Kuala Lumpur is all about eating. But the best eating isn’t in air-conditioned restaurants or expensive hotels; the best eating is in Jalan Alor. Formerly a district of ill repute, it’s come a long way since its days as KL’s foremost redlight district. Streets once filled with scantily clad women are now crowded with stalls and kiosks all catering to the gastronomical passions of its patrons.
It can be quite an overwhelming experience for first timers—with so many stalls to choose from, how do you make a selection? So do some research before you head down, or join one of the numerous foody tours that have sprung up. Jalan Alor is a short walk away from the shopping paradise of Bukit Bintang—or Bintang Walk—so it’s a great place to refuel before you get back to your retail therapy.
Trent, our intrepid eater, was the man tasked with walking down the street of delicious eats. His mission was to try as many of the famous food stuffs as possible without his stomach exploding.
Both sides of Jalan Alor are lined by endless rows of hawker stalls and outdoor restaurants mostly selling local food with a Chinese slant. You can everything from fresh fruit—durians are a specialty—to barbequed meats, hanging ducks, noodles, satay, rendang, laksa and any other delicious food peculiar to the region.
Just like Trent, Jalan Alor comes alive at night, and transforms from a sleepy suburban street to the heaving heart of hawker food in Malaysia. Jalan Alor was right up Trent’s alley. He was excited to get off the beaten path—“I haven’t seen a white person for 30 minutes. This is great!”—and get a truly local experience.
Despite the obvious foody appeal Jalan Alor possesses, in the past tourists rarely ventured there. But with its proximity to Bintang Walk, this is starting to change.
Trent, armed with a list of must try dishes, began his night with a dish that transcends cultures and borders—chicken wings. Wong Ah Wah Restaurant is the home of these flame grilled beauties, and their wings are famous across KL. The wings are grilled over charcoal leaving them with a perfect layer of char on the outside and keeping the flesh beneath super juicy. “Oh my God! Oh my God!” Trent exclaimed. Over and over again. Literally after every bite. I’m telling you, it went on for a while.
Next up was some fried carrot cake—chai tow kway—from a tiny stall run by an old lady. Carrot—really radish—cake is made by steaming rice flour, water, and shredded white daikon and then stir-frying the “cake” with eggs, preserved radish, salt and other spices. “This is super soft and pillowy,” Trent enthused, “Can we do this one again too? I really like how the bean sprouts add some crunch and freshness.” Such a wordsmith our Trent.
And on a sticky KL night, what better way to finish off your edible wanderings than with ice-cream.
Trent chose Sangkaya, a local ice creamery that uses coconut milk as its base ingredient and serves it’s delicious ice cream in a coconut shell. “It’s like I’m on the beach! Or a desert island.” More like a dessert island! I’ll see myself out.
Trent tried the coconut, teh tarik, teh ijo and white coffee flavours—“I’ll need the caffeine to get home”—and was so enthused he ate every last drop. “Absolute winner. 10/10 would coconut ice cream again.” Can’t get a much better endorsement thatn that!