Although mere minutes from the city centre, Kampung Baru is a century-old district where you can still spot many old attap houses and warung-style restaurants still in existence.
One of the oldest collection of villages in Kuala Lumpur, Kampung Baru was identified as an agricultural settlement in 1900 so Malay locals could retain their village lifestyle close to the city.
Needless to say, the charm of its people and their style of cooking has stood the test of time.
Using the LRT and walking the short distance to Kampung Baru is the best way to navigate the narrow lanes and haphazard parking of the locals here.
If you plan on going food hunting anytime soon, here’s a gastronomical guide to some of the must-try eateries there.
Pak Lang Ikan Bakar
Pak Lang Ikan Bakar is arguably the best grilled fish stall in all of Kampung Baru. Located in Restoran Noorizan Gerak 21, this stall offers a wide selection of grilled fish, including Terubuk, Keli, Tilapia, Kembung, Pari, and Cencaru.
The marinated fish is grilled on the spot on a large, flat hot plate and served piping hot with two types of spicy dipping sauces. Go ahead – sink your teeth into some of the freshest fish this part of the city, marinated to perfection and rich in hot and spicy flavours.
Restoran Wong Solo
Originating from Indonesia, Wong Solo is famous for its Ayam Penyet. Operating since 2005, the restaurant is a one-stop destination for authentic Indonesian delicacies.
Their famous Ayam Penyet is grilled to perfection, with a crispy skin on the outside laying gently over succulent meat beneath. Before serving, the chicken is lightly mashed to soften the meat and topped with an Indonesian chilli paste for that added spicy “kick”.
Nasi Lemak Wanjo
There are a few options when it comes to Nasi Lemak in Kampung Baru but Nasi Lemak Wanjo stands head and shoulders above the rest. Formerly known as Nasi Lemak Mak Wanjo when it was a regular roadside stall, this humble eatery has been operating for 55 years now.
Today Nasi Lemak Wanjo is highly regarded as the best Nasi Lemak in all of Kuala Lumpur. Much like most other Nasi Lemak stalls, you will be served a standard plate of coconut milk-flavoured rice and other must-haves like ikan bilis, full-boiled egg, and cucumber. There are also side dishes aplenty to make a more deluxe-style meal.
Pak Saf Sate Padang
Close to the Kampung Baru LRT station is Sate Padang Pak Saf, a stall on wheels at the junction of Jalan Raja Muda Musa. Here, customers make do with two tables and several chairs.
Most orders are takeaways and this booming business alone is enough to keep Pak Saf fanning away the whole evening long.
You will be bowled over by the tender meat ― lean and oh-so-flavourful. And the thick peanut dipping sauce with just the right balance of spiciness and sweetness. Each order is served with a sprinkling of nuts and fried shallots. There is also the standard Ketupat or rice cakes too.
There you have it – Kampung Baru’s local fare at its finest.
This article first appeared in uppre.com