The Local Area – Bangsar


Beautiful Bangsar

We moved into our apartment at the weekend, more on that here, and have now lived in Bangsa Baru for 2 weeks. I am starting to understand how to get around, although the Grab (Malaysia’s Uber) guy did laugh at me yesterday for not taking the bridge to the super market and instead getting a much longer taxi journey with him – learning is a long process!

So Bangsar… Described as ‘an affluent residential estate the boasts of its own culture, especially that of food. The area is know for the wide array of cuisines offered by its plethora of eateries and restaurants that people from all over Kuala Lumpur (and Malaysia in fact) travel to just to get a taste of. With such a strong focus on food, Bangsar is not one to miss out on the booming hipster cafe trend.’ I can attest to all of the above – wow the food.

I visited here a few years ago and was wowed by just how friendly and cosmopolitan the area was, naively I hadn’t imagined they’d be so much choice of food and places to get excellent coffee and this has only grown since my trip 3 years ago. Newly opened Five-HT is fast becoming one of my favourite places to drink coffee and ‘work’ (code for free internet whilst ours is connected) with breakfast deals of amazing coffee with croissant for 10 ringgit (about £2) how could it not be!

Another trip (yes the one in the cab where I could of walked) to the shopping centre started with this…

SC Brownie
Salted caramel brownie at Plan B

I ordered a salted caramel brownie and ended up with what can only described as a full on pudding. In the UK a brownie would be just that a brownie but not here, sugar is in everything. Coffee comes with sugar unless you ask for it without, natural fruit juices come with added sugar, bread is sweet (I am on a mission to find savoury bread, still), everywhere you walk there are sweet smells and restaurants dedicated to puddings, its amazing. Anyway I digress. mmm sugar!

The above was from my favourite place to date Plan B, part of a group of restaurant, bars and supermarkets ran by the amazing BIG Group. Literally everything they do is amazing, both in Plan B and all their many ventures. I am a little obsessed with the business in general they have the best ideas, best menus and its all done with a quirkiness that isn’t too try hard. Oh and they did hot cross buns at their grocery store for Easter – winner! I wonder if they are hiring?

HC Buns
Ben’s Independent Grocery Store hot cross buns

Where to eat

You can eat any cuisine you want in Bangsar, there is so much to choose from, you can plan your week around where you want to eat instead of the activities you want to do. Banana leaf curry is exceptional, Sri Nirvana Maju in Bangsar is apparently the best in KL and I can see why, delicious and so cheap, no wonder there is always a massive queue. Saravanaa Bhavan, the vegetarian curry place (lots of places here are, which I love) is fantastic we had a set menu for 15 ringgit, £3, if you haven’t got it yet, you just divide by 5, which can be difficult for my dyslexic brain especially under pressure! The food was excellent and included a sweet rice pudding at the end, of course there would be something sweet, its Malaysia.

Set meal for 1 at Saravanaa Bhavan

The mix of cultures and people in Bangsar (and of course KL more generally) is what makes it totally fascinating and liberating for me. They way people of all faiths and backgrounds live alongside each other with ease is refreshing. Nobody cares what you look like, whether you are rich or poor, which faith you follow or don’t, there just feels more of an acceptance here. People wish you well and send you away with wishes of happiness and success and it feels genuine. I feel lucky to be a part of this but also like I am the minority, which is a new and interesting perspective to experience. I feel very welcome and intrigued to understand more.

Lessons Learnt

  1. Understanding how to get around here is a journey (no pun intended)
  2. Bangsar is a beautiful mix of culture, food and greeness
  3. You can just about get away with buying 2 coffees in a coffee shop for 3 hours free ‘work’
  4. Order a brownie with your coffee at your peril, it may be a full on pudding – who knows!
  5. I have an uncomfortable amount of obsession over The BIG group and their restaurants, bars and shops!

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