Chinatown and Kwai Chai Hong

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Some of my closest friends decided to play tourists in KL Chinatown during the recent holidays and well… as to be expected or is it a surprise, almost all of them (we are all staying in Klang Valley – KL and Selangor) confessed to not being here in ages…

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So I played tourist guide and brought them on a little tour down Chinatown stopping at “Lost in Chinatown” and the famous hawker stalls of Jalan Petaling – the lo han kuo / air mata kucing stall, the soya bean milk/ tau fu fah stall, which we indulged and believe me it was heavenly on a sweltering day… We were just disappointed at missing the old auntie selling mua chee nearby too, since she was not there…

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And then they said.. “OK, let’s go” … And I turned around and said “No, no, no… I am the tour guide and I am bringing you around”

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So I brought them all to my favorite new place via a dirty (probably cockroach and rat infested alley) and which they almost shuddered and looked at me dubiously…

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“Come along”, I cheerfully told them.. I promise you won’t regret it…

And taaa daaa… We were standing in front of a yellow and blue or is it turquoise? Teal building… And they said.. “Nice” ..  And whipped out their phones and started snapping some pics…

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Then I ushered them into the side alley across a red wooden bridge.. And they perked up… More photos…

I brought my buddies here to Kwai Chai Hong, the not so secret part of Chinatown…

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I remember my first time here gingerly asking the uncle selling vegetarian Chee Cheong Fun where was it.. Since I saw many lovely pictures of it in my IG and have not been there yet, and he pointed to just barely a few metres away and I felt like a dumb ass.. Lol

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Kwai Chai Hong is a place where lovingly-restored pre-war buildings in the history-rich lane was recently completed and of course, is the latest tourist hotspot….

The hidden entrance to Kwai Chai Hong is via the dirty alley with food stalls from Jalan Sultan… Or the cleaner alley way where you can find an elderly man selling chee cheong fun.. Not too far from where Ali, Muthu and Ah Hock at Chinatown is located..

It’s pretty close to the Pasar Seni MRT and LRT stations…

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Just for your info… Lorong Panggung was known or is still known to the Chinese people as Kwai Chai Hong… Which translates quite literally as “Ghost Lane” or “Little Demon Alley.”

It is said to have gotten the name from some Chinese migrant workers who settled and referred to the cheeky kiddies running around the area making noises as “kwai chai” (ghost children or little demon)…

But then again… Kwai Chai Hong’s used to have an unsavoury past with gambling, drug addicts, drunkards and prostitutions, and it is said that Lorong Panggung was the hideout of the “Dragon Tiger Clan” whose boss would call his members “Little Ghosts.” So there you have it….

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So my friends and I took pics at the red bridge that leads into another secret alley; it is said that the bridge and the decorations are made of reclaimed wood salvaged from the shoplots during restoration work… I am soooo in love with these old new thingie.. You can find that in Kong Heng in Ipoh also…

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Inside the hidden alley, you will find beautiful murals depicting the daily activities of early Chinese settlers in the area during the 1960s…

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And it is also here you can find possibly what is the oldest lamp post in KL or even Malaysia…  believed to be the only one surviving from the first set of lampposts installed in Kuala Lumpur when electricity arrived in the early 1900s, as well as displays of the original wooden windows that are no longer fit for use…

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We spotted some QR codes on the walls next to the murals.. But well, you can scan these codes for an interactive and immersive experience. The people behind Kwai Chai Hong got professional voice artists who had recorded drama shows for radio to do the voice clips for each mural… So you can feel how it is like in the past…

Whatever it is.. Kwai Chai Hong is an interesting and instagrammable place to visit if you are in KL… Whether you are local or a tourist….

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We ended our trip wanting with a trip to Merchant Lane cafe.. But it was obviously not feasible as there was a long line.  So we headed to the other old  new cafe.. Mingle cafe where we had some desserts and drinks before calling it a day…

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Mingle is another interesting cafe.. It looks shabby and old but it has been restored to look charming at the same time.. The food is pretty good though a little pricey.. But we love some of the dishes names in the menu…  Hahaha

(lamp post picture from @rethdayat)

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