After Central Market, take a stroll down Petaling Street and discover hidden gems there.
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I’ve always thought there’s nothing much in Chinatown KL except for the road with hawkers and well, Central Market. But boy was I wrong.
A recent weekend trip to a coffee fest in Central Market proved me wrong. There’s A LOT of places worthy of a visit near Petaling Street.
From hipster cafes and speakeasy bars to vibrant markets and historic buildings, a day isn’t enough to explore all these exciting places.
‘Jalan Petaling’ is not the only street that has been the center of attention for people, streets close to its vicinity are also popular with their rustic pre-war historic shop lots.
Here, I’ve listed some interesting cafe-hopping experiences as well as places you could go on a leisure trip with your friends and dates on the weekend.
It’s sort of my rendition of an ‘Explore Petaling Street Itinerary’. Let’s go.
1. Cafe ETC
Starting with Jalan Tun HS Lee, a lot of attractions are centered here too apart from Jalan Petaling. I stumbled across this place after an event, looking for a place with wifi so that I can do my work. Here, there’s a quaint little cafe called Cafe ETC.
It’s called as such to signify the many possibilities of doing different events with that place. It could be a space for exhibition, live music, or flea markets but now, it’s a place to serve gastronomical delights to customers.
The bestseller for this cafe includes the Salted Egg Chicken Chop, ETC breakfast, and Aglio Olio Pasta.
The dessert there are also worth a try such as the Classic Belgian Waffle, Chocolate Lava Cake, and their chef’s favorite, Burnt Cheesecake.
I’ve tried their Creamy Carbonara, Classic Waffle, and Caramel Macchiato here. Boy was I crying in happy tears when I tasted their Classic Belgian Waffle with Ice Cream. It’s just magnificent. Give them a try when you stop by here.
Their restaurant is advertised as alcohol and pork-free.
Operation Hours: 10 am – 9 pm (closed on Mondays)
2. Lucy In The Sky
Next, what caught my attention was another cafe, located just the opposite of Cafe ETC.
At first glance, you may not notice the cafe, but if you look closely enough, you’ll see a little door behind an ice cream place. Now, that’s Lucy In The Sky.
Lucy In The Sky has a simple yet rustic interior which makes you wanna relax after a tiring walk in KL’s Chinatown.
It has different seating sections for you to choose from, outside, near the bar, the alleyway, and cozy space in the middle. I was in awe of their minimalist yet artistic interior.
The most prominent thing that you’ll notice here is their ice cream parlor outside of the cafe. They have premium gelatos and Belgian waffles too (which I recommend because I just love Belgium Waffles). Other than that, they also have heavier meals and one of their key bestsellers is the Aglio Olio with Chicken Chop.
Do stop by here if you’re looking for a place to chill and do your work. Furthermore, they do not serve alcohol or pork here.
Lucy In The Sky Cafe
Operation Hours: 10 am – 6 pm
3. Niko Neko Matcha
Now, this is a hype worth coming to. This place sells everything matcha! From drinks to desserts to items to make matcha drinks.
This cafe is truly hidden. You might pass it by and not even notice the existence of it because it’s all white! I thought it was a cosmetic or beauty parlor at first.
Then a friend pointed out that it is indeed a cafe that sells matcha drinks. It’s like a cool museum/laboratory/art gallery/cafe. Authentic.
Their menu is quite confusing for first comers but the cashier will guide you to choose any matcha or non-matcha drink you want.
You can customize which milk to go with your drink and which flavor of matcha you want. Who knew matcha had so many flavors (Ren, Kiku, Ajisai, Yuri). I tried the Kiku Latte and uh, well, the umami flavor is very matcha strong. Now that’s real matcha.
They also serve tea and mocktails along with various desserts. The best part of it, you can watch them prepare your drink right in front of you, like a lab!
All of their tea is halal-certified by Japan Halal Association which is recognized by JAKIM Malaysia.
Niko Neko Matcha
Operation Hours: 11 am – 6 pm (closed on Mondays)
4. Lee Wah Florist
Also, in the same street, this is a place worthy of a leisure visit for those who love live flowers and decoration plants.
From Central Market, it’s the opposite of Kasturi Walk, a bit more to the left. From there you can see the back-end of the shop but the entrance is the other way around.
In these shop lots, a lot of florist shops are present but one of the most popular ones is Lee Wah Florist.
Established in 2003, Lee Wah Florist Sdn Bhd sells a myriad of fresh-cut and also preserved flowers from colored baby’s breaths to beautiful spray roses.
They also have cold rooms for those fresh and delicate flowers and you could also go into them. It’s floral heaven in here!
They sell wholesale flowers and also affordable individual ones so make sure to check them out when you stop by this area.
Lee Wah Florist
Operation Hours: 9 am – 9 pm
5. Purple Cane Tea House
On another day, I went sightseeing and cafe hopping around Petaling Street and came across a cute tea shop near the MRT station. It looks so artistic, so I gave it a visit.
Purple Cane is actually an established Chinese artisan tea business that has a few outlets in Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh.
They sell various types of teas online and also in their teahouses and restaurants.
But this particular branch of teahouse on Petaling Street has magnificent interior decor. This place has a fusion of old and modern Chinese art. I feel like being in an old Chinese movie. At least I think so.
What’s interesting about this place is that most of their food is infused with tea! How did they even- Noodles infused with tea soup, tea rice, desserts with tea, and many more.
I didn’t have the time to try them out but the staff there were so nice and friendly. I’ll definitely come by here next time to try some original Chinese tea.
Purple Cane Tea House
Operation Hours: 11 am – 6 pm (closed on Wednesdays)
If you’re interested in more teahouses in the Klang Valley, discover more here.
6. Malaya Garden
Next, further, back down the road from Purple Cane, and near Ali, Muthu, and Ah Hock Kopitiam, I saw this awesome-looking decor of a restaurant. And so I entered.
Opened in April this year, Malaya Garden is a new addition to the hipster cafes located in Jalan Balai, Chinatown KL.
Unfortunately when I came, it was already 7 ish and they had to turn down customers because it was near their closing time. I asked if I could stroll around in the restaurant for pictures a bit and surprisingly they said yea, sure. Friendly staff they have.
This restaurant is three-tiered with the base being the one near a bar and chilled display while the second level is the kitchen, bar, and spacious dining area.
The top part is the reserved family dining space along with their outdoor garden spot. Their interior decoration is just so breathtakingly luxurious with their tropical rainforest theme. I thought I was in a hip jungle-themed fashion show, to be honest.
I asked for their best recommendation of a menu and they said their bestsellers are Nasi Lemak Raksasa along with their Curry Laksa Spaghetti. Very Malaya-like.
Their food is a combination of Asian and western fusion. From breakfast to evening tea, their menu caters to all but dinner as they close quite early.
But what caught my attention the most is that THEY HAVE DIM SUMS! A whole lot of them too for you to choose. Super exciting!
To top it off, this is an alcohol-free and Muslim-friendly restaurant. Next time I drop by here, this is definitely a place I would like to try.
Operation Hours: 8 am – 8 pm
7. Merchant’s Lane
Now this place is really hard to find! You would have to bring a friend who knows the place or just, look a little harder. The entrance is a narrow dilapidated door with signage that says Merchant Lane at the top of the door.
When you enter, you’ll have to stand in line on the cramped stairs to get a table. This place is very popular so you better plan ahead when to come and be prepared for a whole lot of waiting.
After we got our table, we take a look at the menu and I just had to, HAD TO try the ‘Better Than Sex’ dish. I mean, a girl’s gotta know, you know. Ok hold up, that is actually their signature dessert. It’s pandan-infused ‘roti jala’ with ice cream. It is, quite tasty and I do recommend you guys try this out.
Their place is once again, rustic but beautiful, like most of the cafes here in Petaling Street. Also Muslim friendly, it is definitely worth the wait.
Operation Hours: 10.30 am – 9 pm on weekdays and 11.30 am – 9 pm on weekends (closed on Wednesdays)
8. Kwai Chai Hong
Lastly a place for leisure. We also stumbled across this place accidentally because all of the places here are extremely near each other. Convenient.
This place is called Kwai Chai Hong in Cantonese which means “Ghost Lane” or “Little Demon Alley”.
This gem takes you down to the golden era of 1960s KL Chinatown. The various murals on the wall depict the daily activities of early Chinese settlers then.
Other than taking pictures, this place is also known for cool places to eat and go drinking. Some of the places don’t serve alcohol and pork and some do.
There are a lot of events that took place here. For example, a whole month of November was reserved for an art installation called illuminating shadows. For specific events, you would have to check them out online because the art display often changes.
Kwai Chai Hong
Operation Hours: 9 am – 10 pm
There you go. These are some of the places that I went to during Pesta Kopi at Central Market.
These places are sorta near to each other and if you’re an avid explorer, there are actually A LOT more other hip places to visit here.
Go and explore your local Chinatown with friends or dates. Have fun!