Name: Kawthar Rashid Jeewa
Student number: 0314832
Batch: FNBE April 13’
Subject: Culture and civilisation
Assignment: Compilation of literature review (final project- Photo booklet)
Due date: 04.02.14
Food is a crucial part in the Malaysian culture and more importantly reflects the history of the
country. Over the centuries, the Malays have been in close contact with other cultures so
much that today’s food culture of Malaysia is the perfect example of food fusion. Malaysian
cuisine is influenced by various cultures from all around the world. Given that Malaysia's
population consists mostly of three ethnic groups:Malays, Chinese and Indians, those
influences can be identified in the dishes. This happened as a result of historical migrations
and Malaysia's geographical advantage, Malaysia's culinary style is furthermore a mixture of
Indonesian, Portuguese, Thai and Arabian cuisines - to name a few. This resulted in making
Malaysian cuisine highly exotic.
Street food is ready-to-eat food or drink sold in a street or other public place, such as a
market or fair, by a hawker or vendor, often from a portable stall. While some street foods are
regional, many are not, having spread beyond their region of origin. Most street foods are
also classed as both finger food and fast food, and are cheaper on average than restaurant
meals. People may purchase street food for a number of reasons, such as to obtain reasonably
priced and flavourful food in a sociable setting, to experience ethnic cuisines. Street food was
furthermore reported to have existed since the ancient Rome as the poor did not enjoy the
commodity of a kitchen.
Street food of Malaysia is one of the best way to discover its culture and mingle with the
1) Colours and contrast
Given that I chose street food, what I wanted to enhance and bring out were the diversity of
street food itself and the people making/selling it. The contrast between the cultures and
influences surrounding the food was to be highlighted. Moreover what needed pointing out
were the rich colours of the food which contrasted and echoed their influences.
Through the contrasting more similarities than differences were found therefore the concept
had to be changed.
2) The Travellers’ guide
Given that I’m an international student and was eager to taste and dig in the culture of
Malaysia, I found this assignment extremely refreshing and enriching. Never have I tasted
such wonders and I could feel the excitement of being a tourist again thus the name : The
Traveller’s guide to street food. As I came to learn more about this culture which was the aim
of the assignment, I wanted my booklet to have an aim too. Apart from just showing pretty
pictures of food I wanted to educate people about the marvels of this beautiful country.
Introducing people who just like were ignoring about what the street of Kuala Lumpur could
offer. Once I could look just past the shopping malls, I opened the doors to a whole other
Most locations were found based on online suggested pages and recognise traveler’s guide
already set up by bloggers who are specialised in reviewing street food.
1.PasarSeni and Little india
3. Jalan Petaling
5. SS15 was chosen because of its strategic location, it was not in the city thus providing an
unbiased view of what street food was. Furthermore SS15 had many adepts and positive
reviews about the food which stated the various type of food and praised the availability of
1. PasarSeni (a.k.a Central Market)
Central Market Kuala Lumpur is located at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock (Foch Avenue) and
the pedestrian-only section of Jalan Hang Kasturi (Rodger Street) is a few minutes away
from Petaling Street. It was founded in 1888 and originally used as a wet market, while the
current building was completed in 1937. It has since been classified as a Heritage Site by the
Malaysian Heritage Society and it is now a landmark for Malaysian culture and heritage.
The Central Market Kuala Lumpur is arranged in a stall concept, representing the traditional
market that has existed in Kuala Lumpur since the 1800s. Travelers can scroll through the
many sections that exists within the Central Market, from the Lorong Melayu, Straits
Chinese, and Lorong India which is located on the west wing. The second floor hosts a food
court, offering an array of food. Notable are two-storey and single- storey buildings
resembling the kampong-style houses representing the many ethnic groups living
harmoniously in Kuala Lumpur.
The place that I wanted to concentrate on was the Katsuri walk.
Pasarseni offers a wide array of stalls which features:
1. local fruits
The fruit stalls there displayed: mangosteen, rambutang, pomegranates, longane and many
other fruits which can only be found in this part of the world. This stall was interesting to
feature in the booklet because it did not relate to the conception people had about street food,
namely that it was to be cooked or prepared by the road side. Despite this, the stall echoed
the meaning of street food which was ready-to-eat food generally being of local influences
and sold by the roadside to be enjoyed on the street itself. This firstly attacks head on what I
wanted to show people and giving a new perspective to street food.
Unedited pictures taken to show: 1. Th exotic fruit stall
2. Traditional ice cream
This ice cream said to be made by local techniques bring about controversial ideas when
you see the said used techniques. The techniques are claimed to be used by Arabs and
Italian in the ice cream making. Interestingly this shows how local ice cream flavours like
Durian are being made by Middle Eastern or Italian technique. This is the essence itself
of foodfusion, which is flavours mingling, ingredients from over the world being cooked
according to the local spice and in this case local recipes using techniques from the other
side of the globe.
Unedited pictures taken to show: 2. The traditional ice cream stall
3. Putu Kaya
Putu Kaya is yet my favourite because this is something that you can find on my island.
Not so surprising given that my country, Mauritius was discovered by Malaysia and the
later imported their food and traditions to my country. While the recipe was left nearly
untouched in my country, Putu Kaya of Malaysia experienced changes from all the
influence it felt, changes for the better. The technique moreover is very different given
that it uses one of the natural resources Malaysia: bamboo stick as a mould. Furthermore
they make use of Kaya butter which originates from China more precisely in the Hainan
Unedited pictures taken to show: 3. Putu Kaya
4. The Fritters stalls
This stall featured snacks inspired from the keropok(which is from Chinese influence) but it is
made from local ingredients such as fish paste or dried salted fish.
Unedited pictures taken to show: 4. fritters
Petaling Streetis a Chinatown located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is infamous for pirated
clothes and accessories along with bootleg DVDs and CDs.Petaling Street however does not
exclusively offer pirated products. Haggling is a common sight here and the place is usually
crowded with locals as well as tourists.
The area has dozens of restaurants and food stalls, serving local favourites such
as Hokkienmee, ikanbakar (barbecued fish), asamlaksa and curry noodles. Traders here are
mainly Chinese but there are also Indian, Malay, and Bangladeshi traders.
The booklet tried to show the most interesting stalls given that most of the food was not halal
and I could not taste them because of my religious convictions.Therefore I went by the looks
of the food and tried to create a bonding between the stall owners and the viewer which can
be shown in the pictures. I tried to show their personality as we should not forget the cook
behind the food, the person who wakes up at dawn; some to execute their passion others to
carry the family business.
The photos depict their smiling faces, their tired looks, their resigned airs, it lets the viewer
create a scenario and connect more with them.
This shy-looking man promises biscuits of Chinese inspiration for an unbeatable price.Street
food is more than just marketing strategies.
Street food is a small business and to keep one going one must have a loyal clientele. This sturdy
woman is up on her feet from twilight till dawn and has clients waiting patiently just to get a seat at
her table. She prefers making everything herself even if that is going to take a long time, the
satisfaction of her customers is her goal. Traditional HokkienMee that no one can refuse.
Street food is about loyalty.
JalanPetaling is heaven on earth for the adept of those Chinese savouries. The Chinese are
particularly fond of the dried pork bacon which requires so much preparation and weeks of
drying that it reflects in the price. One kilogram can even sell up to a hundred Ringgit.
Street food can be traditional.
SS15 is a business centre which also accommodates residents and institutions. This is a
great spot for thriving businesses such as restaurants and little stalls.
The contrast I wanted to show was between the other locations and SS15. SS15 was the
only place which had to be visited at night. It was crowded regardless of it being a week
day or a week end. People who came to enjoy the food were mostly nearby residents,
student or office worker in contrast with the other locations which was more oriented
I felt that this had to be one of the locations featured in my booklet as unlike the others it
was not in the city therefore targeting other than tourists. It was a fairly accessible place.
It gave the choice between food type and influence. It gave the feeling of not going by the
books, which is always a plus when you are a tourist. You like discovering things on your
own and not relying on what others visited or recommended. At some point it made you
feel less dependent on others which felt risky and refreshing. Those are the emotions
people like to go by when they are testing/tasting street food abroad. The feeling of not
knowing where to go but knowing their destinations. Street food is impromptu and
spontaneous, it is found everywhere not just tourist sites.
Street food is more than fast food as it promises the flavour and fresh ingredients. Furthermore street
food is simultaneous, it requires that one man does the job of two or even three men as you can see
in the picture above where the cook is instinctively taking orders and flipping burgers with the other
Street food is hard work.
Street food is about giving the choice to the customers and sometimes just about pleasing as
much people as possible.
4. Little India
Known as Kuala Lumpur’s little india, Brickfields is a medium-sized town found on the
outskirts of Kuala Lumpur namely on the former name ‘Brickfields Road’ and is now more
commonly known as JalanTunSambanthan. Despite having many historical religious
structures, Brickfields is mostly knows due to its high concentration of Indian residents and
businesses there. Thus making it a popular hotspot for Indian food delights particularly such
as thosai-Indian style pancake made with fermented rice flour- or banana leaf rice. It Is to be
noted that There is only one Western fast food place in Brickfields which is KFC.
Little India is the most colourful of all the locations and is to be recommended not only for
the food but for the people and the architecture there. For a second when you cross the
bridge and set foot there, you feel that you have left Kuala Lumpur. All your senses are in
alert as you start to smell the aromas of the curries and fritters. Music is overflowing while
you are walking under the scorching sun. This location was to be shared and pay special
attention to as it beautifully shows the other side of the street food dish. It showed the
connection you made along the way to the food, the architectural environment which affected
your senses and showed that food was not only to be tasted but felt.
At the corner of a street under the scorching midday sun, there is a small stall around which
the rare people on foot are concentrated together with cars stopping by. This is where one
can find fried traditional finger food with a variety of at least a dozen different kinds at a very
affordable; comparatively, Rm 4 is enough to fill one’s stomach. All the food are prepared
and fried on the spot with only two persons in the kitchen and while the two others are the
owners and the most experienced. Therefore with a big smile they tackle the customers.
The stall that I concentrated on was the fritter stall, the rest was to show the atmosphere
This stall offers fried snacks under a scorching midday sun where affordable food cannot be
found for nearby construction workers and residents. Again this shows how street food does
not have to be in streets build for them but are everywhere to be found. Thus the essence itself
of street food.
Street food is everywhere.
Street food is sometimes more about the streets than the food itself, in order to enjoy the food
every senses must be in alert, one must be fully immersed into the environment and discover
all the smiling faces, the colours and smell of the streets.
JalanAlor is a unique food destination in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. The whole character of
the city changes when you step onto the street. Gone are the modern shopping malls that
align the city, which are replaced with something of the past age. During the day, there is not
much activity but when the sun goes down, the street will be hustling and bustling with
It was once known as a red light district and remnants of those activities still exist. However,
after several face lifts, the street has literally become a food haven.
Last but not least JalanAlor was to be included as it was the star of the assignment itself: the
food. The most important part was kept last so as to emphasise on the beauty and
deliciousness of the dishes sold there. Very affordable, JalanAlor had one of the best deals;
one could buy delicious local savouries for only rm 7. Given that street food is about the
availability and affordability of the food, JalanAlor was the perfect blend for it. Furthermore
JalanAlor regrouped the most exotic ingredients and recipes of the whole of Kuala Lumpur.
JalanAlor attracted as many tourist for the typical atmosphere as it attracted locals for the
JalanAlor did offer the same food as JalanPetaling but I had to admit that I was more
attracted to those selling in JalanAlor because of the setting of the environment and because
of the crowd.
One of the ways to verify the quality of the food I learned is not the looks of it but the size of
the queue line leading to the stall itself. JalanAlor furthermore looked very festive because of
the Chinese decorations which was put on all year round.
The stall show the synergy between the family that owns it. It is with extreme dexterity and
long-time achieved experience that the You Tiao and Ngau Lay so are made within minutes
and ready to be fried.