Whilst the hawker food stalls at Kuala Lumpur's Jalan Alor cater very much to the tourists and foreign visitors, local KL-lites make a beeline for Wai Sek Kai, a nickname given to the hawker food stalls which open from 6pm each evening at Jalan Sayur, off the ever-busy Jalan Pudu.
A whole selection of local eats - too much to savour all in one evening - can be found from the stalls lining both sides of Jalan Sayur. Among the notables are the Hakka noodles from Chun Kee (80-plus years of operation & counting), fried "chai tau kway" (radish cakes, fried with beansprouts, lard, eggs and preserved radish), KL-style curried noodles, "tong sui" (traditional Cantonese desserts), "lok-lok" (a local Chinese fondue), "chu chap choke" (Cantonese rice congee with pig's offal) and an absurdly popular fried chicken stall where the best-seller are, get this, deep-fried battered chicken breast *bones*!
There's also a rojak stall which sells the type of rojak which one finds in Singapore (e.g. Whampoa food centre on Balestier Road): toasted cuttlefish and tofu puffs, covered with slivered cucumbers and jicama, and slathered with dark rojak shrimp paste. It's perhaps the *only* place in KL where one can find this type of rojak.
This pic taken at around 6pm when most stalls are just opening up, and the dinner crowds have yet to arrive. It is the *best* time to come, actually.
Hakka noodles differ from their Cantonese counterpart (e.g. wanton noodles) in that soysauce or oyster sauce are not used in the dressing. The egg noodles are tossed in onion-scented pork lard. These are served with minced pork topping, and garnished with BBQ pork ("char-siew"), chopped scallions and blanched "choy sum" greens.
Accompanying the Hakka noodles would be a small bowl of clear consomme with pork-filled wanton dumplings. Hakka tastes tend to be blander than Cantonese or Hokkien ones, but there are condiments (light soysauce & pepper) provided on the tables.
The sign above mentioned Dapu ("Tai Bu"), a Hakka settlement in Meizhou County in Guangdong province, China, where the family who runs this stall descended from. They'd been operating here for over 80 years now.
Chun Kee will be the first stall you encounter when you enter Wai Sek Kai from Jalan Pudu.
These crisp-fried disks, studded with shell-on shrimps, were absolutely delicious. Served with a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce.
One of my all-time fave eats - Cantonese rice congee has a smooth, almost-gluey consistency and subtly delicious flavour which differentiate it from the grainy Teochew and blander Hokkien renditions.
The version here has the obligatory roasted pig's intestines (to-die for!), soft-boiled intestines, pig's liver, kidney and slivers of tender, marinated pork. Crisp-fried rice vermicelli topping provides an additional textural dimension, and chopped green scallions gave a slight astringent bite. Add a generous dash of white pepper and some light soysauce - it's the perfect meal-in-a-bowl.
This used to be one of the mainstay Cantonese staple hawker foods, but surprisingly difficult to find even in this largely-Cantonese city these days.
One thing to note - seating is *not* exactly free-for-all: certain tables are allocated to each stall and, unless, you patronise that stall, you can't occupy the tables in "its area". Do check with the respective stalls. But come early, and you won't have a problem getting a seat.
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