usually stir-fried over very high heat with light and dark soy sauce, chili, a small quantity of ‘belacan’ (shrimp paste), whole prawns, deshelled blood cockles, bean sprouts, chopped Chinese chives, and egg. Source: Shutterstock.
Those who don’t know any better may think that Malaysian food and Singaporean food are one and the same. As they always say, “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.”
But here are some popular Malaysian and Singaporean dishes that are actually different.
Wantan mee Wantan mee (wonton noodles) is a Cantonese noodle dish which is popular in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.
The Malaysian version of wantan mee. Source: Shutterstock.
Malaysia: The noodles are either served in a hot broth, garnished with leafy vegetables, and wonton dumpling, or relatively dry, dressed with oyster sauce, and garnished with chopped spring onions, with wontons and soup in a separate bowl.
Singapore: The dish includes noodles, leafy vegetables, barbecued pork, and bite-sized wonton. However, the Singapore version uses less soya cause and is often served with chili ketchup.
Bak kut teh Bak kut teh (Hokkien words which mean “meat bone tea”) is a pork rib dish cooked in broth popularly served in Malaysia and Singapore, and also in neighboring areas like Riau Islands and Southern Thailand.
Bak kut teh is done differently in Singapore. Source: Shutterstock.
Malaysia: Usually cooked in a claypot, bak kut teh contains a variety of herbs, pork meat and ribs, and soy sauce creating a more fragrant, textured and darker soup.
Singapore: Ordinarily, bak kut teh restaurants serve the Teochew style of clear soup bak kut teh, which is light in color but uses more pepper and garlic in the soup.
Hokkien mee Hokkien mee is a dish in Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine that has its origins in the cuisine of China’s Fujian province.
There are distinctive differences between Singapore and Malaysia’s versions of hokkien mee. Source: Shutterstock.
Malaysia: Cooked over a raging charcoal fire, it’s a dish of thick yellow noodles braised in thick dark soy sauce with pork, squid, fish cake and cabbage as the main ingredients and cubes of lard.
Singapore: It’s a stir-fried dish of egg noodles and rice noodles in fragrant stock (made from stewing prawn heads, meat, clams, and dried fish). It also has a lighter color than the Malaysian version and is usually served with lime and sambal (hot sauce) for that extra zing.
Laksa Laksa is a spicy dish popular in the Peranakan cuisine, consists of noodles chicken, prawn or fish, served in soup. It’s found in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and southern Thailand.
Asam laksa is a sour, fish and tamarind-based soup with thick rice noodles. Source: Shutterstock.
Malaysia: There are various types of laksa across the country, even some state-specific recipes such as Asam laksa (Penang), Sarawak laksa (Sarawak), Laksa Kelantan (Kelantan), Laksa Johor (Johor), curry laksa, Nyonya laksa (Malacca), and laksam (Kelantan and Terengganu), just to name a few.
Singapore: The country’s variant of curry laksa is better known as its local “Katong” version. It’s a spicy soup stock the color of a flaming sunset, flavored with coconut milk and dried shrimp, and topped with ingredients like cockles, prawns, and fishcake.
Don’t make these cultural Pho-pas when eating in Asia The countries aren’t always at loggerheads though. As much as food is one of the reasons why Malaysians and Singaporeans can’t see eye-to-eye, food is also a big uniting factor.
For example, Singapore and Malaysia banded together with Indonesia in a furor over MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace’s crispy chicken rendang comment.
The post Malaysia vs. Singapore: Food fight appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Fancy a tipple? Take a cocktail tour of Kuala Lumpur

Posted by - April 20, 2018

COCKTAILS have transformed from brightly colored, umbrella-wearing mixtures, into signature must-haves for every chic bar.
Contemporary cocktails consist of fresh ingredients such as petals and herbs infused with classically aged whiskey bourbons, dry gins and any other spirit highly trained mixologists want to throw in there.
The result: a sip so delicious, you just must have another.
Feeling extra hungry at the airport? It’s not your fault Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s shining capital city, is home to some of Asia’s coolest cocktails bars.
If you only know where to look, this delightful metropolis is brimming with a variety of watering holes. Whether it’s the extravagantly fitted parlors serving only the most premium of spirits or the quaint little speakeasy joints tucked away in alleyways, each one entices you to adorn your best frock for a night out on the town.
Thirsty? Then we suggest you go get that thirst quenched at the joints below. It is Fri-yay after all.
Omakase + Appreciate A post shared by Thirsty Belly (@thirstybelly) on Feb 1, 2018 at 1:04am PST
Winner of the Most Creative Cocktail Bar award at The Bar Awards Kuala Lumpur, and Number 10 on Asia’s Best Bars list, Omakase + Appreciate is a place that could easily be missed, but shouldn’t be.
The door to the bar looks like one only janitors would enter. However, if you stroll through the rows of diners at Ming Annex to the door at the back, you’ll find yourself in Omakase + Appreciate.
The Omakase practice means, “I’ll leave it to you”, so the bartenders here are happy to whip you up a treat based on your tastes.
However, if you fancy trying something a little different, we suggest the Lava Hawthorn: Bacardi, lavender honey water, red date hawthorn syrup and sweet vermouth.
Are you licking your lips?
Address: 9, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, 50100 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Price: Average US$10 (MYR40) Dress code: Casual cocktail soiree Botak Liquor A post shared by botakliquor (@botakliquorbar) on Oct 20, 2017 at 2:25am PDT
Embodying the modern fresh-ingredients ethos, Botak Liquor prides itself on the concept of farm-to-glass.
Each of the botanical ingredients is collected straight from the farm and brought to the bar for patrons to sample.
One of the most impressive cocktails which also perfectly illustrates the focus on botanical ingredients in the Limau purtu and carrot cocktail.
Offering sippers sublime tastes by infusing pineapple pisco, kaffir lime, carrot juice and house-made Botak hot sauce.
Likened to a fruity and delicious tom yum, without the seafood.
If you want something a little more traditional, but with the same herbivore approach, try the sweet pea and elderflower cocktail – unaged whiskey, sweet peas, organic elderflower cordial and lemon.
Even if you’re not a drinker, head along with the beautiful décor of draping flora and handmade benches.
Address: 156 Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, 50000 Price: Average US$10 (MYR40) Dress code: Casual and airy PS150 A post shared by jasonteezy (@jasonteezy) on May 23, 2017 at 7:53pm PDT
If you’re a cocktail buff and want to further expand your knowledge, head to PS150, a cocktail tavern hidden in the middle of a Toy Shop – not very PG right?
The bar is lit by red Chinese lanterns, lending it a sort of shabby-chic feel. While it’s not exactly a speakeasy bar as the luminous sign outside tells you where to go, it certainly does give off secretive and exclusive vibes, perfect for date night.
Moving out of out of the dimly- lit and aptly-named Opium Den, guests can experience the Tiki space in an open-air courtyard which is great for bigger groups.
If you’re looking for a fruity number, opt for the Lychee No.3 made up of London dry gin, lychee, ginger flower and lime.
Address: 156 Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, 50000 Price: Average US$10 (MYR40) Dress code: Casual and airy Three X Co A post shared by Three X Co (@three_x_co_bsc) on Apr 19, 2018 at 12:29am PDT
Now, this bar is as about as speakeasy as it gets.
But don’t worry, we are going to speak of it, to make it easy to find.
Three X Co can be found in another part of Bangsar Shopping Centre on the third floor next to pop-up barbershop, Othrs.
You’ll need to pull the wall panel next to it covered in Muhammad Ali posters to gain access – but that’s all part of the fun.
The dimly lit bar will transport you back to an era of great glamour with deep green walls, Chesterfield style sofas, and beautifully cut class.
We recommend trying the Three X Co’s take on a traditional Old Fashioned. Watch as your bartender mixes Kraken spiced rum, Malaysian gula Melaka – a sweetener made from coconut palm sugar – and chocolate bitters.
Address: Level 3, Bangsar Shopping Center, Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, Kuala Lumpur, 59000
Price: Average US$15 (MYR60) Dress code: Smart and chic #BOOKINGS
Asia’s most refreshing long-term alternatives to Airbnb W.I.P A post shared by Whipped Into Place (@wipbangsar) on Mar 30, 2016 at 7:00pm PDT
Moving far away from speakeasy bars, but still in the same building as Three X Co, W.I.P (Whipped into shape), offers quest an uber-chilled atmosphere to sip a wide range of cocktails.
The restaurant and bar venue have just undergone an elegant facelift making the surroundings as Instagrammable as the divine cocktails.
Our favorite is the sugarcane sweetened strawberry mojito. The delicate berry is perfectly complemented with Cuban rum, fresh mint leaves and a squeeze of ripe lime.
But if you’re sweet enough and prefer something packing a punch, opt for the sophisticated apple martini. The blend of honeyed apple liquor and dry Vermouth makes for an irresistible drink.
The modern tentacle-like bar provides plenty of seating space and the outdoor areas make for the ideal place to dust off your dancing legs and groove to some funky beats.
Address: Lot G111, Ground Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre, 285, Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandar Raya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Price: Average US$7 (MYR30) Dress code: Cool casual The post Fancy a tipple? Take a cocktail tour of Kuala Lumpur appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Gluten-free in Kuala Lumpur? We’ve got you covered 

Posted by - April 10, 2018

IN the world of dietary requirements, intolerances and diet preferences, restaurants have almost become disillusioned with customers who “claim” to be allergic to an ingredient.
Often, if a diner names anything but shellfish, nuts or dairy, a server may give a blank stare or a “Let me just go and check with the chef”.
This can be a daunting prospect for those who are genuinely allergic to food groups outside of the widely recognized allergies.
Navigate through Asia on one of these cruises The prospect of being accidentally fed it in a foreign country, after failing to communicate in a language you don’t understand, can be enough to put some off from eating out at all while on their vacation.
But if you’ve got a gluten-free diet or even been diagnosed with celiac disease and you’re traveling to Kuala Lumpur, you needn’t worry about where to dine as there is a selection of fantastic restaurants offering divine gluten-free food, including a parlor that sells luscious ice cream and cake.
Here are five of Kuala Lumpur’s best gluten-free eateries.
Ashley’s By Living Food A post shared by Ashley's (@ashleysbylivingfood) on Mar 4, 2018 at 10:36pm PST
Found in the trendy area of Bangsar Baru, Ashley’s offers an extensive menu with plenty of gluten-free, dairy-free, raw, vegan and vegetarian dishes – all of which happen to be exceptional.
The restaurant can be accessed through one giant sliding glass door which floods the tables with sunlight.
Driftwood, glistening lights, shelves lined with colorful Buddhas and an open plan kitchen create a chilled atmosphere.
The super helpful servers will take you through the menu and answer any difficult questions you may have about cross-contamination, cooking methods and ingredients; nothing is too much trouble.
A post shared by Ashley's (@ashleysbylivingfood) on Sep 18, 2017 at 8:24pm PDT
Gluten-free dishes are marked on the menu and each server has an extensive knowledge of which dishes are suitable and which ones can be made gluten-free.
We highly recommend the bun-less lamb burger made with a grass-fed lamb patty, provolone cheese, crunchy almonds and a balsamic reduction.
Then finish it off with the Living Cream Pocket – a thin crepe skin with almonds, bananas, sweet nut cream and fresh fruit.
Open seven days a week: Monday to Thursday 11am-11pm, Friday 11am-12pm, Saturday 9am-12am, and Sunday 9am-11pm.
Address: No. 11, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, 59100.
Antipodean A post shared by Antipodean Bangsar (@antipodeanbangsar) on Oct 1, 2017 at 7:31pm PDT
Not one, not two, but four Antipodeans grace the Malaysian city with its extensive menu, fresh juices, chilled vibe and delicious coffee.
Antipodean doesn’t explicitly have gluten-free written on the menus which adorn the cafe walls, but just a simple “Can you tell me what’s gluten-free please?” will do the trick.
You may even have trouble remembering all the options.
There are plenty of exciting fresh salads on offer as well as traditional satay dishes and gluten-free bread to add to your smooth scrambled eggs and creamy avocado (our top pick).
If you’re grabbing brunch then try one of their fresh juices. If it’s evening, opt for the Bloody Mary (if alcohol is your poison).
A post shared by Antipodean Bangsar (@antipodeanbangsar) on Sep 23, 2017 at 1:44am PDT
With Antipodean cafes dotted around Klang Valley in Bangsar, Ampang Park, and Atria and Mid Valley shopping mall, you’re unlikely to go hungry no matter what part of the city you’re in.
The cafes are bustling but not crowded, and while you may have to wait a short while for a table, it’s so worth it.
Order a coffee that could rival London’s or Sydney’s best and read the extensive menu while you wait.
Find out more about Antipodean and the locations here.
Antipodean Atria – 8:30am-10pm daily. Antipodean Bangsar – Sunday to Thursday 8am – 10pm, Friday to Saturday 8am – 11pm. Antipodean Mid Valley – Sunday to Thursday 7:30am – 11pm, Friday to Saturday 7:30am – midnight. Antipodean Tan & Tan – Sunday to Wednesday 7:30am – 5 pm, Thursday to Friday 7:30am – 7pm. Fittie Sense A post shared by Fittie Sense (@my_fittiesense) on Jan 31, 2018 at 12:47am PST
That’s right, just like the noughties rap sensation, 50 Cent – only cooler, chicer and probably way more delicious.
You could easily miss this hidden gem in Bangsar at it sits above the shop fronts that line the cool district.
But if you look up you’ll see the glowing green lights of Fittie Sense which is accessible by a side stairwell.
The restaurant has wood floors, white walls and a fabulous cake table that teases you as you choose your food.
The super friendly staff are more than happy to make recommendations and direct you towards a colorful plate of tastiness.
A post shared by Fittie Sense (@my_fittiesense) on Oct 22, 2017 at 9:40pm PDT
Almost everything on this menu is gluten-free except for the spiced beef kofte in wholemeal pita bread.
The portions here are huge and delicious. If you’re carnivorous, opt for the Cajun pan-seared chicken chop served on a bed of fresh green leaves, quinoa, and crushed avocado.
Feeling ravenous? Order a side of the moreish sweet potato fries too.
Try a naturally carbonated, low sugar soda or opt for the chai latte to warm your soul.
With breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and divine desserts, you can expect flavor to be packed into every mouthful here.
Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 11am – 10pm; Saturday to Sunday 8:30am – 10pm.
Address: No. 23A, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Goodness Greens A post shared by Goodness Greens Cafe (@goodnessgreenscafe) on Feb 13, 2018 at 4:35pm PST
For a long time, Goodness Greens in TTDI was known as a great place for celiac sufferers.
However, they have recently changed the menu and taken the little GF logo off.
But this doesn’t mean they don’t cater to gluten-free dietary requirements. You just have to ask.
It’s all about the customized salads and yummy juices at Goodness Greens.
A post shared by Goodness Greens Cafe (@goodnessgreenscafe) on Nov 9, 2017 at 10:01pm PST
Have a “Vital Shot” of juice to give you energy or boost your immune system or choose from a rainbow selection of little bottles packed full of nutrients.
Enjoy Thai-inspired salads, a traditional Caesar, mixed seafood, towering tofu and so many other combinations of deliciousness in a bowl.
Open daily from 8am – 10pm.
Address: No. 32, Jalan Datuk Sulaiman, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur.
Kind Kones A post shared by Chemical-Free Vegan Ice Cream (@kindkones) on Mar 9, 2018 at 3:49am PST
If you want to skip breakfast, lunch, and dinner and head straight for dessert at Kind Kones, we don’t blame you.
Kind Kones is a completely vegan and mostly gluten-free ice cream and cake parlor.
The unsuspecting vendor offers incredibly mixed ice cream and sorbet flavors that are chemical-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and unprocessed.
All the ice cream is hand-churned and boy oh boy can you feel the love that’s gone into it.
Almost all the scrumptious cakes are gluten-free, and we’re not talking about a semi-stale brownie.
A post shared by Chemical-Free Vegan Ice Cream (@kindkones) on Mar 19, 2018 at 9:43pm PDT
We mean melt-in-your-mouth pecan pie and crunchy peanut butter cake, to name a few.
At Kind Kones you can taste the pleasure without tasting the guilt of these usually chemical- and sugar-packed treats.
Open daily from 10am-10pm.
Discover all the Kind Kones outlets in Kuala Lumpur here.
The post Gluten-free in Kuala Lumpur? We’ve got you covered appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Taste your way around Kuala Lumpur

Posted by - April 3, 2018

“Makan” is possibly the only word you’ll need to get by in Malaysia. It means to eat and eating certainly forms a huge part of Malaysian culture.
From the traditional nasi lemak, moreish roti canai, long-pulled tea, coconut shakes and Milo dinosaurs to soul-warming banana leaf and durian – if you dare – there are so many flavors to discover here.
Malaysia’s love for food drives a fantastically vibrant dining scene. From 24-hour mamaks serving traditional Indian-Muslim dishes, to the abundant satay stalls where hungry late night diners can enjoy anything from whole fried squid to the freshest steamed pak choi, all served on a stick. Simple, yet so delicious.
Perhaps one of the best places to find all the cuisines Kuala Lumpur has to offer in one fun, lively and inspiring place is in the renowned Golden Triangle part of the city.
Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle is made up of sparkling entertainment complexes, shopping malls, cinemas, luxury hotels, fine-dining venues, but probably most exciting of are the restaurants that serve a variety of mouth-watering local fare.

The four bustling areas found inside this dynamic neighbourhood are Bukit Bintang, Imbi, Sultan Ismail and Raja Chulan. Between each of these are strands of streets filled with the most delicious dishes.
If you’re a foodie on tour and want to discover Kuala Lumpur through its cuisines from the spicy delightfulness of the nasi lemak to century eggs and chicken feet, then the perfect place to stay is at the Golden Triangle’s most conveniently located PARKROYAL Serviced Suites.
PARKROYAL Serviced Suites is adjacent to Bukit Bintang, which comes alive at night and just round the corner from the equally vibrant Jalan Alor strip where you can stroll up and down tasting devilishly divine dishes.
PARKROYAL Serviced Suites is perfect for family vacations, business travelers and backpackers who want to experience luxury without the hefty price tag.
The apartment-style hotel in Kuala Lumpur provides guests with a tranquil sanctuary, mere moments from some of Malaysia’s most notable attractions.
PARKROYAL Serviced Suites offers the choice of Studio Suites, One-bedroom Premier Suites, Two-bedroom Suites and Executive Suites.

All are fitted with sizeable kitchenettes and a beautiful space to relax after exploring the city.
The Mezzanine Lounge is also perfect for unwinding in the evening or you can head up to the rooftop to dangle your feet in the cool pool and admire views of Kuala Lumpur’s stunning skyline, including the Petronas Twin Towers.
Once you’ve spruced up your energy levels in the serene atmosphere in PARKROYAL Serviced Suites, you can look forward to an evening of feasting in the local area.
Just a short stroll from PARKROYAL Serviced Suites is the bustling Jalan Alor, one of the most famous roads in Kuala Lumpur.
Here, you can find hawker stalls and seafood restaurants which are all fresh and inexpensive.
Choose from Korean barbequed meats, Chinese crispy omelettes, fiery noodles, crispy or steamed satay delights, oodles of hearty broths with fresh toppings, sweet traditional treats and so much more.

If your stomach is rumbling and you want to head to somewhere you know is going to be fantastic without perusing all that Jalan Alor has to offer, then head straight to either Yap Hup Kee or Betel Leaf.
Yap Hup Kee serves smile-inducing Chinese dishes, from saucy chicken noodle curry to traditional fried yong tau foo – a Hakka Chinese cuisine consisting primarily of crispy tofu stuffed with fish paste.
If you want to get stuck in with your hands, head to Betel Leaf for authentic and scrumptious Chettinad cuisines.
Betel Leaf serves both South and North Indian dishes including curries, seafood dishes, veg-packed sides and ample sweet treats.
If all the divine food has warmed up your dancing legs, then head to Changkat Bukit Bintang, just a three-minute stroll from PARKROYAL Serviced Suites.
The area has been likened to London’s Piccadilly Circus and host plenty of enticing bars and clubs.
Here you can find live music, DJs, parties, cocktails, towers of beer, a friendly atmosphere and welcoming locals.
One of the most popular places along the strip is Havana’s, which hosts a salsa party night every Friday and a comedy night on the first Thursday of each month.

If you want to rock out to some live music, then head to Yoko’s on a Friday evening and catch some local indie band performance classics and originals.
By day time, the raucous party scene of the night before disappears from the strip and quietness overcomes the street.
This is the perfect time to wander around and see the stunning pre-war colonial style buildings in the day light.
To round off your stay in Kuala Lumpur, you must try the famous and oh-so-delicious nasi lemak. And staying at PARKROYAL Serviced Suites means you’re super close to some of the best nasi lemak in the whole city.
Head to Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa in Kampung Baru for lunch. The combination of fried chicken, sticky coconut rice, crispy fried anchovies, protein-packed peanuts and fresh cucumber will work wonders for that naughty hangover Changkat Bukit Bintang gave you the night before.
From here, you can see unblocked views of the glistening Petronas Twin Towers and then stroll back to PARKROYAL Serviced Suites for an afternoon lounging around the rooftop pool while you decide what adventures to have next.
PARKROYAL Serviced Suites truly couldn’t be in a better location to explore this historic, beautiful, bustling city.
With incredibly comfortable beds, welcoming staff, first-class facilities and a winning location, PARKROYAL Serviced Suites really does have everything to make your stay in Kuala Lumpur memorable for all the right reasons.
To find out more about PARKROYAL Serviced Suites please visit the site here.
The post Taste your way around Kuala Lumpur appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

What do Malaysians and Irish have in common?

Posted by - March 7, 2018

NO, this is not the start of a bad joke. It is, in fact, the start of realizing uncommon comparisons between two nations which are thousands of miles apart.
Why?Because it’s very nearly St Patrick Day, and both countries and plenty of other nations are gearing up to celebrate.
Win John Legend tickets for the perfect date night at Resorts World Genting Around the globe, it’s estimated that St Patrick’s day is celebrated in over 50 countries and Malaysia is no exception.
Whether you’re of Irish descent, enjoy drinking creamy Guinness or just love an excuse to party on down to St Patrick’s town, there’s no reason to stop you joining in the celebrations on March 17 this year.
Surprisingly enough, Malaysia has many similarities to the emerald Ireland. But what are they?
A post shared by Mindy Chai (@minnnnch) on Mar 2, 2018 at 7:16am PST
Myths, fables, and tales of mysterious creatures A post shared by That Goldendoodle Murphy (@thatgoldendoodle) on Mar 1, 2018 at 6:11pm PST
Asia is notorious for its belief in superstitions, black magic and mythical creatures that only come out under very specific circumstances.
While Ireland doesn’t take it quite this far, stories of the Irish orange-haired leprechaun are known across the world. Supposedly, the little fellow sits guarding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, bringing cheeky mischief to those he encounters.
Malaysia has its very own versions of mythical creatures, but one, in particular, isn’t as happy-go-lucky as the little Irish creature.
The legend of the pontianak strikes fear into children across Malaysia as their parents warn them not to go outside after dark as the “female vampire in the trees” will get them.
However, it’s more than likely an old wives’ tale to stop curious kids from getting lost in the night.
Cross-border banter A post shared by (@u2start) on Mar 5, 2018 at 11:44pm PST
Ireland and England certainly have rivalries when it comes to sports and music. Ireland brought the world U2, but England created the Yorkshire pudding and David Beckham.
Similarly, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia have a friendly rivalry when it comes to food. But for anyone who has visited all three countries, you’ll know first hand that each delivers exceptional taste fusions. Everyone’s a winner.
Friendliest folk A post shared by Holly Lin (@hollylzd) on Jan 30, 2018 at 7:21pm PST
Malaysia and Ireland play home to some of the most caring, inclusive, humble, generous and funny people on the planet.
Travelers to both nations are made to feel incredibly welcome. Often, locals will introduce tourists to local cultures, customs, and traditions, revealing an authentic and immersive experience, opposed to just another vacation.
Both nations pride themselves in having a laid-back attitude too. Sometimes, working on Malaysian time can be frustrating if you’re in a rush, but once you get used to the fact that nobody else is in a hurry, you can relax and take everything as it comes.
What do Malaysians and Irish have in common? Love for Guinness A post shared by Jean (@jeanyfc) on May 12, 2017 at 3:24am PDT
Does it need much more of an explanation? In almost every bar in big cities across Malaysia, Guinness or a similar silky stout will either be on draught or in a chilled bottle.
Simply ask for a pint of the “black stuff” and bar attendants in both nations will pull you a pint, albeit with a little wait, as the creamy beer-head settles.
Then simply sip, lick your top lip and enjoy.
What will you be doing to celebrate St Patrick’s day?
The post What do Malaysians and Irish have in common? appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Halal and Instagrammable: Kuala Lumpur’s best brunch spots

Posted by - February 7, 2018

MALAYSIA is all about “makan” – eating. It forms the basis of family life, social lives and intertwines the many cultures, religions, and traditions that can be found in this tropical country.
With so many varieties of flavors, cuisines, restaurants and tiny speakeasy cafes in Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur, someone unfamiliar with the bustling city may feel a little daunted at the prospect of choosing the perfect place for them.
But why chose one when you can dart around the city, trying all of them? Here, for your personal excitement, are five of Kuala Lumpur’s most scrumptious restaurants and cafes that serve up halal dishes so good, you may be induced into a temporary food coma – or at the very least roll your eyes in utter delight.

Merchant’s Lane This diddy colonial-style cafe is filled with natural sunlight and rainforest plants, with an ambiance of cool-rustic chic. Tucked away in a heritage shop-house in the heart of Petaling Street, the setting is ideal for snapping elegant, yet groovy pictures to fill up your Insta-feed.
The cafe serves up Asian-inspired comfort food, perfect for Saturday morning grazing and chilling.
A post shared by |Merchant’s Lane 美真林| (@merchantslane) on Aug 23, 2017 at 8:19pm PDT
The cafe is also renowned for its distinctive hot beverage mixology. Try the rose honey milk and jasmine-infused black coffee. It’ll be a treat for your palate and for the guise of your followers.
VCR Nestled between Chinatown and Bukit Bintang, VCR, despite its name is not at all stuck in the 1990s, but instead has a chic contemporary feel to it.
A post shared by Taste Of Vancouver (@vanappetit) on Feb 2, 2018 at 1:18am PST
Head Chef Ivan was trained in France and is inspired by international-infused flavors. On the menu, you can find carefully crafted 63-degree eggs with wilted kale, and drizzled with hollandaise on focaccia bread.
For those feeling a little more brunch-adventurous, try the protein-packed Soft Crab Burger. A whole crab is served on a sesame seed brioche bun, accompanied by a sunny-side-up egg, onion jam, and pickled cucumber.
A post shared by @xiufen03 on Feb 4, 2018 at 11:38pm PST
You can find this trendy sumptuous retreat on Jalan Galloway. It’s a large grey building and pretty hard to miss.
Project B If you’re angling more towards the lunch side of brunch and craving some good old comfort food, then head down to Sentul Raya Boulevard for some crispy fried chicken, Pad Thai, eggy muffins and more.
A post shared by Project B (@projectbkl) on Jun 27, 2016 at 5:25pm PDT
Project B is more than just a platform to fill your tummy.
The shop has been set up in conjunction with the Dignity for Children Foundation, which works at empowering underprivileged children to break the cycle of poverty by providing them with education.
A post shared by Taste Of Vancouver (@vanappetit) on Feb 2, 2018 at 1:18am PST
The restaurant is very well priced, delicious and has a distinctly cool atmosphere.
Rimba and Rusa This bright cafe is cheery from the moment you step inside. This cafe has long been a favorite among coffee lovers, cupcake purveyors, and photographers in search of a 100-plus-like shot.
A post shared by Candy | CANDOUR创始人 EROYAL创办 (@candyballviion) on May 24, 2015 at 3:17am PDT
The all-day dining options include Western-inspired fusions, as well as Malaysian delights such as nasi lemak, spaghetti carbonara, Thai-spice salmon and so much more.
The cafe is open from 8am until 11pm, Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday to Sunday, It is closed on Mondays and only opens 4pm until 11pm on Fridays.
Dotty’s Whether you’ve got a sweet tooth or a hunger for savory delights, Dotty’s TTDI will satisfy your every craving.
A post shared by Dotty’s (@mydottys) on Sep 23, 2017 at 7:45pm PDT
Serving up bakery delights such as the salted egg yolk cronut (yep, a croissant and doughnut in one), and divine eclairs, you’ll be in pastry heaven.
Their silky coffees have Dotty written all over them – literally.
The combination of one-of-a-kind pastries and hunger-calming savory dishes means nobody has to miss out on their brunch craving.
A post shared by Dotty’s (@mydottys) on Nov 28, 2017 at 8:44pm PST
Get down to Dotty’s early to try the first batch of egg yolk cronuts before they’re all gone.
The post Halal and Instagrammable: Kuala Lumpur’s best brunch spots appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

From gold filters to brilliant baristas, the storm brewing in Malaysia’s coffee cups

Posted by - January 30, 2018

MALAYSIA probably won’t be the first to spring to mind when thinking of nations with a vibrant coffee culture. But all that has changed, as more specialist coffee shops enter the scene to cater to new and discerning tastes, and a growing community of coffee connoisseurs.
The culture of drinking coffee itself has evolved tremendously in just a few years; Malaysians used to frequent the local kopitiams for a simple cup of teh or kopi tarik (pulled tea or coffee) and complain heavily when, no thanks to rising inflation, prices of their favorite butter-roasted kopi ‘o’ is hiked by a few sen or ringgit.
But today, spurred on by a growing middle class and millennials returning from their studies abroad and looking to replicate their experiences back home, more local urbanites have become willing to spend on lifestyle. This ultimately means forking out a pretty penny for a cup of that awesome new specialty blend served at that cool new cafe in town that’s been appearing on everyone’s Instagram feed.
As Kok Jit Weng, 24, Barista and coffee academic from Pulp coffee shop in Kuala Lumpur explains:
“If you studied in London for example, you have coffee shops like Taylor Street Baristas and Monmouth Coffee. So, when you come back here [Malaysia], you’d be a bit more determined to look for something similar.”
A post shared by pusu studio (@synwei_) on Jan 22, 2018 at 6:52pm PST
Rocket fuel, wakey juice, liquid energy, or brew, whatever way you may refer to it as, coffee features as a staple element in many cultures all over the world, and although Malaysia may be late to the booming coffee scene, they are certainly making up for it in diversity and uniqueness.
“Here at X Coffee, we carefully select out beans and understand our customer’s needs,” Fizhal Athirah, assistant manager at X Coffee in Q Sentral, Kuala Lumpur told Travel wire Asia.
Medan’s coffee culture is booming, and it’s the growers that benefit Because of Malaysia’s delayed arrival to the coffee party, roasters, shop owners and baristas can take the best parts of each the most thriving coffee cultures from around the world and create incredible flavors and experiences guaranteed to entice both locals and foreign tourists alike.
For example, at X Coffee the beans are sourced from Peru, Dominican Republic, and Bolivia, to name a few, then the hand-brewing process takes place in a gold-plated filter “to bring out different character”, Fizhal added.
“Customers want to learn and associate this method with the coffee they’re tasting.”
A post shared by { X } C O F F E E (@xcoffee.kl) on Oct 21, 2017 at 8:40pm PDT
When did Malaysia put its mark on the coffee culture sphere? Malaysia waltzed onto the coffee culture map around four years ago when they entered barista and latte art competitions. Last year saw them clinch seventh in the world Barista championships, and they took the brewing world by storm.
“I certainly hope that we’ve made our mark, that has been my wish,” Daniel Liew, Academic Director at Barista Guild Asia, told Travel Wire Asia when we spoke to him at the Café Malaysia Event.
A post shared by Barista Guild Asia (@baristaguildasia) on Jan 24, 2018 at 7:36pm PST
“We made this possible by outing us on the world stage, it wasn’t easy, but I think this year we’ve made an impact and now countries are like ‘wow, when did Malaysia come in, how come they’re number seven, and what is it that they’ve been doing?’”
Originating as a home brewing experience and combing condensed milk, butter and sugar to make a sweeter cuppa, Malaysia has come a long way to enjoy espresso-based products that are now available all over the country, especially Kuala Lumpur.
This first wave of coffee was outshone by capitalist franchises, such as Starbucks which have created a “fan base for the coffee culture and today we have grown in terms of leaps and bounds of how we like our coffee,” added Liew.
Indonesia is creating new Bali-like destinations to entice travelers Malaysia’s growing coffee culture has spawned a mushrooming effect of specialty brew cafes to open up across the nation. This has been a crucial part of heading into the third wave of coffee culture and breaking through the other side.
According to Liew, the third wave was all about the aesthetics of coffee culture, “[the third wave] used to be tattoo-artists and piercings, beards and man-buns, but we’ve gone beyond that.”
“The fourth wave in Malaysia is educating the public, being able to explain the coffee, not just being a coffee geek, but helping the consumers learn about how to make that transition to understand the tastes and flavors and quality of the coffee.”
A post shared by dave (@davedource) on Dec 3, 2017 at 10:16pm PST
And Malaysians are certainly looking for that new level of coffee experience.
“People are looking for the good single origin [bean], and taking the time to learn about the technicalities of making that great coffee,” Karen Choo of Cottle Coffee in Damansara, told Travel wire Asia.
The small Southeast Asian nation of 30 million people may still be a few years behind Australia, Indonesia, and Singapore in terms of a thriving coffee culture, but because the market is far less saturated, roasters, brewers, and sippers are able to embrace the wholesome experience this delicious caffeinated beverage brings to our lives.
“…each coffee has a story right? You can have an amazing coffee and it tastes great but what makes it fantastic is the service and environment,” Jit explains.
“People are investing a lot of money into their cafes to make the environment welcoming for their customers.”
A post shared by Stephen Wong (@stepheus) on Dec 19, 2015 at 11:17pm PST
X Coffee, for example, has a minimal aesthetic, clear and decisive, simply focusing on the coffee, whereas Pulp has a Scandinavian vibe going on. Both, however, are enticing in a coffee climate, that has for years, only known Starbucks.
Where next for Malaysia’s coffee culture? “The community here is very strong,” Liew explained, “if you look around you [at Café Malaysia], you get the feeling that everyone seems to know each other very closely. We want to help each other grow.”
Unlike other thriving coffee cultures, Malaysia has less competition among its barista-peers. Instead of out-doing each other, cafes, roasters and baristas share their new-fangled tips and tricks for incredible coffee making.
A post shared by ListCup (@listcup) on Aug 20, 2016 at 4:50am PDT
Whichever quirky, independent coffee shop you visit in Malaysia, you can be sure they each have their own unique style and technique for brewing the perfect cuppa.
Each barista will do their utmost to educate you on the source of the bean, method of brewing and how to get the most from every sip, something you probably won’t be getting at the nearest Starbucks.
The post From gold filters to brilliant baristas, the storm brewing in Malaysia’s coffee cups appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

This new booking platform allows you to create your Malaysian adventure

Posted by - December 12, 2017

BOOKING a trip can be exciting yet daunting. Wanting to experience the cultures, learn about history from people who lived it and explore the unique traditions that make a destination special, are all things many travelers want to experience. But there is a fine balance between booking too many activities and not booking enough, which can leave you vulnerable to missing out altogether.
But fret not, as Malaysian travel start-up Adventoro has unveiled a new adventure-based travel platform which allows travelers anywhere in the world to discover and book adventure-based tours and activities in Malaysia at the click of a button – on the day or way in advance.
The platform works for travelers and Malaysian residents alike. “As a Malaysian I was pleasantly surprised to discover all these places. I got to learn more about my own country,” Michelle Lee, a recent customer said on the website.
Climb, surf and dive in Asia’s capital of adventure tourism The platform currently offers more than 400 tours and activities in regions across Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi Island, Sabah and Sarawak, with plans to expand locations and activities early in 2018.
A mobile-friendly web platform, Adventoro features six categories of tours and activities: island, river and watersports; wildlife and jungle; culinary and gastronomy; caving and hiking; cultural and traditional; and sightseeing and attractions.
“Langkawi, a cornucopia of gustatory delights with free-flowing cocktails; fringed by primitive rainforests given life by silvery streams that are teeming with wildlife…”
Read more about Langkawi at
— Adventoro (@Adventoro_MY) November 24, 2017
“We are very excited about the official launch of Adventoro. We want to make it easy for users to find and purchase desired tours and activities online using just a single platform,” Ken Lau, founder and CEO of Adventoro said in a statement.
“Aside from Malaysia, people from America, Australia, Brazil, France, United Kingdom or from anywhere can hop on at any time to look for a new adventure they would like to experience.”
A post shared by Malaysia Truly Asia ( on Sep 10, 2017 at 9:44am PDT
The platform makes sure solo travelers are included in trips and are not penalized for not being in a group. Similarly, groups are also accommodated for and even entire companies can book trips for their employees.
“We curate our listings and handpick tours and activities that fit into our niche of adventure. We are working to get our listings to be more than 500 in total for Malaysia by end of this year,” said Lau.
Malaysia is recognized as one of the top destinations for expats Adventoro puts an immense about of passion into creating adventures for travelers, such as caving, white water rafting, waterfall abseiling and jungle runs to name a few. But an enormous amount of emphasis is also put on the rich cultural aspects of the country through rainforest tours and creative workshops. You can also mingle with cheeky orangutans at a rehabilitation center and observe the way native tribal people live surrounded by rivers and forest.
A post shared by Yehchee Chalmers (@yehcheechalmers) on Nov 23, 2014 at 2:34am PST
“We aspire to grow Adventoro to become a leading go-to platform for adventure-based tours and activities in the diverse beautiful region of Southeast Asia. We start off with Malaysia and soon we want to bring on tours and activities around the region,” added Lau.
The post This new booking platform allows you to create your Malaysian adventure appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.