PETALING JAYA, June 12 — Whenever I’m asked to recommend an eatery in Bukit Bintang, my default reply is Hutong at Lot 10.
A well-curated food hall of Malaysia’s best street cuisines, the majority of the proprietors are descendants of local hawker legends. Needless to say, the offerings at Hutong are more superior than those from other malls.
Hutong, which opens from 10am to 10pm, is hygienic, not to mention convenient since one can indulge in an amazing variety of street food under one roof. What’s more, the prices are reasonable and the portions fair.
Unlike most food courts, Hutong was designed to mimic an actual hawker street. The use of tiles, traditional decorative items and even the tables and chairs contribute to the pleasant overall ambiance.
For some authentic Japanese fare, head to Isetan the Japan Store’s food market (located on the same floor), where freshly-flown seafood, among others, await.
On the 4th Floor, there’s The Table, a collection of six premium Japanese dining venues.
For street food at street prices, the food court on the 4th floor of Sungei Wang Plaza offers an extensive array of street food from rice to noodles and even vegetarian. The ayam penyet (RM7.50) here is favoured for a good reason ― the portion is big, the sambal spicy and the chicken really tasty!
My staple here is chap fun aka economy rice. There are three stalls to choose from here and prices are about RM10 for a plate of one meat dish and two vegetables.
Then there is the Pavillion food court that offers a wealth of delicious street food.
A short stroll from the monorail, Jalan Alor needs no introduction. While the street is known for its vibrant night dining scene, it’s also worth exploring during the day.
Restaurant Gou Lou, famed for its fish head noodles, was bustling with patrons. A small bowl of said noodles is RM9 and there was a fair amount of fried fish submerged in the thick, tasty broth.
Further down the road, Aunty Yong was cooking her “drunken noodles” a la minute at Beh Brothers Restaurant. She smiled when she noticed me peering over her shoulders as she was cooking, “I’ve been selling this for 40 years!”
I opted for the curry laksa, though, and thoroughly enjoyed it. As curry laksas go, this one was delicious with the broth aromatic and thick.
A street away is Changkat Bukit Bintang which is known for night entertainment and pubs. If you are in the vicinity for an evening meal before the party hour, I’d recommend two restaurants.
Dining in The Dark is the only no-lights dining outlet in Malaysia. This is an experience I’d urge everyone to try at least once in their lifetime. Not only would you find it challenging to identify the food you’re served using only your non-sight senses, you will discover that it is a whole new experience eating familiar foods in the dark!
Many restaurants had opened and subsequently ceased operations over the years, but El Cerdo is a Spanish restaurant that has withstood the test of time.
1. Hutong, Lot 10 & Isetan The Japan Store
From the station: Exit the fare gates and take the Lot 10 exit. Then proceed to basement for Hutong.
2. Sungei Wang Food Court
From the station: Exit the fare gates and take the Plaza Sungei Wang Plaza exit. You will be walking under a covered walkway. Once you exit the walkway, proceed to take the first lift on your right to the 4th floor where the food court is.
3. Pavilion Food Court
From the station: Exit the fare gates and take the KL Pavilion exit. You will be in front of Lot 10. Keep to the same side of the road and walk against traffic. This is a one-way street. In front of Sephora, cross the road to Pavilion. The food court is at basement level ― with a solid menu and consistent quality.
4. Jalan Alor Food Street
From the station: Exit the fare gates and take the Plaza Sungei Wang exit. Get down to street level and keep left. Cross the road and turn into Changkat Bukit Bintang. On your first left is Jalan Alor. Walk along Jalan Alor for about 100m and keep a lookout to your left. The restaurants are all on your left.
5. Dining in The Dark, El Cerdo @ Changkat Bukit Bintang
From the station: Exit the fare gates and take the Plaza Sungei Wang exit. Get down to street level and keep left. Cross the road and turn into Changkat Bukit Bintang. Keep walking straight and you will come to a whole stretch of restaurants and pubs. Dining in the Dark is on the right side of the road while El Cerdo is on your left.