KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 – Once a lively, colourful street with high foot traffic, Petaling Street is almost a ghost town these days.
Where once you had to dodge shoppers and tourists and enthusiastic stall owners trying to sell their so-called "designer" goods, you can now find ample parking at the side of the road. This does not bode well for the many food stalls that pepper the area.
Most of them are family owned with long legacies. You still see them clinging on to their daily routines whether it is baking up kaya rolls or cutting up chee cheong fun. Whatever they can do to earn a living.
Here's a guide on eateries on Petaling Street and the surrounding areas that are still open during this difficult time.
Do take note that sometimes, they may not be open due to certain restrictions; check by contacting them first.
Assam Laksa Stall
Look for this stall located at the entrance to the Madras Lane wet market from Jalan Petaling. Previously run by an old couple, they have retired since they are more than 80 years old.
Their legacy is being carried on by a trusted employee. The assam laksa (RM7 for a small bowl) has a spicy sourness that makes your mouth water. It's served with a large chunk of fish, pineapples, mint leaves and onions. They also serve curry laksa and clear soup noodles. You can order their laksa on the Easi food app for delivery. Just search for Petaling Street Asam Laksa. Usually delivery only starts from 2pm onwards.
Stall in front of Madras Lane wet market, Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur. Open: 11.30am to 6pm. Closed on Tuesday. Tel: 012-3115987.
Sze Ngan Chye
A landmark on the street is the iconic steel trolley that hides treasures like roast duck and the unusual ngap kiok pau which combines duck liver with duck feet. Started by Choong Peng Phooi or "the four-eyed one" hence that nickname, his legacy is now continued by his two camera-shy daughters. They also run their own shop at Kepong but you can still see both of them here every morning.
You can request for the roast duck to be delivered to you provided you pay for the delivery charges. Just call their sister-in-law Annie at 010-2398033 to arrange for delivery from either their stall here or the Kepong shop.
Stall No. 85, Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur. Open: 6am to 2pm. 48, Jalan Metro Perdana Barat 3, Taman Usahawan Kepong, Kuala Lumpur. Tel:03-62411115. Facebook: @szenganchye
Madam Tang Muah Chee
Even before you see the stall, you can hear the recorded voice blaring out the phrase in Cantonese, "Yat lau yat lau, wat luet luet" which refers to her muah chee that tastes good and has a silky smooth texture.
What's interesting is Madam Tang also echoes the same in real life as she sits at her stall waiting for customers. As customers approach her, her face lights up. For RM5, you get gooey muah chee with finely ground peanuts.
Stall No. 75, Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur. Open: 8am to whenever the muah chee finishes. Tel:011-28822268. Facebook: @ChinatownMachiPOPO
Uncle Bean Soy Milk
Rain or shine, you can find this stall at the crossroads of Jalan Petaling and Jalan Hang Lekir. Ng Lee Yam is the third generation owner of this stall he inherited from his grandfather. Visitors to Chinatown often stopped by for the thick soy milk drink or take away his smooth tau fu fah. Regulars even drive through to get their cool fix.
If you want them delivered to you, contact Yooi Kee (below) to arrange for a bundle purchase with their chee cheong fun.
Open: 8am to 6pm. Tel:012-6859000
JALAN HANG LEKIR
This is where you can find the famous Restaurant Kim Lian Kee that is said to be the birthplace of KL-style Hokkien mee. You can order the fried noodles via delivery from their original outlet or various branches scattered around the Klang Valley. One section of the street is dedicated to snacks like traditional biscuits and pastries as well as bak kwa from the various brands. Some shops even barbecue the pork jerky on site too.
Yooi Kee Chee Cheong Fun
Previously inside the corner shop, they now have two stalls along the street. One spot is in front of their old premises which is now occupied by Kim Lian Kee. This is managed by Fong Swee Kim while her daughter Esther Siew runs the stall inside Tang City Food Court further down.
They also offer porridge. Their silky smooth chee cheong fun is highly sought after. It is also very distinct with its red coloured sweet sauce that has a strong taste of fermented bean paste. You can get a small packet for RM4 or a large portion for RM5.
They also do delivery so just WhatsApp Esther at 013-6784788 and she will arrange for delivery once payment is made. The delivery charges are borne by the customer. She can also arrange for the soybean milk and tau fu fah from Uncle Bean to be delivered too. As Esther's husband runs a durian business so you can also purchase durians through her.
Stall in front of Kim Lian Kee, Jalan Hang Lekir, Kuala Lumpur. Open: 6am to 3pm. Closed on Wednesday. Tel:012-3205311
Hon Kee Porridge
This is the place to get raw Chinese carp fish paired with smooth thick porridge. Another favourite is chunky handmade meatballs laced with dried flounder powder. There's also frog porridge or classic pairing of century egg with pork. They also offer chee cheong fun with a choice of red sauce or soy sauce generously topped with sesame seeds. You can order their food via Grab Food, Food Panda or The Other Kitchen (https://app.theother.kitchen/honkee)
93, Jalan Hang Lekir, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 016-6660603. Open: 8am to 2.30pm.
Koon Kee Wantan Mee
Don't miss out on this old school wantan mee that started more than 70 years ago. You can get the noodles delivered to you via Grab. Choose from the signature char siu wantan mee, or topped with braised mushrooms and chicken feet. You also can go for the poached chicken with their bouncy egg noodles. The wantans can also be ordered separately.
95, Jalan Hang Lekir, KL. Tel:03-20786554. Open: 9.30am to 3pm.
Ho Yoke Kee
If you are craving bak chang, this stall sells all kinds of rice dumplings. There's the Cantonese type with mung beans, the darker Hokkien type, the Hakka version with black eye beans and the Nyonya type. Prices start from RM6.50 for the dumplings. They also offer alkaline dumplings with a choice of plain or stuffed with their own made red bean paste.
Stall opposite Koon Kee Wantan Mee, Jalan Hang Lekir, Kuala Lumpur. Tel:016-6957071. Open: 8am to 12pm. Facebook: @何玉记-Ho-Yoke-Kee-101148408195461
LORONG YAP AH LOY
Look for the entrance into this back lane opposite the bus stop in front of Maybank on Jalan Yap Ah Loy. You will find the history of Yap Ah Loy, the Kapitan China who played a hand in developing the city depicted, in a mural here.
This fried noodles stall hidden behind the main thoroughfare is run by the Wong family. You have the senior Wong handling the sauce for the noodles while his son expertly fries up the noodles. Their signature dish is sang har meen or water prawns fried noodles. Other must-eats include their beef noodles. Their Cantonese fried noodles is also a good choice for a simple lunch.
You can call or WhatsApp them from 10am onwards to place your order. There's a minimum order of RM80 for deliveries. They can arrange to send it via Grab or Lalamove at your own cost. The cut-off time for delivery orders is 1.30pm.
No. 5A, Lorong Yap Ah Loy, Kuala Lumpur. Tel:012-3236624, 019-3739135, 012-3216988. Open: 10am to 2.30pm. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sang-Kee-Sang-Har-Noodles-1520700051537760
Madam Wong's Kaya Roll and Kaya Kok stall
The cheerful Madam Wong, 80, has been a regular since she started the stall back in 1974 with her husband. She originally sold eggs opposite Central Market while her husband ran this stall. He had picked up his baking skills when he worked at the famous Lai Cheong coffeeshop that was frequented by many KL-lites in the old days.
Since his death, the items are now made by their son, Mah Keng Wai. The highlight is the fluffy kaya roll. It's not too sweet and filled with their own-made kaya. The rich slow cooked pandan coconut jam is a little lumpy as they use old coconuts that give it more flavour and fragrance.
Pick up a couple of kaya kok too as you get a lovely combination of crispy pastry with that fragrant kaya. The kaya roll is sold whole for RM19 while a slice is available for RM1.60. The kaya kok is available for RM2 each.
Tel: 012-2995222 (Mah Keng Wai) Open: 8am to 2pm. Closed on Sunday.
Look for this stall selling various steamed buns and lor mai kai at this alleyway. The dough for the buns is a little rough as they are handmade but it has a soft texture when eaten steaming hot. There are char siu, tai pao, lotus paste and sang yoke varieties. Prices range from RM2 to RM4. If you wish to get them sent via delivery, you can contact them to arrange provided you pay for the charges.
Lorong Sultan 5, Off Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur. Tel:016-2467122. Open: 11am to 2pm. Closed on Thursday.
Nasi Lemak Ray Power
Operated by Raymond Rao for about 30 years or so, this roadside stall sells nasi lemak and mee goreng. They also cook various daily dishes to pair with rice. Regulars can ask for special items such as their crab rasam.
Their food is also available on Food Panda.
Stall opposite Bee Cheng Hiang, 87, Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur. Open from 8am to 3.30pm.
JALAN TUN H S LEE
Kafe Sin Hoy How
Pop over here to take away their crowd favourites like their Ipoh style curry laksa or dried curry noodles. The curry is rich with coconut milk that makes it incredibly satisfying. Their kaya toast with coffee is also popular with patrons. You can order their food for delivery via The Other Kitchen (https://app.theother.kitchen/sinhoyhow).
7, Jalan Tun H S Lee, Kuala Lumpur. Tel:03-20701914, 017-7065802. Open:8am to 2pm. Closed on Sunday.
Restoran Santa Chapati House
Head here for soft, fluffy chapati fresh from the griddle. It is made from a family recipe. You can pair it with their mutton keema or a deeply delicious chicken varuval. Or ask for it to be slathered with ghee for a satisfying take away. If you wish to get it delivered, their outlet at Pertama Complex is on Food Panda.
11, Jalan Tun H S Lee, Kuala Lumpur. Tel:019-2699771. Open: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday). Closed on Saturday and Sunday. Facebook: @santachapati.hslee
Hong Ngek Restaurant
Started in the 1940s, this restaurant is popular with the office crowd for its old school taste. It serves various dishes such as crab meatballs, herbal chicken, braised pig's trotters and so forth. Even during this time, you can find those who are working in essential services nearby sending a representative to take away their lunch orders. They usually zoom in on their single portion meals like fried noodles or rice paired with say curry pork ribs, pork chop or ginger venison.
I had tried their recommended braised pork yee mee for RM9.50 and this was so incredibly packed with flavour you will slurp down every strand of those noodles.. You also get a generous portion of fall-off-the-bone meaty ribs that makes it a pretty substantial meal. For their sweet and sour pork paired with rice (RM8.50), it's simple comfort with a floury batter coating pork pieces that is delicious with a light tomato sauce paired with sweet tasting crunchy onions and fresh tomatoes.
You can visit the place to do a takeaway but bear in mind, they get busy during lunch time. If you wish to get the food delivered, you can call them to arrange for delivery at your own cost.
50, Jalan Tun H S Lee, Kuala Lumpur. Tel:03-20787852, 019-2220407. Open: 10.30am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10.30am to 3pm (Saturday). Closed on Sunday
Lai Foong Restaurant
The iconic corner coffee shop does a brisk takeaway business especially during lunch time. You have their famous Hainanese style beef noodles with tender beef, flavourful broth paired with pickled vegetables.
There are also various stalls selling char kway teow, fried noodles, chicken rice and wantan mee. The wantan mee has an old school taste with lean char siu and wantans stuffed with pork laced with dried flounder powder. The takeaway for the noodles has two types of packaging. If you're eating on the go, they will give you a box while those dining at home will have their noodles wrapped in brown paper.
If you wish to arrange for delivery, you can WhatsApp Crystal at 017-4582221. The beef noodles can be ordered via The Other Kitchen (https://app.theother.kitchen/laifoong). For their lala noodles, they have expanded and opened up another outlet at 99, Jalan Sultan. This is available for takeaway or delivery. Details to order is found at their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/laifoonglalanoodle/)
138, Jalan Tun H S Lee, Kuala Lumpur. Open: 8am to 4.30pm.