You’re not exploring Kuala Lumpur until you get a taste of the local food heritage. From traditional hawker food to street snacks that have lasted generations, many of these can be found in Petaling Street, also known as Chinatown.
Here are 9 must-eat street food in Petaling Street you can enjoy in one day, some which are well known and others that only locals know about!
1. Kong Har Siu Hou Jou
Must Try: Siu Hou Jou, Yau Char Kueh, Red Bean Bun
As you stroll around Chinatown, you will come across this small pastry stall selling all kinds of Chinese buns. Kong Har Siu Hou Jou ( 江夏笑口棗 ) specialises in Guang Xi pastry and has been in operation since 1953.
Their signature is none other than the Siu Hou Jou, which roughly translates as “Smiley-Mouthed Bun”, as it somewhat resembles a smiley face According to the owner, this snack was much more popular in Hong Kong back in the 80s. The texture itself is quite hard, and tastes much better when you let is soak and soften in hot coffee, just the way locals do it.
At the back of the stall, you can see Yau Char Kueh freshly made and deep-fried to perfection. There are also other local pastries such as the red bean bun and cookies in all shapes and sizes. During Chinese New Year, festive cookies would be on display.
Kong Har Siu Hou Jou
Address: 85, Jalan Hang Lekir, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
2. Back Alley Wan Tan Mee & Hakka Mee (unnamed, off Jalan Sultan)
Must Try: Wan Tan Mee, Hakka Mee with Curry
This is a hidden stall in Petaling Street only Kuala Lumpur natives would know. Tucked in a backalley, there is no name and no address, but this is one stall worth visiting for arguably best Wan Tan Mee in Petaling Street.
While the setting is low-key and simple, the dishes are old-school, traditional and tasty. Let’s just say we have been back here a few times for a good reason!
If you’re here for a bite, go for the classic Wan Tan Mee (RM9) and Curry Hakka Mee (RM6), which comes in both soup and dry version.
Back Alley Wan Tan Mee & Hakka Mee
Address: Off Jalan Sultan, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
3. Madam Tang Muah Chee Queen
Must Try: Muah Chee
Madam Tang is no stranger to Petaling Street, especially when you hear her loudspeaker blasting from afar. Muah Chee is made from glutinous rice balls that are steamed and chopped into small chunks; Madam Tang’s version is chopped into larger chunks than typical stalls and generously sprinkled with nuts.
What makes it so special is that it isn’t just limited to one flavour. When we were there, there were 6 local flavours to choose from: original, black sesame, lychee, mango, ribena and pandan. These would rotate daily, so you can expect other flavours like almond, matcha, lemon and dragon fruit to on different days.
These chewy chunks of tradition make a good snack when you have the munchies during your Petaling Street exploration. We suggest getting the mixed pack with all the flavours if you can’t decide which to pick. Each pack costs RM5.
Madam Tang Muah Chee Queen
Address: 42, Jalan Hang Lekir, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: 7.30am – 6.00pm
4. Hon Kee Porridge
Must Try: Raw Fish Porridge
Hon Kee Porridge is a hawker stall that has been in operation since 1949, and is known for serving – you guessed it – porridge. While they have many types of Cantonese porridge and chee cheong fun, their bestseller is the Fresh Raw Fish Porridge (RM6.50). Other local flavours you can try include chicken, fried pork innards or frog.
The bowl of smooth, piping hot porridge comes with a plate of fish sashimi. All you have to do is pop the fish slices into the bowl and mix it thoroughly. We waited for a minute before tucking in, but you can eat it immediately if you prefer.
Since the fish is cooked on the spot, it tastes fresh and adds another dimension into the already aromatic stew. Generations of KL-ites have enjoyed this belly-warming comfort food – and we can see why.
Hon Kee Porridge
Address: 93, Jalan Hang Lekir, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: 4.00am – 2.30pm
5. Kim Lian Kee
Must Try: Chee Cheong Fun
There is something familiar and comforting about having Chee Cheong Fun for breakfast or tea. That’s what makes Kim Lian Kee (金莲记) so popular among locals. Don’t be fooled by this simple dish! Tucked at the corner of the road, this veteran stall in Petaling Street can be sold out by afternoon.
Served with a flavourful blend of sweet and spicy sauce, the silky rice rolls have a slightly springy bite which tastes even better when enhanced with toasted sesame seeds.
Kim Lian Kee serves Chee Cheong Fun with no frills. The Cantonese-style dish is served without additional toppings. It is light, tasty, and you can continue on your food journey afterwards!
Kim Lian Kee
Address: 51, 49, Jalan Petaling, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: 7.00am – 4.30pm (Closed on Wednesdays)
6. Petaling Street Air Mata Kucing
Must Try: Air Mata Kucing (Longan Drink)
Nothing tastes better in the Malaysian heat than a sweet, ice-cold Air Mata Kucing drink! This delightful drink from longan, luo hon guo and winter melon, then sweetened with rock sugar.
You won’t be able to miss this stall when you explore Petaling Street as it is right at the heart of the buzz. Served either hot or cold (with the cold version being the popular choice), each cup of Air Mata Kucing costs RM2.
Petaling Street Air Mata Kucing
Address: 51, 49, Jalan Petaling, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: 10.00am – 10.00pm
7. Kim Soya Bean
Must Try: Soya Bean, Tau Fu Fah (Tofu Dessert)
Right opposite the Air Mata Kucing stall, there is yet another popular drinks stall called Kim Soy Bean (义钦豆腐花). Run by the second generation, it is famous for its homemade soya bean and tau fu fah, both of which are made fresh daily.
The tau fu fah has a light ginger flavour with silky smooth texture, while the soya bean drink is a popular thirst quencher! Each cup of soya bean drink costs around RM1.60, and the bottled ones are RM2.50
Kim Soya Bean
Address: 49, Jalan Petaling, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: 11.00am – 10.00pm
8. Shin Kee Beef Noodles
Must Try: Beef Ball Noodles, Beef Slice Noodles
There are a number of beef noodle stalls in town. One of the oldest establishments is Shin Kee (新记牛肉粉), which has been serving mouthwatering beef noodles for around 60 years. There is always a crowd at the restaurant but you can share a table with strangers to have your fill!
They serve 3 kinds of noodles: Fresh Beef Noodles (which uses fresh beef slices), Beef Ball Noodles (the signature dish of this restaurant), and Beef Mix Noodles (which has a bit of everything).
For us, the Beef Ball Noodles has a stronger and distinct aroma, which is better for people who prefer their food with more flavour. If you like something lighter with the subtle taste of Vietnamese pho, we suggest going for the Fresh Beef Noodles.
Address: 7a, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: 10.30am – 7.00pm (Closed on Wednesdays)
9. Madras Lane Curry Laksa
Must Try: Curry Laksa
Tucked in the back alley of Petaling Street, this not-so-hidden secret has been ranked No.2 on Lonely Planet’s 2018 Ultimate Eatlist as one of the world’s best 500 eating experiences.
Madras Lane Curry Laksa serves this spicy noodles dish piping hot with coconut milk curry broth, and topped with beancurd puffs, long beans and cockles. The curry laksa with chicken costs RM10, but just a taste of the flavourful broth and you’ll know why it’s worth it!
The curry also comes with sambal and lime, for those who want an extra kick.
Madras Lane Curry Laksa
Address: 2, Jalan 2, Kampung Cheras Baru, 56100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3°08’37. 101°41’50.
Opening Hours: 8.00am – 2.00pm
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