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
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