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Monday, July 11, 2011

Lot 10, Jalan Alor and 1m roti tisu, Kuala Lumpur

Waffles with blueberry compote, toffeed hazelnuts and cream

I'm not a morning person at the best of times, but it's amazing how the promise of fresh waffles can get you out of bed with a smile.

Our one-week trip to Malaysia was fast drawing to an end, and we farewelled Melaka with a final breakfast at The Majestic. It's a little bit fancy, with cereal, yoghurt and freshly sliced fruits trundled over to your table on a trolley. Hot menu options included cooked English breakfasts and congee but I was more than happy with my tower of waffles, crispy on the edges and served with fresh cream, blueberry compote and nuggets of hazelnuts dipped in toffee.

Lot 10 Hutong

Mobile drinks trolley and ice shaving machine for ice kacang at Lot 10 Hutong

By the time we make the two hour journey back to Kuala Lumpur, it's almost time for lunch. Of course it is. Travelling abroad is rarely about sightseeing for me, but waiting impatiently for digestion to kick in so I can commence my next meal.

We'd been talking about our final lunch in KL for a couple of days, keen to maximise our last precious moments in the capital. Lot 10 Hutong was the perfect spot - a custom-designed food court with  tenants specifically hand-picked for their history and signature dishes.

There are 26 tenants at Lot 10 Hutong, each with a minimum 40-year history that spans two or three generations. The concept is to create a "heritage village" that preserves some of the best hawker stalls in Malaysia.

Claypot chicken rice at Zhun Kee, Lot 10

Lot 10 Hutong offers the authenticity of traditional hawker food within the clean surrounds of a modern food court, tucked into the basement of the Lot 10 department store. It feels like a strange mix at first, but it works, especially when you ignore the neon and focus on the cooking activity right before you eyes, the air punctuated with the clash and clang of metal spatulas on fiery hot woks.

Claypot chicken rice RM9.90 (AU$3.10)

Admittedly I'd wandered into Lot 10 a few days earlier. While everyone else was wandering the grand and gleaming Pavillion Shopping Centre during our free time, I'd snuck in an extra meal when noone was around. I was glad I did.

The claypot chicken rice at Zhun Kee is cooked the old-fashioned way, in individual pots over gas flames. The pots are rotated and tended carefully, allowed to simmer until all the water has absorbed and the bottom of the rice starts to crispen.

It's amazing. For about $3 you get a huge portion of fluffy rice smothered in the fatty goodness of sweet lup cheong sausage, chunks of salty chicken on the bone and smithereens of dried salted fish. A generous sprinkling of shallots provides some relief, as does a bowl of clear chicken consomme. The best part is the layer of crunchy rice on the bottom of the claypot.

Roving yum cha trolley

Roving drinks and yum cha trolleys adds a sense of fun to the food court. You may have managed to resist the call of dumplings when you decided on lunch, but when a bamboo steamer of har gow prawn dumplings approaches you from only three feet away, it may be a different story altogether.

Pork and chicken satay from Le Porc Dor 6 for RM10.50 (AU$3.30)

We descend as a group of ten, pulling together tables and chairs while our host Adam Liaw is entrusted with collecting a multi-course banquet from all the hawker stalls he fancies. There's a feast of pork and chicken satay, served with chunks of cucumber and red onion and cubes of compressed rice.

Rojak from Lok Lok

I'd put in a special request for rojak, one of my favourite Malaysian snacks. It's a happy jumble of pineapple, cucumber, carrot and jicama dressed in a sweet and salty shrimp sauce. There's a hint of chilli against the refreshment of fruit, and a pleasing crunch from the shards of crackers and crushed peanuts.

Clockwise from top left: Hainan chicken from Chong Hwa Hainan Chicken Rice RM8 (AU$2.50);
Nasi lemak from Sukiyang RM2.50 (AU$0.80)
Penang assam laksa from Georgetown, Penang RM7.75 (AU$2.40)
Penang curry laksa from Georgetown, Penang RM8.25 ($AU2.60)

We swarm over a plate of Hainan chicken, soft and succulent -- served with a mound of fragrant rice cooked in chicken stock -- and then move onto to the compact parcel of nasi lemak, coconut rice wrapped up with a fiery paste of sambal and crunchy fried anchovies.

The Penang assam laksa is a first encounter for many, and although there's a fair amount of mackerel in the dish, I'm left wanting a dark, thicker and fishier soup. This Penang favourite is best when the soup is opaque, a dark brown slurry of mackerel stock that is lifted by pineapple, mint and tongue-tingling amounts of chilli.

We also find room for a curry laksa, rich with spices and coconut milk.

Hokkien mee from Kim Lian Kee RM8.90 (AU$2.80)

One of the highlight dishes is the hokkien mee, obtained from the noisiest stall in the food court. The sparks are flying with each toss of the wok, lending a brilliantly charred aroma and flavour to the noodles. This intensity of heat is essential to give what Chinese call wok hei, or wok breath to a dish.

The hokkien mee are coated in a sticky sauce that is smoky, fragrant and caramelised. In amongst the tangle of sticky noodles are shreds of cabbage, sliced pork and crunchy nubbins of pork crackling.

Now that's what I call wok hei or "wok breath"

Jalan Alor

Cool refreshment on Jalan Alor

In our final moments of free time, Jen and I head to Jalan Alor, the famous outdoor hawker market. There's not much action during the day -- many of the stalls don't open until dinner time -- but I'd spent some time exploring the area a few days earlier. There seems to be a consensus that the quality of food is better than in Lot 10 than along the tourist-targetting Jalan Alor, but I still love the haphazard chaos of dining on the street, sitting on rickety plastic chairs on the road with the air cloaked in thick clouds of charcoal smoke.

Stalls along Jalan Alor beneath residential housing and hotel accommodation

Jalan Alor

Wrapping up parcels of nasi lemak

Jalan Alor You Tiao

Jalan Alor You Tiao

There are a number of stalls that do a brisk business during the day. Jalan Alor You Tiao is one of them, this family-run business working industriously all day to make deep-fried snacks.

Selling you tiao, ham chim peng, ngau lay so, cup chung and mah kiok

I'd stood at this stall for at least five minutes, fascinated by the quiet diligence of this three-person team. The old man rolled out the dough with a floured rolling pin, before sliding them into a giant wok filled with shimmering oil. An old oil can had been cut to create a makeshift container for the fried bread.

There are five deep-fried variations on offer: you tiao, ham chim peng, ngau lay so, cup chung and mah kiok, each sold for only 80RM (AU$0.25). We savour one of their specialties, the mah kiok butterfly bun which is soft, fluffy and sweet with a crisp golden shell.


Durian stall

Can you visit Malaysia without eating durian? I think not.


We pull up a chair at the outdoor stall, watching our chosen durian being expertly split open. It's gingerly placed on our table, along with a large packet of serviettes. We're engulfed in the sweet pungent smell of durian and we couldn't be happier.

The durian season is only just beginning but the fruit we're feasting on is ripe and creamy. The intensity of durian is something that takes some getting used to, but one you're hooked, you can never get enough. The buttery flesh reminds me of buttery avocado mixed with the sweetness of lychee, the acidity of pineapple, and the creaminess of custard apple. They don't call this the king of fruits for nothing.

Pao Xiang Bah Kut Teh

Inside Pao Xiang

We're on an early evening flight but we meet up with everyone again and manage to sneak in one quick final snack before we have to leave for the airport. It's one last hurrah for bak kut teh, as we descend on Pao Xiang, a specialist in bak kut teh, inside the Pavillion shopping centre.

Clockwise from top left: Pai kwut pork ribs, neng kut soft ribs, tofu puffs,
you char kway fried bread sticks,  pork belly and fried lettuce

It's surprising how bak kut teh makes you feel like you're doing your body good as you eat it. The herbal tea pork bone soup is deeply aromatic, its stock commonly made from star anise, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, Chinese angelica and cassia bark. We feast on chunks of soft simmered pork, crunch on deep fried bread sticks and slurp down spoonfuls of fragrant broth.

Kayu Nasi Kandar

Kayu Nasi Kandar

Okay so I lied. In between the durian and the bak kut teh there was one more snack - the one metre roti tisu, but like I do with every meal, I always save the best for last.

Stretching the roti tisu dough

I'd spied the Kayu Nasi Kandar sign as we'd exited Lot 10 and immediately recognised it as the chain that specialises in my favourite 1m roti tisu. It's only a small restaurant, located on the street with outdoor seating, but I'm ecstatic to discover the 1m roti tisu is indeed available.

Super-size roti tisu

We're warned that there'll be a ten minute wait while the grill heats up, but Jen and I settle in with our iced drinks and watch all the action. I'm sure the staff must have been bemused by our incessant camera-snapping but we're enthralled by the open kitchen theatre.

Hello margarine

The roti tisu dough is flipped and tossed until paper thin before it is laid down on the grilll. It's then smeared with margarine, sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with condensed milk in an orgy of fats and calories. I can't watch, but then I can't look away.

Hello sugar

Hello condensed milk

Lifting up the cooked roti tisu

Folding the roti tisu into a tower

Ta da! One-metre roti tisu (Kayu special) RM6.30 (AU$1.95)

Cold ginger drink RM2.30 (AU$0.70)

One metre of roti tisu needs three plates to rest on, and we admire it for a moment before going in with our hands. It's a lot more oilier than the last one I'd had, literally dripping with rivers of melted margarine, but the sheer thinness of the roti tisu cannot be denied. It shatters upon impact, delicate and crisp and ridiculously addictive.

We manage to eat less than half of it, our fingers covered in sugar and condensed milk, but our hearts are happy and our smiles are broad. Such magnificent pleasure in the simplest of foods. Oh Malaysia - I must come see you again soon.

188 Jalan Bunga Raya, 75100 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +60 (03) 2783 1000

Lot 10 Shopping Centre, Lower Ground Floor
50 Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +60 (03) 2782 3840
Opening hours: Daily 10am-10pm

Jalan Alor (opposite KFC), 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 2.30pm - 8.00pm (usually sold out by 6pm)

Pavilion Shopping Centre, Level 6
Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +60 (03) 2148 6388

Lot 10, Jalan Bukit Bintang, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Grab Your Fork visited Malaysia as a guest of Malaysia Kitchen Australia and Tourism Malaysia.
< Go back to the first Malaysia 2011 post (food tour with Fried Chillies)
22 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/11/2011 02:15:00 am


  • At 7/11/2011 6:44 am, Anonymous tania@mykitchenstories.com.au said…

    Are you kidding me 1 meter roti tisu????. You would surely need an army.... or maybe 4 food bloggers to eat that. These pictures make me just want to get on a plane and head to Malaysia. Lovely photos

  • At 7/11/2011 7:01 am, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    Of the six or seven times I've been to KL I've only eaten at Lot 10 and Jalan Alor just once. I still haven't made it to the 1 metre roti place and now that I know there's also one at the more central Lot 10, guess where I'll be next time I'm in town?

  • At 7/11/2011 7:09 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    Fabulous! Makes me want to visit Malaysia on an eating tour!

  • At 7/11/2011 9:12 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Arghhhh, look at all those bits of pork fat on that beautiful plate of hokkien mee! And the durian! And the roti tisu! I'm going to go weep from Malaysian food withdrawals now...

  • At 7/11/2011 9:19 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    lol - roti tisu is such a novelty, let alone 1m tall ones!
    You're making me so hungry for anything Malaysian!

  • At 7/11/2011 9:48 am, Anonymous Gastronomous Anonymous said…

    OH i love roti tisu and that durian... man! i really need to get myself over to malaysia soon.

  • At 7/11/2011 9:55 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    hello sugar! hello condensed milk! bahahahaha so much golds

  • At 7/11/2011 11:00 am, Anonymous Maureen said…

    I'll have to stop visiting this blog or my keyboard will stop working from so much drool. You had me at the tower of waffles!

    To end with the roti tisu was just unfair -- I want one right now. :)

    You have the best talent for describing food!

  • At 7/11/2011 1:26 pm, Anonymous Karen | CItrus and Candy said…

    Malaysia will be always be home to me even though I spent most of my life growing up elsewhere. It's hard planning holidays because a part of me wants to see new places but the other part of me just thinks, let go back to Malaysia lol. I'm so homesick. So incredible homesick that I want to cry :(

  • At 7/11/2011 2:11 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    I think I was psychically channeling you this morning! I was on the way to work, and suddenly became infused with the determination to finally track down a recipe for, and make, rojak. Though I guess, if I was really channeling you, I'd always have been craving roti and waffles and pork. Hmm. Logic fail...

  • At 7/11/2011 2:24 pm, Blogger irene said…

    that was a rice porn over there! the claypot rice looks so yummyy

  • At 7/11/2011 4:06 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Wow that roti is seriously impressive! Very skillful stuff and sounds like you had a brilliant trip.

  • At 7/12/2011 8:03 am, Blogger Corrie said…

    yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum! I'm an aussie but my parents worked over there for 5 years after I finished school and it was all about the food and shopping for me. Claypot rice, check, roti, check, hawker style food, check, durian, check! yuuuum! lucky you!

    looks like a great trip away

  • At 7/12/2011 9:15 am, Anonymous Dumpling Girl said…

    Lol, food gets me out of bed too. The claypot chicken rice looks fantastic, I could do with some for lunch today :)

  • At 7/12/2011 2:22 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Much love for Rojak and 1m roti! Oh and the fried stall is good too mmm but a big noooooo to durian XP

  • At 7/12/2011 5:15 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your recommendations are great, Helen, especially for the tourists to KL but for someone who has lived in KL for 10 years I still think the best food and the best value for money comes in the form of local food in the suburbs of Malaysia.

    For locals, the Lot 10 food court is an indulgence/ occasional novelty if you happen to be in the City Centre. The prices are higher than the suburban version, in some instances double or triple what I would pay in the suburbs.

    My favourite Claypot Rice is only RM5 in my part of town and the serving is huge.

    That said, this is an excellent Bukit Bintang food guide for someone who is in KL City Centre for only a few days without a car or local friends.

    Incidentally, I only work around the corner from all your recommendations and some days all I want is a homemade sandwich.

    Just some trivia, the latest Jay Chou & Nicholas Tse movie was filmed in town recently and they filmed right and around all those food haunts you're describing. Watch out for them if you happen to see this new HK action blockbuster.

    Love your blog, Helen. I always look it up so I can dream about all the food haunts I've been missing since I left Australia.

  • At 7/12/2011 5:56 pm, Anonymous betty said…

    wow that roti yum!

  • At 7/13/2011 6:57 pm, Blogger Gianna@TheEmptyFridge said…

    One day that roti and I will meet!! KL better be ready I'll be embarking on the GYF food tour!

  • At 7/13/2011 10:16 pm, Anonymous Melissa said…

    love this post to bits! how i miss all the malaysian food...

  • At 7/14/2011 2:13 pm, Anonymous shaun@everybodylovesramen said…

    mmmm waffle. mmmmmm ginormous roti!

  • At 7/15/2011 10:52 pm, Anonymous GastroStu said…

    Great post. I especially like the look of the pork belly and fried lettuce. Yum

  • At 7/23/2011 8:38 pm, Anonymous sara (Belly Rumbles) said…

    Love the action shots of the roti tisu.


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