Sunday, June 8, 2014

Vietnamese Hawker Stall @ Sultan Ismail

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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32 comments:

  1. Oh my! The squid, the cockles, the spring rolls and the noodles :3

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    1. Ulric: quite a lot to try here, so maybe better to have a light lunch before this and come here hungry (especially for the squid and cockles). the food seems to be served fast, so won't have to wait very long :D

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    2. Hopefully got my favourite 'bun' noodles...hehe =)

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    3. Ulric: *crosses fingers on your behalf* :)

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  2. Ah I saw seehump! I want to eat that I want to eat that! :P

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    1. CK: haha, ya, the see hum here is cooked with a lot of flavour, i think you'd enjoy it here :)

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    2. My girl would want that too!!! Me? Love them to bits...but gotta go slow on those these days. Sighhhhh!!!!!

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    3. Suituapui: ya, cockles have always been one of my guiltiest pleasures :)

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  3. The summer rolls and the spring rolls look really good! :)

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    1. Linda: the crispy ones are quite addictive! :)

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  4. Life Centre, eh? Shouldn't be a problem locating this place. I love the exotic delights from our ASEAN neighbours, the food , that is! Hehehehehe!!!!

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    1. Suituapui: yeah, this place is actually pretty easy to reach. heh, yes, the food is the best part :)

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  5. They seem to serve a surprising number of dishes for a stall. First I've heard of Aromatic minced pork wrapped in betel leaves. Sounds interesting.

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    1. The Yum List: yeah, there's a fairly large number of people operating this stall (definitely above six) ... and enough temptations to have a total banquet here :)

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  6. I would love to visit this place! I am a fan of Vietnamese eats, its a pity that we still can't find banh mi here in Penang yet, but the authentic one comes with pork pate right?

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    1. Ken: i hope you'll have a banh mi place open in penang this year! pork pate is a pretty typical filling (though not mandatory), and it's definitely tasty to have in the sandwiches! :D

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  7. At last this Viet joint is in KL, always missed the much loved staple food of Saigon after working there for several years. Thanks Sean! Will be going there soon and likely quite often! Any BaBaBa beer (333 Beer)?

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    1. Ben: great, I hope you'll enjoy your meal here! Good question ... My friend asked them for that beer too, but unfortunately they don't carry it here :)

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  8. Replies
    1. Michal: yeah, those were two of my favourites here :)

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  9. I saw this on yr FB, it looks like a great find. This month, we're cooking Vietnamese cuisine with our "blogging friends" and I'm really enjoying the cuisine. I think I'll try making the minced pork with betel leaves at home.

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    1. Baby Sumo: yeah, vietnamese food is quite a pleasure :D wishing you lots of fun with the pork in betel leaves recipe ... i'm sure your version will be absolutely delicious! :)

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  10. I hope this appear earlier when I'm still a clubbing kaki at this area and no need to eat the same boring mamak food after clubbing.... *time flies~~~*

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    Replies
    1. Choi Yen: heheh, yeah, now clubbers have an option to have vietnamese street food :)

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  11. I drive along Jln Sultan Ismail quite a bit during the day. No idea.

    Anyway, would have to bear that in mind next time I'm heading to Live Centre for a show...

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    Replies
    1. SC: ya, they're not set up during the day. it's a good option though for a dinner before or after the show at life centre :)

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  12. Nice find! Love the seehum, squids and rolls... they are calling my name, lol!

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    Replies
    1. Pureglutton: heheh, don't resist the call of the seehum! :D

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  13. Just went looking for this place and it wasn't there anymore ! :( Dis it moved ??? Where the stall move to ??? I have to know !!! :(

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  14. yeah, i went and it wasn't thr anymore, any idea where i can find it?

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