Wednesday, September 15, 2010

KL - Ramadan Bazaar

Last Friday, marked the end of Ramadan (the Islamic holy end of fasting month), to the whole nation of Malaysia, that means yet another festive holiday - Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Celebration Day). Although I'm not a Muslim, but we do join in the fun of celebration, and food is the best way to learn and celebrate about the other culture.

However, before celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Muslims have to fast for a month from dawn til sunset(that included refrain from eating, drinking and having any form of intercourse. So, if you happen to travel to Malaysia during fasting month, the chances of dining at a Malays' restaurant/shop/stall/kiosk during daytime are quite slim. However, Ramadan Bazaar is one of the most anticipated place to go every evening. What's there? One might ask. FOOD, STREET FOOD!

As a Malaysian myself, I've never been to a Ramadan Bazaar in my entire life, heck I've never even heard of it! Only until recently that I discovered about its existence when I was browsing other Malaysian food blogger. After much research done, we've decided to go the one at Taman Tun Dr. Ismail on the last Sunday of fasting month.

I may be ignorant towards Malay food culture as I was brought up eating mainly Chinese food, but going to a Ramadan Bazaar was one of the most bizarre experience I've had in my own country (in a good way, of course).

We were there slightly early about 4:15pm, on both side of the street were food vendors, yes only FOOD! The variety of food were astounding, some were the normal Malay food like Nasi Lemak, BBQ Chicken and Malay kuih-muih, some other choices were an eye opener for me!

Aromatic Nasi Lemak with crisy yet tender marinated fried chicken
This fried chicken is so good, it put KFC to shame! It was marinated with tumeric and other spices, fried to perfection, the meat was tender inside and the skin was aromatic and crispy. It was finger lickin' good!
Murtabak in the making from different vendors
I love Murtabak myself and I haven't had them in ages, when I saw stalls of Murtabak at the Bazaar, my eyes were popping, I just wanted to try them all and see which stall make the best of the lot. Too bad, we only have few stomach and we did bought Murtabak from 2 different vendor. Murtabak of Malaysia version is similar to Roti Canai/Roti Pratha, but this is stuffed with minced chicken or beef cooked with onion, garlic, egg and spices. It is usually go with curry sauce and a pickled red onion sauce.
Batang Buruk, anyone heard of it?

Happy vendors; Sizzling grilled fish
Huge wok of variety of rice; Grilled chicken butt anyone?
We spotted this vendor selling variety of fried rice and fried noodles, but one particular wok caught our eyes. The huge wok were as big as a paella pan that are enough for the entire village, just like a paella the ingredients were nicely presented on top of the rice. This particular fried rice that caught our eyes have pan fried salted fish, kang kung vege, onions, garlic and other spices. It is more like a rice pilaf than fried rice and god was it good! It was absolutely nothing that I've tasted before.

Wajik Durian
Wajik Durian is something foreign to me, according to my mom, it is made from glutinous rice cooked with durian's meat, coconut milk, palm sugar and pandan leaves. Unfortunately we didn't try it, but I would love to try it next time.

Pick your own fish and they will grill it for you with added spices and chilli, yum~
Steamed kuih with fresh coconut and palm sugar
This kind of steaming kuih is a rare find these days, that was why this stall have people queuing up for their delicacies.

Freshly squeezed sugar cane juice, an ultimate thirst quencher on a hot day like this
Made in Malaysia's Orange Crush, Sarsi and American Ice Cream Soda
I've never seen one of these or tried! But the label looks kinda retro. It was produced in Kelantan (Northern state), hence people who live in Kuala Lumpur (The capital city) don't get a chance to try it.

Otak-otak from Gelang Patah, the flesh is red in colour instead
Nasi Dagang & Nasi Kerabu from the Northern state

That was lemang, glutinous rice with coconut milk cooked in a hollowed bamboo stick lined with banana leaf, it is cooked directly on the flame, hence getting that fragrant bamboo flavour infused into the rice. Lemang is usually eat with either beef or chicken rendang (dried curry).

Cars just cruise through the busy food street
Ikan Pekasam - a northern state delicacy
We haven't seen Ikan Pekasam before, not even my mom. According to mom's Malay friend, this is a dish originally from Kedah (a rice harvest state), they uses fish from the padi field then cured with salt for at least 2 days, crumbed with rice then deep fried. Served with sauteed pickling onion, chilli, shallots and kaffir lime.  It was indeed an exciting dish to start your meal.

long queues for good food
Dad queued up for this pohpiah stall for about 40 minutes, too bad it wasn't worth the wait! As for this roast lamb, we were drooling over it, hoping we could get a piece of it, but it wasn't ready by the time we were ready to leave the place and some people started queuing for the roast lamb even when the leg was still red! Talk about being patient for good food, I hope it's worth it!

Assorted Kuih-muih - Seri Muka, Kuih Koci...
Assorted Agar-agar; Colourful fruits custard
Apart from deep fried, grilled, steamed and roasted savoury food, there were also array of sweets to end your meal with. However, Malaysia's desserts are made using lots of coconut milk and pandan as flavouring.

Table full of street food to feed 5
That was what we've bought, it can probably feed a nation of Pitcairns Island! jk! Our whole table worth of food costs us RM96.50 (AUD$23), that was considered pretty expensive for Malaysia's street food standard. But, believe of not, we did managed to gobble down everything!

I had fun strolling, smelling, seeing and eating at Ramadan Bazaar. If you're like me have never been to one, maybe you should too!


Conor @ Hold the Beef said...

Wow. I really need to get myself to an end of Ramadan feast one day! This is amazing. Many things I'm unfamiliar with but am sure I would have enjoyed the learning experience. Well done on buying so much food, it really just would not be right if you didnt!

Dim Sum Q said...

I'm shame to say I was unfamiliar with lots of things too! But I was glad that I made to Ramadan Bazaar. We wished we could buy more food, but we all have limited space on our stomach!