Kuala Lumpur Chinatown
Malaysia capital, Kuala Lumpur, has a Chinatown located in Petaling Street. It is often referred to as Kuala Lumpur Chinatown and also known to locals as 'Chee Cheong Kai' meaning 'Street of Starch Factory', a reference the area’s former economic activity.
Petaling Street is closed to traffic and at each end of the street is an archway marking the limits of Kuala Lumpur Chinatown. The street has a green covering to shelter shoppers and visitors from sun and rain. Stretching the entire length of Petaling Street, it is also known as the Green Dragon.
Kuala Lumpur Chinatown as two “layers” along both sides of the street. The “first layer” is stalls offering mainly counterfeit fashion products such as CDs ad DVDs, watches, handbags, scarves, wallets, tie and cufflink sets, belts, and purses. Almost every luxurious brand is represented here; Cardin, Hugo boss, Coach, Rolex, Cartier, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Armani, Gucci, Prada, D&G, LV, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Tiffany & Co….
These counterfeit fashion stalls are broken at intervals by stalls offering food, Chinese pastries, tourist souvenirs, and daily necessities.
Behind these stalls is the “second layer” of shops and hotels. Many interesting and authentic businesses can be found in this second layer shop. An example is the dim sum restaurant where waitresses push carts of dim sum for guests to choose and where small tea cups in a round steel bowl can be found on each table.
With a substantial number of Chinese in Kuala Lumpur and as a major tourist attraction, Chinese shops and businesses are also found in the neighborhood surrounding Petaling Street creating a greater Chinatown.
In this greater Chinatown, visitors can find hawker stalls offering all types of Chinese and local food at inexpensive prices. There are also shops offering Bakkwa, chestnut, Chinese pastries and also specialty pastry shops offering pastries in their own brand. These shops attract visitors from all over Malaysia and even Singapore who will buy their pastries as prized souvenirs for friends at home.
Kuala Lumpur Chinatown showcases the Malaysia Chinese community within the context of Malaysia’s multi ethnic and multi racial society. However, it is not a theme park but a real, living cultural landscape where many Chinese continue to shop, conduct business and eat there. As such, it is busy all day and especially so during festive seasons like the Chinese New Year or the Mid Autumn Festival.
For visitors who want to enjoy the ambience of Kuala Lumpur Chinatown, there are hotels along Petaling Street where guests literally have Chinatown at their doorstep. Otherwise, Kuala Lumpur Chinatown is just a taxi or bus ride away and there is also the LRT (nearest station: Pasar Seni).