Whether it's street food from the trunk of a motorbike or seared foie gras in the skies of KL, here's a list of must-eats.
Behind our old Istana Negara sits a stretch of ikan bakar stalls, but it’s Kedai Kat Jat (commonly known as Gerai No. 3) that stands out. The man at the grill may be the silent type but his perfectly cooked, banana leaf-wrapped seafood does all the talking. The freshness of the fish hits you first; the spicy marinade complements but doesn’t take away from the true taste of the fish. Have it with sambal belacan and wash the spiciness down with air kelapa.
Essentially coconut gelato coupled with chilli sprinkles, peanuts and a dusting of anchovies, this gelato bears an uncanny resemblance to the real thing, but in a creamy and savoury artisanal dessert package. This much fabled nasi lemak flavour, along with other local-centric alterations like kopi and toast, is only available periodically, so keep tabs on their Facebook page for updates.
Offering the tastiest barbecued chicken wings in town, Wong Ah Wah headlines the plethora of Chinese restaurants along Jalan Alor. Formerly a measly little stall, the always crowded eatery is now an integral part of KL’s busiest food haven. Most of the stalls on this street operate until the wee hours of the morning, making Jalan Alor a popular destination for Changkat party-goers.
Hakka noodles are hard to find in KL, and Toast & Roast does them best – springy egg noodles tossed in glistening lard and topped with minced pork, crunchy deep-fried fish skin and sliced spring onions. It may look unimpressive but the crunch of the fish skin against the savoury slick of the noodles is a combination that has to be tried to be believed. If you’re still hungry, add on a plate of char siew or pork dumplings.
The chap fan counter overflows with at least 50 vegetarian standards such as stuffed tau fu pok, vegetable curry and ‘chicken’ drumsticks fashioned from fried beancurd skin. There are also stalls hawking wantan mee, curry mee and red bean pancakes. The temple is very serious about their food: No white sugar, preservatives or MSG. Don’t miss the excellent lei cha every Friday.
Honey-glazed char siew is one of KL’s most alluring street food tempts. Some of the most intensely charred pork can be found at Meng Kee. The pork here is alarmingly sweet and yields a crunchy exterior, pairing nicely with the sticky rice. Take note that the stall sign is misspelled Ming Kee, so don’t disregard it too quickly.
Ngau Kee has been a KL lunch and supper food fixture for over four decades, making it one of the oldest beef ball noodle shops in town. All you need to know about the many noodle alternations (beef ball only, mixed beef, beef innards, soup or dry) is listed on the huge yellow signboard, with pictures and prices to boot. Ngau Kee’s signature thin, springy noodles and tender beef cubes will remain a culinary favourite for years to come.
Bak kut teh gained its full name from Lee Boon ‘Teh’ (owner of Seng Huat) who unwittingly conferred his name on the dish. The third-generation owner, John, now serves two versions of bak kut teh – the original meat-bones only in the morning and the claypot style with intestines, maw, mushroom and tofu puffs at night. We love the original one better – the herby pork rib is hacked into large chunks of flavourful, tender meat.