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Kuala Lumpur Chinatown’s enduring charm


Nothing can satisfy midnight cravings quite like roadside steamboat or lok-lok.

Nothing can satisfy midnight cravings quite like roadside steamboat or lok-lok.

Discover hidden gems just by taking a walk along the narrow lanes of Petaling Street

ONCE the sun goes down, Chinatown or Petaling Street truly comes alive.

While much has been written about this well-known street, each visit reveals another hidden gem just waiting to be discovered.

The atmosphere here is far different at night with the huge, brightly lit Chinese lanterns hanging above, giving the place a warm and inviting feel.

Although traditionally put up during the Chinese New Year festivities, the lanterns in Petaling Street are lit every night.

Without the glaring heat of the afternoon sun, the traders and visitors are visibly more relaxed as the weather cools down.

Make no mistake, however, as traders still furiously try to outbid each other in hawking their wares.

Petaling Street has a different vibe at night as the people are more relaxed. — Photos: LOW BOON TAT/The Star
The big lanterns in Petaling Street are used every night, giving the atmosphere a warm and cheerful vibe.

From “branded” jeans, perfume and handbags to other miscellaneous items, Petaling Street still draws large crowds at night.

People-watching is by far the best activity here. The dichotomy of the well-heeled haggling over prices with exasperated traders is bound to leave you riveted.

Famous not only as a shopping destination, the area is also a favourite spot among streetfood lovers, if you know where to look.

Amidst the pre-war shop houses on the street, there are hidden pockets where simple stalls sell a variety of classic Chinese food that are often overshadowed by the glitzier restaurants lining the main road.

A must try for those who love beef noodles is Shin Kee Beef Noodles Specialists at the back lane of Hong Leong Bank.

Having been around for some 60 years, the stall draws a steady stream of customers all night long.

Petaling Street has a different vibe at night as the people are more relaxed.
Petaling Street has a different vibe at night as the people are more relaxed. — Photos: LOW BOON TAT/The Star

A bowl of noodles of your choice with minced meat, beef slices and beef balls and topped off with a chili paste hits all the right spots.

Also hidden in the walkway next to Hong Leong Bank, the Portuguese Grilled Fish stall is famous for its hot and spicy grilled fish.

The best way to savour the sights and sounds of Petaling Street has got to be over a steaming hot bowl of Hon Kee’s fish porridge.

Located opposite the bank, Hon Kee Famous Porridge has been around since 1949 and serves up a variety of porridge dishes as well as chee cheong fun.

The raw fish porridge is priced at RM6.50 per bowl, while the chee cheong fun is RM4 per plate. The stall is open daily from 4am until 2.30pm.

Spend the night bargaining with the many traders and shop owners, or simply take in the uniqueness of Petaling Street while sipping the famous Petaling Street air mata kucing drink as you go about on your rounds.

There is plenty to do as you savour the aroma of freshly roasted chestnuts perfume the air.

The best is to walk along the narrow streets and, who knows, you may find yet another treasure waiting to be discovered.

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