5 hours to kill in Petaling Street – KL’s very own Chinatown
Chinatown (Petaling Street) is one of the must-visit place for foreigners and locals in Kuala Lumpur. Way back in the 1870s, Kapitan Yap Ah Loy, a Chinese headman and founding father of Kuala Lumpur, was said to have opened a tapioca mill on Petaling Street and so that is a little history on Petaling Street.
Petaling Street is a five minute walk away from the Pasar Seni LRT station. There are also plenty of taxis / grabcars/ uber cars that can take you to Petaling Street from anywhere in KL.
Petaling Street is best known for having some of the best hawker fare/ street food in KL. Of course, (in)famously selling souvenirs and ‘copies’ of designer brand fashions, fragrances and watches. Stop by the bank, give yourself a budget and let loose here and have fun bargaining with the traders if there is something that might have caught your eye. But just make sure you are serious when buying their stuff before you start haggling or some of the foreign traders can turn rude if they have already given you their best prices and you just walk away.
Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is famous for offering wide varieties of products from batiks to souvenir items like t-shirts, key chains, ‘genuine copies’ of designer brand fashions, fragrances, bags watches, and festive decorations. So if you’re planning to buy something, be sure to triple check the quality of the item.
The best thing to do is of course to check out as many stalls as possible and look for the lowest price of the item that you want.
You can even bargain for a cheaper price if you know how. Try to haggle down to 50% and work your way up in between what the trader counter offers you.
Shops are open as early as lunch time till late midnight.
Mouth watering street food
We had the opportunity to check out four of the best known stalls selling the most famous street food here in Petaling Street Chinatown and also my personal favorite. So here are the 5 stalls you should check out if you are at Petaling Street!
1. Uncle Bean Soya Bean Stall is strategically located at the cross junction in Petaling Street. This soya bean stall is famous for its Soya Bean and Tau Fu Fah and they came in variety of sugar topping such as white sugar syrup, brown sugar syrup/ gula melaka, and brown ginger sugar syrup. That been said that even our former PM, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad loves the soya bean there. I personally like the Tau Fu Fah which is so silky soft and smooth it practically slides down my throat.
2. The Apam Balik Stall at Jalan Hang Lekir, is a little further down the lane where the famous Petaling Street Air Mata Kucing stall is. This 30-year-old stall is parked in front of Koon Kee Wantan Mee. The old uncle who sells the apam balik generously fills it with coarsely ground peanuts that makes every bite incredibly tasty. Ask for the crispy edges to get a nice contrast with the pillow soft pancake and the crunchy side.
3. Madam Tang Mua Chi Stall which is located right opposite the famous Kim Soya Bean stall in Petaling Street. The owner, Madam Tang is a nice old lady who makes very soft, chewy mua chi coated with generous amount of grounded peanuts. She has also been innovative and the mua chi are now also available in a variety of flavors such as ribena, lychee, black sesame, pandan and mango. Personally, I prefer the original flavour.
4. Roasted Duck Stall by Sze Ngan Chye. It means “four-eyed man” in Cantonese, Sze Ngan Chye is a street stall located in the middle of Petaling Street which is famous for its delicious Roast Duck and Duck Feet Parcel (duck feet and duck liver wrapped with intestine and coated with sweet caramelised sauce). Sze Ngan Chye’s roasted duck is perfectly roasted with juicy and flavorful meat and crispy crackling skin. There’s always a queue of people waiting to take away the roast duck. The queue is usually much longer during major Chinese festivals.
5. Petaling Street Air Mata Kucing Stall is situated right at the corner of Hong Leong Bank. Air Mata Kucing /lo han ko (a cooling fruit) prepared with rock sugar, dried longan and winter melon is perfect served with ice on a hot day. This Petaling Street Air Mata Kucing stall which is owned by Mou Tak Ding Sdn. Bhd. can be found at Mid Valley Megamall too.
6. Roasted Chestnut While eating the Tau Fu Fah, some of our blogger friends were lured to the sweet aroma from the roasted chestnut vendor. The free scent permeating the air was somewhat like roasted peanut and sugar. It can be interesting seeing how the chestnuts are cooked through a roaster. The raw chestnuts were placed into a big pot with black coal bits unto it for faster cooking. While the revolving metal in the centre makes chestnut evenly cooked and produces light smoke that entices anyone who passes by.
The café craze is taking many places all over South East Asia by storm and well, Petaling Street is no different. If you look hard enough you can find a variety of quaint, interesting cafes around. Each has something different to offer but they do have something in common: Great ambiance, good food, and refreshing drinks.
Ali, Muthu & Ah Hock’s (AMAH) menu features traditional Malaysian favourites such as the Nasi Lemak Ayam, mee goreng, Hainanese Chicken Rice and Chee Cheong Fun.
The Kopitiam is an interesting combination of old and new. The Kopitiam was built in an alleyway and has modern fixtures but the walls on both side are old and chipped /peeling. So it was a pretty unique combinations and the owners placed classic paintings and old antique photos on the wall, giving the place some characters.
We were practically quite full as we had lunch before coming here and some street food along the way, so we only had some of the kueh/traditional cakes there. Which was very yummy! The curry puffs came with slices of hard boiled egg in it!
The Chee Cheong Fun was as it should be, simple steamed rice rolls covered with sweet savoury sauce/tee cheou, some prawn paste and chilli sauce.
I am looking forward going back there to try their other dishes soon….
Opening hours : 8am until 7pm / Closed on Sundays
Ali, Muthu & Ah Hock, No.13, Jalan Balai Polis, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Sightseeing heritage temples
Sri Mahamariamman Temple is a lovely and picturesque Hindu temple. It is situated opposite the Buddhist temple on Jalan Tun H.S. Lee. The Sri Mahamariamman temple is said to have been built in year 1873 by K. Thamboosamy Pillai but only opened to the public in the 1920s. After withstanding time and elements, the original structure was replaced with the current building in 1968. Today, with more than a century of history, the Sri Mahamariamman temple is the oldest as well as the richest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia.
The temple is open to the public to visit , and it is only polite to remember to take off your shoes before entering. Stalls selling garlands and snacks are often seen outside the colourful gates.
Opening hours : 6am until 8.30pm (Friday until 9.30pm, Saturday until 9pm)
Address – Jalan Tun H S Lee, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Sin Sze Si Sze Ya Temple is somewhat a little hidden and when we passed the temple, one of my fellow blogger friends mentioned that it resembled a drive in temple and we got a chance to visit it! I heard that this temple was also featured in the New York Times as an attraction in KL – and heck… I only just got to know about this temple, how dumb or under the coconut shell /katak bawah tempurung am I?
Sin Sze Si Ya Temple has been around since Kuala Lumpur was founded. Kapitan Yap Ah Loy had founded the temple in 1864, and it’s dedicated to patron deities Sin Sze Ya and Si Sze Ya, who were real humans. Sheng Meng Li (Kapitan Cina of Sungai Ujong and Yap Ah Loy’s boss) and Chung Lai (Yap Ah Loy’s loyal chief commander) respectively. You can also find Yap Ah Loy’s shrine sitting among the gods.
Personally, Sheng Meng Li has a similarity with Mahsuri from Langkawi in the sense that he bled white blood too before he died – no, I am not making that up, I got that info from the brochure from the temple itself.
This is the oldest Taoist temple in KL and it is packed with people during Chinese New Year or before major exams when students come here praying for good luck from the God of Academia, Wenchang Dijun, and the people believe, you can get good luck if you crawl under the main altar three times.
You can get your fortune told if you like in Sin Sze Ya Temple. Normally, all you have to do is gently shake a container filled with kao chim (fortune-telling sticks) until one falls out. Look for the paper slip that corresponds to the number on the fallen stick, and get one of the temple caretakers to decipher it for you for RM1.
Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 17:00
Address – 113A Jalan Tun HS Lee, Kuala Lumpur
So there you go! Thats how you kill 5 hours in Petaling Street. All of these gems only can be found in the vicinity of the historical and interesting Chinatown/ Petaling Street.