For many people living in the Bukit Bintang area, life without Imbi Market on Jalan Melati is inconceivable. The wet market, home to a mammoth offering of fresh produce and local food, had to relocate again after 30 years to make way for the mega Tun Razak Exchange project (60 years ago, the market occupied the space where Fahrenheit 88 is located currently). More than 250 vendors were expected to shift since April 22 to the Integrated Commercial Complex (ICC), which accommodates up to 293 stalls for market traders, a food court with 83 lots, along with 576 parking bays for cars and 92 for motorcycles. The complex will soon introduce a banquet hall that can fit at least 1,000 people, as well as a multi-purpose hall equipped with badminton, volleyball and basketball courts.
We’re happy to report that Ah Weng Koh Hainan Tea is up and running, and the owners have taken up a separate shoplot on their own, away from the Medan Selera that’s just next door. The kopitiam is an institution that has inspired deep loyalties: Regular customers – even before the shop was officially launched – are seen lapping up toasts, soft-boiled eggs and Hainan tea on a riotous morning. Some of the famous food stalls from Imbi have also joined Ah Weng Koh’s little corner, including Sam Kee (Ah Joe) wantan mee, Sisters Crispy Popiah, pork noodles, curry noodles and the famous ginger chicken noodle (giong yong watt kai min).
We didn’t spot Ah Fook Chee yong tau foo during our visit at first, which resulted in a mild panic attack. But a long queue inside the Medan Selera immediately gave the stall’s location away. There were some familiar faces in the food court too: Hian Kee char kuey teow, Big Eye Hainan Tea (dai ngan hoi nam cha), ginger wine mee and the famous Nyonya kuih stall.
The Medan Selera is spacious and brightly-lit but the place isn’t very well ventilated at the moment. However, ordering food is now much easier – you only need to tell the stall your table number and they will bring the food to you. (Note: We also spotted a second Sisters Crispy Popiah stall inside the Medan Selera. There’s an unspoken rule that food from the Medan Selera cannot exit the food court. Perhaps this explains the additional popiah stall that attracts more crowds at Ah Weng Koh.) In case you’re wondering, there’s a halal section too.
A floor down from the food court is the wet market, now labelled and segregated orderly into sections such as fruits, vegetables, meats and dry goods. The clothes section is parked right next to the escalator, and you’ll also find vendors selling Chinese medicinal herbs and knick-knacks around the corner. Again, the wet market looks cleaner, and the aisles much wider. The wet market is only 50 percent occupied at the moment, and more vendors are expected to set up shop in the coming weeks.
The ICC building looks unfinished from the outside, but most of the facilities are fully operational. There’s ample parking space on the first floor – just take note that the entrance to the parking is via Jalan Seladang, where the RHB Bank is.
ICC Pudu is located on Jalan 1/77c, KL. Also follow Ah Weng Koh at www.facebook.com/AhWengKohHainanTea.