Grocery shopping in Kuala Lumpur is a trip. Especially considering we flew in from India where we didn’t even see a grocery store for three months.
We were only in town for the weekend, and certainly didn’t need to go grocery shopping in Kuala Lumpur. But the Isetan at the über-bougie Petronas Towers mall drew us in. Isetan is a Tokyo-based department store with a high-end grocery division; this ain’t no Safeway. It a museum of 21st century asian culture.
It wasn’t long ago that traditional wet markets served the people of KL. Then chain grocery stores took over. Today, online grocery shopping is the rage in Malaysia’s tech capital. But old fashion brick and mortar grocery shopping in Kuala Lumpur a perfect anecdote for the city: clean, modern, sleek, well air-conditioned, and food-obsessed.
What makes grocery shopping in Kuala Lumpur such a thrilling cultural experience?. For us, it’s seeing these products in this space. At home, we see traditional Asian ingredients (like fish roe) at restaurants and small specialty grocers. In our travels, we’re used to seeing more rustic ingredients (like chicken feet) at open air markets. It felt so KL to see both genres taking up major real estate on a space age supermarket’s shelves.
You’ve got perfectly preserved whole fish and specially prepared shrimp tails. There are piles of dragon fruit and the dreaded durian. And noodles. Grocery shopping in Kuala Lumpur you’ll find noodles (both fresh and instant cup o’) enough to last a year of nuclear holocaust.
Next visit to KL we’re renting an apartment. For now, window shopping was pretty entertaining. Here are some items we wish we could pick up as easily at home.
You want noodle? We got noodle.
As the song goes, “Have Yourself a Malaysian Little Christmas”