PJ Old Town Food Court – I Have A Date With NostalgiaSeptember 26, 2011 | 9,614 views
Craving for NON-Halal Satay? – Succulent bites of marinated pork and flavourful mutton on skewers (those sticks named ‘lidi’), served with sliced cucumber and pungent raw onions. Not forgetting, the spicier than average chunky peanut gravy.
And here comes Monday. The very last one for September. Time flies, it’s been a good 10 months since I moved to KL, and the urge to hunt for good (street) food has dwindled slightly.
Could be the weather, the traffic, the workload, or the sheer incoherence of them all. But one thing’s for sure, I’ll be damned if I decide to shut this blog up before reaching its prime.
Wait, or has it? ….
Anyway, here’s a short post on this very old school food court in PJ old town serving a delightful myriad of hawker food; a startling resemblance to Ipoh’s stadium food court, or Medan Selera Dato Sagor in old town.
Time Stood Still since the 70’s? Almost every stall has this “GERAI” moniker tagged to its name. “Gerai” meaning stall in Malay, and the octagon-like shaped bazaar houses quite a good number of eateries. Though by 9pm or so, most have closed or preparing to cease operations for the day.
Not that KL’s short of good places for food. In fact, if I can do ONE eatery in KL per day, it may take me forever to cover the whole of the metropolitan and its perimeters, before running out of resources to write about.
But then again, the turnover rate of restaurants sprouting every month is at an all-time high; with new business centres in the most obscure of places; chain eateries and franchises mushrooming like nobody’s business (by the way, just had the slightly over-hyped ChaTime the other day … none too memorable, except the refreshing Uji Matcha Milk Tea; a splendid combination of green tea with red beans, infused with lots of milk).
It’s a Hakka Thing – Generously stuffed with the combination of paste (more fish than pork though, or was there any pork in them? … hmmm) the Yong Tau Foo from this stall with a bright orange signboard named Seong Kee (stall no 35) were good accompaniments to the mains we had. Alternatively, you can order other dishes from the same stall and request for rice to complete the meal.
Bombed Meats? If you’re hankering for Mum’s home-cooked food back in hometown, don’t cry. Try Seong Kee’s Hakka char yoke; a moreish combination of pork belly still wobbly from the fat layers intact, braised in this dark gravy perfumed by this distinctive aroma (and taste, naturally) of “nam yue” (fermented bean paste).
Fresh Spring Rolls, but NOT Vietnamese! – Now the “Popiah” from a stall further away (sorry, forgot to take the number, but it’s a stall almost adjacent to another Ais kacang stall, and also selling asam laksa, rojak and tauhu bakar) might not have piqued our interest as much, since the slightly dry texture of the popiah skin (the white-coloured, thin crepe) marred the experience. Slightly. But the crunchy bits of fritters stuffed inside together with the abundance of julienned jicama/yam bean and cucumber reminded me of Ipoh’s Kong Heng’s.
ABC means “Ais Batu Campur” (Mixed Shaved Ice), or Ais Kacang; a favourite dessert from the streets of Malaysia. Though this small stall situated a lot away from Gerai Satay Cina Thoo Yuen did not manage to wow us in the faintest sense of the word. Lack of ingredients, and where’s the attap chee when you need them?!
The pork satay was not of mind-blowing, heavenly proportion, but still the BEST so far in KL. Very meaty (about RM0.80-RM1.20 each, as the 5 pork, 5 mutton platter cost RM11.00), without the sinful bites of pork fats in between (unlike this Malacca’s version of the sate babi). But the mutton satay was fantastic. Tender without being overly chewy, with this irresistibly sexy gamey taste (oh, I like my lamb/mutton suitably gamey, but not overwhelmingly).
The Yong Tau Foo (stuffed fish paste) were okay, the brinjal (aubergine, eggplant) was soggy from the oil as brinjal’s literally a sponge for all liquids. Crunchy fried sui kow (dumplings) was a treat, but the skin had this overpowering ‘kan sui’ (alkaline, lye water) taste that might put you off if you’re aversed to that.
Many more stalls to be covered before coming to a conclusion, but one thing’s for sure; I will definitely order again from the Chinese satay stall. The old couple might just call it a day in 5 years, or less. Let’s hope the legacy is continued before UN-halal satay gets wiped off from this part of the world.
Medan Selera Jalan Othman @ PJ Old Town
(A mix of Chinese, Malay and Indian stalls)
Corner of Jalan Othman and Jalan Selangor
47100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
* Next to PJ Old Town wet market and the bus station.
Google Map to this food court