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My Trip to Southeast Asia: Noodles, Natural Beauty and Sunburns – Oh My!

My Trip to Southeast Asia: Noodles, Natural Beauty and Sunburns – Oh My!

I'm moving to Hong Kong. Wait, just kidding. I wish that were true, but, alas, I have a life and family here in Chicago. Plus, I love this city and who knows what the future will bring. This makes me feel so much better about having to return from our mini-tour of Southeast Asia last week. Want to see what we were up to?

Warning: This is going to be a long post. I tried to prune as much as I could, but with 1,500 photos to choose from this is the best I could do without losing any absolute favorites. Here we go.

Like coconut water? How about fresh from a coconut? Makes that little juice box look preeeeetty silly.

We visited the Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur, where every ceiling was as beautiful, geometric and ornate as what you see below. Another highlight: a room full of miniatures depicting mosques from all over the world.

We enjoyed fresh juices at a local market, which featured Malay, Chinese and Indian crafts (representing the three major ethnic groups in Malaysia). I had fresh guava, while Shiraaz, my aunt and uncle had cucumber lime.

Looking up at the inside of the Petronas Towers. Anyone else hearing a Harry Potter reference there?

At the base of the Towers is a giant, upscale mall – designed by the same man behind the Burj in Dubai – which is home to many restaurants. We went to Madame Kwan's, a local favorite. Here, you can see my passionfruit lemonade.

Our lunch spread: chicken and beef satay, chicken cooked in coconut milk, spicy prawns and onions. Not pictured: noodlez!

The Twin Towers are huge.

An iced coffee a day keeps the jetlag away!

Indian food at a beachside restaurant in Langkawi, Malaysia. Super fresh and delicious.

Some of the best restaurants in Langkawi are in Perdana Quay. Also there: bougainvillea. Some of my favorite flowers (they fill my grandparents' garden in Karachi!) but I always have to Google their spelling. Sigh.

Normally a shrimp lover, I was disappointed to find that Malaysian prawn dishes retain an overwhelmingly fishy taste. The dish in the foreground here was pretty good; the one in the background was so fishy we couldn't even finish it.

This striped sea bass in mustard and tamarind sauce, however, was amazing.

One day, it rained so we went to the beach, set up camp under umbrellas, snuggled under towels and read with the waves just beyond our feet. It was relaxing, to say the least.

If you're ever in Langkawi, please, please go to Privilege Restaurant. And order this chicken, called Ayam Percik. It will blow your  mind.

Also order beef rendang, a local slow-cooked, melt-in-your-mouth favorite.

Finally, CARDAMOM CHOCOLATE CAKE. BEST. EVER.

Sunrise in Langkawi.

My breakfast every day in Langkawi involved paus – what are more popularly known as baos – and some variety of Malaysian sides.

The view from breakfast.

Picture-perfect island hopping day in Langkawi. #nofilter

We took an absolutely terrifying cablecar trip to the top of Mount Mat Cincang. I will refrain from sharing the pictures of me freaking out on the way up, and instead share this view, from 700 m above sea level.

Prawn pasta. Again, fishy, but Shiraaz liked it.

Luckily, I got this awesome fried chicken. I don't always eat fried chicken, but when I do I want it to taste like this.

Fruity drinks on the beach!

Sunset in Langkawi.

This is airport food in Kuala Lumpur. O'Hare, take note.

Dim sum in Hong Kong! Enjoyed watching these guys at work making dumplings.

Hong Kong street dessert: waffles with liquified peanut butter and cream.

Green tea, standard with every meal.

We learned at this lunch that eating in Hong Kong is tough if you don't eat pork.

Fancy high tea at the Peninsula in Kowloon (mainland Hong Kong) is a luxurious remnant from colonial times that commands a one-hour wait. Well worth it.

Can you tell I'm sunburned here? I tried really hard to cover it up.

Last dinner in Hong Kong: At Tuk Tuk Thai. Good stuff.

Again: I leave you with airport food. I would really appreciate it if American airport officials would read this post and acknowledge that, by and large, our in-transit dining options are seriously limited.

So there you have it. Do you understand why I'm sad to be back now?

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