There are many streets in Kuala Lumpur that turn into an evening market called pasar malam. In the morning this street is called Jalan Sayur; in the evening it transforms into Glutton Street.
Pudu is an old part of town in Kuala Lumpur which thoroughfare for all of us taking a bus to KL from Singapore, as it was where the old Pudu Sentral (bus terminal) was located . Pudu also houses the famous “Wai Sek Kei” or Glutton Street, which is much loved by locals and tourists alike for local hawker cuisine passed down for generations.
Jalan Sayur is a small lane with approximately 20 hawker stalls tucked away off Jalan Pudu. Nicknamed Wai See Gai 為食街 it is one of the oldest food streets in KL with over 60 years of history. If you start at the very beginning of the street off Jalan Pudu, the smell of frying chicken is unmistakable. However, the famous fried chicken had a long queue, and I was not in the mood to queue.
Any self-respecting glutton street in Malaysia will have the perennial favourite – char kway teow. This one had two – one claiming to be here since the beginning of time, and the other was supposed to be famous from another location but relocated here. I went for the native stall.
The woman looked like the landlady from Stephen Chow’s movie “Kung Fu” nee the cigarette in her mouth. She shouted orders to the staff while she took orders from a constant stream of customers. They still fried their CKT with duck eggs and for a bit extra you can try their signature salted egg CKT, which is the standard with a sprinkle of salted egg yolk.
A good ju chap chuk (pig offal porridge) is hard to come by these days in Singapore as many of the parts are not available, e.g. the pig blood pudding, which was my mortal weakness so I could not resist to order a bowl of the congee.
A piping hot bowl of smooth Cantonese-style pig offal congee 猪杂粥 came with everything including liver, stomach, pig blood pudding and fried intestines or chitterlings.
Other good eats included this curry chee cheong fun. The old man has been selling the same stuff here in the corner shop since he was a young man.
The curry was quite watery, but full of flavour. I loved the deep fried pig skin that had fully soaked up the curry sauce.
The famous store was closed for the evening, but it didn’t stop us to order the same thing from their competitor across the street. Instead of the grilled tau pork stuffed with bean sprouts, we ordered the cuttlefish with kang kong.
The rehydrated cuttlefish was cleaned properly (i.e. not fishy or alkaline taste) and served on a bed of blanched kang kong (water spinach), It was drenched in the sweet and slightly sour sauce and then sprinkled with crushed peanuts. Wait a minute, was that jellyfish I tasted? Delicious.
A surprising good eat that we found by accident was this deep fried cempedak. Cempedak is a jackfruit like fruit native to Malaysia and has more intense flavour than jackfruit. It is coated with batter and deep fried in hot oil like tempura. The result is a salty crust with soft, mushy inside that has intense cempadak flavour.
There were quite a number of drinks and desserts store, like this ice kacang and cheng tng that we ordered from two different stores. The seating is free and you are not obligated to order the food from the stall next to the seats although the stall owners have pasted lots of stickers of their food on the table top.
There are also mines in this food street, like this sup kambing. This Indian-style lamb soup was heavy in species but not much lamb. It was quite expensive and very watery.
They were many things that we did not try that evening, like their wanton noodles, pad thai, steamed tilapia, among other delicious street food that made this street so famous. It still has the same vibes as before and the pandemic had cleaned up the place quite a bit. It can get really busy as the night goes by, and there’s no shelter so it is not advisable to go on a rainy day. Everything is transacted with cash, s be prepared.
半山芭为食街 Pudu Wai Sek Kai
Jalan Sayur, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia