Petaling Street: Malaysian Chinatown

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The Chinese have been in Kuala Lumpur ever since its founding back in 1857. Yap Ah Loy was an integral character in the development of K.L and it is him that contributed to the success of Petaling Street . This Chinese dominated area would be known to tourists as Chinatown but to the locals, it is affectionately referred to by its eponymous road name. It is more affectionately know to the Chinese Malaysians as Chi-Cheong-Kai in Cantonese but till this day there has been no reasoning or meaning behind it.

Malaysia is well-known for its big bargains and its bootlegs. Bargain hunters can be seen haggling at many of the stalls that make up Petaling Street 's infamous shopping haven. Some of the more popular items that can be found include DVDs, CDs, hand bags, watches and clothing.

Shoppers have to bear in mind that most of these items are in fact, bootleg versions even though they might look seemingly original. Word of advice, bring a local friend who is accustomed with the ways of Petaling Street to help you with your shopping as hawkers around the area tend to swindle unsuspecting tourists and foreigners.

Dozens of restaurants can be found at the shop houses that originally line the streets. Food stalls can also be found towards the centre of the street selling local Chinese delights such as Hokkien mee, BBQ sting ray, Assam Laksa and many more. Most of these shops and stalls have been in operation for decades. The delicious food at Petaling Street is a legacy that has been passed down from one generation to another.

Petaling Street 's reputation is an ill-fated one though and its history and origins have been replaced by stories of illegal trade and rude hawkers. Many complaints have been issued regarding the conduct of the Petaling Street hawkers but tourists and locals still insist on frequenting the place because of its great bargains and its popularity.

This vibrant area can get very crowded sometimes and one must be prepared to squeeze their way through a sea of bodies to get to the next stall. Nevertheless, that's just a minor inconvenience. Eventually, the offer of cheap clothes, watches, hand bags and DVD's are too great an opportunity to miss out on.

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