Meaning “a step” in the Malay language, Setapak a township that is located just a step away from Kuala Lumpur as suggested by its name. Once a tin-mining and rubber-growing area, Setapak is now a bustling town that is primarily populated by students due to the many educational institutions in town. Known to house some of Malaysia’s national monuments such as the Zoo Negara and the P. Ramee Memorial, Setapak is a hot spot for tourists too. Aside from that, the food culture in Setapak is another one of its beauty—being best known its Chinese cuisines.
Read on, and we will introduce you to some of the must-try foods in Setapak, which will hopefully inspire you to give them a visit!
1. Koay Teow Basah
The bare mention of the name Char Koay Teow would send any Malaysian drooling for this flavourful fried noodle dish. Different from the typical Char Koay Teow, however, another variation of this dish is available in Setapak. Referred to as Char Koay Teow Basah, this famous noodle dish in Setapak differs from the typical Char Koay Teow where it is soaked with sauce instead of being dry. Characterised by its thick prawn gravy that is poured over its koay teow noodles, its creamy texture filled with char-grilled flavour will make you a fan of this dish. A popular store among the locals for Koay Teow Basah would be Mali’s Corner at Taman Bunga Raya.
2. Lor Mee with Hennessey Cognac
Being a Malaysian staple, you can find Lor Mee at almost any neighbourhood hawker stores. But have you tried or heard of Lor Mee served with Hennessey Cognac? If not, you’re truly missing out. Having a spoonful of Hennessey cognac instead of the usual vinegar, this variation of Lor Mee is popular in Setapak with its more intense kick of flavour compared to the standard Lor Mee. Ask any local in Setapak for the best Lor Mee with Hennessey, and they will probably lead you to Hennessey Lor Mee at the hawker centre opposite Ayer Panas Wet Market. With a creamy broth rich in egg flavour, it is no wonder they have a loyal following of customers.
3. Hokkien Mee
Though it is common knowledge that charcoal-fried Hokkien Mee is one of the best variations of Hokkien Mee, it is unfortunately not a widely available dish. Stir-fried over a charcoal fire, this variation of Hokkien Mee has a smoky aftertaste which gives it an edge over the standard Hokkien Mee. If you’re visiting Setapak, it would be worth visiting Aik Yuen Hokkien Mee at Jalan Pahang as they offer a flavourful hot plate of noodle full of wok hei that is prepared right after order. When you visit them, you may have to prepare you’re a little wait though as it could take about 20 minutes at times for your order to arrive at your table due to its overwhelming amount of orders.
4. Nasi Kerabu
Characterised by its blue rice, Nasi Kerabu is a dish that originates from Kelantan. Though it has become a fairly popular dish among Malaysians, it is not often that we can find an authentic recipe of this dish served outside of Kelantan. Fortunately, it is available in Setapak, where the local go-to would be Hayaki at Platinum Walk. With a vast majority of their staff hailing from Kelantan, it is no wonder that they can serve authentic Kelantanese cuisines. Though several variations of Nasi Kerabu is offered, their Nasi Kerabu Ayam Percik is their signature dish that you should give a taste when you visit.
5. Curry Laksa
If you are Malaysian, you are probably no stranger to this spicy noodle soup dish, but what you may not have known is that Setapak is a good stop for a delicious bowl of Curry Laksa too. Having various stores selling Curry Laksa in Setapak, one of the best places you have to visit would be Chong Hwa Curry Laksa at Jalan Genting Kelang. Known for selling thick and flavourful Curry Laksa at a low price (costing less than RM7), you could get a fragrant bowl of Curry Laksa garnished with various toppings such as blood cockles, fish ball, and bean curd. If blood cockles are not your cup of tea, you could opt for the curry chicken option too, which will leave you craving for more.
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