Most tourists in KL–when in desire to explore the “night life”– either head to Arab Street in Bukit Bintang, or go to Petaling Street a.k.a. China Town. Few tourists have even heard of a Pasar Malam.
My advice to you is that if local culture (especially street food stalls) is what you really want to experience, go off the beaten path and save your precious vacation hours.
Arab Street/Bukit Bintang is is my least favorite place in KL. It is noisy, crowded, and packed with tourists and dubious looking ladies offering “special” services to said tourists. China Town has not much more to offer than low-quality knock-offs that even a completely fashion handicapped person like myself can identify as fake. Where you should go instead, is to a Pasar Malam.
One of the many exotic fresh fruit juices on sale.
Pasar Malam is a Malay and Indonesian word that literally translates to “night market”. These night markets comprise of pop-up stalls that aren’t much more than a foldable table under an umbrella, usually in residential neighborhoods. They are very popular in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei.
At a Pasar Malam, you can find all sorts of things ranging from clothes, toys, mobile phone accessories, but the biggest and most dominant attraction at the Pasar Malam I went to was food–lots and lots of food.
The Pasar Malam I went to was in Sri Petaling. Whether it’s fresh fruits and vegetables, refreshing juices and bubble teas, dried fruits, sweet desserts or mouthwatering savory delights fresh out of the wok, this was the place to find it all.
The most interesting part to me was how crowded the Pasar Malam was. The street food culture in Malaysia is mind-blowing. From ingredients through snacks to filling meals– you can have it all and it will never ever burn a hole in your pocket.
I remember when M would tell me how he only cooked at home twice in the 4 years he spent in Malaysia, I didn’t know what to make of it (or him).
But now, seeing quality, freshness and deliciousness of the unimaginably overwhelming variety of really affordable food options that are never further away than an arms length– I’m not surprised he never felt the need to cook.
Why spend any time buying groceries, prepping, cooking, and then doing dishes for hit and miss culinary experiments when you always have 3985763452384865 billion options to pick from?
Although one can find a variety of items at the Pasar Malam, such as the fresh flowers my sister got, I decided to channel my inherent nature and focus on the food.
Everytime I saw a fruit stall, I so wished my parents had been there too. They absolutely love fruits (both fresh and dried), and I wish we could have coordinated our trips to Malaysia so that they had overlapped rather than us missing them a month :/
There was truly so much on offer, and I took more pictures than I can share in a single blog post, but below are way too many pictures that I have to share anyway because they truly give a peek into how beautifully wonderful a Pasar Malam is.
This giant coconut shell filled with coconut jelly cost a meagre R.M 10.
I may be daring but I’d steer clear of oysters being sold at a Pasar Malam
My love affair with Kaya is unlikely to ever end.
So much pillow-soft chiffon cake!
Thai green guavas are my kryptonite!
Unlike at China Town, almost everyone here had a smile on their faces and warmth in their hearts.
Of the many things I miss about Malaysia and Singapore, Kang Kung (Morning Glory), floats close to the top of the lists.
These jello boxes may look unattractive due to their clear artificial coloring, but they taste exactly like sweet fresh versions of whatever fruit they’re flavored like!
If only it were this easy to find healthy yet inexpensive snacks on-the-go in Dubai! I’d pick these cute little pineapples over corn on the cob anyday!
I was completely overwhelmed by the variety of salted egg-yolk fried items, but the one that caught my eye the most was the deep-fried squid that stood out in all it’s glory like a pineapple, wearing the crown of tentacles like a badge of honor on it’s head.
Location: Sri Petaling
Date and Time: 5pm-midnight, and this particular Pasar Malam is every Tuesday
Entry Fee: FREE
Have you been to any Pasar Malams around the world?