Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

Kuala Lumpur Food Guide: Best Breakfast in KL! IMBI Market or Pasar Bukit Bintang

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I was pretty excited after reading glowing reviews from friends and bloggers about the BEST breakfast place in Kuala Lumpur. The fact that it’s actually within walking distance from Bukit Bintang area made it even better! As a traveller, I always love places that I can walk to as I’m not very fond of Malaysia Taxi services. Yes – the best breakfast place in Kuala Lumpur for locals and tourists is within WALKING distance! The easiest method is to just use UBER app and tell them you want to go to IMBI Market.

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After some search, we finally entered and was greeted by the sight of these Crispy Apam Balik store. The sound of metal covers clashing against the mini woks as the chef closes it to let it cook gently is music to a foodie’s ears. It can be known by many other names but Apam Balik is more familiar name for me.


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It’s basically like thin crispy crepes – good as a side dish to accompany what is yet to be a BIG BIG breakfast! As a tourist, try to look for a table first to match your number of people. It can be pretty crowded here – so grab a table first as your priority. Note that some tables next to the vendors – you should order something from them as courtesy to using their furniture. No problem as the food is generally cheap here.


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Tapao them and let the camera eat first ~~ mmmmm….


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The famous Ann Nasi Lemak caught my attention as soon as I turned right from the Crispy Apam store.


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The menu for Ann Nasi Lemak – They have a wide variety to choose but what caught my eye is their PORK SKIN CURRY ~~ OOOOH YESSSH!! RM5 only!


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We came early to avoid the crowd – oh yesh – no need to queue!


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A container of deliciousness! Pork Skin Curry ~~ OMG OMG OMG OMG!!


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Ann asked me if I can eat spicy – I said not too spicy and she gave me a little bit of her sambal – which I regret later – the sambal is fantastic! I should had asked for more! The Pork Skin curry has a great texture and goes very well with the curry sauce – thumbs this up up up as one of my favourites in IMBI Market!


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Just next to Ann Nasi Lemak is Sister’s Crispy Popiah – usually a good side dish for others to enjoy with their big breakfast.


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Freshly made popiah skin and rolled on the spot – you will need to queue for this ~ the Auntie is very friendly and even recommended us another good store to try out!


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Fresh popiah skin spread with a sweet sauce mixed with shredded yambean (sengkuang), shredded carrots, shredded cucumber, egg and ground peanuts, some crispy bits which I suspect to be fried shallots or some secret ingredient added. Order a pair of them to enjoy with some good Hainan Tea!


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Speaking of Tea, one of the most old school iconic stores here has to be Ah Weng Kor Hainan Tea. Some of them call him Hainan Chai (Hainan Kid). Look out for an uncle in red walking around and order from him. We were sitting pretty far from them and called him as he was walking around. Very vibrant and full of energy uncle I must say ~


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It was pretty hot so some of us went for their Hainan Tea Ping ~~ Would you look at that beautiful thick frothy foam dripping off the cup ~ so messy yet so yummy looking! This is actually a Hainan style tea – which actually has a mix of coffee in it ~ similar to Ying Yong but this one has a stronger tea taste. Like a tea-coffee tarik ~~ it’s very smooth and one can easily drink two glass of this while enjoying the food!


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I like it so much ~~ I simply must take a picture with it ~~~ Ooooooo glup glup glup ~~ Satu lagi boss! One more ~~ make that two more please!


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Their buns smothered with kaya and butter goes perfectly with their Hainan Tea! I can say the kaya is their strong point – fragrant and delicious!


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They also serve soft boiled eggs in a container. You can decide how well done your eggs are by letting it sit in this hot water (covered with a lid). I think I’ll leave it for 3 minutes for just the right doneness for me.


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Ooooh yes ~~~ scoop out all the eggy goodness ~~ don’t waste any single drop!


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I dipped my kaya butter toast with the egg yolks ~~ ooooooh my ~~~~ indulge!


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The Hainan tea goes very well with another store in Imbi market. One must not miss Bunn Choon Pastry House.


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They have quite a huge variety of Chinese style pastries to satisfy your hunger. A cheap affordable breakfast compared to fancy hipster cafĂ©  style breakfast places where a piece of pastry and coffee c an easily cost you Rm20.


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Why Good Morning ~~~~~~~~~~!


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The Black Bamboo Egg Tart caught my attention – visually appealing and you can easily trick your Ang Mor White friends that this is squid ink egg tart – and watch them go WHAT???! Love the flaky goodness of the puff pastry!


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This pastry also caught my attention – salted yolk pastry! For lovers of mooncakes and eggyolks – this is a must nom nom breakfast. One thing I like is their filling, which doesn’t taste store bought – so I assumed they made it themselves. Yummy!


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Woon Yien, a Kuching blogger, enjoying it very very much!


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Rumour has it that there’s a Hainanese Style Assam Laksa in IMBI Market which is slightly different from the Penang Assam Laksa. Thankfully it’s not hard to find as I saw this at their stall ~~


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Lot’s of mint leaves and shredded mackerel topping the yummy looking Hainanese Assam Laksa ~~


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Gave it a good stir and you can see the lovely lai fun noodles – with a good glutinous chewy texture which goes well with the tarmarind broth – there’s a good hint of lemongrass to it and I say the difference is that it doesn’t have a strong bungan kantan (ginger flower) taste which is iconic to Penang Assam Laksa – it’s not as sour and more on the sweeter side for me (maybe thanks to the molasses from the Har Kow – sweet prawn paste on the soup spoon). Some would actually prefer this over Penang Assam laksa based on subjective preference – Verdict – I love this version and I can say Kuala Lumpur is lucky to have this version unique to them!


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Towards a very end of Imbi Market, there’s a highly recommended Ginger and Wine Bee Hoon (Rice Vermicelli) Soup dish. If you’re a lover of fish head, she serves them too.


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The soup is pretty good and has a good kick to it – tastes pretty herbal. My Kuching blogging friends think it’s good but they have better home made ones in Kuching – I should pay them a visit again to try. This would be a nice dish to wake you up after a late night clubbing session at Cang Kat or Bukit Bintang (if you can wake up early)


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Speaking of ginger, just next to the store that sells Hainanese Assam Laksa and right behind Sister’s Crispy Popiah is a store that sells Ginger Chicken Kolo Mee Noodles. It looks plain compared to other dishes but it turned out to be one of our favourites! The chicken was cooked to just the right tender texture and is pretty juicy while the ginger sauce goes very well with the thin noodles! Thumbs up and I must thank the Auntie from Sister Popiah for recommending or else I wouldn’t have ordered this! Try it! Don’t be fooled by it’s simple look – this is where I can say simplicity is the best!


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Imbi market is also famous for a good wholesome porridge to fill the stomach – especially my food blogger’s multiple stomachs ~~ as soon as I saw these fried crispy pork intestines – I knew I must have this porridge!


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All hail the mighty crispy pork intestine porridge! The texture of the porridge has just the right stickiness and packed with a good wholesome flavours of a home made porridge ~ just like the way my grandmother makes them ~~~ the added crunchy and deliciousness from the fried pork intestines just makes it better!


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Last but not least – is Ah Fook Chee Cheong Fun ~~ it’s a family business and it’s really heart warming for a foodie to see inter-generations working together as a team to serve good food. *wipes tear off eyes*


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When they say it’s made fresh daily – they’re not lying! They make them fresh on the spot!


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Freshly stuffed and into the boiling hot frying oil ~~ *sizzles* – music to my ears ~~


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What makes their Chee Chung Fun so special is their freshly made Yong Tau Fu (various vegetables, bean curd or bean curd skin products stuffed with meat or fish paste) – which is fried and then sliced into small bite sizes – to serve with freshly made cheong fan – kind of like a rice flour lasagna ~~


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They mixed the fried pieces of yong tau fu with the chee cheong fan – then lather it with a generous serving of that sweet sauce. You can add curry sauce and a good sprinkle of sesame seeds ~~


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So good – that I must take it from another angle ~~ look at that yummy chee cheong fan (rice lasagna). I must say the reason it’s so good is because it’s so freshly made – you cannot beat their quality – especially when a lot of yong tau fu stores ordered from manufacturers and refrigerate them for quite some time! I will say this – if you came to Imbi market – no I repeat – if you came to Kuala Lumpur, and you did not try Ah Fook Chee Cheong Fun – you' seriously missed out!


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As with popular stores like these, the queue can be pretty long and the chefs would be working overtime to deal with the customers. Consider that the food is pretty cheap and so delicious – they can be pretty under-appreciated. As I was sitting down on a table next to the queue, I overheard two Chinese middle aged men in the queue mumbling how grumpy looking the boss look and hated how the boss can be so proud. (note – I’ve toned down a little bit of what they said about him)


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Frankly, I’m disgusted by customers who say such bad things about the vendors. Working long hours cooking for people in a hot open kitchen market is a very tough task and forgive them for being grumpy yet keep calm and continue serving some disgraceful ungrateful customers like YOU LOT!


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For foodies like me who appreciate all their hard work – I guess it oozes out – as he was very friendly and even talked to me while he was ultra busy! He’s all smiles as I take a picture of him. I didn’t take a picture with him as there was a long queue of customers and let him carry on with his cooking. I will definitely come back again one day to sample his good chee cheong fun!


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Before we eat – let’s take a picture with the food! Tip: Grab a few friends with you so you can sample as much as I did!


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The bunch of Kuching Bloggers, Comic Blogger Jian Goh, Kuching Food Specialist Jacqueline Cheong and cutie lifestyle and food blogger Woon Yien , featuring my friend Kenex, whose been kind to drive me around KL.


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The travelling adventures of Thanis Lim meets the best breakfast in Kuala Lumpur, IMBI Market!



Here’s a poor excuse of a map of IMBI Market that I’ve drawn using paint – but this should save a lot of time for you – as it took me and the Kuching bloggers quite a while to locate and find all the good stores in IMBI Market. Now go my readers – find those delicious breakfast items you dream about!


Here’s a google map walking directions from a famous landmark - Pavillion Kuala Lumpur! Happy walking and food hunting! Just 12 minutes walk from Pavillion!

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