Streetscapes: Food haven in a mature Ampang neighbourhood

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on January 6, 2020 - January 12, 2020.

The 2 to 3-storey shopoffices in Taman Muda have average built-ups of 2,500 sq ft and above

With limited land for new developments in Taman Muda, there is a possibility of redevelopment, especially for underutilised buildings

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If you talk to any Malaysian you meet abroad, you will find out that our local food is one thing everyone misses. And many in Kuala Lumpur will be familiar with Wai Sek Kai, or Food Street, in the Taman Muda neighbourhood in Ampang. Young and old alike are drawn there to savour the “way back when” flavours.

A hidden gem for breakfast or brunch is Lam Kee Wantan Noodles. What makes these noodles different is that they come with barbecued pork ribs, or pai kuat in Cantonese. The pork ribs are usually sold out around lunch time so it is advisable to get there early. The store opens as early as 6.30am and closes at 2pm and there is ample parking.

A five-minute walk from Lam Kee is Restoran Chuan Huat, where one can find a wide variety of stalls that serve pork noodles, prawn noodles and char kuey teow, among others.

The pork noodles, served in a flavoursome soup, comes with a generous amount of tender pork slices and liver and is one of my all-time favourite breakfasts.

The prawn noodles,  which has been whetting appetites for more than 20 years, is also not to be missed. The light reddish soup has that authentic prawn flavour that is similar to what you can get in Penang and I would rank it among the best in KL.

Taman Muda is a mature residential neighbourhood in Pandan Indah, Ampang, and comprises mainly low to middle-income households. It is strategically located and easily accessible via Middle Ring Road 2, and is close to Taman Lembah Maju, Taman Mawar, Taman Seraya and Kampung Cheras Baru.

Nearby amenities include Paragon Point Shopping Centre, SK Taman Muda, SMK Pandan Indah, Menara MPAJ and Sri Village Hotel.

“Most of the properties in Taman Muda comprise 2 to 3-storey terraced houses and 2 to 3-storey shopoffices,” says CBRE | WTW managing director Foo Gee Jen.

According to CBRE | WTW data, the terraced houses have built-ups of 800 to 1,100 sq ft, and a unit was sold for RM580,000 in 2018 and another for RM480,000 in 2019. Rental rates range from RM1,200 to RM2,000 per month, with yields of 3% to 3.5% per annum.

The 2 to 3-storey shopoffices have average built-ups of 2,500 sq ft and above. Transaction data shows that one was sold at RM1.5 million in 2015 and another at RM1.6 million in 2019. Rental rates range from RM2,500 to RM4,000 per month. Due to the lack of rental data, it is hard to work out the yields for the commercial properties.

A residential project that was completed in December 2015 is The Resident @ Ampang South by OCR Land Holdings Sdn Bhd. It offers 180 units with built-ups ranging from 1,171 to 1,271 sq ft and selling prices starting at RM587,900.

Foo says Taman Muda is a fully developed area with limited land for new developments. “Nonetheless, there is a possibility of redevelopment, especially for existing underutilised buildings in the area. These can be redeveloped into spaces for better usage and value as well as improved occupancy.”