Tag Archives: chow kit

My Life in KL, First Glance


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Everyday I am still amazed by things I see in Kuala Lumpur, from its super efficient public transportation system to its state-of-art office buildings. Even, by smallest things I experience.

I am amazed that Malaysia — country who used to be inferior to mine — has grown this big.

I have travelled to KL (and Penang, Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu) many times before moving here, although I am not familiar with KL as well as my familiarity with LCCT where I transited a lot. Yet, travelling is different with living. Little things do not fail to amaze me.

For the second time in my life, I enjoy using public transportation in the city where I live (the first one being Melbourne, a city where I studied). Although during travelling I use (happily) this cheapest way of transportation. The LRT in KL is so efficient and speedy with 3-5 minutes interval during normal hours. Feeder buses are easily available. I am so lucky because my condo is just opposite an LRT station.

The condition of the stations are maybe comparable to those in Tokyo. Clean and in order. Whereas in Melbourne sometimes it stinks of pee mostly because of the drunks and those in Paris are damp (mainly because they are underground) and mostly don’t have lifts.

Traffic is light. Only in rush hours there are some points like Jalan Ampang, Jalan Jelatek, and around Chinatown, Chow Kit area and few others, are jammed.  Often, the taxi drivers complained, “Oh it’s jam teruk!” (bad traffic/macet parah). I sighed and whispered to Puput, “Try one day driving in Jakarta, by the end of the day he’ll go straight to a shrink!”

It is why — maybe — despite the good public transport and overwhelmingly expensive parking in KLCC area, there are many people willing to drive their own cars to the office.

I am amazed that machines are literally everywhere, from ticket machine, vending machine selling snacks and drinks, even umbrellas! The only thing I have not seen is condom dispensers *wink*

I am still amazed that I have my best burgers here — Fuel Shack. Of course, I have not been to Gordon Ramsay’s BURGR, but Fuel Shack by far has the best burgers out of chain stores.  I little bit more expensive than the likes, but it is so worth it. I am gonna stop now because I am drooling….

We also have experiencing a wonderful service with the immigration where we submitted visa application for our maid. A 5 minutes waiting, in a lounge comparable to those in premier airports. Met by a friendly immigration staff (though the immigration staff at the airports are such as mood killers).

Banking is easy, charges are cheap. Internet is fast.

But KL — and Malaysia — is certainly not flawless. Democracy is one big problem. I remember years ago during my grad school I wrote a paper that concludes Malaysia and Singapore as the least democratic countries in the region.

Prices hike. Locals said that prices of goods keep getting higher and higher. Generally things are more expensive that what I pay in Jakarta. Some things that are cheaper here are cooking oil (hell yeah this is the country where palm oil plantation are too common), beef (Malaysia does not have party leader who feeds his 3 wives using money from corruption on beef) and water charges.

Here my story will end for now. We will post stories and tips on Malaysia that are useful for you who want to move or simple travel to KL, topics such as: bringing in maid from your country, finding accommodation in KL, and of course best street food in KL.

Chow Kit: Pasar Orang Indonesia di Kuala Lumpur


Perjuangan mencari cowek dan munthu dimulai…

Dialek-dialek Minang, Madura, Aceh bercampur baur dengan Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Cina campur Inggris di tengah-tengah tumpukan cabe, sayur-sayuran hijau dan ikan laut. Chow Kit adalah sebuah area di Kuala Lumpur dengan pasar tradisional yang cukup besar. Pasar basah ini jadi andalan WNI yang menetap di KL terutama karena satu hal. Sebuah faktor penting yang tak bisa lepas dari masyarakat Indonesia. Kebutuhan primer nusantara: Tempe.

Warna-warni sayur segar di Pasar Chow Kit
Warna-warni sayur segar di Pasar Chow Kit

Chow Kit ini punya wajah yang sangat Indonesia selain karena penjualnya juga banyak merupakan keturunan Indonesia dari berbagai etnis, barang dagangannya pun banyak merupakan produk Indonesia. Indomie misalnya, santan Kara, the Sariwangi, kecap ABC – tapi kok saya belum nemu kecap Bango ya…hiks L.

Berbagai daging (termasuk babi) pun ada di Chow Kit

Sebenarnya tempe bisa diperoleh di supermarket-supermarket di KL. Misalnya yang merk Vanda, ada di supermarket menengah hingga high-end. Sayangnya, tempe Vanda yang sempat saya beli di Ampang Park agak semangit dan rasanya pun malah mirip gembus. Sungguh tidak konsisten. Harganya RM 4 setara dengan Rp 15 ribu untuk sepapan tempe yang bisa didapat di pasar Indonesia Rp 2 ribu saja.

Tempe tanpa merk yang saya beli di Wangsa Maju lebih oke rasanya, RM 1,35 untuk sepapan tempe yang seharga Rp 1 ribu di Indonesia. Nah, di Chow Kit ini urusan pertempean memang jauh lebih menyenangkan, harganya RM 2 untuk 3 papan tempe tipis, rasanya pun lebih enak. Tak heran kami banyak melihat orang Indonesia yang selalu menyertakan tempe dalam belanjaannya.

Tapi Chow Kit tidak hanya perkara tempe saja. Ada cobek juga. “Masih belum terasa seperti rumah kalo belum punya cowek dan munthu,” kata saya tempo hari. Selama beberapa hari tinggal di sini, bertahan hanya dengan oseng-oseng yang tidak membutuhkan ulek-ulekan. Yang banyak dijual adalah lumping/tumbukan/alu, cobek yang ditumbuk bukan diulek. Ternyata di Chow Kit ini kami menemukan cobek dan ulekan. Jangan tanya harganya, deh! Kira-kira setara dengan beras 10 kg. Yang organik!

Santan Kara, Masako, Royco, Sambal ABC...

Harga sayuran di pasar ini juga jauh lebih murah daripada di supermarket, kondisinya juga bagus dan segar. Seafood pun bermacam-macam, begitu juga daging dan ayam. Ikan lele sekilonya lebih murah daripada yang biasa saya beli di Jakarta.

Yang paling bikin Puput hepi adalah banyak juga yang jualan kerupuk, hal yang juga tak terpisahkan dari makanan Indonesia. Krupuknya macam-macam, ada yang sudah matang ada yang masih mentah. Ada juga kripik tempe, emping, dan berbagai camilan purba seperti kuping gajah dan untir-untir.

Chow Kit tidak hanya menjual bahan makanan, ada baju, daster batik, sepatu, tas, dan berbagai hal lainnya. Harganya murah.

Di Chow Kit ini ada beberapa bank nasional seperti Bank Mandiri, BNi, yang melayani transfer uang. Ada juga penjual pulsa kartu SIM Indonesia, jasa pengiriman barang ke Indonesia, dan penjual koran Indonesia: Jawa Pos dijajakan berjejeran dengan koran lokal.

Finding Krupuk: A happy Indonesian
Finding Krupuk: A happy Indonesian

Chow Kit dapat dicapai menggunakan monorail arah Titiwangsa, beberapa stasiun transitnya antara lain Bukit Nanas/LRT Dang Wangi, Hang Tuah, dan KL Sentral.

Cukuplah saya berbual di sini. Jumpa lagi!