Pasar Malam- Night Market Shopping

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Sunday night in our neighborhood is the Pasar Malam or the local night market.  Traffic is impossible and people are wandering everywhere with bags, trolleys, small carts, back packs.  A road is closed off and in the middle of the road are stalls with rickety tables, portable awnings, and a massive throng of people.  Smells of fresh fish, flowers, and cooking food waft through the air and your mouth begins to water.  You brace yourself and push headlong into the crowd to begin bargaining. 

 

Every Sunday I have a rendezvous with the nut man at the Bangsar Pasar Malam!  He and his wife and son run the first nut stall on the street with giant 10 kilogram bags of nuts that are loosely covered with old plates.  Nuts are my favorite snack and these are the best nuts in the world!  I have tried other stalls at this market and all over KL, but nothing compares to these nuts. Once a selection is made the stall keepers will weigh out your nuts and then seal them in a bag with string.  My usual choices include the yummiest dry roasted peanuts, cashews, pistachios and hot and sweet covered peanuts.  YUM!  Sometimes I buy the dried banana chips and the hot spicy noodles with wasabe peas and nuts. 

 

Next it is on the fruits and vegetables… You have to squeeze through the crowds of people shouting and bargaining as you dodge trolleys and parents with their toddlers on shoulders, and bags hanging everywhere.  You find the stall you want and a dirty old basket is handed to you and you pile all of the types of fruits you want inside the basket.  You will see 15 types of apples from around the globe, 5-6 types of oranges, at least 10 types of bananas and plantains.  Then all of the tropical fruits like mangos, papayas, rambutans (like a lychee) magosteens, longons, durian (YUK!!!), jack fruit, dragon fruit and too many that I cannot name. 

 

I purchase the normal western vegetables and stare helplessly at most of the other vegetables in the stalls.  What in the world are they and how would I begin to cook them?  Sometimes I just buy some that look good and try them.  Most of the time we are pleasantly surprised, but their names I cannot pronounce or remember!   After the fruits and vegetables, I find one of the best stalls here in the market the flowers and strawberries! The containers of local strawberries that are grown in Cameron Highlands are RM10 for 3 boxes (US$ 2.80).  Beautiful roses, lilies and other flowers are cheap and fresh.   

All this shopping works up an appetite!  Dinnertime!  What to choose tonight?  Fresh hot yummy Satay is cooking over hot grills as the men fan the coals in the hot humid evening.  The next grill contains chicken which is served with rice and vegetables.  At one stall, they are making a very thin pancake and filling it with unknown vegetable and nuts.  It tastes yummy!  Stalls have out fresh home cooked local curries and dishes. 

After purchasing dinner, it is time to meander home past the stalls selling t-shirts, phones, toys, watches, batiks and socks. I like to shop, but it is the whole experience of markets that I love!  I can remember shopping in the souks in Bahrain as a child.  I love the floating markets and Chata Chuck market in Bangkok.  The street shopping in Vietnam and the markets in Cambodia with all the wares laid out on the floors are amazing to see. It is the experience of being in the middle of all the culture with the local language, noise, smells and unfamiliar products that brings my senses to life each week.   

 

Where are your favorite markets?

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11 Comments

  1. Preya said,

    September 9, 2007 at 1:36 am

    How fun! I miss tropical fruits (rambutans, mangosteens, sugar apples, you know the deal; but not durian!). And I do really miss how affordable flowers are in Asia! Here, I have an organic “box” of fruits and veggies delivered every week. They send whatever is fresh and available, so I end up with a wide selection of interesting things. Once I received a Kohlrabi and had no idea how to cook it! Thankfully, the internet came to my rescue, and I made a nice salad.

  2. globalanni said,

    September 9, 2007 at 1:47 am

    Preya,
    What I realy miss are cherries! They cost a fortune here, but I will take mangosteens and rambutans any day! Well, in 2 months you will be eating the tropical fruits again!

  3. superkimbo said,

    September 10, 2007 at 11:59 am

    This post totally makes me miss Bangsar! What a great market – big enough to be interesting, small enough to be manageable. We haven’t been to Jata Juk yet, but we drive by it all the time, I’m sure it is soon to become a favorite (if totally overwhelming)…

    Lately we’ve been asking our maid to just cut up various fruits and put them in the fridge for us. So far my favorite is the green mango I posted about a few days ago.

  4. Tam said,

    September 15, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Anni and Kimbo!!!!

    How much do I miss you guys, and the Malaysian night markets. Nothing is open here after 8pm. I so miss being able to walk out and get garlic naan and tandoori chicken any time of day. Belgians like to get their beauty sleep!

    And I keep waiting for my maid to come…. argh, yesterday I cleaned my toilet. First time in 5 years that I’ve had to do that : (

  5. globalanni said,

    September 16, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Tam,

    Nothing llike going for naan at 2 am to soak up the beer huh? You cleaned a tiolet? You have got to get out of Europe! : )

    It is Sunday night, so I am off to the night market. Plus it is Ramadan so there will be at least 100 stalls of the yummiest foods tonight!!

  6. global gal said,

    September 21, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Most people think I’m crazy, but if it is hot and sold on the street – I am on it! I love markets and street food stalls and I thought the ones I visited in KL were amazing! I’m in China and their markets are good, too, but also sometimes scary. (strange animals and toxic smells!)

    I am delurking, I came here from Preya’s blog, which I came to via Superkimbo’s. I like your writing! 🙂

  7. Zaty said,

    November 12, 2007 at 11:37 am

    i’m malaysian but i tend to avoid going to markets.. i really prefer supermarkets because they’re airconditioned and the items are (lol) labelled, so i dont have to ask what they are everytime i come (i’m terribly forgetful).

    ah well. =)

  8. saddy boy said,

    October 21, 2010 at 8:11 am

    really, i liked ur saff its awesome kodus for being so creative

  9. globalanni said,

    May 26, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Reblogged this on Global Anni and commented:

    Travel Theme: Street Markets.
    I am reblogging an old post of mine because I saw an interesting travel theme from http://wheresmybackpack.com/2012/05/25/street-markets/

  10. blodge1 said,

    May 28, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Takes me back to pasar malams, although I think yours has a larger variety of stalls than the ones I have visited in the past. Yum!

  11. adinparadise said,

    May 31, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Oh you made me feel so hungry, especially when you mentioned the Satay and the vegetable/nut pancake. Yummy. 😉


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