If you're out and about fairly late at night in Malaysia, do not be surprised that even when it's bedtime for most people - the hawker stalls are still very much active and people are still very much feasting on a supper after dinner. I love the atmosphere hawker food stalls offer. It smells amazing everywhere, its lights are shiny, the food on offer are almost always appealing and mostly naughty indulgences like fried chicken wings, grilled fish, grilled satay, even full on rice meals and noodles!
The Chinese Hawker Stalls at Jalan Imbi is just a group of individual food stalls that were set up at a parking lot after all the cars have gone home after work. When the sun goes down, the shiny stalls pop up. We will almost never, ever, find food stalls set up like this in Australia. It is probably considered unhygienic to be cooking out in the open and have food stored in massive containers and just placed on the ground.
But the seemingly unhygienic environment and simplicity of these stalls are the main reason why this food experience is unique to Asian countries. In Australia, it will probably be too cold most days to go out and dine in an open outdoor area. You'll never have that problem in Malaysia (unless it rains) - as night time is the only time you get to go out and eat out in the open, when it's still warm but not ridiculously hot.
The chairs and tables are just fold out, cheap furniture - nothing fancy. Who cares if we're sitting on plastic stools and cheap plastic tables - they serve their function which is to allow us to sit and eat! So grab a table, and walk around and see what the food stalls have to offer... this, I find is the most difficult part of being out at hawker food areas. The choices and the decisions that need to be made! Most nights I would feel like eating everything. Some nights you go to the hawker stalls knowing exactly what you were after.
|BBQ Chicken Wings|
A popular "snack" for us would be the BBQ Chicken Wings - I believe all Asians love chicken wings. A lot of Aussies I know (my husband included) find chicken wings annoying because of all the bones. We love chicken wings - they are juicy and succulent and the bones are just part of the eating experience. Can't go wrong with chicken wings for supper at the hawker stalls!
|Chicken and Pork Satay served with Peanut Sauce|
Another popular choice as a snack would definitely be the Satay. Chicken Satay, Beef Satay, Pork Satay - served with a delicious peanut sauce and some chopped cucumber and onions - the Satay almost lures you in even if you didn't plan to have any - because it is almost impossible to resist the smell of satay cooking on the grill! The charcoal burnt delicious yummy smell and aroma lingers throughout the hawker area and you almost just NEED to order a few sticks of Satay to get it out of your system. I LOVE authentic Malaysian satay sold at hawker stalls - they are sooooo good and eating them together with friends and family on a night out under the clear skies of Malaysia with bright lights surrounding you just gives you that exciting atmosphere of enjoying great food with great company.
|Char Kuay Teow|
Onto the "heavier" meals - the Char Kuay Teow is another classic favorite. I am struggling to stop myself from drooling over these pictures... it has been 3 weeks since I've come back from Malaysia and I am suddenly craving for a fresh plate of Char Kuay Teow. Straight off the hot wok at the hawker stalls to my table to my mouth into my belly!!! Aaarrrggghhhh I don't know what to say anymore - it is AWESOME okay?!!
|Yong Tau Foo aka Stuffed Bean Curd|
|Char Siu Pork Rice|
Other "heavier" meals include the Yong Tau Foo and Pork Rice and Chicken Rice and Asam Laksa and Mee Goreng and basically anything else noodle-based or rice-based. There is just so much to choose from when you go to a good hawker stall area and Jalan Imbi despite its convenience and tourist location offers everything a local hawker stall should offer. Really nice one! Go check it out if you are ever in the area or put it on your "To Go" list if you are planning a trip to Kuala Lumpur and staying in the Golden Triangle / Bukit Bintang area.
My job here is done, at least for today. So hungry just from writing this post! Gonna go get me some Char Kuay Teow now from the closest Malaysian restaurant I can find in Melbourne! (Ping Omah's, Kotaraya, Lim's Nyonya Hut, Chillipadi Mamak, Rasa Malaysian, Secret Recipe, Nasi Lemak House...)