Back in the 19th century, a large number of the Chinese community immigrated to Malaya (now Malaysia) for tin-mining. Many stayed on after that and used their own culinary skills to make a living by selling food from door to door. They then moved on to setting up stalls by the roadside. My mother, for instance, grew up helping her grandmother in her noodles stall.
While some stalls remained individually located, some eventually stationed their stalls at a specific location to attract the crowd with their wide selection of food. Each stall sells their own specialty. In certain Glutton Streets which had been around for years such as those at Pudu, Kuala Lumpur and Muar, Johor, the stalls are passed down from one generation to another. Some had been operating for up to 50 years! Glutton Streets are usually open daily although some stall owners might take a day off once a week.
Most Glutton Streets operate from 5 pm until 10 pm daily. Therefore, the street is always brightly lit with fluorescent lights. You can hear the din caused by the preparation of food in every corner. The sizzling sound of pork as they are barbecued, sparkles of flames and smoke from barbecued skewered meat and the sound of friction as spatula hits the wok, tossing the noodles. Of course, you cannot miss the aromas of the food being cooked. Definitely makes one hungry instantly.
Why Glutton Street?
The stalls in Glutton Streets have perfected their recipe as they specialize only in one dish with a variety of ingredients for you to choose from. For example, a stall had been selling Char Kuey Teow (stir-fried rice noodles) for years. So, when you are there, you know that you will be served with a perfect plate of 'Char Kuey Teow'.
Food found in Glutton Streets are typical local specialties and home cooked dishes. That is why Glutton Street is so popular among the locals especially for those who finished work late. Although one may be frequenting the same Glutton Street daily, rest assured that he/she will still be spoiled for choice.
Types of Food
Each Glutton Street offers its own specialties. As the stalls are passed down from one generation to another, you can trust the quality of the food. For example, the Glutton Street in the heart of Kuala Lumpur is known for its famous grilled chicken (Wong Ah Wah 'Siew Kai Yik') to be exact.
It is important to do some research on the types of food which could be found at each Glutton Street. The best way is to take a walk along the whole street before deciding on your choice. Although some sellers may seem aggressive in promoting their stalls, do not be rushed into making a decision. Take your time.
Of course, the most logical place to be is where the queue is! Most of the time, there will be a long queue at stalls with really good food. After all, the locals know best!