Vietnamese Hawker Stall @ Sultan Ismail

June 8, 2014

Thousands of motorists drive past this stall every evening, but few realise it's a treasure trove of Vietnamese street eats, opened in recent months by a league of presumed migrants who seem to be primarily from Ho Chi Minh City & other parts of the south.

Our nameless hawker stall operates beneath a shade in Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle, 7pm through 4am nightly, rain or otherwise, near the intersection of Jalan Sultan Ismail & Jalan P. Ramlee. It's on your left, immediately before Life Centre, if you're heading toward Bukit Bintang. 

By 8pm, tables bustle with Vietnamese workers stopping for a fast meal & chatting in their language (none of them stay long), with barely a few Malaysians & club-ready Western tourists in the mix.

It's open-air roadside feasting; expect heat, humidity & tons of traffic noise. But this spot could become a word-of-mouth success, once more of KL's city slickers see what to expect here.

Variety is the spice of this Vietnamese stall; make your selection & tell the man what you want (we spot pigeons aplenty).

For fans of Asian fare, it's a hodgepodge of the familiar & the faintly exotic; from meat to seafood, it all looks fresh & tempting.

 Not everything's always available & some favourites might be missing, but no reason to whine if there's no pho on some nights; there's still more than enough to satisfy our bellies.

Banh mi, loaded with tender, savoury barbecued pork. Satisfactory sandwich, though customers might want to encourage the stall-keepers to offer liver pate as a filling. Still, we're thankful to even find this here; places that serve reasonable renditions of banh mi in KL's city centre are rare.

Goi cuon? These rice-paper-wrapped 'summer rolls,' stuffed with veggies & shrimp, are a natural staple here. Some of this stall's flavours won't pop as vividly as what visitors to Vietnam might recall, but chalk that up to something lost in migration. Still, is the food here nevertheless enjoyable in its own right? Sure.

Delicious crispy spring rolls, served warm & packed with moist, herb-tinged pork. Minimum order of three per plate.

Aromatic minced pork wrapped in betel leaves? Yep, order this; your friends will thank you for it (if they're truly your friends).

Soup's up: Devour your noodles, brought to you in a piping-hot bowl, with a dose of duck ... 

... or slurp 'em up with some chicken. Soul food, served within several short minutes of ordering.

More minced pork, this time in tender bitter gourd. Another likely hit.

 Fried chicken feet in a slick, sweet-salty coating. Fine for fans of 'phoenix claws.'

Don't skip the squid; it strikes that crucial balance between providing a pleasant chew & a pleasurable succulence.

Crabs supply more juicy meat than their small size might indicate, swimming in a broth with both Vietnamese & Thai flavours.

Saving the best for last? Cockles, cockles, cockles; say their name three times & they'll magically, marvellously appear. 

The cost of this meal? RM120. Were we overcharged? Maybe, but it's not too terrible a price to pay for a terrific spread. 

Desserts are available, but we were too stuffed to sample them. P.S. Ask for the free-flow cold tea in order to receive it.

 Who says it's hard to discover gastronomic gems on KL's streets? A little attention is rewarded with a lot of satisfaction.

Vietnamese Hawker Stall
Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

Sausages to sambal. Muffins to marshmallows. Peanut butter to mango chutney. Cornflake ice cream to honey aloe yogurt. Lavender-laced lemonades to lychee-&-guava juices.
Eat Drink KL: Small Businesses, Huge Flavours is the first eBook to help customers navigate the diversity of independent F&B entrepreneurs who bake & boil in their own kitchens, offering some of Malaysia's finest, most fascinating food products.
This is a catalogue of insights into what inspires our contemporary culinary craftspeople, from Elsie & her sister Jennifer's experiments with tong yuen at home to Eugene & Emrys' escapades with hand-crafted sodas in Tokyo.
This resource will be continuously updated with new listings, so bookmark the following permanent link & check back regularly to find out what's fresh: www.eatdrinkkl.publ.com/businesses

Also, take a look at the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, completely redesigned with a revamped look, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for April-June 2014, including more than 30 new entries for this quarter. This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favourites-Apr-Jun-2014 (Link expires June 30, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link).