What was once a modest chicken wing stall 30 years ago has transformed into a full-fledged restaurant on KL’s busiest food street. Indisputably Jalan Alor’s pride and joy, the five-lot restaurant pulls in both locals and tourists for its famed wings as well as an extensive range of dai chow dishes. Whether you dine outside with a packet of tissues to wipe your brow, or indoors with the luxury of tablecloths and air conditioning, it’s not difficult to see why this landmark restaurant has merrily filled so many stomachs in its tenure.
Chicken wings, RM3 per piece
You won’t have truly experienced Jalan Alor without tearing into a Wong Ah Wah wing or two. Sticky, sweet and wonderfully charred, these chooks are prevalently stamped as KL’s best. They’re marinated in a blend of spices, seasoning, soy sauce and ginger before they’re hung on a grill and liberally brushed with more marinade till they’re shiny. The result is a crisp, near-blackened surface that protects the soft, juicy flesh within.
Kangkung belacan, RM11
Don’t be fooled; this vegetable dish won’t fulfil your vitamin quota. Kangkung is stir fried in a pungent blend of dried shrimp till piping hot, oily and impossibly fiery.
Hokkien mee, RM8.50
The thick noodles are fried in lard and glossed with dark soy sauce – a no-fuss version of one of KL’s favourite suppertime dishes.
Salted egg sotong, RM15
Slimy, rich and deeply eggy, this is the kind of side you’ll compromise your diet for. Trust us, you won’t want to be shy about reaching for that last piece.
Lala soup, RM15
Crowned upon a burner, this silver bowl of clam soup is gingery and oniony with a mild piquancy from Chinese rice wine.
Butter prawns, RM25
The toasted flecks of desiccated coconut that coat the prawns aren’t the crispy kind, but fried in butter till they’re claggy and greasy – all the better to taste the butter.
This corner stall at the start of Jalan Alor is heavily shadowed by the flashy restaurants in its company, but you just might be rewarded if you give it some attention. While the assam laksa is half decent, the stall’s namesake curry mee is far more worthy – intensely thick, spicy and aromatic broth is carried by shredded chicken, cockles and square sponges of tau fu pok. If you add the accompanying chilli paste, prepare to accidentally blurt out an onslaught of profanities.
What’s better than a cruller? A twin cruller, of course. The old husband-and-wife duo manning this stall on Jalan Alor have been plying their trade since 1984, churning out yao char kuey so crunchy, airy and greasy you’ll be pining for a bowl of steaming congee to go with it. Customers buy the crullers in bulk (20 to 30 pieces in one go) but you can settle for the equally exceptional ham chin peng (five-spice doughnuts), ngau lay so (sweet Chinese doughnut), mah kiok (butterfly buns) while waiting for the yao char kuey to be fried. To avoid disappointment, go before 7pm or you’ll be cruelly denied a cruller.
Diagonally opposite KFC (012 667 0394). Mon–Sat, 3pm–8pm. RM1 per piece.
In the months that have culminated in Sangkaya’s early success, cult followers exposed this Jalan Alor ‘secret shack’ via social media. We’ve tried it a number of times, and we can safely conclude that it’s well worth the buzz. Made purely from coconut milk, this dairy-and egg-free ice cream is reminiscent of Bangkok’s streetside dessert, with added texture from toasted coconut flakes.
RM7.90 for four mini scoops
Huang jiu (yellow rice wine) is always added to chicken soup to help postnatal mothers regain their energy. The Yong family took the Chinese wine up a notch with a noodle dish that has lined the bellies of KLites for decades. Buried under a cache of ingredients such as chicken, ginger slices, wood ear fungus and chopped Chinese celery, the parboiled vermicelli achieves a rich depth of flavour from a fastidious simmering of rice wine and chicken broth that’s as thick as gravy. Just when you think the dish verges on being healthy, a fried egg with crispy, frilly edges crowns this belly-warming, alcoholic treat.
The couple behind Hong Kee stall have been selling pork noodles on Jalan Alor for 30 years now, though their business started further up the street. Even though the name proclaims its Penang origin, the noodles aren’t that different from KL’s version. Slurp the porky soup further flavoured by pork innards, meatballs and minced meat while you soak in the bustling atmosphere at this tourist hotspot.
From RM5.50 per bowl
This Szechuan restaurant has conjured up a fine way to use up those knobbly chicken bits that usually get chucked out. Knuckles and splintery bony bits are fried until they’re crispy and tossed in what seems like hundreds of dried chillies; the result is a dry, fragrant, blisteringly hot snack that’s best paired with a chilled beer.