Sunday, August 3, 2008

KL Trip Day One - Petaling Street 茨厂街

We set off to KL early in the morning and had reached there in the afternoon. After check-in and briefly freshen up, we headed out for our first destination - Petaling Street or 茨厂街 (cantonese pronounciation as Qi Chiong Gai), KL's Chinatown.

The place is somewhat similar to 牛车水 in Singapore except there are a lot of "fake" branded goods for sales (Saw LV, GUCCI and even Tiffany) and there are 'real' street hawkers. I said they are real street hawkers' because their carts and stalls have been there since long long time ago. Some of them still sell "cheap food" unlike Singapore where street hawkers are heavily commercialised.

As you walked past the street you can hear people talking and haggling in Cantonese. In fact, that is a interesting thing in KL. The Chinese there communicated in Cantonese instead of Mandarin. Shopping centres' sales personnels (even the atas one) will communicate with customers in Cantonese first. They will know that you are not a local if you can't speak. I encountered some of them who actually snobbed at people who cannot speak Cantonese during my previous trip. Luckily for me, I can speak some broken Cantonese (though a bit slow)and they actually came in useful.

We did not manage to buy anything there, but did try some of the local fares. We noticed a long queue at a food cart. Out of curiousity, we walk closer to see what people were queuing for and discovered there was an old lady selling traditional mochi (pieces of rice cake rolled in sweet peanut powder). However, there was something different about it, hers' mochi came in different colours!

I thought she was quite an interesting person, thus asked if I can take her photo. She was very friendly and agreed. However not sure if the old lady was shy or was very immersed in making mochi that she did not look up while I was taking her pictures.

We then realised that she actually appeared in the papers before from the newspaper article pinned in front of her cart. A famous hawker in Petaling Street, the old lady was hailed as the Queen of Mochi. Her name was Chen Yu Huan. It was reported that she never intended to impart anyone her secret recipe and skills. I guess you can never find this anywhere else.

The coloured mochi dough are actually flavoured. There were Pandan one in green, Ribena in red, Lychee in white, Mango in yellow and even black sesame flavour in black. No prize to guess what is my favourite though... (Yes, it is lychee)

The mochi were good. Very Q, but still tender enough to chew them apart. You can taste that the peanuts were roasted before they were grinded up to become the powder. It was very fragnant and mildly sweeten which goes very well with the flavoured dough. Unlike some of the hawkers who scrimped on the powder, she is very generous with her peanut powder. Just one point though, it was rather expensive for the locals - $5 RM a pack for the mixed flavoured one.

Just as we walked down the street, I noticed this noodles stall selling my favourite Penang Laksa!

And the stall next to it was selling Kang Kong and Cuttlefish salad! They were located just at the entrance of a wet market. There was a strong smell in the market but I still went ahead to order the food. I guess my friends weren't too happy about it. Opps.

To make things worse, one of the aunties was cutting cuttlefish in front of us, while we eating the food.
However, the portion was huge and very worth it! I mean it cost us RM$8 dollars for both dishes which is about $4 Singapore dollars. The food was really really nice if not for the smell and the dirty environment.

There was so much cuttlefish in the salad that we cannot even finished it. If we were to order this in Singapore, it would have cost us much more. Perhaps most of the Chinese there were Cantonese, the food was not as spicy as Singapore's. The salad was heavily drenched with sweet sauce instead of Chili sauce. I would have preferred it to be more spicy. It is a tad too sweet for my liking.

A simple noodle fare, but it taste so much better. For those who never had Penang Laksa, it is a sweet, sour and spicy fish broth noodles. Unlike Tom Yam, where the sour taste actually comes from the lime juice, the sour taste comes from assam. I especially love their thick bee hoon. Don't think they are available in Singapore. Those thick bee hoon were so much springy compare to the thick bee hoon in Singapore! I craved for it so much when I came back...

I want Penang Laksa! Where can I get authentic Penang Laksa?

Please also see:

No comments: