14,937 km so far.
Since we are now in Kuala Lumpur we have been doing what we do every time we get to a city: chores.
We had managed to get a load of laundry done already so didn’t have to worry about that today, but we are behind on the blog, editing photos, workshop planning, and catching up with friends and family.
Also, I finished up the coffee beans I bought in Phnom Penh yesterday. So my bean-less state had to be resolved.
I Like It, RAW
The perfect place to get most of these tasks done is the top-rated coffee roaster in town, RAW.
I had read that it could be tricky to find, as it is situated in the lobby of an office tower. I had dropped a pin on PocketEarth where I thought it should be, had the address, knew which metro station it was near, and that there is a killer view of the Petronas Twin Towers from their cafe.
All of this information led me to expect we could find it easily. However, we are starting to realise nothing is easy to find in this city.
Jane’s note: Nothing is easy to find anywhere in Asia.
Roads are not straight, they can change name without warning, buildings are usually not numbered, streets are not pedestrian-friendly.
It is just downright confusing. Kuala Lumpur is almost certainly the most baffling city we’ve visited.
When we went looking for RAW, I suppose we were distracted by the Petronas Towers, as initially we walked right past it.
One office building had its address posted, so gave us a starting point. We walked a short distance, and when we asked at a convenience store what their address was we had, of course, walked in the wrong direction.
So we turned around and headed back from where we had just come. Good thing it isn’t incredibly hot out. Oh, wait. It is.
Just past the Public Bank building we finally saw it. Through the plate glass windows in the ICBC office tower I spotted a coffee roaster glinting in the lobby. If you come to town looking for RAW, it is on the north side of Jalan Ampang, east of the Public Bank building in the same building as ICBC, just across the road from Petronas Towers.
Now that we finally found it, I just hoped it didn’t disappoint.
Damn Fine Coffee
RAW provides a few brewing techniques to choose from (including siphon, V60, and AeroPress), plus they have several different single origin beans available. They also sell all the Hario accessories (including the hand grinder I am carrying with me on this trip). This was a good start.
I chose a V60 filter (my preferred way to make coffee), with Tanzania Blackburn beans, which one of the staff had roasted a few days ago.
It was so good I couldn’t believe it. Definitely the best coffee I have had in several months. The barista did a great job of describing the beans to me beforehand – citrus, earthy, cacao, with a punch. He also had a freshly brewed cup I sampled before committing. I was happy to buy a bag of beans to make my own, and if it proves as good when I make it, I will have to buy another bag before we leave town.
To top off the great coffee, they have excellent friendly service. One of the nice things about being a coffee nerd is that other coffee nerds love it when you come to their cafe. As I was finishing my cup, the barista came over and offered me another sample, this time of a geisha-like coffee they had recently got in. It reminded us of the coffees that were all the rage in Sweden when we were there almost a year ago. Quite light, sweet, and almost tea-like.
As if that wasn’t enough, RAW also has an all-vegetarian menu, including a vegan tempeh BLT. We couldn’t believe it. Our friend Lauren recently told us about the tempeh burgers in Bali and we have been dreaming of them since. I can’t remember the last time we saw tempeh, but it was likely in Berlin, in September.
The sandwiches were delicious. They wouldn’t have been big enough if we were cycling today, but since we’re just spending the day sitting on our butts, they were perfect.
I recommend searching out RAW not just for coffee, but also for its excellent, home-cooked food. They also have a restaurant at the back of the office building, which we didn’t manage to get to. Maybe next time.
Behind the Petronas Twin Towers is the KLCC Park, which is one of the top-rated things to do when in Kuala Lumpur.
We decided we should wander through it, since it was just across the street.
It is a beautiful park, with ponds, banyan trees, some shade trees, a kids’ wading pool complete with a small waterfall, and great views of the downtown core.
Going for a walk in the park sounds like a good idea, in principle. But in the hot hot sun of a June afternoon in KL, I suppose, in hindsight, it wasn’t so bright. It was hot. I felt like I was melting.
We had been planning to continue past the park and go for a kilometre-long walk through the city, but before long I nixed the idea and we headed for shelter in the KLCC Suria shopping mall.
The mall was a shining example of consumerism gone wild. Thousands of people were shopping and to our eyes it was chaos. It was overwhelming to our senses, and sensibilities.
After all these months on our bikes, in villages and the countryside, to be in the midst of such blatant mass consumerism was difficult. We didn’t stay long, before heading back to to the quiet tranquility of BackHome, our hostel. ♥