The much-loved outdoor morning market at Bukit Indah has moved!
Fortunately, we heard the news from some JB neighbours before it happened, so did not have to suffer the disappointment of turning up at the usual place to find the Pasar Pagi had disappeared.
We had heard the market would be at the new location near Yi Jia Seafood restaurant after the Chinese New Year 2020. So, on the morning of 02 February 2020, we decided to check out the new place and show our support to our favourite market stalls.
Now at Jalan Indah 25/5
We discovered when we arrived that the stalls had just opened at the new location that very morning! The Pasar Pagi had started business along the perimeter of a generous-sized rectangle framed by four streets: Jalan Indah 25/3, 25/5, 25/7 and 25/9.
Unlike the old location near Jalan Indah 5/6, where the stalls lined both sides of the fairly narrow streets, the new place was more spacious, and the stalls were on only one side of the street. This made it easier to move along the market without having to wade through the crowds at snail’s pace, but also made it lose the intimacy and hustle and bustle of the old place.
All the usual favourites
The familiar cooked food stalls were all there: the Malay stall with the wide array of kueh kueh, nasi lemak, mee siam, etc; stalls selling chee cheong fun, chye tow kueh, yong tau fu, bean curd drinks, sushi, cakes and pastries, also steamed buns and roast pork. Most patrons of these stalls were buying the food to take away, although some could be seen eating the food as they were walking through the market.
Stalls offering a wide variety of seafood, freshly slaughtered chicken, eggs, vegetables and fruit, catered to families stocking up on groceries for the week. Stalls selling other household necessities such as cleaning tools, cooking utensils, dried goods, Chinese herbs, healthy grains such as quinoa (what one stall holder promoted to me as “Najib rice“), flax and chia seeds, were interspersed amidst the happy jumble of stalls selling clothing, shoes, phone accessories, towels, roach poison, plant fertiliser, children’s toys – the list goes on.
Camaraderie and bantering
The charm of the market lay in the eclectic mix of products, as well as the camaraderie and bantering among the vendors, and with their regular customers. Once in a while, we would stop and share a smile with complete strangers who have also caught snippets of some cheeky remarks of some of the more colourful stall holders.
Sometimes, “guest vendors”
There is a core group of vendors who open for business at the market practically every week. They would be joined by some vendors who may set up stall at the market intermittently, and not appear again till weeks or months later, or never again.
At times, you see someone displaying a small quantity of an item, say 5 containers of salted duck eggs, which appear to be home-made. Or a few bunches or herbs and vegetables which they say are harvested from their own garden. There is an elderly auntie in particular whom I look out for to buy red sessile joyweed which I brew once in a while to drink for its many health benefits. As you can see in the photo below, on one particular day, she was also selling some sweet potato leaves, chopped sugar cane, a few papayas, small bags of green chilli padi, a bunch of peperomia pellucida, a bunch of what looks like jawa ginseng, and a few melony-looking things which I cannot identify. I find it so quaint, and I try to support such small-time vendors whenever I can.
A few years ago, I bought a food processor that was supposedly of Korean design but made in Malaysia. The vendor had brought his own generator stowed in a hatchback car, which he used to power the food processor for demos. It is a bit noisy, but does work well, till today, and it was a good price for a whole set with accessories and attachments, and even came with a warranty. I was given a mobile number of the company where I could request for links of the YouTube videos showing how to operate the machine. I thought it was very enterprising of them. But I never saw them again at the market.
No place for breakfast!
We spent many an enjoyable weekend morning, starting with breakfast at one of the coffee shops near the market (our favourite being the roti prata), before wandering through the market. If we set out late, the sun would be too hot and it won’t be long before the vendors started packing up for the day (they close at 10am).
At the new location, though, there were few coffee shops. On my second visit to the new market, I had breakfast at a rather quiet and deserted cafe. The nasi lemak was sold out, so I ordered fish, omelette and veg with rice. Sad to say, the omelette was the best part of the meal. Perhaps I just caught them on a bad day, so I shan’t say more about the food.
Bigger and better
I am optimistic that more coffee shops will spring up around the new market site and provide wider food choices with proper seating, which the market stalls selling cooked food do not provide. In the meantime, I drive to the Junction 88 coffee shop at Jalan Indah 22/14, on the other side of the busy Bukit Indah Highway, for food.
Hopefully, with the larger space, more new stalls will come on board, and the market will be even bigger and better than before.
Starting from the corner of Jalan Indah 25/3 and Jalan Indah 25/5.
7.00am – 10.00am, Friday / Saturday / Sunday
Updated: February 2020