Nov 13, 2013

Eating My Way Through KL & Penang (Part 1)

One fine night in October, I packed my bags and took the night train up to KL & Penang. Why? Because I needed to get out of Singapore to see another country. Some place that’s not as spit-clean-polished as the Little Red Dot.

So Kuala Lumpur first.

Ultimately the trip was an exercise in futility. I spent too little time in each city and too much time within the confines to truly appreciate the place.

But there’s always food to try within the city. Much of which are lauded by Malaysians and Singaporeans for some reason.

So tastebuds at attention, Ringgit in hand, game on.

Roti Bawang Telur

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Exactly like Roti Prata in Singapore. Only that they’ve chopped it up for easy face-shovelling. Plenty of sweet bawang. But the dhal was watery and insipid. Good for a quick breakfast, but I think there are better spots elsewhere.

Restoran Yusoof dan Zakhi
42,44,46 Jalan Hang Kasturi
Central Market Area, Kuala Lumpur 50050, Malaysia

Bak Kut Teh

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Bloody salty. The dark Hokkien versions along Beach Road, Singapore, were herbal and fragrant. The pork pieces were tough and bland. Odd, because they should be sweet.  

Some Chinese Restaurant
Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang 

Claypot Lao Shu Fen

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Settled on this when I couldn’t find the claypot rice stall. Lao Shu Fen topped with minced meat sauce and a raw egg, mix and slurp. The noodles are silky and the meat gave it crunch. Best eaten by spooning it from the claypot, the noodles will just slip through chopsticks. Oily, but worth the calories.

Seng Kee
52, Jalan Sultan, 50000 Kuala Lumpur

Fried Hakka Yong Tau Fu

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The other signature dish from Seng Kee. Done up perfectly, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and slathered with a sweet sauce. Good beer food. Again, damn oily.

Seng Kee
52, Jalan Sultan, 50000 Kuala Lumpur

Verdict

KL supposedly has some of the best foods, according to my friends. I think they’re wrong.

My munching through the city – this post is just a subset – left me unsatisfied. But then, I’ve not been there long enough by any standard. Also, it’s not particularly easy to search for food. In most cases, restaurants are hidden away and are almost destination locations where you’ll need some kind of transportation.

Update

I’ve showed the post to several friends (particularly folks who live in KL or frequent the place) and here’s what they have to say…

“…That claypot lao shu fen is too watery. The good one is darker and dryer (less oil)….And that Bak Kut Teh looks mediocre, best at Kajang, I heard. Same goes for Yong Tau Fu, mediocre looking.” – Melvin Ho

“…Jalan Alor feels like Newton Circus now. But I still swear by the curry mee. (Breakfast and Lunch)” – Orange

“Jalan Imbi has some good food also. There is a good Bak Kut Teh there, the more herbal version.” – Eunice Lua

The Lesson in this? Do your research and bring along a map!



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