Chinese Village, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I once went to a place like this ages and ages ago, and I assume that it is the same one (I'm told that this is the only thing of its kind in KL). Basically the Chinese Village at 8 Jalan Malati is a hawker center, but under corrugated metal sheets and cracked pavement that have clearly seen better days...it almost looks like a shantytown from the outside. But inside it is bustling with office workers grabbing lunch from a variety of stall owners...and I'm told that later in the afternoon and into the evening, they bust out some karaoke up on stage. Cool.
My local colleagues suggested a number of things that were good to get here, including duck rice, char kway teow, pork noodle, and some kind of fried rice cake things. I went for the last two. They selected green spinach noodles for my bowl...it was pretty straightforward and did the job, even if the chili peppers sat in a sweet soy sauce that I wasn't a huge fan of (apparently most soy sauce in Malaysia is sweet, so there wasn't much that I could do about that). The fried rice cakes, or kuih bakul, came from a stall that was selling all sorts of deep fried items, including fried bananas and taro root. They weren't anything that I'll go nuts over, but the batter was respectably crisp and light, and beat the heck out of Old Chang Kee in Singapore.
The other interesting thing I learned was that lime juice is not called lime juice in Malaysia, but rather limau ais. It wasn't a strong pre-made lime juice like one often gets in Singapore, but rather a watery one made on the spot from limes and sugar...almost like Vietnamese soda chanh, but more sweet than tangy. As my colleagues mentioned, things in Malaysia are usually sweet; they are not afraid to use a lot of sugar in everything here.