Lebuh Pudu was once a street literally paved in gold. Huh, you say? Well, three decades ago, this central business district boasted the highest concentration of goldsmiths in the city centre. However, with the golden ag
e of this street fading into history, only two family-owned goldsmiths are still found here. This was also the place where couples would do their shopping for their wedding.
Bright and sparkling things aside, what is Lebuh Pudu known for in terms of good street food? For starters, many of the goldsmith shops have been taken over by Myanmar traders offering services like travel, telecommunications, foreign money remittance and food.
Yes, you can find some decent Myanmar eateries here. But, today, I am going to focus on two old-school coffeeshops.
First on the list is Weng Heng. This eatery has been around for ages and is still going strong.
There are four stalls catering to the office workers in the district and one of the most interesting stalls is the one run by the chee yuk fun and yee thau mai (pork noodles and fish head noodles) seller on the second row.
I made my way to this coffeeshop before lunch hour and met an old-timer, David Ho.
“Hajime mashite, watashi–wa name–no Ho–des! Dozo yoroshiku,“ he greeted me in Japanese (“How do you do, my name is Ho. I am pleased to meet you”).
For a brief moment, I was stunned because there were no Japanese people around. Ho then asked: “Do you speak English?”
The retiree was rather surprised when I told him that I am a local from Subang Jaya and that I was at the coffeeshop to try out a bowl of the fish head noodles.
After a brief introduction, we exchanged notes about noodles and places to eat.
I learnt that the old-timer has been frequenting Lebuh Pudu since he sold his family business.
The 73-year-old used to run a goldsmith shop in the area. Happily retired, Ho said he spent at least three days a week at the coffeeshops here.
“Ah, I thought you were a Japanese tourist; you seemed to love taking pictures of your food!” he said.
I ordered a bowl of fish head noodles and when it arrived, wasted no time in chomping down my meal.
At RM4.50 a bowl, the serving was generous and, best of all, there was little monosodium glutamate in its gravy, which made it very pleasant to consume. I had no complaints at all.
By the time I was done with the noodles, my face was covered with sweat.
My newfound friend found it amusing that a complete stranger to the area would come all the way just for a bowl of noodles.
“Hey, I have one more tip for you – if you love char koay teow, go to Choon Tian coffeeshop across the street,” he suggested.
As for the makan experience in Weng Heng coffeeshop, I must say that I was amazed by the well-maintained interior of this pre–war premises.
The eatery has a section with a high ceiling and a sunroof.
There is ample lighting in here and the place is quite airy, too. Apart from the fish head noodles, the charsiew–kai fan (roasted pork and chicken rice) and chap fan (economy rice) at this coffeeshop are commendable.
After my noodle meal, I made my way across the street to Choon Tian and found a seat at the rear section of the eatery.
Here, I observed the char koay teow seller who was busy dishing out the fried noodles for his customers.
His stall is called Raymond char koay teow but sadly, I was too stuffed to make any room in my stomach for fried noodles.
Moreover, my doctor had ordered me to go easy on my food intake, especially fried and oily dishes.
I ordered a cup of kopi–o and paid RM1.10, which is a standard price in the city centre.
From a distance, I watched the char koay teow man, who was wearing an apron and a pair of safety glasses, skilfully stirring and frying the noodles.
While other stall owners were waiting to make a sale, this koay teow man was steadily dishing out noodles for a stream of customers making their way into the shop for lunch.
I was told that the roasted meat rice stall here is worth a try, but that will have to wait.
The Myanmar restaurants in Lebuh Pudu are also worth a try and a follow–up trip is in my schedule.
To get to this area, you can take an LRT ride to Pasar Seni station or Masjid Jamek, which is about a 10-minute walk away.
There are plenty of buses that ply this route and the nearest stop is at Medan Pasar.
I wouldn't recommend driving into this area because it is perpetually congested and parking charges in private car parks around here are simply outrageous.Source: The Star