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food blog: chinatown KL

jalan petaling, kuala lumpur

For the amount of times I’ve been to Kuala Lumpur my insider food knowledge is embarrassingly limited. Being predisposed to hanging around malls and hotels, most of my eating experience is gathered from food halls and complimentary breakfasts.

Which, I guess, still qualifies me to let you down gently if you had planned a stay in the capital that involved having bacon served to you at any time, since non-halal meats aren’t permissible by Muslim law. Turkey ‘bacon’, beef sausages and other heinous food items are offered as substitutes but if you’re anything like me, the mere existence of such things is insulting.

The last time I visited Malaysia, I was extremely poor. Staying in a hostel around Chinatown made it pretty easy to get cheap food, however, and my first stop at around 1am (thanks, budget airline) was an all-night Indian place – what you call a Mamak stall.

The eatery I hit up first was exactly opposite the bus terminal, on the same side as the fancy Jalan Petaling gate. There’s a 24-hour McDonald’s a few doors down from it and a 7-Eleven next door and you should eschew both in favour of some Nasi Kandar (a dish of steamed rice, curry and some sides). This particular Nasi Kandar involved fried chicken and fresh roti canai and came in at 6 ringgit. I don’t think I was ripped off and I was completely stuffed for 12 hours. Actually, the best meals I’ve had in Malaysia have been Indian-derived.

Also eaten in KL: boiled Cantonese-style chicken and duck from a street vendor (6MYR); Indomie Goreng instant noodles from the supermarket (less than 1MYR); a few cups of kopi – condensed milk coffee (1MYR each); Ribena juice and some pastries from a bakery (The Bread Shop? Bread Story?) in KL Sentral.

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