Foodie Adventures: Chinese food haven at Jalan Alor

Malaysia is basically Asian food heaven. With the country being a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, and Indian culture, it’s quite hard to imagine Malaysia not having good food.

We all know the history between Singapore and Malaysia and I’m pretty sure a bit of the rivalry between these two countries also extends to their food which is very very similar. However, one observation that can really differentiate one’s cuisine from the other is this: Malaysian food is definitely spicier than Singaporean. If you’re used to Singaporean laksa which is already spicy, you better brace yourself for Malaysian laksa because it will definitely leave your mouth burning. I have a friend who will testify to this as well.

A couple of weeks back, the husband and I decided to walk all the way to Jalan Alor – a street known for its authentic Chinese street-restaurants – for dinner. The food was so good, we found ourselves back in Jalan Alor only two days after that, friends in tow.

Ok, first things first: Where in KL is Jalan Alor?

Jalan Alor is located in the Bukit Bintang area. You can take the Monorail and just hop off at the Bukit Bintang station. From there, it’s only a short walk. As for my husband and I, we would always pass through Pavilion Mall (our building is located a couple of minutes walk from the mall’s back entrance while it’s front opens up to Bukit Bintang). For a map to Jalan Alor, click here.

From the mall’s main entrance, you will see this:

Just go straight down the main road which is behind that fountain. But wait, there’s Sephora! It’s best if my husband and I would make a quick stop over, yes?

The road along Bukit Bintang is one of the busiest in KL (see the heavy traffic on the side?) so it’s better to walk or take the train rather than take a cab.

If you’re a big H&M fan like I am, you will also be delighted to know that there’s a huge H&M branch just along the road. You can make a quick stop before dinner. I would. 😉

Keep going and make a quick right at Changkat Bukit Bintang. Go straight and after about a minute, you’ll spot Jalan Alor on your left. Don’t worry. It’s kind of impossible to miss it.

See what I mean?

It’s basically a street filled with Chinese restaurants with tables and chairs propped up on the street. Yes, you will have to eat along a road that is still open to cars that want to pass so better pick a table that’s not directly next to the street. There are also lots of people walking and you wouldn’t want them bumping into you or your table.

This is how most of the restaurants’ set-ups look like.

Jalan Alor is peppered with locals but is dominated by expats and tourists as customers – and for good reason. You get your authentic Chinese dish fast and cheap.

There are even a couple of grocery stores in the area.

And just in case you’re craving for oysters, you can get some there too. You have a choice of having them flavoured either in cheese or barbecue too.

Hello! This was us during the first night – while waiting for our orders!

We had some iced Teh Tarik (Pulled Milk Tea).

We weren’t that hungry that night so I ordered some prawn dumpling soup and the husband had some beef noodles.

Prawn Dumpling Soup (around RM10 or Php138, US3.17, EUR2.37)

Beef noodles (around RM13 or Php179.96, US4.12, EUR3.08)

This was a mistake as when you go to Jalan Alor, you should always come with an appetite. Eating light is not giving justice to the trip to this street.

You can also get fried/barbecued seafood along the street…

…Or make your own shabu-shabu.

And surprisingly, there are some restaurants that offer Filipino food. For those who aren’t familiar, Tapsilog stands for Tapa, Sinangag and Itlog. Tapa is usually a good portion of marinated beef strips paired with fried rice (sinangag) and some fried egg (itlog).

The second night we went to Jalan Alor, we came ready and with backup – equally hungry friends Josh and Todd.

Hey Josh and Todd!

Happy tummies = smiley faces.

I wasn’t able to take note of the prices (was too busy stuffing my face with food) but prices for dishes which you can share are between RM18-RM25 (Php248.83-Php346.11, US5.70-US7.92, EUR4.26-EUR5.92) depending on the size – Small is enough for 2 people, Medium works for 3, and Large is enough for 4-5 people.

Sweet Chinese Pork Ribs with Pineapple. We saw our neighbouring table order this dish and couldn’t resist to imitate them. They seemed to be enjoying it after all.

No Southeast Asian/Chinese meal can be considered complete without some rice. I am rather partial to Yang Chow.

A must have in Malaysia: Claypot Chicken

We also ordered two other dishes made of pork ribs – one cooked in soy sauce and the other, in some spicy paste. Not posting the photos anymore as they’re rather blurry. The food tasted so good, we couldn’t focus on anything else other than eating! 😛

Some tips when going to Jalan Alor for a food trip:

  • As I mentioned earlier, come hungry! You’ll definitely leave happy. 😉
  • Don’t come during lunch. A lot of the stalls and restaurants are said to be closed. Better to come for dinner as that’s when the street really comes alive. It’s also rather hard to eat in an open area during lunch – the heat and humidity can be very unforgiving here in KL.
  • Dress comfortably. It’s a very casual place. Flip-flops or sandals are encouraged.
  • Watch out for pickpockets. Jalan Alor used to be part of KL’s Red Light District. Though it’s been cleared up, you can still see some of its ‘remnants’ so it’s best to be careful with your belongings! Also, with tourists flocking this street, pickpockets will most likely see this as a good ‘hunting ground’.
  • Pick your restaurant carefully. Walk around the street first and choose which one you like best. Though almost all the stalls and establishments offer Chinese food, there are some that also have Vietnamese and Thai dishes. You’d want to see everything before you decide, right?

My husband and I loved Jalan Alor and we’ll definitely be back – especially when we get visitors. It would be nice to take them on a food trip in this area. After all, one of the best ways to indulge yourself in a culture that’s different from your own is to do what the locals do and eat what the locals eat. 😉

Love,

Carol

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