One of the things that several people recommended I do while in Kuala Lumpur was to visit a night market, but I one-upped their suggestions and headed (twice!) to Jalan Alor, the most famous food street in the city that runs late into the night.
Jalan Alor is located in Bukit Bintang, the shopping and entertainment district of Kuala Lumpur, and where I stayed for my whole trip. A vast variety of restaurants and fresh food stands line the 300 metre-long road, with cuisines ranging from native Malaysian to neighbouring Thai, popular Vietnamese and other regional specialities. Catering for all tastes and appetites, there are quick-buy street food stands serving dim sum, lok-lok (a Penang specialty of skewered meats and vegetables) and fresh fruit, or slower-service sit-down restaurants offering an array of dishes to enjoy alone or with friends.
Both times I visited were at night, and you can tell that this is when the street really comes to life. Buskers make their way up and down the road, performing for the stationery diners and passers-by alike. Bright lights and neon signs combine to create an environment so bright it could be daytime. Locals and tourists indulge in cheap, tasty meals and try new cuisines. There is a busy, buzzing atmosphere, not even spoilt by the many restaurant staff trying to pull you in with brightly coloured menus and ready tables.
I personally really enjoyed the atmosphere of Jalan Alor. I thrive in bustling environments, especially when I don’t have a particular aim or place to get to, and this is exactly how I explored the food street. Both times I ate Kuala Lumpur-style Hokkien mee, an egg noodle dish with a dark sauce, pork, prawns and chicken, a favourite of mine, and I also tried dry bak kut teh, another Hokkien dish, this time of pork on the bone cooked in a fragrant mix of herbs and spices. I also ate dim sum as a midnight snack after a few drinks one night, and my boyfriend and I shared a bottle of Asahi together during our penultimate night meal.
One thing that I really didn’t like about Jalan Alor was all the durian stands! Durian, known as the ‘King of Fruits’ in Southeast Asia, is a large and meaty, and is famous for being the world’s smelliest fruit! It’s so pungent that it’s often forbidden for hotel guests to keep it in their rooms, and understandably so – it’s vile (in my honest opinion!). It’s a little bit like Marmite in the sense that you either love it or you hate it, and in my case just the smell of it makes my stomach turn. I haven’t tried it, purely because I can’t get close enough to it to put it anywhere near my mouth…and because I really don’t want to!
Just as with any tourist area, the prices are marked up a little bit on Jalan Alor, but I still found it very affordable, cheap even! It’s in a great location at just a 6 minute walk from Imbi monorail station, and just a short walk round the corner is the Changkat area, where you can find a multitude of massage parlours to soothe your aching feet (like mine were after making the climb at Batu Caves), and a plethora of bars serving yet more food and alcohol.
If you want to read more about Jalan Alor, head over to Kuaby and check out their guide on this famous food street.
MASTER POST: Kuala Lumpur | Travel Series
Thean Hou Temple | Tokong Thean Hou 乐圣岭天后宫
Batu Caves | பத்து மலை 黑風洞
Afternoon Tea at Atmosphere 360, Kuala Lumpur
Having My First Ever Massage(s)!
Everything I Ate in Kuala Lumpur (Well, Almost)