These are their favourite things

Interview with singer/radio DJ Liang

KUALA Lumpur is a city that has charmed the hearts of both young and old, from all walks of life and professions.

This Federal Territory Day, local celebrities share their picks on favourite places for food, where they like to go when they are in the city, and things that can be improved for Visit Malaysia Year 2014.

Liang, musician and entertainer

Favourite places for food:

I have to pick Mezze in Damansara Heights. The food is great, the decor is nice, intimate and it is flexible enough for a casual date or special occasion. It is also one of those homely places where everyone knows your name.

Then there’s the banana leaf rice in Nirwarna restaurant in Bangsar. I know debate has raged about which place has the best banana leaf but this place serves soul food for me.

Coliseum Cafe in Kuala Lumpur hits the spot on so many levels. I have Hainanese roots and many of my family members are in the food business, so I relate to that type of cuisine really well. Every time I walk through those doors, it is a heady mixture of nostalgia and old world charm.

Favourite places to go:

Being Malaysian, shopping centres are the default hangout spots, where I can have meals and watch movies in a comfortable and safe environment.

I have a soft spot for pasar malam, so I often go wandering for hours just taking it all in, food and produce, maybe an occasional T-shirt. The Bangsar and Cheras ones are the ones I frequent most.

I love a jog in KLCC park at all hours of the day. It’s just one of the things that make me happy. Whenever I have an emcee job in the vicinity, I make it a point to slot a jog round the park into the schedule.

I think Kuala Lumpur is a city where we have something for everyone. Culture, architecture, shopping, food, you name it, we have it right here, all served with a warm smile.

What do you think should be improved?

Transportation would be something that needs looking into. From cab fares, punctuality of buses, double-parking, hazardous driving to the availability of affordable alternatives, these are just some things to improve on that will put a cherry on an already splendid cake.

Xandra Ooi, emcee and host

Favourite places for food:

Xandria Ooi

Inside Scoop in Bangsar. I am obsessed with ice cream, and this is a gelato shop in Jalan Telawi 3, where the Italian-trained chef makes gelato fresh in the kitchen every morning.

They have the best durian and pistachio ice cream, plus there’s teh tarik, peanut butter and heaps of unique-to-Malaysia flavours.

Favourite places to go:

Bangsar is my catch-up and meeting venue for leisure and business. It has a central location, with plenty of parking in Bangsar Village 2. There are enough cafes and restaurants welcoming folks to relax or work for long periods of time. It is also where I do my dry-cleaning and clothes alterations.

I also like going to Petaling Street. No matter how many times I’ve been there, whether to shoot a show, bringing friends from other countries or going on a date, I still love the colours and energy that surround the place.

My favourite tau foo fa stall has been there for decades, and I like the fact that even though it’s touristy, locals can still get a great bargain.

I think the best feature in Kuala Lumpur is our street markets. To me, a pasar pagi or malam defines Malaysia. It’s a blend of cultures with people from all races getting together in a festive, no-frills environment.

Most food at markets are of a certain standard too; it’s almost as if vendors take great pride in making sure they sell food that people will queue up for.

What should be improved?

It would be fantastic if there were more food and travel shows to promote Malaysia overseas, especially to Western countries. I have many American and British friends who visit Asian countries solely based on what they’ve seen on television or what they’ve read from travel articles in magazines.

These days, folks look for an authentic experience when they travel — they want to explore and get off the beaten path. More customised and less mainstream promotional activities will definitely come across as attractive.

Tony Eusoff, singer/actor

Favourite places for food:

Tony Eusoff got into the entertainment industry

I love food of all sorts, unless it’s too bitter or sour. Kuala Lumpur is super-blessed as far as food goes. My personal pick of eateries include Khoon Kee restaurant in Damansara Uptown for Teo Chew porridge, and Fierce Curry House in Bangsar for excellent briyani.

Chawan in Bangsar has a good selection of local coffee, while Pizza Uno in TTDI offers good Italian dishes and a cosy interior for the whole family.

Sari Ratu restaurant near Bukit Bintang is a good spot for great Indonesian food. Nasi padang junkies should come here.

Favourite places to go:

Well, the restaurants mentioned above, for starters. I also like Desa ParkCity in Kepong for its scenic lake and dog-friendly park. Great picnics to be had here with your family and fur-kids.

To unwind, I head to Changkat Bukit Bintang for its variety of bars, restaurants and international mix of people.

One of Kuala Lumpur’s best features has to be its array of food places. We have food from Mexico, Japan, Korea, Europe. You name it, we have it. After all, food is a major part of anyone’s travels.

What do you think should be improved?

Coming down stronger on crime should be top priority. News of tourists getting mugged or robbed will only repel potential visitors.

Next is the never-ending battle of improving awareness on cleanliness and hygiene, especially for public amenities.

Fahrin Ahmad, actor

Favourite places for food:

Press Conference to announce a collaboration with Cardiff City bringing 3 Celebrities with Tan Sri Vincent Tan

I am very particular about my food, as I am a bit of a health freak, but I go to Sambal Hijau restaurant in Kampung Sungai Penchala at least once a week for their nasi campur, ulam, ikan bakar and sambal.

I also like going to the mamak, especially Kayu Nasi Kandar for its squid, which is served fresh from the wok.

For something more indulgent, I head over to Ben’s in Bangsar Village for the salads.

Favourite places to go:

The gym in Mid Valley Megamall to work out, as it has a swimming pool. It is also convenient as I can have my meal there after working out, usually at Delicious Cafe for the salmon salad, and Tony Roma’s for short ribs.

To unwind, I enjoy jogging in Taman Tun Dr Ismail or taking a stroll in Lake Gardens.

I think one of Kuala Lumpur’s best features are its shopping centres. There are loads of options for entertainment.

What do you think should be improved?

Transportation in Kuala Lumpur would be the best area to improve to make it a world-class city. I have been to places such as London, in the UK, where the underground tube system is really convenient.

James Wong, director,actor, producer

Favourite places for food:

James Wong

I love exploring all kinds of Malaysian food but my favourites are still hawker centres, mamaks and kopitiams because of their reasonable prices. The food variety is endless, and they are available on every corner of the city, some even operating 24/7 and on public holidays.

Favourite places to go:

Our shopping centres. To name a few, Pavilion and KLCC, because it is very convenient. I can get everything here from delicious food, bookstores to cinemas.

Kuala Lumpur is definitely a unique mix of culture and tradition, a true cultural melting pot. During the day, the city is a busy hub, with people going about their busy schedules. At night, it is transformed into a colourful and exciting scene.

The warmth and friendliness of Malaysians can be seen all around the city. Our unique architecture, from old buildings to skyscrapers is another feature I admire about the city.

What should be improved?

Cleanliness can definitely be improved further. I think we should be thankful to live in a peaceful place free from major catastrophies.

We should play our role, however small, to love our country and our city by taking care of her like how we would care for our own homes.

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