Mention Brickfields and one immediately thinks of a bustling, chaotic neighbourhood with cheap food, drinks and brothels. I suppose the addition of KL Sentral brings about some semblance of respect to Brickfields, but I wonder, does Brickfields really need that?
What I like about Brickfields is the appearance of uncomplicated life.
Where the uncle selling newspapers greets you every morning, whether or not you will be getting the papers for that day.
Or where the aunty selling roast pork at the wet market sells you that small portion of roast pork at a privileged price of just RM2 for your breakfast.
Where the man at the chicken rice stall asks you where that curly haired friend who normally frequents the stall has gone.
Where the uncle at the teh tarik stall in front of the Petronas petrol station takes the time to sit down with you to have a chat while you enjoy a packet of packed nasi lemak with your usual ginger tea.
We decided to go to the Lido kopitiam at Brickfields for lunch today. This is the kopitiam that is located behind the old Lido cinema, now the site for Public Bank, and opposite the YMCA. There are two dishes which I find particularly delicious at this kopitiam: char koay teow and pan mee.
The char koay teow is fried with crunchy bits of lard, lup cheong (chinese sausages) and kerang (cockles). It is hard to find a good char koay teow, and this place gets the thumbs up from me.
The pan mee stall has a strong following too. Be prepared to wait before you are served as the queue is pretty long. What makes the pan mee special here is the sambal belacan which is hot and sour. The aunty who dishes out the pan mee is quite generous with the ikan bilis (anchovies), minced pork and sweet potato leaves.
After wolfing down our lunch, we made our way across the road to a stall selling kuih and other savoury treats. The husband and wife duo have been running this stall for as long as I can remember, and it always gets crowded at lunch time. They sell an amazing variety of kuih and I hardly ever notice the aunty taking a break.
I am always filled with a sense of nostalgia when I am at Brickfields. The familiar faces remind me of simpler times.