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Ramadan dishes in Section 17 PJ

 | August 23, 2011

It is that time of the year when Ramadan bazaars become a hive of activitiy.


Every Ramadan, without fail, I will visit the bazaar at Section 17, Petaling Jaya, located next to the flats. This year, the Ramadan bazaar seemed to have downsized a little.

There were 57 stalls when I was there yesterday. I am sure there were more than 65 last year. Perhaps there are more similar bazaars elsewhere in PJ.

I remember this Ramadan bazaar rather well because about five years ago, I lost my handphone here. Somehow it fell off my waist pouch. I returned hours later with a flashlight in a feeble attempt to recover it as I retraced my steps.

In the end, I had to buy another phone. So there is a special remembrance attached to this bazaar. Thankfully, there are now other things occupying my attention.

Last year at the same bazaar there was a stall which was manned by a couple of Malay aunties who hailed from Malacca. A member of my family was quite taken up by the ikan sumbat sold at this stall.

On top of that, the pineapple curry or budgeree was so scrumptious that we made repeat visits to the stall before the end of the Ramadan bazaar.

A week ago, I showed up at the site around 3.30pm. There were hardly 10 stalls. It seemed like the place was devoid of festive activity. I think I was too early.

I also drew the conclusion that perhaps the bleak economic times were reflected by the slow business momentum in Section 17.

In a fit of determination, I made another trip to this site yesterday. My timing was perfect. It was 7pm. The Ramadan bazaar was in full swing.

This time the place was alive with activity. There was hardly any parking space and the general population was out and about. The Muslims were buying all the dishes they needed to break their fast.

I went in search of my favourite stall. Lo and behold, I found it. The macik was still there. I recognised her instantly. Four pieces of budgeree or curry pineapple, at RM1 a piece, seemed quite reasonable.

Festive fare

Then I zeroed in on a big ikan sumbat. At RM6, it was affordable. There’s a price for quality traditional dishes. I was prepared to pay for it.

The ayam berempah was sorely tempting. I had to refrain from over-indulging in festive fare. Perhaps next time, I chided myself.

Meanwhile, the other stalls selling cucuk udang, nasi tomato, Roti John, nasi kerabu, etc, were doing brisk business.

Before I left the house, I was reminded by the “Domestic Science Minister” not to forget about the big roast duck that I had bought from Loong Foong Restaurant yesterday.

That thought brought a screeching halt to my culinary adventure at Section 17. Four pieces of budgeree and one ikan sumbat were adequate for a family that is used to eating too much for their good.

But the Section 17 Ramadan bazaar is always fun to visit. I suspect at least half the bazaar stall owners are residents from the opposite low-cost flats.

Every year, they take the opportunity to strengthen their coffers with a bit of side-business so that they could enjoy a more prosperous and joyful Aidilfitri.

Right now, I am tempted to drive to Sungai Buloh. That place has a humungous Ramadan bazaar that is the envy of several neighbourhoods.

The only thing stopping me from going there is the thought of the traffic jam along the Sungai Buloh main road, and the time taken in returning home.

But who knows, there are still seven days to go before Malaysia celebrates Hari Raya. It will Open House season again. Nothing else quite like it around the world.


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