Best Places To Eat In PJ Old Town

Best Places To Eat In PJ Old Town

There is no doubt — this oldie neighbourhood is a goodie for foodies. Follow our tasty trail into PJ Old Town and sniff out local secret spots for lip-smacking banana leaf, piping-hot claypot chicken rice and chilly cendol in a glass!
Burpple Guides
Burpple Guides

This old-school coffee shop set in the outdoors is where you'll find the breakfast of champions. There is something for everyone, such as Soft Boiled Eggs (RM2) that go perfectly with Kaya Toast (RM2) and fresh, turnip-packed Popiah (from RM4). Penangites vouch for the authenticity of the Kuey Teow Th'ng (RM4) served here. Its fish balls are bouncy to the bite, while the mellow soup gets flavour from a sprinkling of pork lard. For those with a hearty appetite in the mornings, there is also Nasi Lemak (from RM2.50) with sides to complement. Go for the curry chicken — this version goes easy on the spice to ease tummies into eating early. Shrouded in greenery, the space also comes with a pleasant breeze, best enjoyed while slurping on a cup of piping-hot Kopi (RM1.80).
Avg price per person: RM10
Photo by Burppler Mik Ki

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A PJ Old Town landmark, this food court first birthed in the 1960s has withstood the test of time alongside some of its long-standing stalls. There is plenty variety and ample space for hungry hordes at lunch hour, especially for diners on a budget. The main event is Kie Kee's Chicken Rice (from RM5), a popular order that sees good old flavoured rice with a dish of slippery smooth chicken — the soy sauce is sweet and slightly thicker than most. For those who like lunch a little lighter, Koon Kim Hong's Claypot Yee Mee (from 4.50) is a great option next to his meaty homemade Lor Bak (from RM3). This is essential: pay dessert stall Weng Kee a visit for their Cendol Red Bean (RM3), icy coconut milk goodness jam-packed into a glass. If it's a weekend, try matriarch Aunty Peggy's Bubur Cha Cha (RM4.50) from the same stall. She calls it her special blend!
Avg price per person: RM10

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The secret of Sri Ganapathi Mess is no longer; while it used to be a quiet hideout, this home-based banana leaf restaurant has now become a bustling hub for lovers of the South Indian staple. Hidden past a porch that peddles pottery, this place is best visited with a foodie friend. The Vegetarian Meal (RM6) is laid out in this order: banana leaf, a mound of rice, three vegetables of the day, curry (ask for crab!) and a papadam. While rasam is typically free of charge, their flavour-filled Crab Rasam goes for RM1.50 and it's worth every penny you pay for it. On sides, skip the frying station and make space for the sauce-laden selections — both the Mutton Varuval (RM10) and Chicken Varuval (RM8) pass the taste test with flying colours. Ambience is not their strong suit but for the spicy meal, we're glad that air-conditioning is all-around.
Avg price per person: RM15
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Brian Leow

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Set along a row of old shoplots, Veng Soon is easy to sniff out by the signboard that sports a cute chef caricature. The decor is simple, championed by dozens of claypots fired in the back. Come for family dinners, which involve gathering around their large tables for Claypot Chicken Rice (from RM10). Stained with dark soy sauce, the rice emerges redolent of smoky flavours from charcoal fire. Add RM3 for salted fish, which boosts the dish with an umami finish. With the rice, order a selection of their nourishing steamed soups to share. The Salted Vegetable Duck Soup (RM6) and Black Chicken Herbal Soup (RM9) are comforting classics. On the same menu also sits several rare ones: the Black Bean Cat Fish or Loach Soup (RM8), known for its benefits to complexion, and a good-for-the-bones Shark Bone Kampung Chicken Herbal Soup (RM12) — both as tasty as they are health-giving.
Avg price per person: RM15

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Apart from its local favourites, PJ Old Town also houses one of Yi Poh Lou Shi Fun's outposts outside of Seremban. The corner shoplot's marble table and wooden chairs make for a comfortable environment, capable of catering to groups of families, friends and colleagues. Tastemaker Kaelyn reports that their Yi Poh Lo C Fun (RM7.50) is as yummy as the one she had in Seremban, so whether or not you've tasted the original, try this. Each bowl renders long strands of rat-tail noodles, doused in minced pork and char siew. Elevating the experience is their specialty chilli sauce, a spicy sambal-like concoction that will have you breaking out in sweat, but also dying for more! We can only thank heavens that Yi Poh sells these in take-home jars. The Classic Red (RM13) is light red with moderate heat while the Special Red (RM16)'s chunkier outlook resembles chilli oil, handsomely seasoned with dried prawns.
Avg price per person: RM10
Photo by Burpple Tastemaker Kaelyn Pu

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If you crave bak kut teh but don't want to make the drive to Klang, this rustic location will do right by the rainy day comfort. Like in Klang, Heng Kee's Bak Kut Teh (from RM12) is served in individual bowls — perfect for diners in a group who find themselves at odds when ordering. Get a bowl of ribs and pork belly, and another with mixed innards. The broth here has a herbal base, but be warned, it's not as thick and concentrated as some might like. Instead, expect fragrant but mild flavours, which will please soup-drinkers who can go at it without feeling too thirsty after. Order also their Braised Mushrooms (from RM8) steeped in a tasty sweet sauce, as well as Blanched Vegetables (from RM6), a toss up between romaine or iceberg lettuce with oyster sauce.
Avg price per person: RM20
Photo by Burppler Trisha Toh

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Running the business out of their own home, the family behind Jalan 1/21's secluded pork noodle shopfront relies mostly on regulars to fill seats. If you're in the area, hit up the homely spot for a soupy fix. Their mainstay of Pork Noodles (from RM6) sees a straightforward bowl of clear soup noodles topped with a wobbly egg and minced pork. The more impressive lineup lies in their add-on options. The array includes soup dumplings, homemade fish paste, pork innards and, if it hasn't sold out yet, yong tau foo. For 80 cents a piece, the dumplings never fail to satisfy. Made of prawn and pork mince, these are soft and tender with an occasional crunch of turnip and carrots. Pro tip: Head towards the back of 99 Speedmart and look out for house number 27 to find this nameless nook.
Avg price per person: RM10
Photo by Burppler Erica Jioe

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The top picks, popular finds and newly opened places in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, curated by Burpple editors!

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