Chawk Bazaar hosts an iftar scene that caters to the eccentric and showcases the extravagant food items that Ramadan has to offer. This is Ramadan at home, what about the eclectic iftar varieties available across the border in Kuala Lumpur? Lets take a look the assortment of bazaar foods on offer in Kuala Lumpur:
Great Spiral Fries
Stick it to kebab and satay fans with these great sticks of potato chips.
A whole potato is given a paper-thin, spiral-cut, stretched out naked on a stick, and deep-fried. It’s then doused with not one, but three types of moreish sauces: mayonnaise, black pepper and chilli. Two ringgit (50 US cents) each from Ali’s Ayam Goreng stall.
Paella 'Kampung' (village)
So it’s not Bomba rice piled mountain high on the gigantic flat black paella pans lined up in a row, commanding our attention.
But piled up on paella pans, the kampung fried rice, Singapore fried vermicelli and fried flat noodles somehow look more appetising. Like Paella Valencia, they are studded with seafood - salted fish, fried shrimps - and soy sauce chicken.
Just a silly question about those pans - were they sunken sea treasures from the great Spanish Armadas that used to ply the Straits of Malacca, washed up on the shores and found by a plucky fisherman who sold them for a few cents?
Love murtabak (stuffed pan-fried bread)
Got no skills to make a great murtabak? No worries, beat the competition with smarts.
This stall draws the crowd with a huge message of love. Toss up some instant noodles, slap them on a hot murtabak grill packed in a heart-shaped ring, stir in some beaten eggs, and after a few loving pats, you have - drum roll, please –love murtabak! Choice of two flavours: chicken or beef. Three ringgit each.
Chickarones is, of course, the halal half-sister of chicharron, Spanish pork crackling.
While you can find these popular crispy-fried chicky skin at most night markets and Taiwanese snack stalls, these are really ace - fresh, super crispy, with not a drop of grease on them.
We absolutely vote this one of the best bites in the world. It is sold at 2 ringgit from the PPPKM M/P branch at the Sg Besi stall.
Does my butt look big in this?
Still hungry for nasty, tasty bits? How about some chicken butts? If you stand a bit further away, they actually look like slightly blackened, succulent red strawberries.
They are delicious. Strung up four butts to a bamboo skewer, they are massaged with a secret red sauce and grilled until hot, sticky and sweaty.
We don’t want to be anal about this folks, butt, seriously, don’t give these the butt.
Bird butts are storehouses of pheromones as the uropygial gland is located right there. Need we say more? One ringgit per stick of Tongkeng Ayam, Section 17, Petaling Jaya
Grilled glutinuous rice
For a bit of retro cool, head to this branded pulut panggang stall. Remember, not any pulut panggang stall.
I mean, there are guys in chilli red polos, MIB dark glasses and Chinese uncle white towels slung around the neck here.
And the sticky rice sticks have value added: not just spiced prawn filling, but also beef and chicken. Retro is so old, it’s bold, and gold. So stylish are these, it’s not unbecoming to have a few sticking out of your Gucci bag.
At the Kelana Jaya Ramadan Bazaar
Rice, every type of rice and the 'Kitchen Sink'
Confused by the wide variety of food on offer? Keep calm and have the Ambeng Rice.
The 'Spesial' version even has noodles thrown in.
Ambeng Rice comes from the Javanese who settled in Malaysia, mostly in Johor, Selangor and Perak.
Similar to rijsttafel, it’s a sumptuous and scrumptious all-in-one platter: rice, a choice of chicken dish, beef dry curry, fried noodles, stir-fried beans and ulam.
Crunchy Fried Canai-wich (fried flat bread)
Looks like an oversized springroll, but it’s a sandwich with crunch. The bun is stuffed with chicken or beef filling, before being wrapped in a thin layer of dough and deep fried until crisp.
It’s an original Malaysian flat bread-sandwich hybrid - just missing a catchy name.
It’s actually quite yummy - once you’ve tried it, you will seek it out again.
The stall owner claims that this is the best grilled fish you’ll have in your life - and judging by the way folks crowd around his stall, he may be right.
The fish is slathered with a thick paste of tempoyak (fermented durian condiment) on both sides before being grilled to perfection. Ask for sea bass if cat fish is not your thing.
Genius pot chicken
What started as a way to cook during camping trips turned out to be a money maker for a bunch of friends.
Whole chickens are marinated in a secret sauce and left in the fridge overnight before being cooked in the gigantic clay pot - originally used for storing water or as a planter - for about 45 minutes.
Hot coals placed at the bottom of the pot creates hot, dry heat similar to an oven and the high earthenware wall keeps the heat in - essentially a tandoor oven.
Mushroom ‘Freaking Crunchy’ Goreng
You can almost hear the collective crunch from people munching these oyster mushroom fritters when you walk around the pasar - everyone seems to have a bag in their hands.
The idea may be tempura, but the batter is original Malaysian “gorengan” style using a crispy brown batter. And there’s more! Choose from seven flavours: original, spicy, black pepper, BBQ, curry, chicken and cheese.
King of Murtabak
Murtabak vendors dot the Ramadan bazaars, but none is as famous or as massive as Raja Murtabak.
Spanning four stalls at the TTDI bazaar, Raja Murtabak is named after the family who owns it, although its literal translation - the King of Murtabak - is just as apt, judging from the number of hungry patrons who queue up in front of their stall every evening.
The 35-year-old owner Raja Zakaria Raja Hamid oversees the business, which boasts three of Malaysia’s prime ministers - including Dr Mahathir Mohamad - among its clientele.
The secret to its success? The crumbly bits of ground meat, marinated in 15 different herbs and spices, Malay-style.
Squished among oozing cheese and fluffy roti, it’s heaven in a bite. Ask for the “special” - double of everything - if you’re feeling particularly wanton.
Find it at the Raja Murtabak stall at the Taman Tun Ramadan Bazaar on Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 3, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, PJ.
Marvelous turmeric beef fried rice
There’s something about Marvelous’ fried beef rice that makes it - well, quite marvellous.
We reckon it’s the juicy morsels of meat fried in kunyit and served atop a generous helping of white rice, along with crunchy strips of carrots, long beans and onions.
Drizzled with Marvelous’ secret sauce and chili paste, this magnificent one-dish meal is a perfectly orchestrated culinary symphony.
Take your pick from beef, chicken or squid - and don’t be shy because you’ll never go wrong. It’s all cooked fresh before your eyes from a wok of a stationary truck.
For extra firepower, be sure to ask for extra sambal. Find it at the Bangsar Ramadan Bazaar on Jalan Telawi, Bangsar Baru.
Copyright: The Star/Asia News Network