Chinatown (Petaling Street) is one of the must-visit places in Kuala Lumpur… Back in the 1870s, Kapitan Yap Ah Loy, a Chinese headman and known to be the founding father of Kuala Lumpur, was said to have opened a tapioca mill on Petaling Street… and so that is a little history on Petaling Street…
Petaling Street is a five minute walk away from the Pasar Seni LRT station. There are also plenty of taxis / grabcars/ uber cars that can take you to Petaling Street from anywhere in KL.
Petaling Street is known to have some of the best hawker fare/ street food in KL. And of course, (in)famously selling souvenirs and ‘genuine copies’ of designer brand fashions, fragrances and watches. Set yourself free here and have fun bargaining with the traders if there is something that might have caught your eye – it’d be rude not to. But just be sure to bargain if you are serious about that item… some of the traders can turn rude if they have already given you their best prices and you just walk away…
Mouth watering street food –
Our tour guide showed us five of the best known stalls selling the most famous street food here in Petaling Street Chinatown and I am also sharing a personal favorite of mine… so here are 6 stalls you should check out if you are there….
Uncle Bean Soya Bean stall is strategically located at the cross junction in Petaling Street. This soya bean stall is famous for its Soya Bean and Tau Fu Fah and comes in a variety of sugar topping such as white sugar syrup, brown sugar syrup/ gula melaka, and brown ginger sugar syrup., that it is said that even our former PM, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad loves the soya bean there.
I personally like the Tau Fu Fah which is so silky soft and smooth it practically glides down my throat.
The famous Petaling Street Air Mata Kucing Stall is located right in front of Hong Leong Bank. Air Mata Kucing /lo han ko (a cooling fruit) prepared with rock sugar, dried longan and winter melon is perfect served with ice on a hot day. This Petaling Street Air Mata Kucing stall which is owned by Mou Tak Ding Sdn. Bhd. can be found also Mid Valley Megamall….
The Apam Balik Stall at Jalan Hang Lekir, is a little further down the lane where the famous Petaling Street Air Mata Kucing stall is… This 30-year-old stall is parked in front of Koon Kee Wantan Mee.
The old uncle who sells the apam balik generously fills it with coarsely ground peanuts that makes every bite incredibly tasty. Ask for the crispy edges to get a nice contrast with the pillow soft pancake and the crunchy side.
Madam Tang Mua Chi Stall which is located right opposite the famous Kim Soya Bean stall in Petaling Street. The owner, Madam Tang is a nice old lady who makes very soft, chewy mua chi coated with generous amount of grounded peanuts.
She has also been innovative and the mua chi are now also available in a variety of flavors such as ribena, lychee, black sesame, pandan and mango. Personally, I prefer it original….
Do check out the Roasted Duck Stall by Sze Ngan Chye, Petaling Street.. Translated, it means “four-eyed man” in Cantonese, Sze Ngan Chye is a street stall located in the middle of Petaling Street which is famous for its delicious Roast Duck and Duck Feet Parcel (duck feet and duck liver wrapped with intestine and coated with sweet caramelised sauce).
Sze Ngan Chye’s roast duck is perfectly roasted with juicy and flavorful meat and crispy crackling skin. There’s always a queue of people waiting to take away the roast duck. The queue is pretty much longer during major Chinese festivals.
While eating the Tau Fu Fah, some of our blogger friend’s nose where lured to the sweet aroma from the roasted chestnut vendor. The free scent permeating the air was somewhat like roasted peanut and sugar. It can be interesting seeing how the chestnuts are cooked through a roaster. The raw chestnuts were placed into a big pot with black coal bits unto it for faster cooking. While the revolving metal in the centre makes chestnut evenly cooked and produces light smoke that entices anyone who passes by. You can buy the roasted chest nut per grams or kilo. Try it out, the sweetness in its shell is something hidden the way they cooked it….
Café hopping –
The café craze is taking many places all over South East Asia by storm and well, Chinatown is no different… if you look hard enough you can find a variety of quaint, interesting cafes around…, each has something different to offer but they do have something in common: great ambiance, good food, and refreshing drinks.
Escape the humidity and step into one of these cafes… during our #aboutkl mini tour, we did not have much time and only manage to check out the Ali, Muthu and Ah Hock Kopitiam..
Ali, Muthu & Ah Hock’s menu features traditional Malaysian favourites such as the nasi lemak ayam, mee goreng, Hainanese chicken rice and chee cheong fun.
The Kopitiam is an interesting combination of old and new.. the Kopitiam was built in an alleyway and has modern fixtures but the walls on both side are old and chipped /peeling… so it was a pretty unique combination… but then the owners placed interesting paintings and old antique photos on the wall, giving it some character….
Even the table and chairs were kinda contradicting as you will find one part of the Kopitiam is decorated with mamak stall style tables and long benches on cement flooring while the other side has Chinese style marble tabletops and stools on tiled flooring… **scratches head**….
We were practically quite full as we had lunch before coming here and some street food along the way, so we only had some of the kueh there… which was yummy… the curry puff came with slices of hard boiled egg in it…
The chee cheong fun was as it should be, simple steamed rice rolls covered with sweet savoury sauce/ tee cheou , some prawn paste and some chilli sauce.
I am looking forward going back there to try their other dishes soon….
Opening hours : 8am until 7pm / Closed on Sundays
Ali, Muthu & Ah Hock, No.13, Jalan Balai Polis, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is famous for offering a wide variety of products from batiks to souvenir items like shirts and key chains, as well to ‘genuine copies’ of designer brand fashions, fragrances, designer bags and watches, so if you’re planning to buy anything, be sure to triple check the quality of the item.
The best thing to do would of course be to check out as many stalls as possible to look for the lowest price of the item that you want.
You can even bargain for a cheaper price if you know how. Try to haggle down to 50% and work your way up in between what the trader counter offers you…
Shops open as early as lunch time till midnight.
Sightsee heritage temples-
Sri Mahamariamman Temple is a beautiful Hindu temple is situated opposite a Buddhist temple on Jalan Tun H.S. Lee. The Sri Mahamariamman temple was built in year 1873 by K. Thamboosamy Pillai but was only opened to the public in the 1920s. After withstanding time and elements, the original structure was replaced with the current building in 1968. Today, with more than a century of history, the Sri Mahamariamman temple is the oldest as well as the richest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia.
The temple is open to the public to visit but do remember to take off your shoes before entering. Stalls selling garlands and snacks are often seen outside the colourful gates.
Opening hours : 6am until 8.30pm (Friday until 9.30pm, Saturday until 9pm)
Address – Jalan Tun H S Lee, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
The Sin Sze Si Sze Ya Temple is a hidden away temple… when we passed the temple, one of my fellow bloggers commented that it looked like a drive in temple… and we got a chance to visit it! I heard that this temple was also featured in the New York Times as an attraction in KL – and heck… I only just got to know about this temple, how dumb or under the coconut shell am I /katak bawah tempurung?
Sin Sze Si Ya Temple has been around since Kuala Lumpur was founded. Kapitan Yap Ah Loy had founded the temple in 1864, and it’s dedicated to patron deities Sin Sze Ya and Si Sze Ya, who were actual humans… Sheng Meng Li (Kapitan Cina of Sungai Ujong and Yap Ah Loy’s boss) and Chung Lai (Yap Ah Loy’s loyal chief commander) respectively. You can also find Yap Ah Loy’s shrine sitting among the gods.
On a personal note – Sheng Meng Li is somewhat similar with Mahsuri from Langkawi in the sense that he bled white blood too before he died… – no, I am not making that up, I got that info from the brochure from the temple itself….
This is the oldest Taoist temple in KL and it is packed with people during Chinese New Year or before major exams when students come here praying for good luck from the God of Academia, Wenchang Dijun, and the people believe, you can get good luck if you crawl under the main altar three times…
You can get your fortune told if you like here in Sin Sze Ya Temple. Normally, all you have to do is gently shake a container filled with kao chim (fortune-telling sticks) until one falls out. Look for the paper slip that corresponds to the number on the fallen stick, and get one of the temple caretakers to help you decipher it for RM1.
Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 17:00
Address – 113A Jalan Tun HS Lee, Kuala Lumpur
13 thoughts on “CHINATOWN/PETALING STREET FOOD AND HERITAGE”
I love checking out food stalls in Chinatown. There are just so many things to sample. However, I always get lost in the maze! I need a local guide. LOL
LikeLiked by 1 person
come we go ronda ronda together….
I agree with Emily! It’s like being a tourist in your own country. BTW I love mua chi !
LikeLiked by 1 person
me too… hehehe
Obviously I haven’t been exploring petaling street as much as I should have! I only know the roasted chestnut stall!
LikeLiked by 1 person
facepalm…. adik…. really…. hahah… let’s go ronda2 together
Nice post Mira! There’s quite a few hidden gems in there. I’ve not really explored that part of KL myself. As you know, when you live here you don’t do that so often.
LikeLiked by 1 person
we tend to take things for granted… hahaha… i know… still so many part of penang and kl yet to be discovered…
All those food stalls look really authentic and have been there for a Long time! I usually visit petaling street at dinner time and I should plan for a visit in the day instead!
Xoxo from Singapore,
LikeLiked by 1 person
yes, you should try to spend a couple of hours here at least exploring it…
cheap foods and affordable fashion in one street, Petaling will be my next favorite! I will add this to my list
LikeLiked by 1 person
yeah… you should… pm me if you come over, we can stroll it together…
Wow! Your sharing here brought my memories back to my school times. I used to attend tuition classes around that area 😉 guess what! The uncle bean soya bean stall, I almost pack my ‘tau foo fa’ from them every time I attended my tuition classes 🙂 cheers, SiennyLovesDrawing