There’s a certain mysterious quality that I like about KL. The city can be so familiar, yet be mysterious in many other ways. It’s baffling how I’ve lived here all my life and still find “new” things and places that are still unknown to me.
Such is the case of this”new” place I’ve discovered. “New” as you can see is in inverted commas. The place is actually in existence for many years but has only recently come to knowledge, courtesy of two very adventurous monkeys, better know as Cumi & Ciki. One evening, after coaxing me into a 2-hours run around KL’s green lung, Ciki invited me to recharge my battery with some good grub.
“So, what’s for dinner?” I asked.
“Just sit back and relax. We’ll be there soon enough,” said Cumi who was in the driver’s seat.
“Don’t worry, we’re not selling you off…” quipped in Ciki as she continued, “... at least not before we stuff you with a couple more pounds at dinner! I’m sure you will weight more after this meal.“
At that point I asked myself, “Why did I bother with that run earlier?“
Within 10-minutes and Cumi’s driving skills, we found ourselves in the heart of Pudu. Right until then, I still had no idea where these two monkeys were bringing me to. They were being really secretive about it and I could only guess. Next thing I knew, the car was parked on the side of the road, right under an ugly blue fluorescent signboard of a local bank. Go ahead and guess which one! We pulled ourselves out of a car and onto a row of weathered round dinner table lined along the side of the street. I was trying to get my bearings right. I felt lost. Guess that added on to the mystery.
Both Cumi & Ciki smiled and ushered me towards the only light source illuminating the surrounding area. The lights were radiating from a little yellow wooden stall smacked in the middle of it all. However, I couldn’t tell what they were selling. There were just too many people circling around the stall like buzzards preying on their dinner. In fact, they all had plates in their hands and were actually making their picks for dinner. I walked up for a closer inspection and was surprise to see nothing more than a regular “chap fan” (economy mixed rice) stall with plenty of dishes to pick from to have with rice or noodles. I just didn’t get what was so special about it that it needs to be so such a secretive rendezvous!
Of course, all that preconception was before I ate a mountain load for dinner. I remember chucking into a huge (almost mutated looking, but that could just be the darkness playing tricks on my eyes) juicy and tender piece of fried chicken breast meat with an equally tasty and crispy skin. It could even rival KFC’s 11 herbs and spices recipe. Again, it could be the night and my hunger playing tricks on my mind. I also loaded myself with a helping of simple fried vermicelli drowned in flavoursome and creamy chicken curry accompanied with a tangy and fiery anchovies sambal (chili paste).
But that wasn’t all I ate. The best part about dinner was indulging myself with 6 extra thick pieces of Yong Tau Foo (a variety of Stuffed Tofu/Vegetables) stuffed gloriously with minced PORK instead of the regular fish paste. The difference in texture and taste was welcomed and I really enjoyed it bite for bite. Stuffed bittergourd, white beancurd, fried tofu-pok (fried beancurd), brinjal, chili and beancurd skin never tasted this good. The lack of MSG in their food also gained them an extra 10-points in my books.
By the end of our meal around 11:00pm, I walked up to the proprietor to tell him how much I enjoyed his food. He just nodded appreciatively back at me without a single word. I could see that he was still busy attending to the bee line of customers waiting for feed their hunger. Even at such late hours of night.
I just had one question for him though, “What’s the name of your stall?” To which he replied, “I’ve been too busy to think of a name.” It was probably his way of saying “Bugger off!” politely. In reality, he runs this night only business using the very yellow stall which belongs to “Golden Kampung Chicken Rice“, that operates on the very same spot in the afternoons.
So, such is the mystery of my city. Just when I think I know her every move, she throws curve ball at me. My relationship with her is kept afresh, healthy and kinky all the time. I really enjoy her coyness. I’d say it’s a great way to keep the romance alive, even after all 30-years of knowing her. I guess that’s why I love my city still.
Two weeks later, I found myself replying “Just sit back and relax. We’ll be there soon enough,” when McCutie asked me what was for dinner.
Hawker Stall along Jalan Seladang
Off Jalan Pudu,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Business Hours: Daily from 9:00pm until 1:00am or 2:00 am, or until food finishes.
This post is part of the I LOVE KL series, which aims to showcase a tapestry of personal stories weaved in together with the love for my home city. I am also looking at collaborating with guest writers who loves their this city as well. Email me if you would like to share your story at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Other posts from the I LOVE KL series includes:
- Restaurant Hong Ngek, Jalan Tun HS Lee: How Could We Have Not Met?:
- Vishal Food & Catering, Brickfields: Lessons from My Dad