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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / Setapak

Sometimes the best eateries are the one you stumbled upon when the original place you want to go isn’t opened for business, and this was precisely how we ended up at Hong Lai at Setapak after a failed attempt to get go Restoran Sup & Popiah Zaiton Hussin for some good old fashion sup lidah (ox tongue soup).

Hong Lai hokkien mee at Setapak
Hong Lai hokkien mee at Setapak

To be honest, when we were at Hong Lai, we had no idea what to order and basically just glanced at the other tables. We ended up with hokkien mee  (福建面) and yin yeong (鸳鸯), which turned out to be a decent choice, but missed out their speciality (which I read at a later time) – moonlight noodle (月光河)

yin yeong and fried hokkien mee
yin yeong and fried hokkien mee

Over here good old fashioned charcoal fire is used, which some swore produced the best “wok hei”. I guess there’s some sense of truth to it as charcoal often manage to heat up the wok to much higher temperature.

The hokkien mee tasted decent if not a little less elastic than I’m used to, you can see that they get chopped up to smaller strands in the (rather poor quality) picture above. The yin yeong though, was excellent! The crispy fried portion with those flavorful brothy wet portion mixed well to give an explosion of texture and flavor that can only be described as a perfect match, we were surprised in a good way.

Haze & KY for some supper goodness
Haze & KY for some supper goodness

Now we just need an excuse to be there for their moonlight noodle.

Hong Lai opens for dinner and supper, and you’ll be able to dine here until a couple hours past midnight, which is convenient for those after-clubbing hunger pangs.

map to Hong Lai hokkien mee, Setapak

Address:
Kedai Kopi Dan Makanan Hong Lai
83, Jalan Genting Klang
Setapak, Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.192163, 101.709022
Hours: 6:30pm-2:30am

The period between middle of December and beginning of January is often the slowest time in corporate world, which sometimes translate positively in terms of the level of adventure one can have over lunch time.

That may of may not be the reason we ended up at Restoran Sup & Popiah Zaiton Hussin at Setapak a few weeks ago.

Sup dan Popiah Zaiton Hussin at Setapak
Restoran Sup dan Popiah Zaiton Hussin at Setapak

Restoran Sup & Popiah Zaiton Hussin is located to the right of Jalan Pahang right after Duke highway on a tiny road by the name of Jalan Puah Jaya. If you blink, you’ll miss the road, in fact, it looks more like a alleyway than an actual road.

The actual restaurant itself is not any different from the typical Malay or Mamak restaurants, it’s hot and noisy inside with ceiling fans that aren’t overly effective, and a few “alfresco” tables on the outside that everyone wants to sit.

You may have to wait for a table to be freed, but it’s worth it.

sup kambing (lamb), popiah, sup lidah (beef tongue)
sup kambing (lamb), popiah, sup lidah (beef tongue)

If you’re here, you are most likely going to have soup and popiah, but they also serve mee goreng, nasi goreng, and so on.

As for the soup, sup kambing (lamb soup, RM 6) is the most popular, but you can also go for ayam, daging, perut, burung puyuh, ekor, torpedo, lidah lembu, lidah kambing, kaki, etc. Prices ranges from RM 4.50 to RM 7.50 per bowl.

my favorite is the ox tongue soup, so very tender and flavorful
my favorite is the ox tongue soup, so very tender and flavorful

I tried the sup lidah (ox tongue) and absolutely loved it. Packed with over a dozen pieces of sweet, succulent ox tongue in those heavily spiced broth, it was fantastic! The guys loved their sup kambing as well.

To go with those delicious soup, you can have a plate of rice (with some curry and other vege if you want to), or, as most people do here, a set of steamed Indian bread. Either way, you won’t go wrong.

thanks to these guys I now know where to find awesome soup
thanks to these guys I now know where to find awesome soup

Then of course, there’s the other half of the shop’s name – popiah. Well, the popiah here is the slightly wetter type with sengkuang and tofu as the main ingredients with some kunyit as the main flavoring. The sweetish and slightly spicy sauce is then poured on top.

I find the popiah to be rather average and probably could use thinner skin, but still pretty satisfactory nonetheless.

In any case, if you like some awesome soup, this is a must try place in my book.

map to restoran sup & popiah Zaiton Hussin, Setapak

Address:
Restoran Sup & Popiah Zaiton Hussin
N0 9, Jalan Puah Jaya 1
Taman Setapak,
Setapak, Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.188205, 101.702268
Tel016-284 1578

Just less than 5 kilometres away from KLCC is a time capsule that is Ayer Panas, a suburb that seems to be trapped in time, oblivious to the rapid development of Kuala Lumpur. It is also a place where I stop by in the morning to enjoy traditional hawker fair from time to time.

Here are three of the most popular hawker stalls within the Ayer Panas wet market worth checking out.

home-made wantan mee at this stall
very delicious home-made wantan at this stall

The wantan mee stall here serves unpretentious wantan mee in either soup or dry version, all for only RM 4 per bowl. Seating area is rather premium, but thankfully most customers here order them to-go.

only RM 4 for this delicious plate of wantan mee
only RM 4 for this delicious plate of wantan mee

The home-made wantan here is one of my favorites, with soft, thin skin wrapping that flavourful minced pork. The dark sauce used here too does not overpower the noodle which is springy and delicious.

the pork noodle stall is one of the busiest around here
the pork noodle stall is one of the busiest around here

The pork noodle stall is one of the busiest hawker stalls in the whole wet market, offering pork noodle, yee mee, fish ball noodle, loh mee, and mee suah with quite a choice of porky ingredients. You can mix and match the type of soup & ingredients to your liking.

dry version with Vit's noodle and a side of soup
dry version with Vit’s noodle and a side of soup

For dry version, I like Vit’s noodle that is served with a side of soup packed with fish ball, meatball,  minced pork ball, liver, intestine, and even some fuchuk. The combination is a bit like dry instant indomie on steroid, for the lack of a better comparison.

soup version of pork noodle is plenty delicious as well
soup version of pork noodle is plenty delicious as well

Traditional soup-based pork noodle starts at RM 4.60 here are packed with the above mentioned ingredients as well. For the carb of choice, you can choose from kuih teow, yellow noodle, meehun, yee mee, Vit’s, or mee suah.

the yong tau foo stall has been in operation for some 30-40 years
the yong tau foo stall has been in operation for some 30-40 years

The third hawker offering worth checking out is the yong tau foo stall that has been operating for at least some 40 years. The man behind the stall is in his 70s, and still has a pair of quick hands offering his craft.

RM 0.70 per piece, simple yet tasty
RM 0.70 per piece, simple yet tasty

There aren’t a huge variety of yong tau foo here, just a couple type sof tofu, a few variations of fish balls, fuchuk, and chee cheong fun. The home-made fish ball here though was one of the bests I’ve tried, springy and flavorful, so be sure to grab a few extras if you’re here. Each piece costs RM 0.70.

map to pasar ayer panas

Address:
Pasar Ayer Panas
Jalan Ayer Keroh
Taman Ayer Panas,
43000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.189279,101.718704
Hours: breakfast and brunch

A few weeks ago my breakfast adventure brought me back to the little hidden enclave by DUKE highway that is Kampung Ayer Panas’s wet market. Ever since I discovered the pork noodle place at Wenl Senh kopitiam, I’ve been wanting to check out the wet market, so I did.

the wantan mee stall at Ayer Panas wet market
the wantan mee stall at Ayer Panas wet market

I arrived there at around 7 in the morning, with activities at the market just about to pick up. The food court is located at the back part of the market, after scanning for a little bit, I decided to give the wantan mee stall a try.

When in doubt, choose the busiest stall/shop.

wantan soup, char siu, and a side of pickled green chili
wantan soup, char siu, and a side of pickled green chili

Seating area is a bit of a premium around here, it seems like they never thought anyone would actually dine in when the architect drew up this place. You can sit right in front of the stall, or a few smallish tables scattered around the area. I was instructed to sit next to another stall that’s on holiday.

My plate of wantan mee came within minutes, and it was proper. The noodle properly moist, the charsiu, while not the best I’ve had, was quite savory and held its own. What I really like though, is the home made wantan that was served separately in a small bowl of soup. It was very flavorful and succulent, I think I can easily devour another 20 wantan if presented.

this traditional breakfast only costs RM 4 around here
this traditional breakfast only costs RM 4 around here

The best thing about this place? It only costs RM 4 for that plate of classic breakfast. Order the same thing in Petaling Jaya or KL and you’ll be likely to part with RM 5 or RM 5.50.

I shall check out more places around here.

map to pasar ayer panas

Address:
Pasar Ayer Panas
Jalan Ayer Keroh
Taman Ayer Panas,
43000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.189279,101.718704

Ahh, the joy of discovering a new place to eat by completely by chance, something that I haven’t had for a while.

See, I ride a bike to work and whenever possible, I like to explore new places for breakfast en-route to the office. While trying to get a smarter route to work via Duke to Jalan Tun Razak by the way of Jalan Semarak, I got off one turning too early and ended up at this time capsule of a village just a few KMs away from the most developed part of KL.

this place is like a time capsule, stuck in the 80s
this place is like a time capsule, stuck in the 80s

The place looked like it’s been stuck in the 90s – poorly paved road, half broken zinc roof, plenty of bikes by the road with helmets left on the seats. That’s when I thought I should stop to pull out my phone with my trusted Google Map app to figure out where I was, and since I was going to do that, I might as well grab breakfast.

That’s how I ended up at Wenl Senh kopitiam at Taman Ayer Panas and ordered by bowl of pork noodle with mee suah (you can have meehun, noodle, or kuih teow)

kidney, minced pork ball, intestine, and liver with meesuah
kidney, minced pork ball, intestine, and liver with meesuah

The pork noodle turned out to be rather good! It’s got 4 major ingredients – intestine, minced pork ball, liver, and my most beloved ingredient – kidney! I also particularly like the way they seasoned the minced pork with sesame oil that gives it a distinct taste.

The best part? This bowl was only RM 4. You’d be hard pressed to find pork noodle in other parts of Klang Valley that still goes for below RM 5.50 or RM 6, but here at this kopitiam next to Taman Ayer Panas wet market, someone hit the pause button 20 years ago.

I think I should check out the wet market in the morning next.

setapak market map

Address:
Wenl Senh Kopitiam
Jalan Ayer Keroh
Taman Ayer Panas, 53200 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.18909, 101.71917