16 Malaysian Products to Bring Home from Kuala Lumpur

16 Malaysian Products to Bring Home from Kuala Lumpur

"Malaysia, Truly Asia" is what you hear en route to Malaysia. Indeed, there's practically every bit of Asia to be found here, as the country's population is made up primarily of three groups: Malay, Chinese and Indians. Quite expectedly, the diversity of Malaysian handcrafts is reflective of this composition. This article is to help you find your way through numerous offerings tempting gift buyers in Kuala Lumpur.
Image Courtesy of: Craig Morey

1. Baju Kebaya

Baju Kebaya
This traditional Malay attire for women is body hugging and can be worn for parties or formal functions, especially if made of high quality Songket or Batik fabrics. They come in various colors, light and dark, and different sizes. It is best try one first before buying it, so as to ensure that it fits well. If need be, you can ask a tailor to alter it, so that it accentuates your curves to the maximum. Only some minor adjustment would be needed if you choose the right size. It is not necessary to buy the whole set of top (blouse) and bottom (long skirt). Buying a set may cost you around RM100 or US$34, based on the quality and type of fabric. You can buy the top (blouse) only and wear it together with a long skirt or even pants of your choice. Depending on the quality, the top alone may cost from as little as RM50 or US$17 to a few hundred RM.
Where to find it:
Zakir Batik,
M27, 28,
Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

2. Pewter Goods

Pewter Goods
Malaysia is famous worldwide for her Pewter goods, and you'll be tempted to select from a large variety of Pewter decorative goods on offer, including kitchenware and tepak sireh sets, all with their unique designs. Note: some items on sale in Kuala Lumpur are not made of pure Pewter and, therefore, are considerably cheaper. If your budget is limited, consider getting yourself a plain, small pure Pewter vase. It would costs around RM100 or US$34 and serve you a good reminder of the trip to Kuala Lumpur. You could always put a single stem rose in it, or any other flower, to create a romantic ambiance. For something more elaborate, there is a pure Pewter tea caddy with a lovely design of gold colored horses, as an option. It costs around RM350 or US$118.
Where to find it:
Zakir Craft,
K42, Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my
HP: +060176629162
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

3. Hand-Woven Crafts

Hand-Woven Crafts
For something uniquely Malaysian, there are hand-woven crafts, which are made of bamboo, rattan, mengkuang, coconut shells and pandan leaves. Bring back home a lovely bag, a cute basket or any other item as a remembrance of your visiting Malaysia. There is a cute mengkuang purse, which you can use to keep coins or any other small items. It costs only RM5 or US$2. The coconut tree is Malaysia's national tree. Nowadays, it is possible to purchase a purse made of coconut shells; a small one would cost you RM10 or US$3.50, while a slightly larger one - RM15 or US$5. If you prefer rattan, there are big purses costing around RM16 or US$5.50, each of various colors for your pick. Buy one as a souvenir from Malaysia for any loved one back home or for your own self to remind you of Malaysia and her hand-woven crafts.
Where to find it:
Ka50, or G23 (Asli Kraft)
Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

4. Malaysian Dodol

Malaysian Dodol
Visiting Malaysia is not complete without trying Dodol, a local toffee-like sweet. The traditional Dodol is usually dark brown in color, but nowadays there are also other colors and flavors available, such as Pandan and Durian Dodol. Pandan refers to a kind of leave, renowned for its lovely smell. At times, Pandan leaves are crushed to give natural green color and peculiar flavor to food. You do not have to search all over the place for Pandan Dodol. Pak Lang Dodol offers you neatly packed Pandan Dodol of different weights. You can buy a large pack at around RM25 or US$8.50 or a small one for RM15 or US$5. Each pack, small or large, contains many small and individually packed triangle-shaped Pandan Dodols waiting to be consumed.
Where to find it:
Pak Lang Dodol,
NS32,
Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

5. Songket

Songket
Songket is a legacy from the state of Kelantan, resulted from trading between China and Malaysia, Malaysia and India during the 12th century and later. It represents gold and silk threads interwoven with threads of other material to create a unique fabric. Not surprisingly, this type of fabric is usually rather costly. You can buy a short length cloth for RM40 or US$13 at Central Market in Koleksi Melayu. There are various lovely colors for your selection. The piece can be used as a hanging for one of the walls in a living or dining room. You may also use it as a tablecloth for a formal party. To keep some of the keepsakes from Malaysia and other places, there is a Songket covered jewelry box (only the top part is covered) for you, which is priced around RM90 or US$30.
Where to find it:
Peninsular Arts & Borneo Crafts,
KB09,
Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

6. Pua Kumbu

Pua Kumbu
Dyed threads are usually used to make this kind of cotton fabric. The fabrics usually have supernatural motifs, which are based on the artisan's surreal and real experiences. It might seem like a normal piece of cloth, which is commonly used as a blanket, but for the Orang Asli or Aboriginal Iban Tribe, this is something more. It is their sacred or ceremonial cloth, which they use for spiritual purpose rather than just practical. Pua translates as "blanket", while kumbu means "to wrap." The price of Pua kumbu depends on various aspects, such as width and length of cloth, its quality and depicted motifs. The price can range from RM75 or US$25 to a few hundred RM or US Dollars at Aseana Gallery. The latter is located at Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, West Malaysia. Since Pua kumbu is from Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia, it is much cheaper in that part of the country.
Where to find it:
Aseana Gallery,
G16-G18,
Suria KLCC,
Kuala Lumpur City Centre,
50088 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.suriaklcc.com.my
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

7. Malaysian Batik

Malaysian Batik
This type of silk or cotton fabric is usually made by using the wax and dye method. Malaysia offers a large variety of colors and designs, which are usually of flower, butterfly or bird motifs. Other than yards of fabrics, there are Batik clothes, decorative pieces and accessories, featuring garments for every choice. Get a Batik Silk Scarf, measuring 36x36cm, to wear along with your blouse at work or any other formal function. It might only cost you RM35, circa US$12. If you do not like the idea of wearing a scarf, then there is a lovely Batik Long Skirt costing RM35. Another option is a Fine Batik Sarong, measuring 118x180cm, costing only RM20, around US$7.
Where to find it:
Koleksi Melayu,
M15, Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my/
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

8. Kerongsang

Kerongsang
Malay women normally wear a set of Kerongsang, which functions like a brooch, together with their Baju Kebaya or other clothing. Normally, this set is sold as three separate pieces of varying sizes. Malay women usually use headscarf or tudung with their Baju Kebaya or other traditional clothing. A small Kerongsang is used to hold the tudung securely together. Another, larger-sized Kerongsang might be used to hold the top portion of the Malay Baju Kebaya or other traditional Malay clothing. The largest piece is usually used as a brooch. It is possible for you to purchase two pieces, one very small and a larger one, which can be used as a brooch, for RM15 or US$5. Overall, prices range from RM15 to RM100.
Where to find it:
Zakir Batik,
M27, 28,
Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

9. Labu Sayong

Labu Sayong
This gourd-shaped clay jar is usually black in color. Water, that is kept inside it, remains cool in spite of the hot weather. The water from Labu Sayong is believed to have curing properties, which might be good for one's health. The whole of Malaysia, East and West, comprises 13 states and three Federal Territories. Kuala Lumpur is located in Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. Labu Sayong originates from the state of Perak. Until today, there are many manufactures in Perak producing Labu Sayong of various designs and sizes. From Perak they are distributed for sale to other parts of the country. You can purchase a lovely looking Labu Sayong with ornate design for as little as RM5 or US$2. A larger one, without any fancy design, can go for RM20 or US$7. Generally, the prices range from RM5 to RM50 apiece.
Where to find it:
Ka50, or G23 (Asli Kraft)
Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

10. Nyonya Beaded Slippers

Nyonya Beaded Slippers
Nyonya beaded slippers, individually-sewn slippers with tiny beads of flower, bird or butterfly motifs, could be excellent reminders of visiting Malaysia. Baba and Nyonya refer to the descendants of Malays and Chinese who intermarried in the state of Malacca. Due to popular trading between Malaysia (Malaya, as it was known back then) and China, interracial marriages between the locals and incomers from China were rather commonplace. As a result, a group called Baba and Nyonya emerged in the region, with their own cultural and food traditions. Nyonya refers to the females of this group. It is possible for you to buy a pair of traditional Nyonya closed-toe beaded slippers for around RM80 or US$27 at Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex. The modern version is the peep-toe type. The price of these slippers depends on various aspects, such as material used, beads and size, and ranges from RM80 to a few hundred.
Where to find it:
Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex,
Seksyen 63,
Jalan Conlay,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 21627533
Opening Hours: Daily 9am-6pm

K35-39,
Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

11. Sabah Pearls

Sabah Pearls
Found off the shores of Sabah, Malaysia, these natural pearls are usually of cream, pink, white or bluish-grey hues. Buying bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings of Sabah pearls in Malaysia is usually cheaper than elsewhere outside the country. Sabah, the state located in the Eastern part of Malaysia, is famous worldwide for its lovely clear waters and marine life. It is possible to purchase high quality Sabah Pearls here at a bargain price. The value of such pearls varies depending on several factors, such as size of each individual pearl, the number of strings, quality of pearls and their color. A pearl ring can go from as low as RM10 or US$3.50 up to a few hundred RM.
Where to find it:
Borneo Pearls
G63 & G64
Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

12. Congkak

Congkak
Malaysian population contains three major groups: Malay, Chinese and Indians. The traditional Malay board game is called Congkak. This game is usually played indoors by two players. Though it may seem simple enough, it does require certain tactical and mental calculation skills to win it. Usually, the game board features two rows of 6 to 10 holes (pits or "houses") with a large pit (hole or "house") at each end. Normally, pebbles, marbles or wood seeds are used to play it. You can buy a large Congkak set with marbles for around RM45 or US$15 at Ka50, Central Market. If you want something smaller, there is Congkak with wood seeds at G23, Central Market. This type of Congkak can be folded in two, which makes it more compact and easier to carry around. A simple set of instructions is attached. The price is around RM60 or US$20.
Where to find it:
Ka50, or G23 (Asli Kraft)
Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

13. Bamboo Handicrafts

Bamboo Handicrafts
Take your pick from a large variety of small bamboo boxes and containers, handcrafted and painted by local Malaysian tribes. Unlike some years ago, today, it is quite possible to obtain rather colorful bamboo items. A lovely multicolored pencil case, made of bamboo, would set you back just RM16 or US$5.50 at Asli Kraft, Central Market. It is durable enough to last a few years, and will make a wonderful gift from Malaysia for anyone back home. Another possible choice of gift is a stationery holder for pens, stapler, pencils, ruler and a pair of scissors. You can buy a fairly large such holder for as little as RM16 or US$5.50. The range of prices on bamboo items runs from RM16 to RM60.
Where to find it:
G23 (Asli Kraft)
Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

14. Durian Dodol, Sweets or Candies

Durian Dodol, Sweets or Candies
Visiting Malaysia would not be complete without eating Durian, Malaysia's king of fruits. If the smell of fresh Durians puts you off, perhaps you should try Durian Dodol, sweets, cake or candies. There is a huge variety of them at Pak Lang Dodol, Central Market. Buy a few small, cylindrical packs of delicious Durian Cake, or Lempok Durian, as they call it in Malaysia, for as little as RM8 (circa US$3) per pack, and you will have something good in hand to bring back home to your loved ones. The cake is made of flour, Durian fruit, sugar and other ingredients. If you don't mind sticky food, then go for Durian Dodol, which is sticky both in hand and on your teeth. It might take you a bit of an effort to chew it all up, but still well worth the try, particularly noting that making quality Dodol demands substantial amount of time and energy to stir up all the necessary ingredients over low heat. You can buy a large pack of Dodols for RM25 or US$8.50, containing a number of small, cute Durian Dodols inside, each individually packed in triangular casings.
Where to find it:
Pak Lang Dodol,
NS32,
Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

15. Cucuk Sanggul

Cucuk Sanggul
Cucuk Sanggul is a traditional Malay hairpin made of gold, silver or some other material. It is usually long and thin, with decorative end. The latter might feature some mythological creature or any other form of traditional Malay art. Such hairpin was previously used for securing a Malay woman's bun, and was held at the back of her head during a traditional wedding ceremony. The practice is largely in use even today, however, modern-day Cucuk Sanggul hairpins are not necessarily made of gold or silver, nor elaborately adorned. You can buy a modern type hairpin for RM130 or US$44. A traditional type may cost from RM200 to RM300 apiece, especially if categorized as antique.
Where to find it:
Tuah KTC,
M17,
Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex,
Seksyen 63,
Jalan Conlay,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 21627533
Opening Hours: Daily 9am-6pm

16. Wau Kite

Wau Kite
Wau is a traditional Malaysian kite, originated in the state of Kelantan of the Malaysian Peninsular. Since the old days, Malay men have been actively involved in Wau flying competitions in Kelantan and Terengganu, featuring various kinds of Wau, including Wau Bulan ("Moon Kite"), Wau Burung ("Bird Kite") and others. Wau Bulan, the most popular type, is one of the symbols used by the national airline carrier, MAS or Malaysian Airlines. The Wau kite is quite large in size and it won't be possible for you to carry one on board en route back home. Understanding this, shops like Ka50 at Central Market offer miniature Wau's of different colors from RM20 or US$7 to RM30 or US10 apiece. Certain kites may go for up to a few hundred RM.
Where to find it:
Ka50,
Central Market Annexe,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050 Kuala Lumpur
http://www.centralmarket.com.my
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm
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