How-to's, Malaysia

What souvenirs to buy in Kuala Lumpur

October 7, 2014

This was hard. It’s not my first time playing this riddle and I think I got quite close to a proper “whoa, thank you so much!” expression from friends and family this time when they were unwrapping the souvenirs from KL.

Anton and I hacked it together, but it worked well. Here’s what we packed for friends:

(picture by Nastya)

What souvenirs to buy in Kuala Lumpur

  • Green tea (you didn’t see it coming, did you?)
  • Pu-erh tea (I got all the tea from China Town, I wrote about it here)
  • Japanese candies from the Shojikiya store
  • Green tea Kit Kat
  • Green tea Oreo (both also available at Shojikiya, but I saw Kit Kat in some grocery stores too)
  • Korean face masks – Tony Moly corner in AEON Big in Midvalley
  • Asian cooking paste (different kinds, they all come with the recipe on the back and are self-sufficient, meaning, you don’t need to add anything super local, just regular ingredients like veggies or chicken) / alternatively you can get sambal paste or any other good paste rare in your home country
  • I wanted to add tiger balm too but it stinked through three layers of food wrap so I gave up on this one


Buy some fabric from Jalan Masjid India (fabric street in KL) or from Chinatown (Petaling Street) in a local pattern, wrap the goodies into a little furoshiki and violas! Happy friends at home receiving an ‘Asian bundle’.

I know, I know, it’s not really KL souvenirs, but hey, it represents the variety of cultures you get in Malaysia and truly Asia and all that. Plus, all of that you can get in Midvalley. Except for the fabric, but you get creative here, you got the idea.

The truth is, very rarely do people bring really useful souvenirs from abroad. What I think gets really valuable are those little local things that people don’t know exist. Things that have a flavour of the country you’re coming from. Literally.

Depending on who we visited, I added more to the furoshiki – jewellery I got during other Asian travels, incense sticks and Sombai rum from Cambodia, handmade soap from Kinder Soap, Jelly Beans (because we don’t have them in Ukraine), some toys for the kids and Duty Free exclusive booze for adults.

Oh, and since we went to Jalan Masjid India anyway, we got some great pashmina scarves for our grandmothers. They were so happy!

Travel hack

The main idea here is: get creative, think outside the magnets and postcards and look for nice little gifts everywhere you go to bundle them up later when you need them, instead of running around panicking and trying to figure out the presents the weekend before your flight.

If you have cool ideas of what souvenirs souvenirs to buy in Kuala Lumpur and what made your family happy last time you visited, please share in the comments below, I’d love to get more inspiration for the next trip :-)

UPD: someone has recommended Haw flakes as a souvenir. Never tried them, but looks very interesting. Thanks for the tip!

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