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Sep 3, 2011 05:10 AM

Kuala Lumpur - Chinatown Eats @ Madras Lane

I was told that Madras Lane in the heart of KL Chinatown has been purveying excellent local street eats for decades, and the stalls still do roaring trade every day.

I tried a couple of those old stalls today. The first one was something of a local legend: the Madras Lane Yong Tau Foo. This stall was busy with customers, each selecting their yong tau foo morsels: fishpaste-stuffed tofu, aubergines, okra, peppers, deep-fried wantons, sui kau and tofu-pei (crisp-fried rolls of beancurd-skin). I thought everything I had was absolutely scrumptious, especially with the chilli sauce & hoisn sauce dips.

Address details
Madras Lane Yong Tau Foo
Petaling Street Wet Market
(access via Petaling Street)
56000 Kuala Lumpur

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  1. I'm in love with KL's curry laksa - it was absolutely different from any form of curry laksa I'd tried elsewhere (Singapore curry laksa, Katong laksa, Penang Siamese laksa lemak, Sarawak laksa, Johor laksa, etc.)

    The KL curry laksa from this stall at Madras Lane (diagonally adjacent to the famous Madras Lane Yong Tau Fu stall) was lip-smackingly delicious - the thick vegetable curry gravy had a depth of flavor which went well with the mix of Hokkien yellow noodles and thin beehoon rice noodles which I'd opted for. The curry laksa came with melt-in-the-mouth purple aubergines, perfectly-cooked long beans, taupok (tofu puffs), sweet half-cooked cockles and some delightful spongey pork skin which had been dried, deep-fried and then blanched - the resultant wide strips of pork skin soaked in the curry gravy and had a very interesting bite in its texture. The only thing missing were slices of poached chicken meat which I get from Jalan Alor's curry laksa.

    5 Replies
    1. re: klyeoh

      That's an interesting comment about the various kinds of laksa you've tried. :-)

      Have you had it with cockles in it as well?

      1. re: huiray

        Only in Katong laksa back in Singapore - unfortunately, there'd been some health scares involving undercooked cockles in the past decade, so I've been pre-conditioned to leave the cockles :-(

        Though sometimes, a stray cockle or two would find their way into my mouth ;-) Oooh, they really are nuggets of sweet deliciousness in a laksa.

        1. re: klyeoh

          Yessss...."see harm"/cockles in laksa are really nice. (Heath concerns be damned!!)

          Oh, also in fried noodles of a particular type - I think you know what I mean!.

          1. re: huiray

            Cockles are a must in Singapore laksa and fried koay teow!

      2. re: klyeoh

        Okey-dokey, a KL friend just told me that I'd sussed out the *wrong* curry noodle stall in Madras Lane all this while. Heck, I'd even been back there *twice* already :-(

        Anyway, I thought I'd remedy the situation by going back to the "right" stall today: it's the middle stall in a row of 3 stalls, all in a row, offering curry noodles on Madras Lane (see pic of the "right" stall below).

        The difference between this stall and the other one which I'd been patronizing?
        1) This famous stall has a more piquant, aromatic curry flavor and smell;
        2) Its curry noodles was not overly salty like the other stall's. In fact, this stall has got its balance of flavors all right;
        3) Its poached aubergines (I'm a sucker for aubergines) were *perfect* - you need to taste it to believe it: the texture was spot-on; and
        4) It used the flavorsome "kampung"(village) free-range chicken. Delish :-)

      3. Scrumptious. Thanks for another lip-smacking report.

        Madras lane was a LOT wetter (heh) IIRC many years ago. :-)

        6 Replies
        1. re: huiray

          huiray, it's still wet - but probably looked dry (at least in the food section today) due to the searing heat in KL this past week. I, on the other hand, was absolutely drenched - both from the weather and also the chilli content in the curry laksa :-(

          Some photos from the other parts of Petaling Street wet market which I thought was fascinating - especially the grape-like bunches of round tofu puffs: first time in my life I'd seen these!!

          1. re: klyeoh

            Is the chee cheong chok (deep fried pork intestine rice porridge) stall still there? It is between the stalls you mentioned about half way along the back alley towards Jalan Sultan, ie opposite direction from the wet market. I love how the old couple prepared their CCC, all the standard ingredients plus slices of raw fish cooked by the hot porridge. Theirs is a lot better than those in Penang where I am staying now; New Lane, Cintra Street or even my current favourite at the back of Chowrasta Market.

            1. re: OneBigMouth

              Oh yes, the porridge stall (Hon Kee) is still there - I passed it nearly a month back after lunch at Yook Woo Hin. Currently operated by Vivian Wong, 3rd generation of the Wong family that's been running the stall since its inception back in the late-40s.

              1. re: klyeoh

                A write-up on Hon Kee, plus photos of the old place:

                And would you believe it, this old place actually got its own website!

                1. re: klyeoh

                  klyeoh, thanks for the update. Amazing! a website too, the photos brought back lots of good memories.Noticed the current generation has even put up banners and so many branches. Remembered the old couple were saying about the new generation not wanting to do this type of hawker business anymore just a few years back. Guess they have shops now, are they franchisees? I will need to give the original stall a try soon.

                  1. re: OneBigMouth

                    Tried Hon Kee this evening - the pig's intestines porridge was good, especially loved the golden crisp-fried pig's intestines! The snow-white porridge has a strong hint of dried oysters. The shredded ginger & chopped green scallions added beautiful taste dmensions, Taken with a generous dash of white pepper & a squirt of soysauce - divine :-)

                    Only drawback - the "yau char kuai" wasn't freshly crisp-fried.