Jalan Pedang, Bukit Bintang
Words and Pictures
by Kirsten Durward
|Bukit Bintag's King of Prawns|
Mention street food in Bukit Bintang and nearly everyone immediately jumps in with Jalan Alor. But if you want to escape the tourist hordes and have a truly local seafood experience in the heart of the city, best to head to Jalan Pedang, behind Fahrenheit and Lot 10, two streets away from Jalan Bukit Bintang itself. There you will find an array of fast paced food stalls sited under a simple tin roof, a cacophony of Chinese men watching TV in the centre as hawkers cry their wares and jostle past with platters of steaming fresh food.
|The Queen of Crabs|
I usually come here with a Chinese friend, Yan, who helpfully orders our favourites as the hawkers press around. However I have found that pointing and gesturing works pretty well, though now we plan to save the pics of these yummies for future use. I love seeing food being prepared from start to finish, though here you have to be quick as these street food demons work at high speed. As I peer over to see what’s happening at one nearby stall, the smiling, sweating cook assures me his garlic prawns are the best in the world. As they flash in the pan, a great flame of fire shoots, out, and I have to jump back, to great laughter, no one else is the least concerned. I’m asked if I can take chili and on receiving a 'yes', in goes a great handful, with a whacking whoosh and crackle.
Food starts arriving very rapidly, it must be the fastest service in the city. I struggle to get some photos off before hands dive in to grab the shiny pepper crab and glistening crispy prawns. But they might as well have waited, as shouts of ‘hot,’ ‘ouch’ and ‘ow’ abound around the table.
|Garlic Chili Prawns|
First up is la la in ginger and rice wine, or what Yan calls ‘drunken la la.’ Drunken la la is best eaten hot and be sure to spoon up a lot of the delectable sauce. It's hot, sweet and gingery, and the little shellfish are soft and chewy nibbles.
|Drunken La La|
Slippery noodles, stuffed with all sorts of seafood, are quickly forked up; while some are calling for chopsticks, the rest of us, not proud, are simply getting started. The noodles are really tasty; fresh from the pan, and perfect washed down with a mouthful or two of Carlsberg.
|A loaded table!|
Prawns are lightly battered and fried with tons of garlic and chili. There’s a woman at a nearby stall frantically chopping more and more of both into tiny pieces, ready for more and more hungry customers. We whip off heads and tails, and bite into the juicy sweet flesh. They’re plump and plentiful, and as usual we fear we’ve over ordered.
|Garlic Chili Prawns|
Crab arrives next, slippery with black pepper sauce. All the best bits with the most meat are quickly snaffled and people are soon sucking at spider legs to get the final vestiges of taste out of this delicious dish.
|Black Pepper Crab|
Plentiful fried rice and a hint of healthiness from stir-fried greens completes our set. Along with frequent replenishings of cold Carlsberg.
|Sizzling Side Dishes|
We forget we’ve ordered a barbecued fish, and groan when it arrives. But the crispy coating and enticing barbecue colour soon overcomes our full bellies and we dig in once again. A fresh chili-tomato relish rests on one side, and a sticky black tamarind sauce on the other. Fish is cooked perfectly, we argue over which type it is but no one really cares as both sauces prove the yummiest of the night and soon there is nothing left but bones.
Reason to visit: Fresh and tasty seafood, quick service, local experience, incredible value