Chu Cha on Jalan Alor

The arrival of the World Cup meant one thing for me; a screwed up biological clock. Though the 4am bed times and sleep-ins till the afternoon weren't the only things that had changed about me - I ate at very odd hours too. When I had some friends over to watch the Germany vs Spain semi-final match, I had scratched my head for quite some time when it came to thinking of an apt place for having dinner at midnight.

After a long, contemplative thought, the words 'Jalan Alor' came to mind and I thought to myself - brilliant. My friends weren't Malaysian and had not been there before. Jalan Alor would be the perfect place for a late dinner. For those of you who don't know, Jalan Alor is a famous street off Bukit Bintang road, renowned for their hawker stalls which line the street on both sides - from one end to the other.

It took us quite a bit of time to get there as the roads were jammed upon turning into Tengkat Tong Shin, though we reached there eventually. Our restaurant of choice was an establishment named Chu Cha. The restaurant, brightly lit with fluorescent lights, is located on the Left Hand Side at the very beginning of Jalan Alor. Other than ordering from the restaurant menu, one can sample the many stalls there, serving up dishes like Char Kuey Teow and Satay.

For starters, we had ordered Satay. The satay compromised of grilled beef and chicken on skewers, and served with a helping of raw cucumbers and onions, as well as peanut sauce. I would recommend that you order chicken satay instead of the beef, as it was really tough and chewy when compared to the chicken pieces, which actually tasted pretty good. The peanut sauce was sweet, though its consistency was a bit watery and it lacked in spiciness. The cucumbers tasted dry, though the onions tasted quite fresh.

We then ordered Fried Char Kwey Teow, which was priced at RM5. The Kwey Teow contained all the ingredients I loved - bean sprouts and scallions which tasted fresh and crisp; prawns which though de-veined, were cooked to perfection and tasted succulent; and cockles which were huge and juicy. Definitely, one of the better Kwey Teow's I've tasted despite its steep price.

We then ordered from the restaurant menu. We were first served Chinese Spare Ribs. The meat tasted reasonably succulent, though its crust was a bit soft and its flavor was overpowered by that of the sauce, though on the whole it tasted satisfactory, though I have tasted better.

Up next was the Chinese Fried Rice. I did not try the fried rice but it looked good and loaded with ingredients like Chinese sausage pieces, prawns, green beans, char siew and egg. As I saw my friend eating it all up, it indicated to me that this was something good and worth trying, if you don't mind a fat loaded meal - the dish simply glistened in the light. I wonder how much oil was used?

Last up was Mixed Vegetable Stir-fried in Soy Sauce. The broccoli and cauliflower tasted crisp and fresh. The carrots tasted a bit soft, but the sauce complemented all three vegetables well, though overpowered the mushrooms - which soaked up all the sauce. Sauce spewed into your mouth when you took a bite at it. Not a nice feeling.

I was reasonably satisfied by the dishes on the whole, but I must admit that I've tasted better Chinese food at other places. The one thing I was not satisfied by, however, was the total price of all three dishes - a whopping RM55.

I would recommend one to go there for the atmosphere and the experience, but not the food. You could try a different restaurant along the road, but because of the fact that Jalan Alor is a tourist attraction, all the restaurants there are steeply priced so that their owners get a whopping revenue.

Dining on the streets of KL while the Twin/KL Towers tower above you is truly something unique, though don't expect fantastic tasting food. KL has so much better stall food to offer, and at much cheaper prices too.

Presentation: 2/10

Ambiance: 3/10

Service: 3/10

Overall Taste: 4/10

General Impression: 3/10





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