Jalan Alor is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most famous streets for food – found in the heart of the city’s bustling entertainment district Changkat Bukit Bintang, this long road is the place to go if you want to fill your stomach with any kind of tasty Asian cuisine.
Coming alive after the sun sets, Jalan Alor is made up almost entirely of restaurants, all vying for your attention with colourful, brightly lit signs listing all the dishes they offer. You’re greeted with a rainbow of plastics seats and tables as you walk along, with the occasional giant parasol to save lucky dinners from getting drenched during tropical rainstorms.
These are interspersed with many hawker stands, offering everything from freshly barbequed skewers through to colourful dim sum, meaning the street has the feel of a real hawker centre.
Vendors wave their menus at you as you walk by, declaring theirs is the best food to be found, whilst they try to steer you not so surreptitiously towards a table. It doesn’t take long to discover that there’s little difference in the majority of the menus, and your decision where to eat really comes down to the place you find most appealing!
Spoilt for choice
Even so, you’ll find yourself taking ages to make a decision – there’s simply too much choice! On our first visit to Jalan Alor we ended up walking all the way up and down the street to check out all our options before finally giving in to one vendor simply because we were tired and hungry!
But wherever you end up choosing you’ll find tasty, fresh food that’s unlikely to disappoint, with all kinds of Thai, Malay, Vietnamese and Chinese dishes to choose from, including lots and lots of seafood.
Unsurprisingly though, as this is a tourist hub, we found the food here is more expensive than other food courts in the city. But even so it’s cheap by western standards, as you’re looking at £3-5 per dish, with specialities like king prawns being a little more expensive.
We ate here several times, choosing new spots to try out on each occasion and enjoyed all our meals – personal favourites of mine are fried rice, morning glory in garlic and basil and chilli fried beef with green beans. It’s got a kick, but man it’s good!
We found the small stands offered the cheapest options and were just as good as the sit-down spots – one evening we spotted the most amazing collection of colourful dim sum that we could not pass up, which we happily discovered cost just 6myr (about £1) for five pieces, or 9myr (about £1.50) for 10. Fillings included fish, pork, prawn and vegetables and they were delicious.
Jalan Alor: more than just food
Although the street is known as a dining destination, as it’s a tourist hotspot you’ll also find many vendors here selling knock off goods and souvenirs. So it’s a fun spot to explore before or after eating for little knick knacks to bring home. Expect to find knock off designer bags and clothes, techy gadgets, watches and handmade souvenirs.
Jalan Alor is a fun assault on all your senses: not only are your eyes drawn to all the bright lights, it’s also a full-on cacophony as visitors packed in like sardines barter over prices, vendors shout to get your attention and buskers either set up shop to serenade you while you eat, or travel up and down the street with a microphone and speaker shaking their buckets and asking for tips.
There’s always something that catches your eye – take the vendor selling drinks called ‘dragon breath’ for example. Visitors queued to buy the smoking drink that allows them to breathe smoke out their nose like a dragon. I didn’t get a chance to try it out myself, but it looked fun!
It’s a great street for shopping, eating, and definitely people watching. A must visit for anyone staying in KL, it’s gotta be seen to be believed!
Have you visited Jalan Alor? What did you think of it? Where’s your favourite spot for food in KL? Do let us know in the comments below!