Eat out: Famous Petaling Street hawker fare

Petaling Street is Kuala Lumpur’s very own bustling Chinatown. It’s a shoppers’ paradise if you’re not too concerned about flashing imitation bags and watches to the tune of Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Adidas and more.

Apart from imitation goods, there are trinkets of every kind on sale along pathways as well as row upon row of stalls selling cheap clothing. Petaling Street is also teeming with restaurants and hawker stalls serving local favourites like Asam Laksa, grilled fish, Hokkien Mee and traditional sweet snacks of all shapes, sizes and colour.

The majority of the traders here are Chinese, but there are Malays and Indians too who ply their trade in this part of town, not to mention a fair number of foreigners like Bangladeshis and Nepalese who sell just about everything under the sun.

Imitation goods and trinkets aside, Petaling Street is most famous and loved for its street food.

Here are just some that sell like hot cakes any time of the day, any day of the week, come rain or shine.

1. Roasted chestnuts

The smell of roasted chestnuts wafting through the air is truly incredible.

Sweet and earthy, and tasting very much like sweet potato, the chestnuts sold here are roasted and seasoned with coarse sand and syrup.

Roasted chestnuts are a popular street food in East Asia, Europe and America and Petaling Street is no exception.

2. Mochi

Mochi is soft, bite-sized morsels of dough, coated with Kinoko, a roasted soy bean flour.

One of the places you can get Mochi in Petaling Street is at Madam Tang. This hawker stall has been selling Mochi by the hundreds in Petaling Street for over 50 years.

If you’re a fan of Japanese food, you can find Warabi Mochi here as well. They are soft, bite-sized morsels of dough, coated with Kinoko, a roasted soy bean flour.

3. Apam Balik

Apam Balik is a traditional pancake filled with sugar, corn and roasted peanuts – soft and fluffy in the centre and crispy around the edges.

Wander anywhere around Southeast Asia and you’re bound to bump into a hawker stall selling hot, delicious and sweet pancakes called Apam Balik.

Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia all have their own version of this filled pancake, made from wheat flour, hot water and baking powder.

Once the batter is ready, it is poured and spread over a hot plate, cooking up remarkably fast leaving a thick and fluffy centre and crispy edges.

The sweetness of the pancake is balanced out with a hint of saltiness that makes the Apam Balik pretty hard to resist once you’ve taken a bite. No wonder it’s a favourite among both locals and tourists.

4. Tau Foo Faa

Tau Foo Fa is a pudding made of soft tofu and enjoyed with a clear or brown syrup.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Siti Hasmah are fans of this sweet delicacy.

Also know as Tofu Pudding or Soya Bean Pudding, Tau Foo Faa has a silky-smooth texture that just melts in your mouth – literally – and is perfect to savour on a scorchingly hot day.

This custard-like dessert is made of soft tofu and enjoyed together with a clear or brown syrup. Among the famous places that sell Tau Foo Faa along Petaling Street is Kim Soya Bean.