I started out my Sibu adventure post last week with my video on eating live, wriggly sago worms HERE– (Do watch it!) & in this post, I’m going show you both the night & morning markets that we have visited in Sibu.
On our first night, we toured the night market; which happened to be the only night market in Sibu town. Not unlike our night markets here in KL/Peninsular Malaysia, it has the usual stalls hawkering clothing, bags, accessories & household items.
But food & beverage selections were notably different, and it was there that I had my first sight of kompian, as well as many other snacks popular in this part of the country.
Pork is the staple meat here, and all of these are filled with minced pork.
Sarawakians are big on their “paus” – steamed buns. Almost every single food stall here sells these, offering a variety of fillings like well, pork, among others.
Sibu’s version of our peanut pancake – a much thinner & crispier version! It’s pretty addictive to munch on.
I realized I see a lot of corn during my trips to Sarawak, both in Bintulu & Kuching & especially at their markets. No difference here in Sibu. These hills – grown ones are supposedly sweeter & nicer in bite.
Also, the proud display of animal parts were “interesting” to say the least.
Feet, lungs, ears, intestines…. they have it all. Business was brisk too for these!
And the beverages here comes in all colours (think bright blue!) & names; & it’s certainly not suited for the health concious or preservative – adverse people like me.
The next morning we were in for an early morning walk at the Sibu Central Market. It is said that you have not visited Sibu if you have not been to SCM.
Holding the title as the largest market in Sarawak, (perhaps even whole of Malaysia); boasting of housing nearly 1,000 hawker stalls on weekdays & an additional 500 stalls on weekends, this two-storey building stretched over a few blocks.
**Took a paranoma shot with the Samsung Galaxy SII. (click to see the whole image on flickr please!)
The ground floor is where all the main marketing of fresh produce is; while the upper floor is where you head to for food.
Adjacent to it is a multi-storey carpark & in between the two buildings (see pic below) is an open area where farmers from ethic group of Ibans & Orang Ulus (minority people from the jungles) comes out to hawk their wares of exotic jungle produces on Saturdays.
Tribe people displaying their wares.
As with all commercially run markets, there are proper divided sections for each type of produce. The dry section has all kinds of vegetables & fruits, mostly local.
Then there’s the dried goods, spices, flowers, sundry goods & handicrafts.
And of course I was busiest sampling the drinks, homemade cakes, buns, titbits and other confectioneries.
Now, the next part of the market is my favourite.
Ever since young I had loved walking & exploring markets, especially the wet markets! The section I favoured the most is the fresh seafood area, where fishes still flaps around in those huge buckets, fishermen in boots unloads their wares from the trucks to the stalls & fishmongers scales & gut the fishes with precision to order. Seeing huge fresh fishes, shellfish, prawns fascinated me til today.
I have been to markets in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah & Kuching, Sarawak and I have come to realize that the seafood catch for Sabah differs slightly (in terms of the type/species of fish) from the ones you get in Sarawak & is almost entirely dissimilar with the ones we have here in the Peninsular.
Even the shell-fishes were more “exotic” and I came across some that I have not seen before! Anyhow, I regretted not taking all pictures of the fishes they have there at the market, cos now I realized I don’t have much to share here! Sigh.
By the way, Sibu is a major port city situated near the mouth of the Rajang River. The seafood here is supplied from the South China Sea, nearby farms, & freshwater fish from the rivers.
Next up is the probably the most fascinating part of the market where live chickens and ducks are sold bundled up in newspapers. Each bird is displayed in neat lines, some stacked in rows ontop on each other. Amazingly & in an unexplainable way, every bird is docile & quiet. I wonder if it’s because they are strung up tightly under these newspapers! They barely moved! And emits not a single sound either.
Somehow the selling method here makes it all look so civilised. No birds squawking in fear & pain. LOL.
No fret though, there is a section for readily slaughtered chicken & ducks in a separate part of the market for those who prefer their poultry ready- to- cook.
Yea, I think part of the reason why we don’t see such selling practice here (west coast Malaysia at least) is because I don’t foresee people in the cities buying FRESH (literally) poultry home to take on the messy bloody job of slaughtering it themselves!
Moving on to my next adventure, I think the highlight of my Sibu Central Market trip was this!
Oh yes, fat wriggly FAT sago worms!
Majority of us spent the most time gawking at these. Me & Spinzer gamely chomped on a few (well, I did ate ONE ;p ) – proof HERE!!!
Educational time for the media & bloggers. The Head of the SCM committee patiently explained about the market’s history & also answers any questions we may have.
I had a heart-tuggin moment when I saw this. Well, I totally agree on starting them young.
Next up – Kompian! The famed Foochow Bagels.
** This trip was courtesy of Firefly Malaysia, as it was their inaugural flight to Sibu. All pictures in this post were shot using the Samsung Galaxy S2, an amazing device. I didn’t have to use my Samsung NX11 at all.
Thanks again to Firefly & Tourism Sarawak for the experience!