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Frogs and More: Kuala Lumpur’s Famous Food Street, Jalan Alor

The problem with a place like this is that you want to eat absolutely everything. It’s a feast for the eyes – with skewers of meat, lobster, frog, prawns, manta ray and much more, fighting for your attention. Top that with fresh coconut ice cream, lychees and sugar cane for the squeezing, and it’s impossible to know where to start or where to finish. You’re forced to say no to vendors presenting you with delicious offers, in the hopes that something better and tastier lies just one stall over.

The place is bustling with locals, men, women, youth, and families reconnecting over dinner and tourists catching up with their new found friends. Bright red lanterns strung high above the streets, add a carnival atmosphere. Restaurants are crowded one on top of the other, with tables spilling over to the sidewalks and onto the street beyond. Smoke from the never-ending parade of grills smell ever so inviting, your ears attuned to the ambulant singers, and your eyes are constantly scanning in search of the perfect first dish.

It’s sensory overload, and a pleasant one at that. This is what makes Asia, Asia, and one of the reasons, this continent is so hard to leave.

Yes we’ve done our research and yes everyone raves about the “must have Wong Ah Wah chicken wings,” and I must admit they do look tasty. But do we really want to start with chicken, when there’s black pepper crab on the menu, super fresh lobster and jumbo sized prawn. I think not. So, lobster it is, and while we’re at it, how about a frog? Throw in a few veggies as well just so we can feel better about ourselves. So there it is. Round one, finger-licking and appe-teasing, getting us ready for round 2 and 3 and 4.

2,3 and 4? But we’re already so stuffed, belly full yet eyes still hungry. Is it really necessary to spend more money on seafood, especially since we’re off to the Maldives on the morrow, a land presenting us with the graces of the sea (and not much else)? Well it is our last night in KL after all, and if we don’t make the most of it, we’ll probably regret it. Thank you reason for always steering me in the right direction, so round two it is, and thank god for that.

Unfortunately, the limited space capacity of the belly means that you have to be very selective of what you decide to put in it. There has to be room for all the must haves AND for what could be extremely delicious. The chicken wings are a must have, and a penchant for crustaceans always beckons us helplessly towards the grilled tiger prawns. Sautéed Chinese broccoli and a nice beer to wash it all down, and the deal is sealed.

The chicken was good, but the prawns were to die for. So much so, that the only regret of a wonderful night was to have taken the waiter’s suggestion and opted for the small two person portion, when I could have eaten much, much more. Well, that and the fried squid I spied on the next table over. I wouldn’t have minded a plate of those too.

Drawbacks to the place?? Surprisingly not so many. The vendors are friendly enough and not really pushy. In fact, they don’t even care to up-sell you when you’re eager for more. The prices are very reasonable and the atmosphere joyous. No touts and no scams. At least none that we experienced.

Should you ever make it to this corner of the world, do give it a try. It’s a nice burst of flavour in a somewhat quiet city.

Where We Ate
There are so many food stalls on Jalan Alor, that choosing where to eat can be overwhelming. We followed the tried and true strategy of wandering around until we found the places that we thought were most populated by locals, before deciding where to eat. We also spent a good amount of time, peering shamelessly at other people’s plates until something looked good. 🙂

And though we wanted to eat far more, unfortunately, the limited capacity of our stomachs would not allow it. This is where we ended up.

Wong Ah Wah: Famous for chicken wings that are basted and grilled, until crispy and perfect, WAW, takes up a full 5 lots on Jalan Alor Food Street. Of course, we gave them a try, and while delicious, we didn’t really understand all the hype. Their butter prawns on the other hand? Simply to die for.

Fat Brother Satay: Serves “lok-lok,” which is basically skewers of meat, fish, veggies, eggs and whatever else you can imagine, dipped into boiling liquid. There’s a mind-boggling choice of skewers at Fat Brother Satay, and we indulged in some green veggies, okra, a lobster tail, and of course, the aforementioned frog. Or at least I did. And it was delicious.

How to Get There
Jalan Alor is located 1 street behind the busy shopping and entertainment district of Bukit Bintang. Take a taxi, or public transit to Bukit Bintang Monorail station.

Have you visited any mouth-watering food markets around the world? Eaten anything adventurous? What were your favourite experiences?

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27 Comments Post a comment
  1. We had great meals here and enjoyed the street even when we got caught in a rain storm!

    August 3, 2015
    • Agri @ Travel-Stained #

      Yes rains are pretty unpredictable in S.E. Asia, but there’s no better way of finding cover than by going into a restaurant and eating something delicious.

      August 5, 2015
  2. I love street kitchens in China but I must admit that I am not an adventurous person when it comes to food. Especially most sea food is a nightmare for me :p

    August 4, 2015
    • Agri @ Travel-Stained #

      I think most meals are an adventure in China. I could never read the menu, I would just randomly point at characters and once ended up having fried apples for lunch. You are right though, some of the seafood looks dodgy, especially the cheap baby squids on the street in Shanghai. What kind of street food do you usually have, dumpling soups and so on?

      August 5, 2015
      • Yes those Dumpling soups and many more things I can recognize in the streets of xi’an 🙂

        August 5, 2015
        • Agri @ Travel-Stained #

          I’ve been to Xi’an actually, many moons ago, and I remember it had a strong muslim influence which was reflected in the food, pita, lamb etc. Pretty finger lickin’ good.

          December 30, 2015
          • Just around WWII 80% of the population of xi’an was Muslim! These days it dropped down to perhaps 5% with most of them living in the city center around the Muslim quarter

            December 30, 2015
  3. That looks amazing! We tried (and enjoyed) the food markets in Barcelona but this looks like a whole new level!

    August 4, 2015
    • Agri @ Travel-Stained #

      Yeah Asia is a whole different flavour though Barcelona is also a lot of fun. I don’t recall any night markets there though. Where did you guys go?

      August 5, 2015
  4. I so want to eat this all right now! I only spent a week in Malaysia, but I have so many fond memories of the food – some of the best I’ve ever eaten!

    I’m curious though, how are you dealing with food restrictions due to pregnancy? Every culture has different ideas on what you should and shouldn’t eat, but which rules are you following and how do you decide which ones to ignore?

    August 4, 2015
    • I wish we’d had more time there, cuz there were so many other things I wanted to eat!! Like roti canai, some really good biryani and crispy, roasted duck! Def one of the best food cities in the world.

      As for food restrictions, honestly, I’m not being overly strict about them. I have a pretty bullet-proof digestive system, so I think my system and little baby can probably handle a little flexibility. I’m definitely not staying away from street food or carts while traveling though! I am staying away from eating huge plates of sushi or anything raw, but I’ve had a piece of salmon sushi here and there, and a little brie. Mostly, if there’s something I’m not really “supposed” to eat, I stay away from it, unless I REALLY REALLY want it, then I have a little. 😀

      August 4, 2015
  5. Despite going to visit family in KL every year or two when I was a kid, I don’t think I ever went to Jalan Alor. That is, until I went back to KL as an adult and did all the touristy things (inserting shameless plug here: https://suansita.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/being-a-tourist-in-my-birth-city/).

    You give a great description of the place (though I’d never describe it as a “quiet” city!) – for a second it made me want to go visit again 🙂

    August 5, 2015
    • Agri @ Travel-Stained #

      Well as far as S. E. Asia goes we’ve always felt that KL is a bit on the quieter side, but as of late there’s definitely much more energy in the place, skyscrapers popping up everywhere. I guess they’ve got to thank Air Asia for that and all the business they’re bringing in. We’ve always been big fans of the food though with all its influences and am glad that that hasn’t changed, if anything it’s gotten better.

      August 9, 2015
  6. KL is one of my favorites as far as food goes! I love frog legs! I should definitely get those on my next trip to KL.

    August 7, 2015
    • Agri @ Travel-Stained #

      Well typically we’re accustomed to frogs legs but actually there they serve you the whole thing, legs, body and head, which I’ve got to say is not half bad. Give it a shot.

      August 9, 2015
      • I’ve had the small ones that they fry up here… Chewy and delicious… But they are small and practically bite-sized. 🙂

        August 9, 2015
  7. Amy #

    Has been my favourite place to pig out since I was a kid. Some of the stalls have been there for ages…

    August 20, 2015
    • Agri @ Travel-Stained #

      It just goes to show how good their food is because you can’t survive for long serving the same food day in and out unless it is really good.

      December 30, 2015
  8. The last time I went to Kuala Lumpur, I consulted my Facebook friends on where to eat, and I was recommended to eat at Wong Ah Wah restaurant along Jalan Alor. While some of the restaurants along Jalan Alor have seemingly started to cater more towards Western tourists, Wong Ah Wah is still a famous local restaurant.

    September 4, 2015
    • Agri @ Travel-Stained #

      Well definitely the place attracts a lot of tourists and obviously you can’t keep a gem like that hidden forever, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the customers were predominantly Malay and that it hasn’t lost the local flavour. I hope it stays that way.

      December 30, 2015
  9. Victoria #

    I agree with you about street food in Asia: it’s what makes Asia, Asia! There is so much yumminess to be consumed and from the looks of your pictures, you did a good job!

    September 9, 2015
    • Agri @ Travel-Stained #

      Yeah somehow street food in other continents just doesn’t compare, I mean how can hot dogs and frankfurters compete with duck noodle soups and grilled frogs 🙂

      December 30, 2015
  10. Bernard #

    a good place to hang out i guess in KL. well definitely go to this place after i read your story. i am planning to have a short lay over in KL maybe next year on my vacation. hope the food comes cheap. plus will do city tour and the Batu cave. 🙂

    November 3, 2015
    • Agri @ Travel-Stained #

      Can’t vouch for the Batu cave because i’ve never been there but I certainly can for the food and thankfully it is quite inexpensive. Personally I think food is by far the best thing KL has to offer.

      December 30, 2015

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Travel-Stained Monthly Recap: August 2015 | Travel-Stained
  2. A 2015 Travel Retrospective | Travel-Stained

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