The Shah Alam Ramadan Bazaar is famed to be the biggest in KL/Selangor & since I only have time to visit one this year, it’s my obvious choice for my one & only blogpost /vlog on Ramadan Bazaars for 2011.
Yup, a video of this outing with some bloggers & friends are being edited as we speak so that will be shared much later! This is pretty much a picture heavy post (don’t worry, they are resized for optimum viewing/loading) so I’ll keep description short.
UPDATE: VIDEO!! Watch it if you miss Ramadan Bazaars!
This post aims to give my readers (especially so for those not in Malaysia) of how’s a typical Ramadan Bazaar’s like, and the insanely huge assortment of food sold.
The typical Malay rice stall.
Delicous lamb chops,curry squids, stir-fried cockles & asam fish.
Essentially a Ramadan Bazaar is like Malaysia’s nation-wide, 1 month food carnival. The bazaar typically runs for a full month (also known as the Ramadan month) prior to the Muslim’s “New Year” Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, which falls on the 1st of the Shawal Month (the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar).
A family making kuih on the spot.
Ready to be packed for sale.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims must fast (“puasa” in Malay) from sunrise till sunset, refraining from both food & water as well as all bad practices and thoughts.
It’s a ritual of cleansing of the mind & actions which encompasses but not limited to unhealthy thoughts, bad words, gossips and malicious deeds.
A traditional favourite – Curries & ketupat palas & ketupat.
Beef Rendang & Lemang. A must for every Raya.
Ramadan Bazaars are found almost everywhere, in every state in Malaysia. There’s usually one wherever there are substantial residents in an area, and they are located in available spaces in the middle of towns and housing estates.
Ikan Bakar – grilled fish on banana leaf, some over open charcoal grill. Another perennial favourite. Every stall has their own secret blend of spices & chilli paste.
The bazaar traders, who are given temporary license at allotted spaces by the local authority, will hawk their wares under canopies/huge umbrellas. Businesses are set up by 3.00 – 4.00pm & the buying crowd starts streaming in by 430 – 5pm. By 630pm the bazaar would have cleared of people the Muslims prepare to break their fast which is around 7.15-730pm.
CHICKEN – it’s everywhere!!
However, the buying crowd is not limited to only Muslims as we Malaysians (all races) being typical foodies would also pack the bazaars & take the opportunity to savour the delicious food available at very reasonable prices throughout the holy month of Ramadan.
Breads – in the form of kebabs, roti john & steamed paus.
Roti John = long bread coated with scrambled eggs with minced meat (beef or chicken).
Steamed ‘paus’ (buns) with coconut jam (kaya), peanut, potatoes with meat (chicken or beef).
For the stall traders, some of them part-timers, it is a time when they can earn extra income for the family to be used for buying essentials & luxuries to celebrate Hari Raya Aidil Fitri.
Putu Piring – Fluffy rice “cakes” that is packed into a metal container and stuffed with gula melaka/ palm sugar (not liquid but chopped form) which will melt within the cakes.
Putu piring are steamed with conical inserts on top of a white cloth. A sprinkle of fresh coconut on top and it’s ready.
Another variation: Putu bambu which is made in cyclinder bamboo containers. “Piring” in malay means plate – describing the shape of the rice cakes. “Bambu” = bamboo – refering to the containers which it is made in.
Food at is typically traditional Malay, with some creative exceptions but it’s pretty safe to say mostly local ingredients are used.
Our national skewers – satay.
Our national rotis – roti canai, roti murtabak, roti jala.
Roti Murtabak – mixture of eggs & minced meat, layered with roti canai.
Roti Jala. Jala in Malay means “net”; describing the form of the pancake.
Best eaten with Chicken curry.
Roti Bom – another version of the plain roti canai but with added ghee, margarine & sugar.
Our national pasta (just joking!) . NOODLES.
Step by step frying the noodles.
Our national rice dish. Nasi Lemak!
This is Nasi Kukus – steamed rice in individual bowls, normally served with aromatic tumeric fried chicken & sambal (chilli paste).
Most food are pretty tasty & reasonably priced. One can be stuffed to the brim within the budget of RM20.00 (approx USD7).
Below: Packets of one dish – Noodles – RM2/USD0.70)/USD, Briyani Rice with Chicken/Mutton (RM7/USD2.30), chicken porridge (RM3/USD1), Oxtail Herb Soup (RM7/USD2.30), etc.
Another reason I thronged Ramadan Bazaars are for seeking out other state’s delicacies, without having to leave the state!
At the Shah Alam one I managed to sample Nasi Briyani Gam from Johor, Ikan Patin curry from Pahang (Patin is a fresh water fish found in abundance in the rivers of Pahang), Nasi Ambeng (a Javanese dish in origin), Satar – a Terengganu delicacy (grilled fish paste) , and lip-smacking traditional curries & dishes from Negeri Sembilan.
Nasi Ambeng – rice with portions of a meat dish like beef or chicken rendang, sambal goreng tempe (a mix of vegetables and soybean cake), serunding kelapa (fried grated coconut), salted fish and sambal belacan (pounded chilli and prawn paste) served on a piece of banana leaf. The one sold at the bazaar had a small portion of mee goreng or fried noodles.
Briyani Gam Johor – Basmati rice that are served with meat, chicken and vegetables. Although there are many variants at different geographical locations, the main ingredients used usually include ghee, peas, beans, cumin, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, onions and garlic. The dish is also accompanied with beef, chicken, goat, lamb or shrimp and also served with curry, korma, dhal or hard boiled egg.
Ikan Patin in curry, Pahang.
Satar – grilled fish paste. The filling is a mixture of mince fish (usually tenggiri), spices, mince onions, garlic, bird’s eye/red chillies, ginger and grated coconut. Cooked till the filling is dry and firm, the slightly burnt banana leaves gives a lingering aroma to the satar.
Lip-smacking curries & dishes from Negeri Sembilan.
Ikan Pekasam Tasik Raban. Tasik Raban is a mecca for IKAN PEKASAM ( fish fermented with grilled rice) and it’s in Lenggong Perak.
Each Ramadan Bazaar offers some funky creation of food, some more than others, but usually you will find at least a few unique ones per bazaar.
This totally rock my socks! Maggi (instant noodles) pancakes!
Watch the making of these pancakes:
RM2.20 per piece.
Stir fried cockles anyone?
Potato wedges with mayonnaise, black pepper sauce & chilli.
Deep-fried oyster mushrooms – Black Pepper, Tom Yam & Original flavoured.
Kebabs – skewers of beef or chicken chunks with capsicums.
Tapai. Not funky to us locals, but for foreigners they might find this to be an acquired taste. Tapai is a popular delicacy from Pahang. Made of glutinous rice mixed with yeast (ragi) and sugar, the mixture is soaked and allowed to fermented for three days. The fermented delicacy is then wrapped in special rubber tree leaves and chilled before it is served.
It is sweet and sour in taste. Locals says one can get intoxicated if they consume too much of it. (The ones below are wrapped in banana leaf).
Deep-fried quails. Another common delicacy for Malays but perhaps not so for foreigners.
Pecal Jawa -mixture of blanched vegetables as below, added with steamed rice cakes & eaten with sweet spicy peanut sauce.
Grilled giant squid. Grilled dry with a very smoky flavour. Moreish as snack.
A Ramadan Bazaar is colourful & fun, as in both people, food & atmosphere.
Colourful local kuih (sweet desserts).
MORE DESSERTS & SWEETS.
Wajik – Glutinous rice with durians. The dark colour came from the palm sugar used in the recipe.
Tepung Pelita – It has two layers. The first layer is coconut milk and the second layer is made from flour and sugar, flavoured with pandan leaves. The mixture is put into banana leaf which has been made as its cup.
All sorts of banana leaf wrapped & grilled/steamed local kuih.
Akok – Pancakes made from eggs, flour and palm sugar ( gula melaka ).
Left – coconut jelly. Right: Lompat Tikam – Kelantanese dessert.
Can someone remind me what’s the name for this again?
Fried items are popular in Ramadan Bazaars.
Lekor – an East Malaysia specialty. This “fish sausage” is made from a mixture that is hand-rolled into its long form. Ingredients are fish (Ikan Parang or Ikan Kembong), sago flour, salt, water.
Pasembur – a popular Malay Indian ‘salad’ cucumber (julliened) potatoes, beancurd, turnip, bean sprouts, prawn fritters and served with a sweet and spicy nut sauce.
This rojak/pasembur stall has a mind-bloggling array of fried items which includes crab, prawns, fish balls, liver, crab sticks to name a few.
The Penang rojak – fresh & pickled fruits eaten with pungent black shrimp paste.
Too heaty/oily for you? Yong Tau Foo -assortment of fish balls, fish cakes, sausages etc are cooked in boiling water & best eaten dipped in some sweet & spicy sauce.
Kedondong – English name is “Hog Plum” or Ambarella. Juiced for it’s sour but sharply refreshing taste.
Fresh sea coconut.
Chendol. A coconut milk based desserts with cream corn, jellies & palm sugar (gula melaka).
Soya beancurd & soya bean juice.
Last but not least, let’s not forget the dates. A must for breaking fast.
Our haul for the evening!
Yes, a Ramadan Bazaar tour is a lovely experience!!
Shah Alam Ramadan Bazaar
– right in front of Shah Alam stadium & close by Giant Shah Alam.
It took me 5 days to sort out & edit the 120+ pics here; plus another 5 hours of writing plus information research for the food that you see in this post.
So, did you think this post is informative? Any comments?