Jalan Petaling before 10am is still pretty quiet but this allows you to really see the place as it is, without all the busy activity and bargain hunting going on.
IF Kuala Lumpur is the garden city of lights then Petaling Street must be its core because there is always something going on at any time of the day here.
The last time I was here was in the wee hours of the morning checking out the pasar karat, which is a flea market of sorts where one can discover anything from the coolest objects from the past to lost goods.
It sometimes starts as early as 2am on weekends or public holidays and lasts until around 7am, when the brick-and-mortar shops open for business.
I arrived at just before 8am, a little too late to check it out but it was perfect timing to get one of the coveted parking spots in the area — the local council parking lots along Jalan Panggung.
Petaling Street, like me, is pretty much still “waking up” slowly at this time but food is abundant so I start wandering along Madras Lane and Jalan Hang Lekir for some chow.
Breakfast was a bowl of slightly oily Hakka yong tau foo with noodles (RM5.50), eaten while perched on a rickety stool along one of the quieter side lanes, making it the perfect place to take one’s time getting used to the less-polished side of the city.
After that, I went out once again to the main streets where I stumbled across a stall along Jalan Hang Lekir selling some yummy golden balls made of sweet potato that were selling at RM4 for 10 pieces.
Buying less than 10 pieces would be a mistake because the deep-fried snack is addictive with the sweet and fragrant sweet potato taste filling your mouth with each bite.
Eating it with relish, I headed to the junction of Jalan Hang Lekir and Jalan Petaling where I found another gem of a stall selling muah chee (bite-sized sticky rice flour covered in ground peanuts).
You will not miss it, as the aunty who runs it has a recording of her promoting the product playing loudly right beside her stall. She occasionally shouts out as well, perhaps out of habit from running the stall for many years.
If you do not have any particular favourite flavour, try all six — original, black sesame, mango, lychee, Ribena and pandan — for RM5.
At this point, it is 9.40am and the shops and traders were just starting up, so I decided to walk towards Jalan Tun H.S. Lee where LOKL Coffee is located.
This is one of today’s hip places, a coffee cafe that feels slightly hidden and where one can sit for a long time and enjoy the atmosphere.
I had a cup of Coffee Bon Bon (RM8.90++) here, enjoying the air-conditioning before deciding to brave the city heat and haze again to head to the Perdana Botanical Garden where there is a Deer and Mouse Deer Park.
Admission is free.
The park has a beautiful design and this would have been a better idea if we were in a cooler climate.
Watching some deer munch on some sparse grass and another one munching on a garbage bag in a separated area proved too much for me and I left soon enough feeling down.
This story, however, ends on a happy note thanks to a blooming botanical garden, which is a nice place (minus the heat) with many picturesque and shady nooks and crannies where one can spend hours forgetting about the rest of the world.