Best 5 street food stalls: Kuala Lumpur

Ampang Yong Tow Foo
Ampang Yong Tow Foo at the open-air carpark at the junction of Jalan Imbi and Jalan Gading, next to the Honda showroom in Kuala Lumpur. PHOTO: TEO CHENG WEE

Craving for street food in Malaysia? Fear not! It’s one of the easiest things to find here, especially in Kuala Lumpur, where hawkers are oh-so conveniently located near the centre of town.

Street food is not just plentiful in Malaysia, it’s a part of life.

Even the Tourism Ministry includes street food in its publicity campaigns and runs an annual street food festival. And although Malaysian hawkers are gradually migrating to more comfortable shop lots, standards remain the same.

Check out my five recommended street food stalls in Kuala Lumpur.

CT Garden

Address: Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman, Kampung Baru (next to Kelab Sultan Sulaiman)
How to get there: 15 minutes’ walk from Kampung Baru LRT station
Opening hours: Open daily from 6pm to 4am
Contact: +60 12 3361 200

With more than 30 years of history behind this nasi lemak stall, you would have high expectations for CT Garden’s food. Thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint.

The stall’s fragrant coconut rice comes in small packets, along with a quarter hard-boiled egg and sambal ikan bilis, all for RM0.80 ($0.31), although portions are small.

But the real stars are the side dishes, like the sambal tempeh and beef rendang.

The sambal tempeh is just the right mix of spicy and sweet – and manages to remain crispy, not soggy. Two packets of rice with about three side dishes will cost you about RM8 to RM10.

Restoran Super Kitchen

Address: 33 Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman 1, off Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman
How to get there: 10 minutes’ walk from Medan Tuanku monorail station
Opening hours: Open daily from 7.30am to 6pm
Contact: +60 3 2697 0998 or www.chillipanmee.com

Simple but delicious, that’s how you can sum up the taste of Super Kitchen’s chilli pan mee - a bowl of freshly rolled handmade pan mee with minced pork, a poached egg, ikan bilis and fried shallots, topped off with chilli flakes.

The dish is even tastier if you break the egg and toss all the ingredients in the bowl before eating. Ingredients are meticulously prepared, says owner Albert Khoo, with the chilli flakes taking half a day’s preparation.

And for the health conscious, there’s no need to worry - the stall eschews preservatives and uses only minimal amounts of MSG.

Each bowl of noodles costs RM6. For a fuller meal, top it off with dumpling soup (RM5) and homemade barley (RM2).

Ampang Yong Tow Foo

Address: Open-air carpark at the junction of Jalan Imbi and Jalan Gading, next to the Honda showroom
How to get there: 20 minutes’ walk from Imbi monorail station
Opening hours: Open Sunday to Monday from 6 to 10pm, closed on Tuesdays
Contact: N.A.

The ingredients from this humble pushcart stall are the freshest, as they’re handmade every day by the owners.

That, plus the fact that all items sell for RM1 each, makes it hardly surprising that crowds swell around the stall the moment it opens in the evening, piling food on their plates.

You can get fried or braised chillies, brinjals and tofu, which are stuffed with fish paste.

The Lee brothers have been selling Hakka yong tau foo since they were teenagers, for more than 25 years, and their bestseller is the deep-fried wonton.

Shin Kee Beef Noodles Specialist

Address: 7A, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock
How to get there: 10 minutes’ walk from Pasar Seni LRT station
Opening hours: Open Monday to Tuesday, Thursday to Sunday from 10.30am to 8.30pm, closed on Wednesdays
Contact: +60 3 2072 5020

This stall boasts one of the best dry beef noodles in KL, doubtless because each bowl of noodles is topped with a generous helping of melt-in-your-mouth minced beef, made from a secret recipe.

The accompanying bowl of flavourful soup comes with beef slices, meatballs, tripe and brisket – or you can customise it according to what you want.

The springy meatballs and tender briskets are especially worth trying, and go well with the chilli sauce.

A small bowl costs RM7, while a large one costs RM9.

Come early for lunch at this hole-in-the-wall eatery near Chinatown or be prepared to stand around for a seat at one of its seven small tables.

Fierce Curry House

Address: 16 Jalan Kemuja, Bangsar Utama
How to get there: Five minutes’ walk from Bangsar LRT station
Opening hours: Open daily from 7:30 am to 10:30 pm
Contact: +6019 770 1945 / +603 2202 3456 or www.fiercecurryhouse.com

Although Fierce Curry House has only been open for a little over two-and-a-half years, it has already gained a reputation for its delicious briyani and banana leaf rice.

The eatery sells 14 types of briyani, but the favourite here is the mutton briyani, which is cooked according to an old family recipe.

Each pot of briyani – which takes nine hours to make – is individually sealed with a pastry crust and steamed. The result is a generous portion of fluffy, flavourful rice and juicy pieces of tender mutton.

If the RM18 price tag seems a tad steep, it is because of the premium basmati rice used for the briyani, which costs about 10 times the price of regular rice, says owner Herukh Jethwani.

A cheaper – but no less tasty – option is the banana leaf rice.

For RM6, you get four types of vegetables, curries and dhal, which can be topped up as many times as you like.