Kuala Lumpur is all about eating,
and the best eating isn't in the air-conditioned restaurants. The best place is
eating in Jalan Alor.
Formerly known as the Red light district of KL. The area has since undergone
a number of facelifts, and the hosts now cater more to delight the gastronomical
passions of its patrons. The stalls are parked all along the street. It is quite
an overwhelming experience for the first timers, who may have some difficulty on
deciding where to eat. Jalan Alor is a
short walk away from the modern shopper’s paradise of the BB Walk and its many malls and plazas.
It’s easiest to arrive at
the Bukit Bintang monorail stop and walk along Bukit Bintang. When you're about
the KFC you have to go left and than you have to walk 20meters and turn
to the left.
This is Jalan Alor: "Food, Glorious Food!"
The first thing you'll see, is that they are selling Durian. Durian
smells like hell, but taste like heaven. So if you want to try.....
Please don't do this if you have been drinking a beer. it could be one
of your worst days!!
On that short walk, something very odd happens – the
whole character of the city changes. The modern shopper’s paradise melts away, and it’s replaced by
something from a past age.
The billboards disappear, replaced by smaller signs mostly written in Chinese. You turn your head and... you’ve arrived. It could be 40 years ago.
Both sides of Jalan Alor are lined by endless rows of ‘mamak’ stalls and outdoor restaurants, interspersed with
hawker stands selling fruits, barbequed meats, hanging
ducks, and so on. ‘Bustle’ is too timid a word;
Jalan Alor alive, like a living history of Asia in a simpler time.
The Jalan Alor area is relatively dead
during the day, but when the sun goes down it gets a complete
people will come and make the tables ready for you. Soon it will smell
Once preceded by its seedy history (indeed, remnants remain in the form of hourly-rate
hotels), elevated itself, and is now known for its extravaganza sights, tastes, and smells.
Tourists rarely venture here; the
foreign faces you see are certainly expats, each seeming to give you a knowing nod. You’ve reached the ‘real’ Asia.
Now it's the time for us: the Tourists!
Bring your appetite with you tonight.
The tastes of Jalan Alor abound, and you’ll likely be asked to sit and dine 80 or 90 times
along the strip. You’d be a fool not to; this is a cultural hearth of local cuisine.
Choose the things you like.
Everything tastes nice. You'll have a pleasant evening and I'll be sure
you'll come back the next evening.
The satay is excellent, as are the
many Chinese foods. A portion goes by 12 sticks. Maybe you can order 6 sticks,
but twelve is ok.
But don’t feel intimidated; most of the menus have pictures of each delicacy.
Sit down for the food, but linger on the atmosphere.
As shadows grow long and the street fills with people, you’ll
see and hear things not experienced in many other parts of KL.
There is character in the Jalan Alor put into words. It takes on a life of its own each night, and
seems different with every visit.
Only one commonality exists: you won’t be able to fully describe your experience
to friends back home.
Indeed, if you’re the playful type and you want to see your newly arrived Western friends experience full-bore
‘culture shock,’ bring them to Jalan Alor.
Their reactions are almost as entertaining as the environment.
The entire street is jammed on both sides with
hawker stalls and restaurants (mainly Chinese) some of them open all night.
Most places offers menus with photos of the dishes. Cleaning up the street after the vendors and visitors have gone
home must take the manpower of several NY cleaning services. Professionals such as those at
are used to cleaning up after large gatherings.
There is character in the Jalan Alor night, one not easily put into words.
It takes on a life of its own each night, and seems different with every visit.