Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Street Food From Jalan Alor, Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Alor is a street in Kuala Lumpur that is filled with food late into the evening. Seeing that I didn't exactly get to eat too much on the airplane tonight, I went straight here after dropping my bags off at the hotel. And what was the first thing that I got? One of the few things that I (more or less) can't get in Singapore: Ramly Burger.
Ramly Burger is a Malaysian hamburger that is the furthest thing from McDonald's that you can find. Prepped at random street stalls, this stuff is loaded up with butter (or is it margarine?) first: not only the patty, but also the bread, which is thrown onto the flat grill briefly too. Then the already-thin patty is butterflied and pressed flat with this metal stamp-like thing (is that thing specifically made for Ramly Burgers??), presumably to help it cook faster, before adding some seasoning (including Maggi sauce) and folded back into its original shape. Then, if you get the "special," an egg is cracked onto the grill and made into a skin, whereby the patty is placed into the center and then wrapped up into the egg. They assemble the whole thing with some local sweet chili sauce and mayo, and you're good to go.
If you're expecting a Big Mac, then don't eat this stuff. As you can imagine, it's a bit sweet and spicy thanks to all the sauce, and certainly very local. But it's also a total grease bomb, which is great for post-drinking episodes. And, as is usual for late night street food, this little bad boy is a steal at only RM 2.50 (US$0.70). I found it a bit different when it's eaten on the spot too, as it's piping hot, and it sure beats some of the random spots in Singapore.
The burger was a little small though, but rather than grab another one, I headed back up the street to hunt down a couple other items: Ipoh hor fun and Penang kway teow. I grabbed both from some random shop up near the top of the street. For the Ipoh hor fun, I opted for the "dry" version (rather than the soup version, which I wish I got in retrospect). Actually, I really have no idea what Ipoh hor fun is supposed to be like, and I'm not even sure if this was anything like the real thing, seeing that there didn't seem to be much gravy on it (it's supposed to have a little, right?). But this generally didn't strike me as anything remarkable, although I did like the strips of chicken, the savory broth, and the chili peppers.
And while that was pretty much enough food for me already, I did want to grab the Penang kway teow, seeing that I'd had a pretty good one here a number of years ago, and the entire street is pretty much flooded with shops selling the stuff. This was much edgier and memorable, with a greasy-salty-spicy taste and with an occasional suprise of a cockle inside, but without being sweet. I felt a bit bad that I couldn't finish it all, even if I wanted to (I should have just eaten this first instead of the Ipoh hor fun). I noticed some signs for some ikan bakar grilled fish too, but being only one person, I needed to draw the line and stop here before I exploded. At least each of these noodle dishes were only RM 4 (US$1).
And finally, to wash this all down, I stopped into the neighboring 7-Eleven and grabbed another drink from Malaysia. I don't really know if this was localized or not, but I'd never seen it before. Called H2OH! Air Berkarbonat (sparkling water), this said that it was "bubbled by 7-Up," or "H2OH! refreshing water with great 7UP taste." And that's kind of what it tasted like: watered-down 7-Up, although they did something to it to still keep it refreshingly good. Actually, I had a couple glasses of some "lemon juice" out on the street too, which was more or less American lemonade (not British lemonade), something that I wasn't expecting as it is not that common out here. OK - time to go back to the hotel and collapse.
Digested at 11:45 PM
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