Ever wondered where Malaysians get their endless supply of snacks, mealtime fare and beverages during the night, apart from cooking it themselves or buying it from the “kedai makan”?
Yup, it’s highly likely they got it from their neighbourhood “pasar malam” or night market.
Here are five of the best in the Klang Valley.
1. Pasar Malam Taman Connaught
Pasar Malam Taman Connaught is one of the longest at up to 2 km. So, a word of advice – you might want to wear your sports shoes and have a bottle of water ready when you’re food hunting there.
Held every Wednesday, this pasar malam has everything from electronic gadgets, clothing, flower plants, fruits, snacks, dry food and ready-made food.
You’ll get your fill of street food here and the aromas are pretty tantalising. Particularly interesting is the famous BBQ scallops, BBQ Korean oysters, Cartoon Cakes, Korean Deep Fried Chicken with Coke, and the classic Jelly Kelapa.
Cartoon Cakes are basically kuih bahulu baked in the shape of cartoon characters. After half-heartedly taking a first bite, the freshly-baked bahulus tasted so light and fluffy that it was hard to stop eating them.
The best-selling item at this pasar malam is undoubtedly the BBQ Korean Oysters.
There were several stalls selling BBQ oysters, usually offering up to three flavour options – cheese, garlic and spicy – that were added to the oysters as they were grilled.
2. Pasar Malam Pantai Dalam, Bangsar
Pasar Malam Pantai Dalam in Bangsar operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 5pm to 9.30pm.
The traffic on the way there is a bit heavy so you might want to come early because it get really packed by 6pm.
However, the arrangement of the stalls are orderly, making it easy to navigate the tsunami of customers.
So, what can you find here? Lots of novelty food items such as ice cream pasu and fried ice cream.
The ice cream pasu comes in the flavour options of vanilla, chocolate chip, pistachio and many, many more. The cookies and cream with cornflakes and a rolled wafer on top was lip-smacking. Make sure you do not throw the pasu away since you can actually grow a plant in it later.
Die-hard fans of traditional kuih can feast to their heart’s content here and if in season, there will be durians aplenty too.
3. Pasar Malam Taman Melawati
Pasar Malam Taman Melawati is THE pasar malam to go to when you want to find basic essentials like clothes, groceries and, of course, ready-cooked food. If you detest crowded places but still want to go to a pasar malam, this is perfect for you. The food here isn’t bad but, more importantly, the prices are out of this world. EVERYTHING IS VERY CHEAP!
Gula-Gula Kapas or in Kelantanese slang “Gulo Leng” costs only RM1 a stick. Chicken Wings are RM5 for four wings; Apam Balik is 70 sen a piece, Sate Ikan cost RM1 for four sticks and…. best of all, three selar kuning fish for only RM1.50.
There is also ample parking bays near the pasar malam site. This particular pasar malam is so far the best.
4. Plaza Mont Kiara Fiesta Night
If you’re looking for a not-so-typical-night-market, you should put this pasar malam on your list. Instead of local food and snacks, The Plaza Mont Kiara Night Market offers you an abundance of street food from other countries.
Vietnamese rolls, toppoki/teok-bokki (a popular Korean street food, made from rice cakes and fish cakes eaten with chilli paste); Korean kimchi; Thai somtam and Chinese dim sum, prepared by the natives of these countries.
The topokki, dim sum, twisted potato and chick spice with cheese wrap in particular are all finger-licking good.
For those less adventurous, there are also a few stalls selling a variety of local food.
You can also find second-hand books, clothes (really cute ones) and accessories here. What stands out most about this pasar malam is the atmosphere and ambience.
The surrounding area is clean and there are lots of tables and chairs set up at a nearby pavement to sit and enjoy your food, or just hang out absorbing the evening atmosphere, since it is not too crowded.
This pasar malam is open every Thursday from 5pm to 10pm. However, since it is located at the centre of Plaza Mont Kiara, you may find that traffic on the way here is quite heavy.
If you want to come here, park at the plaza’s basement parking lot because you’ll be very lucky indeed to find an outdoor parking space.
5. Pasar Malam Taman Megah
Here you’ll find a number of stalls selling “very-Malaysian” foods like Char Kuey Teow, Yong Tau Foo, nasi campur, Tau Fu Fa, mooncakes and muruku.
If you have a ridiculously sweet tooth, there are a number of pastry stalls selling tarts, cakes and various kinds of fresh-from-the-oven breads. The price is certainly cheaper than those from fancy bakeries but tastes just as yummy.
Don’t forget to try the thirst-quenching sugarcane and lemon drinks as it is refreshing and cool. Just like any pasar malam, here you will also find stalls selling cheap shoes and slippers, clothes, toys and phone accessories.
This pasar malam is not too crowded so you can walk at a leisurely pace while surveying the food you wish to eat.
What makes it a crowd-puller is its location just a stone’s throw away from the Taman Bahagia LRT.
If you want to drive, there are lots of parking spaces. This pasar malam is open every Sunday from 4.30pm till 10pm.
This article first appeared in butterkicap.com
Butterkicap is a food and culture platform and community that enables anyone to experience Malaysia through stories of her people, food and places.