Our recent trip to Kuala Lumpur turned into a culinary excursion soon after we got there. A few hours into our visit, we realized that KL was not only a modern, clean and dynamic city, but a foodie’s paradise as well. The most sophisticated palates alongside the pickiest toddler ones are able to converge and agree on one fact, KL offers amazing culinary choices, at every price range and every level of refinement. Just pick a place and be submerged in a taste journey that will leave you craving for more.
Sophistication aside, we knew we couldn’t really take Evan and Josh to the wonderful fancy restaurants that KL has to offer. If you are still wondering why that is, then I invite you to meet them, 15 seconds with them will you realize how
mischievous energetic they are and why wine glasses and long white linens just won’t do with this pair, at least for now. After asking around and relying on my trustworthy travel apps on my phone we soon found that a couple of places were the must visit places for street food in KL.
Yes, that’s right, I feed my kiddos street food. Before you impale me, I just want to say in my defense that we avoid most street food in Jakarta due to some sanitary concerns and we always make sure there is running water on the warung or stand and prefer to go early at night when things are still being freshly made. Disclaimer aside, street food can be delicious as evidenced by the wonderful Hawker stands in Singapore, the amazing sticky rice found in the streets of BKK and of course my faithful old Tacos whenever I visit Mexico.
Our fist culinary adventure took place the same day we visited the Bird Park. We heard from several taxi drivers that Jalan Alor was a great place to visit if we were seeking the holy grail of street food. We hopped on a taxi and a few minutes later we arrived on a street bursting with color, exploding with aromas and abundant in food options. At first impression, we were overwhelmed by the ample array of choices. We didn’t even want to come near the restaurants since the hosts were eager to make us sit down right away. To my hubby’s reluctance we walked down the street and just took a glimpse of the different restaurants. I had a gut feeling the right place would call our attention as soon as we found it.
So after a 5 minute stroll down Jalan Alor, we stopped at a Thai restaurant. I know I should have tried Malay food, but this placed looked too good to be missed. And it was.
We browsed the menu and were quick to decide what we wanted. We ordered a steamed fish, some veggies and a som tam salad. They were all delectable. The boys ate the steamed fish without a hiss and of course eat every single grain of rice on their plate. We were offered watermelon as dessert, and yes, Joshua took over the watermelon plate right away. The service was just fantastic and the boys were treated as rock stars. The cook even made a rice congee for them.
As the evening fell upon us, the street started getting even more lively. Hundreds of people, both local and foreign, perused the street to find that special treat that would nourish them until the next day, or at least until they found another must try delicacy. As we were getting ready to leave the area, we stumbled upon a Turkish ice cream vendor who maneuvered his way into Evan’s heart and tummy.
After a few hours in Jalan Alor we were tired and ready to go back to the hotel. Our first impression of KL street food was so good that we knew we wanted to try it again.
- This street although crowded, is very stroller friendly. Feel free to bring your pram with you.
- Don’t get overwhelmed by the choices of feel pressured by the hosts, look at the menus, decide what you want to eat, and go for it!
- Toilet facilities are not very appealing so try to avoid visiting them. If you need to, make sure you bring tissues and hand sanitizer.
- The seafood is fantastic and the possibilities of flavors are endless. I would definitely say, give it a try.
- Make sure you let the waiter know if you don’t tolerate spicy food. Food can be hot hot hot and inedible for some if you are not prepared.
Our second street food extravaganza took place the day before we were leaving. After spending a few hours at the mall visiting the Petrosains Discovery Center, we knew we were ready for some real Asia. I have found that visiting the China Town area in different places is an insightful and always surprising experience. So far we have only visited China Town in Singapore and in Jakarta with the kids. So we took the shuttle from the hotel to China Town and again were faced with too many choices!
China Town in Kuala Lumpur is like many other China Towns in Asia, a tourist hub for souvenirs, food and beer. Most of the restaurants boasted they had the best beer deals and the best pork. I wasn’t really craving the beer but was enticed at the prospective of a pork meal. We visited China Town around 8:00 PM and by then the place was just happening. We had a hard time maneuvering our stroller through the crowds but the street was very smooth.
If you are in shopping mode, this is the best place for souvenirs and random knick nacks. We had to diverge Evan out of some stalls but of course gave in once and got him a die- cast airplane.
Again we were not certain of where we wanted to eat but instead of looking at too many menus we just went into a restaurant and hoped for the best. We ended up ordering sweet and sour pork, rice and veggies and loved every bit of it. The boys loved both the meat and the broccoli and had fun trying to eat rice with chopsticks.
Satisfied tummies, tired toddlers and overwhelmed parents were ready to hit the sack so after walking around for a few minutes we started heading to the main street to find a taxi. We had a very bad experience with a taxi driver who didn’t want to use the meter despite the fact that the tourist police had told him to. So we walked a bit further and found a wonderful street full of bars and restaurants that I promised myself I would visit some other time.
- The food is fantastic here. Don’t worry about which restaurant to pick. They were all crowded and most customers had smiles on thier faces, although it might have been the effects of beer.
- This place is stroller friendly but it is CROWDED so be ready to pull some maneuvering actions.
- BARGAIN, BARGAIN , BARGAIN. Not at the restaurants, although if you are ordering a lot go ahead and ask for a freebie, but at the many souvenir shops.
- If you are looking for a taxi, don’t get on the taxis that are waiting at the end of the street. Walk a bit out of the area and find a taxi that is on the move. They will probably refuse to use the meter anyway but at least it will be less than what the still taxis will charge.
We loved the food in KL and still crave it sometimes. All restaurants seemed very clean and all the food we had was extremely fresh, very important when eating seafood. We really recommend you venture out and try the street food at least once. What’s the worse that can happen?