Regarded by many to embody the cultural heart of the city, Kampung Baru is a fine example of the richness of Malay heritage and culture.
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Kampung Baru is a Malay enclave within the city of Kuala Lumpur, and to many, the last bastion of a time gone by. The enclave is located along the the Klang river, just north of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre Precinct. Kampung Baru is unique as it is the oldest Malay settlement in the city and has remained relatively untouched by modern development that has engulfed the rest of Kuala Lumpur. The enclave is easily recognisable by the lack of any highrise buildings and is famous for the traditional architecture of its houses. The streets are lined with fine examples of various Malay architectural styles, although some have fallen into a state of disrepair.
There is a sense of irony that Kampung Baru, meaning new village, is now a living symbol of Malay heritage and tradition. The enclave is home to a close-knit community living a slow paced, village lifestyle, right in the centre of the country's most developed city. Its close proximity to the city's most modern icon, the Petronas Twin Towers, serves only to highlight the contrast between the old and new.
While there has been debate about the future of this enclave, many visitors flock to Kampung Baru for an authentic local experience bereft of all the typical commercialized hype. Although it lacks glitter and glamour, visitors are treated to the laid back pace of traditional village life. Kampung Baru is also famous for its wide assortment of Malay cuisine, with most eateries serving home-cooked dishes made from recipes handed down through the generations.
The enclave is centred around Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru, the village mosque. This mosque is a revered institution, and has acted as a community centre for well over a hundred years since its founding. The present structure incorporates Mughal and Malay elements, with exquisite mosaics adorning the gateway to the mosque. The warm village atmosphere is most apparent at the mosque during prayer time, as many devout Muslims from all walks of life, and even foreign Muslim visitors, make their way here. The mosque is also the focal point of community activities during the Muslim month of Ramadhan. The mosque organises the breaking of fast daily and also other activities, including al-Quran recititations and gifts of charity to the needy.
A particular speciality associated to this mosque and the month of Ramadhan is bubur lambuk, a rice porridge dish made during the Muslim fasting month. Cooked and distributed freely to all, this dish has developed a reputation that is somewhat legendary, and has become part of the Ramadhan festivities for Kampung Baru. This bubur lambuk tradition, which begun in the 1950s, is continued till this day by the community that call Kampung Baru their home.
Many intracity buses include Kampung Baru as a stop along their routes.
By Light Rail Transit
Visitors can get to Kampung Baru via the Kelana Jaya LRT line at the Kampung Baru Station which borders the enclave.