Kuala Lumpur has seen plenty of new additions to its grocery scene in recent years, and it’s wonderful to have so many overseas-style supermarkets like Jaya Grocer’s and B.I.G Ben’s Food Market cater to customers who’d like a clean and modern food shopping experience. Prices may at times be a little steep, but that’s a given if you want imported groceries and the convenience of easy access to fresh food, anytime during business hours.
Yet, it’s hard to beat the charm of early morning, outdoor produce markets known in Malaysia as pasar pagi, where you’ll find local veggies, fruits, seafood and poultry at its’ freshest. Never mind that the grounds are wet, and never mind that the whole area in the vicinity of the market smells strongly of fish and springs onions; your gourmet side will overlook this upon setting eyes on the colourful array of high-quality produce on sale at reasonable prices.
A busy schedule usually means that I end up buying at the newer grocery stores (they are also closer to where I live,) but I never regret the occasional Sunday morning trip to the Section 17 wet market in Petaling Jaya, of which my family has been loyal customers since I was in primary school. Everything there is usually top-notch, especially the main fruits stall, which carries a very good selection of imported fruits in addition to local delights.
Travel brochures tend to recommend pasar malam, another type of street market that caters to an evening crowd in search of cheap dinners and shopping, as the archetype Malaysian street market experience. But to really explore and delve into local food ingredients, a pasar pagi is the place to go. And no two pasar pagi are alike. Depending on the ethnic makeup of the neighbourhoods around the market, produce sold is usually geared towards the majority’s needs.
The Section 17 market that caters primarily to Chinese customers, is captured here through Instagram filters, and all taken on an IPhone 4:
Even kitchen and household items
End your visit with some street snacks
Haave a happy week, wherever you are!