Malaysian (Street) Food – Kuala Lumpur

He’s baaaaaack…

And he’s got loads to share! If you’ve been to this blog before, you know that before leaving for Malaysia I compiled a KL street food bucket list. I’m happy to report that I was able to tick off every item on the list (with a few geographical changes along the way)… and more!

Let’s roll!

On our first day in KL Mrs Pomegranate and I hit Chinatown. I saw an endless array of lanterns, the biggest steam baskets I’ve ever witnessed and loads of crappy trinkets and knock-off designer stuff, which admittedly add to the charm of Jalan Petaling somehow. I also pulled off a bucket list combo in Chinatown:

1. Air mata kucing (aka “cat tears”)

AMK is an iced juice made from wintermelon, dried longan, luo hon guo (stevia’s little brother) and sugar. It’s blandishly sweet (because of all the ice, presumably), but lovely and very refreshing nonetheless. I went back for seconds on our last day in KL. 😉

2. Hokkien Mie @ Kim Lian Kee

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These were amazing. Thick noodles, yummy prawns and squid and a sneaky surprise treat in the form of crunchy pork fat. Definitely not the leanest of dishes, but what a great start to KL food! Mmmm!

Next, on to Brickfields aka Little India! On our second day in KL, we had lunch at Chat Masala, where we ordered the thali set. Pretty sure they had some fun watching us tackle our thali without cutlery (When in Rome…), but that’s okay.

3. Chat Masala’s thali set

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To this day, we have no idea what that cup in the top left corner was all about (Indian cuisine novices here. We know dhal, curries and a few desserts but we never go out for Indian, to be honest). I drank some and wasn’t too sure whether I was supposed to afterwards. It tastes really sour, to the point it made me think you were supposed to wash your fingers in it or something. Mrs Pomegranate did just that, only to discover her fingers were all yellow (turmeric, I imagine). Thank heavens no one was watching at that point! 😀 If anyone knows what the deal is, please, please, please let us know!

4. Vadas

I had two types of vada in Brickfields. The one on the left was actually pretty bland (I’m guessing you should eat this with a bit of chutney on the side) but had a lovely mellowy texture. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. The one on the right (a type of chana dhal vada, I think) was horrible. Dry as a bone on the inside! The low point of KL street food, as far as I’m concerned.

As for Chen Chen’s (Pudu), we went there twice, without every getting to sample his goose or duck. The first time round we went to Pudu for dinner, only to discover Chen Chen’s closes at 6 pm. My bad. :-p

On our last day in KL, we made sure we got there a bit earlier (4.30), by which time they’d sold out… 😦 I had my heart set on some duck, so we went to one of Chen Chen’s competitors and helped him get rid of his final pieces of duck. So, for future reference, KL visitors: get there at lunchtime!

5. Siew Ngap Fai’s bbq duck

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Yum!

After our first failed attempt at Chen Chen’s we headed back to Bukit Bintang’s famous food street Jalan Alor, where I sampled one of Malaysia’s most popular dishes, bak kut teh.

6. Bak Kut Teh

Bak kut teh, served in a claypot in most places, is a pork broth soup with chunks of tender pork ribs (and fat), along with a few veggies and wolfberries (goji berries). I’ve since made my own cheat’s version of bak kut teh at home and it tasted great. Recipe’s coming soon!

7. Cendol/Chendol/Chendul

You’ll find a variety of spellings when it comes to this dessert with a coconut milk base, not to mention its green rice flour jelly strands.

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Yes, those are red kidney beans. In a dessert. It was OK and very refreshing because of the shaved ice in there, but I wouldn’t order it again, unlike that other famous dessert ABC (stay tuned for the Penang food tour post)!

8. Ikan pari & sotong bakar

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We visited Kampung Baru on our last morning in KL (be sure to visit the wet market), but got there a little too early for us to have lunch. We did some last-minute shopping at the Pasar Seni (Central market), where we paid a visit to the food court on the first ground. I had ikan pari & sotong bakar: fish, chilli and squid steamed in a parcel with a delicious sambal sauce.

9. Paru-paru goreng

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I didn’t see paru-paru goreng (fried beef lung) listed anywhere except for two places: at a small food court (for the life of me I can’t remember which one, though) in Penang and… surprise, surprise, at KLIA International Airport, right before we got on the plane back home! I was thrilled to bits, because it tasted magnificent. The lung came with a sweet and spicy sauce that was to die for. Highly recommended as far as airport fare goes!

10. Fuego @ Troika Sky Dining

Not exactly street food at this South-American tapas restaurant, but boy, are you in for a treat if you ever decide to visit this place. I didn’t take any photographs of the food here, but the view and cocktails alone should make you want to visit. We booked a 6.30 table, which meant we got to enjoy the Petronas Twin Towers by sunset and all lit-up at night:

We tried the salted cod roe croquettes, smoked snails, stuffed jalapeños and salt baked foie gras before finishing with a great platter of fall-off-the-bone braised beef back ribs (with a GLORIOUS orange and honey glaze) and pressed potato + spinach hashbrown.

Dinner at Fuego doesn’t come cheap, especially when compared to the average food cost in Malaysia, but it’s worth every ringgit. Great service, great setting and most of all, great food.

This is it for Kuala Lumpur, folks! Next up: Cameron Highlands, Ipoh, Belum & the Perhentians, before concluding with the place to be for great food in Malaysia: Penang! Stay tuned!

As always, feel free to share your thoughts/questions/comments!

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