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Restoran Hong Ngek, Kuala Lumpur.

Restoran Hong Ngek is a Hokkien restaurant in a traditional Chinese shophouse that is a piece of living history. It's been in the same family at this location for over 70 years. Kuala Lumpur food blogger, Sue Lynn Tiong, brought Brian Smith here, and introduced him to crab balls and pork ribs. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

Restoran Hong Ngek
50 Jalan Tun H.S. Lee
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel. + 60 (03) 2078 7852

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Restoran Hong Ngek crab balls, Kuala Lumpur.

Hong Ngek's legendary crab balls made from minced pork, water chestnut, mackerel, carrot, Chinese celery and crab, wrapped in thin beancurd skin (fu chuk) and fried until golden. Kuala Lumpur food blogger, Sue Lynn Tiong, introduced Brian Smith to this local delicacy. The sambal is still made according to the original owner's recipe. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

Restoran Hong Ngek
50 Jalan Tun H.S. Lee
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel. + 60 (03) 2078 7852

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Closeup of Restoran Hong Ngek crab balls, Kuala Lumpur.

Detail of a Hong Ngek crab ball, sliced open to reveal its ingredients: minced pork, water chestnut, mackerel, carrot, Chinese celery and crab, wrapped in thin beancurd skin (fu chuk). These and the restaurant's pork ribs are two local delicacies recommended by Kuala Lumpur food blogger, Sue Lynn Tiong. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

Restoran Hong Ngek
50 Jalan Tun H.S. Lee
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel. + 60 (03) 2078 7852

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Restoran Hong Ngek pork ribs, Kuala Lumpur.

Fall-off-the-bone Hong Ngek barbecue pork ribs. These and the restaurant's crab balls are two local delicacies recommended by Kuala Lumpur food blogger, Sue Lynn Tiong. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

Restoran Hong Ngek
50 Jalan Tun H.S. Lee
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel. + 60 (03) 2078 7852

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Rafflesia Tuan-Mudae flower on rock beside forest trail.

A German tourist admires a lone Rafflesia flower perched high on a rock in Gunung Gading National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia. The Rafflesia tuan-mudae is a parasitic plant native to Gunung Gading, which was created specifically to protect this rare, highly specialized species. It is one of approximately 28 Rafflesia species found only in sub-montane forests on Borneo, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, in Thailand, and the Philippines. The Rafflesia is an unusual plant, noteworthy for having the largest, heaviest individual flower in the world. They are typically 60 centimetres in diameter, but can grow as large as one metre across. The Rafflesia has no set flowering season. In Gunung Gading, it blooms more commonly during the wetter months, from November through February. Nevertheless, it is difficult to predict seeing one in the park, as they survive for no more than five days.

The Rafflesia has no roots, leaves, or stem. Most of its time is spent inside the tissue of its host, the Tetrastigma vine. Few plants are pollinated because male and female blossoms in close proximity to each other must be open simultaneously for carrion flies to transport the pollen from male to female. The flies are attracted by a rotting flesh odour given off by the flowers. After germination, it takes one month before a small, dark brown bud appears. Then, another eight to nine months must pass before it matures into a Rafflesia flower. However, a high percentage of buds die from drought or heavy rain. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

Seeing the Rafflesia

Gunung Gading National Park is near Lundu, less than two hours from Kuching by vehicle. There are several Sarawak Transport Company express buses daily between Kuching's Regional Express Bus Terminal and Lundu. From Lundu, you can either walk or take a pandan bus. A more expensive but convenient option is to charter a taxi for the day from Kuching, the cost of which you could share with others you might persuade to join you.

Before going out to the park, you should check with the park headquarters – tel: (+6) 082 735144 – to see if any Rafflesia flowers are in bloom. Alternatively, you can make inquiries with the National Parks Booking Office in Kuching at:

Visitors Information Centre
Sarawak Tourism Complex, Old Courthouse
Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg
Kuching, Sarawak 93000
Tel: (+6) 082 248088

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Rafflesia Tuan-Mudae flower.

A Rafflesia flower in the midst of blooming, sits perched on a rock high above the ground, clinging to its host vine. It takes several hours for the flower's five thick, fleshy lobes to completely open. This Rafflesia tuan-mudae is a parasitic plant native to Gunung Gading National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia. It is one of approximately 28 Rafflesia species found only in sub-montane forests on Borneo, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, in Thailand, and the Philippines. The Rafflesia is a rare, unusual plant, noteworthy for having the largest, heaviest known individual flower in the world. They are typically 60 centimetres in diameter, but can grow as large as one metre across. The Rafflesia has no set flowering season. In Gunung Gading, it blooms more commonly during the wetter months, from November through February. Nevertheless, it is difficult to predict seeing one in the park, as they survive for no more than five days.

The Rafflesia has no roots, leaves, or stem. Most of its time is spent inside the tissue of its host, the Tetrastigma vine. Few plants are pollinated because male and female blossoms in close proximity to each other must be open simultaneously for carrion flies to transport the pollen from male to female. The flies are attracted by a rotting flesh odour given off by the flowers. After germination, it takes one month before a small, dark brown bud appears. Then, another eight to nine months must pass before it matures into a Rafflesia flower. However, a high percentage of buds die from drought or heavy rain. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

Seeing the Rafflesia

Gunung Gading National Park is near Lundu, less than two hours from Kuching by vehicle. There are several Sarawak Transport Company express buses daily between Kuching's Regional Express Bus Terminal and Lundu. From Lundu, you can either walk or take a pandan bus. A more expensive but convenient option is to charter a taxi for the day from Kuching, the cost of which you could share with others you might persuade to join you.

Before going out to the park, you should check with the park headquarters – tel: (+6) 082 735144 – to see if any Rafflesia flowers are in bloom. Alternatively, you can make inquiries with the National Parks Booking Office in Kuching at:

Visitors Information Centre
Sarawak Tourism Complex, Old Courthouse
Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg
Kuching, Sarawak 93000
Tel: (+6) 082 248088

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Rafflesia Tuan-Mudae, Gunung Gading National Park

This Tetrastigma vine is host to the amazing Rafflesia flower, an endoparasite found only in Southeast Asia. Here we see a blackened, decaying blossom and two flower buds of Rafflesia tuan-mudae which is exclusive to Gunung Gading National Park in Sarawak. It is one of approximately 28 Rafflesia species endemic to sub-montane forests on Borneo, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, in Thailand, and the Philippines. The Rafflesia is a rare, unusual plant, noteworthy for having the largest, heaviest individual flower in the world. They are typically 60 centimetres in diameter, but can grow as large as one metre across. The Rafflesia has no set flowering season. In Gunung Gading, it blooms more commonly during the wetter months, from November through February. Nevertheless, it is difficult to predict seeing one in the park, as they survive for no more than five days.

The Rafflesia has no roots, leaves, or stem. Most of its time is spent inside the tissue of its host vine. Few plants are pollinated because male and female blossoms in close proximity to each other must be open simultaneously for carrion flies to transport the pollen from male to female. The flies are attracted by a rotting flesh odour given off by the flowers. After germination, it takes one month before a small, dark brown bud appears. Then, another eight to nine months must pass before it matures into a Rafflesia flower. However, a high percentage of buds die from drought or heavy rain. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

Seeing the Rafflesia

Gunung Gading National Park is near Lundu, less than two hours from Kuching by vehicle. There are several Sarawak Transport Company express buses daily between Kuching's Regional Express Bus Terminal and Lundu. From Lundu, you can either walk or take a pandan bus. A more expensive but convenient option is to charter a taxi for the day from Kuching, the cost of which you could share with others you might persuade to join you.

Before going out to the park, you should check with the park headquarters – tel: (+6) 082 735144 – to see if any Rafflesia flowers are in bloom. Alternatively, you can make inquiries with the National Parks Booking Office in Kuching at:

Visitors Information Centre
Sarawak Tourism Complex, Old Courthouse
Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg
Kuching, Sarawak 93000
Tel: (+6) 082 248088

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Decaying Rafflesia Tuan-Mudae

It takes a few hours for Rafflesia flowers to open up, after which they last only three to five days before beginning to blacken and decay. This Rafflesia tuan-mudae is a parasitic plant native to Gunung Gading National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia. It is one of approximately 28 Rafflesia species found only in sub-montane forests on Borneo, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, in Thailand, and the Philippines. The Rafflesia is a rare, unusual plant, noteworthy for having the largest, heaviest known individual flower in the world. They are typically 60 centimetres in diameter, but can grow as large as one metre across. The Rafflesia has no set flowering season. In Gunung Gading, it blooms more commonly during the wetter months, from November through February. Nevertheless, it is difficult to predict seeing one in the park, as they survive for no more than five days.

It is difficult to predict seeing a Rafflesia in the park. It has no roots, leaves, or stem. Most of its time is spent inside the tissue of its host, the Tetrastigma vine. Few plants are pollinated because male and female blossoms in close proximity to each other must be open simultaneously for carrion flies to transport the pollen from male to female. The flies are attracted by a rotting flesh odour given off by the flowers. After germination, it takes one month before a small, dark brown bud appears. Then, another eight to nine months must pass before it matures into a Rafflesia flower. However, a high percentage of buds die from drought or heavy rain. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

Seeing the Rafflesia

Gunung Gading National Park is near Lundu, less than two hours from Kuching by vehicle. There are several Sarawak Transport Company express buses daily between Kuching's Regional Express Bus Terminal and Lundu. From Lundu, you can either walk or take a pandan bus. A more expensive but convenient option is to charter a taxi for the day from Kuching, the cost of which you could share with others you might persuade to join you.

Before going out to the park, you should check with the park headquarters – tel: (+6) 082 735144 – to see if any Rafflesia flowers are in bloom. Alternatively, you can make inquiries with the National Parks Booking Office in Kuching at:

Visitors Information Centre
Sarawak Tourism Complex, Old Courthouse
Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg
Kuching, Sarawak 93000
Tel: (+6) 082 248088

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Closeup of decayed Rafflesia Tuan-Mudae.

The Rafflesia tuan-mudae is a parasitic plant native to Gunung Gading National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia. It is one of approximately 28 Rafflesia species found only in sub-montane forests on Borneo, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, in Thailand, and the Philippines. The Rafflesia is a rare, unusual plant, noteworthy for having the largest, heaviest known individual flower in the world. They are typically 60 centimetres in diameter, but can grow as large as one metre across. The Rafflesia has no set flowering season. In Gunung Gading, it blooms more commonly during the wetter months, from November through February. Nevertheless, it is difficult to predict seeing one in the park, as they survive for no more than five days.

The Rafflesia has no roots, leaves, or stem. Most of its time is spent inside the tissue of its host, the Tetrastigma vine. Few plants are pollinated because male and female blossoms in close proximity to each other must be open simultaneously for carrion flies, attracted by the rotting flesh odour they emit, to transport the pollen from male to female. After germination, it takes one month before a small, dark brown bud appears. Then, another eight to nine months must pass before it matures into a Rafflesia flower. However, a high percentage of buds die from drought or heavy rain. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

Seeing the Rafflesia

Gunung Gading National Park is near Lundu, less than two hours from Kuching by vehicle. There are several Sarawak Transport Company express buses daily between Kuching's Regional Express Bus Terminal and Lundu. From Lundu, you can either walk or take a pandan bus. A more expensive but convenient option is to charter a taxi for the day from Kuching, the cost of which you could share with others you might persuade to join you.

Before going out to the park, you should check with the park headquarters – tel: (+6) 082 735144 – to see if any Rafflesia flowers are in bloom. Alternatively, you can make inquiries with the National Parks Booking Office in Kuching at:

Visitors Information Centre
Sarawak Tourism Complex, Old Courthouse
Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg
Kuching, Sarawak 93000
Tel: (+6) 082 248088

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Rafflesia Tuan-Mudae bud.

The bud of a Rafflesia tuan-mudae, a parasitic plant native to Gunung Gading National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia. It is one of approximately 28 Rafflesia species found only in sub-montane forests on Borneo, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, in Thailand, and the Philippines. The Rafflesia is a rare, unusual plant, noteworthy for having the largest, heaviest known individual flower in the world. They are typically 60 centimetres in diameter, but can grow as large as one metre across. The Rafflesia has no set flowering season. In Gunung Gading, it blooms more commonly during the wetter months, from November through February. Nevertheless, it is difficult to predict seeing one in the park, as they survive for no more than five days.

The Rafflesia has no roots, leaves, or stem. Most of its time is spent inside the tissue of its host, the Tetrastigma vine. Few plants are pollinated because male and female blossoms in close proximity to each other must be open simultaneously for carrion flies, attracted by the rotting flesh odour they emit, to transport the pollen from male to female. After germination, it takes one month before a small, dark brown bud appears. Then, another eight to nine months must pass before it matures into a Rafflesia flower. However, a high percentage of buds die from drought or heavy rain. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

Seeing the Rafflesia

Gunung Gading National Park is near Lundu, less than two hours from Kuching by vehicle. There are several Sarawak Transport Company express buses daily between Kuching's Regional Express Bus Terminal and Lundu. From Lundu, you can either walk or take a pandan bus. A more expensive but convenient option is to charter a taxi for the day from Kuching, the cost of which you could share with others you might persuade to join you.

Before going out to the park, you should check with the park headquarters – tel: (+6) 082 735144 – to see if any Rafflesia flowers are in bloom. Alternatively, you can make inquiries with the National Parks Booking Office in Kuching at:

Visitors Information Centre
Sarawak Tourism Complex, Old Courthouse
Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg
Kuching, Sarawak 93000
Tel: (+6) 082 248088

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Restoran Kim Lian Kee, Kuala Lumpur.

Kim Lian Kee is famous as the birthplace of Hokkien Mee fried noodles. They have been making it here at the original location since 1927. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

Restoran Kim Lian Kee
49-51, Jalan Petaling
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 50480
Tel. + 60 (03) 2032 4984

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Restoran Kim Lian Kee interior, Kuala Lumpur.

Ground floor of Restoran Kim Lian Kee at lunch. This Kuala Lumpur Chinese restaurant is famous for being the birthplace of Hokkien Mee fried noodles. They have been making it here at the original location since 1927. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

Restoran Kim Lian Kee
49-51, Jalan Petaling
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 50480
Tel. + 60 (03) 2032 4984

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Dish of Hokkien Char Mee at Kim Lian Kee, Kuala Lumpur.

Kim Lian Kee Hokkien Char Mee: thick yellow noodles braised in thick dark soy sauce with pork, squid, fish cake and cabbage, originally cooked over a charcoal fire (said to be the best). (Brian K. Smith photo.)

Restoran Kim Lian Kee
49-51, Jalan Petaling
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 50480
Tel. + 60 (03) 2032 4984

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Dish of Moonlight Kuay Teow at Kim Lian Kee, Kuala Lumpur.

Kim Lian Kee Moonlight Kuay Teow: rice sheets cooked the same way as the Hokkien Mee with a cracked egg on top to give the noodles a silky texture and nice sheen. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

Restoran Kim Lian Kee
49-51, Jalan Petaling
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 50480
Tel. + 60 (03) 2032 4984

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Air Mata Kucing stall, Kuala Lumpur.

Air mata kucing is an iced fruit drink made from winter melon (tong kua), monk fruit (lo han kor), dried longan (long ngan), and sugar. According to Sue Lynn Tiong (left), this stall in Petaling Street serves the best version. Note the drink ingredients displayed at the front of the stall. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

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The Bangsar Babe buying sweet potato balls.

Malaysian food blogger, Sue Lynn Tiong, buying deep fried sweet potato balls from a street hawker outside the Tang City Food Court on Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown. They are made from freshly-mashed steamed sweet potato mixed with sugar and flour, then rolled into small balls and deep fried until golden brown. This stall has been operating for over 30 years. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

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Portrait of Sue Lynn Tiong, The Bangsar Babe.

Kuala Lumpur food blogger, Sue Lynn Tiong. Sue Lynn graciously met Brian for lunch one afternoon to introduce him to some local delicacies. She took him to Restoran Kim Lian Kee for their famous Hokkien Mee; stopped at the Air Mata Kucing stall for an iced fruit drink; visited the historic Restoran Hong Ngek to try their crab balls and pork ribs; and finished off with some deep fried sweet potato balls from a street hawker. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

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Aerial View of Kuching, Sarawak

Kuching, the capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, is the largest city on the island of Borneo. It is located on the Sungai Sarawak (Sarawak River), which splits the city into north and south. Curiously, the two parts of the city are managed by separate governments. Kuching North is headed by a Commissioner, while a Mayor leads Kuching South. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

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Kuching Old Bazaar at Night

View of Kuching's Old Bazaar from the Star Cinema Building with the Sarawak River and the New Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building in the background. In the left foreground is the Hong San Si Temple. Jalan Main Bazaar, which runs along the riverfront, is the city's oldest street. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

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Tambang Crossing the Sarawak River, Kuching

A tambang crosses the Sungai Sarawak, taking passengers from South Kuching to Encik Omar Jetty in North Kuching. These small wooden boats are a popular, cheap form of transportation, since travelling the equivalent distance visible in the photo would require a 10-kilometre detour to use the nearest bridge. In the background is the roof of the distinctive New Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building. (Brian K. Smith photo.)

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