The night market is not the only thing you’d see on Petaling Street, or more popularly known as the Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur. Like other Chinatowns around the world (check Manila Chinatown), this street and the area surrounding it is also home to some of the best food in the Malaysian capital. And some of these are only available in the daytime.
Petaling Street Sign
Here’s a quick guide to the best treats:
1. Sweet Potato Balls
As its name suggests, these golden brown balls are made from sweet potatoes, sugar, and rice flour. Best eaten when freshly fried. RM 4 for 10 pieces; stall is open from 8 AM to 3 PM.
2. Smiling Donuts
Unlike the usual donuts with a hole in the middle, these donuts have a crack in the middle that gives it its “smiling” appearance. Available at the Kong Har Siu Hou Jou stall for RM 5, alongside other Chinese fried pastries. Open from 6 AM to 9 PM.
This is not your usual Japanese-style mochi with filling, but just as good. Closer to the Filipino treat called palitaw, this treat made out of glutinous rice comes in different fruity flavors.
4. Cendol and Limau Drinks
After a long day of walking around in the sun, cool down with one of these drinks. Limau (RM 2.20) is basically lime juice with a couple of plums thrown in for extra flavor. Meanwhile, cendol (RM 3) is a sweet ice concoctin composed of green-colored rice flour jelly, coconut milk, and palm sugar. Located at the south entrance of Madras Lane, open from 7:30 AM to 3 PM.
5. Lok Lok
To be exact, lok lok is not really a kind of food. Rather, it refers to the open-air carts offering various food on sticks. Choose what you want—from vegetables to meat—then have them boiled, grilled, or fried. One good lok lok is Fat Brother on Jalan Sultan, with a stick ranging from RM 1 to RM 15. Open from 5 PM to 3 AM.
Madras Lane Entrance Sign
6. Roast Pork
Chinatown is one of the few places in the capital where you can easily buy pork. And of course, the Chinese do it well. So don’t miss the crispy roast pork from Kok Lai Har, located in one of the alleyways off the main stretch of Petaling Street. RM 6 per serving, open from 5 AM to 3 PM.
7. Pork Buns
Speaking of pork, another must-try are the steamed pork buns from Tuck Kee Dimsum. However, the stall selling these for RM 1.50 is easy to miss—it doesn’t have a sign. To find it, just look out for the alleyway beside Coffee Amo/Petaling Art House. Stall is open from 12:30 PM to 3 PM and closed on Thursdays; be here on time because these buns quickly run out.
Apom Balik via Flickr Eldredsawk
8. Apom-Balik or Malaysian Pancakes
For a quick snack, try these pancakes, which only cost RM 1. Closer in form to a crepe, these are folded in two and have a crunchy peanut filling. Available at Hon’s Malaysian Pancake stall, open from 12 to 10 PM.
To help you find the location of these food stalls, here’s a map to Petaling Street made by the participants of the ASEAN Youth Volunteer Program this August 2014. This map, in turn, is based on the Petaling Street Gourmet Hunt Map of Kaki Jelajah Warisan, a volunteer group advocating for the preservation of Chinatown’s heritage.
Petaling Street Map: