It’s that time of the year again where you’ll spot huge canopies and colourful umbrellas mushrooming in various areas in town and at the kampungs (villages). Yes, we’re talking about the sensational Ramadhan bazaars that only happen once a year during the Puasa month. This nation-wide food extravaganza takes place for a month right up to Raya and it’s one of the best ways to break fast later in the evening. Also known as Pasar Ramadhan, most food stalls set up as early at 4pm and the bazaars would usually be swamped with people of all races by late evening.
Last Ramadhan, the Koolred Team visited the bazaar at Seksyen 14, Petaling Jaya and shared some light on the must-try foods. This year, we visited another bazaar at Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur and yet again we’re blown away by the mouth-watering food that awaits us!
With so much variety to choose from, we knew we had to take some precautions as we could end up spending a lot if we were not careful. So we asked some of the members on the Koolred Team one of the toughest questions to answer (trust us, most of them couldn’t decide at once):
“What is your favourite food at the Ramadhan Bazaar?”
Our Audience Development Executive said: “Ayam Percik!!!”
When you first step foot at a Ramadhan bazaar, you’re bound to see smoke in the air and smell the tantalizing aroma of barbequed ayam percik smothered in spicy sauce. Seasoned to perfection, the chicken is marinated in spicy coconut marinade that’s made out of various spices such as chilli, lemongrass, galangal, ginger and coconut milk. Then they are cooked and grilled over charcoal fire while percik sauce is sprinkled on the sweet and smokey-flavoured chicken.
Our User Experience Designer said: “Colourful kuih-muihs are a must have! There are so many choices but they’re all nice!”
How can anyone not buy these sweet treats? Kuih-muih is everyone’s favourite even when it’s not during Ramadhan. These always-popular light food and snacks usually fall back to traditional designs and they are often in bite size. Who can forget the old school favourites like Pulut Bakar (glutinuous rice with a savoury, spicy grated coconut filling that’s wrapped in banana leaf and grilled), Tepung Pelita (coconut milk and rice flour cooked in banana leave containers) and Onde-Onde (glutinuous rice flour balls stuffed with palm sugar and brown sugar mixture)? However nowadays you might even find some food vendors who bring out the artistic side in them as they introduce other types of kuih such as colourful jellies of assorted flavours!
Our Team Leader said: “Pulut Udang for sure!”
A traditional Malay recipe, pulut udang is a steamed glutinous rice roll that’s filled with spicy coconut shrimp filling. This special Malay food is not as common as the other foods you find at the bazaar but when you stumble upon it, it’s a definite must have! This banana leaf-wrapped treat is best eaten hot, fresh from the charcoal fire. There are a lot of variations to this unique snack such as pulut lepa which substitutes the prawn filling for fish, as well as pulut bakar which is just sweet glutinous rice without any filling.
Our Developer says: “Kebab*grins* ”
Now this is not your ordinary Turkish kebabs. The Kebabs at the Ramadhan Bazaars are much similar to the ones found at the night market or Pasar Malam in Malaysia. The succulent meat (a choice of chicken, lamb, beef or mixed) would be sliced off from the spit and is pan fried with onions and chilli sauce, then stuffed into a pita or Lebanese bread pocket. The fully loaded kebab will then be filled with condiments such as cucumber, tomatoes, onion and lettuce as well as topped with sauces like mayonnaise or ketchup.
Our Content Editor said: “Roti Jala and Putu Piring. Oh no that’s two already… but I can’t decide!”
Who can blame our editor? Roti Jala which means net bread gets its name from its web-like appearance. Made from a creamy batter of plain flour, eggs, butter and coconut milk, this lacy crepe is molded using a special funnel with small holes and cooked briefly over the grill before being rolled or folded. It looked like a lot of fun as we watched the roti jala vendors work their magic on the grill. These yellow pancakes are best eaten with chicken curry.
Another fav at the bazaar is Putu Piring. If you’re familiar with the weekly Pasar Malams, then this wouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Even when it’s not Ramadhan season, the queue for these much-loved snacks at the normal markets are often long but worth waiting for. Putu Piring is a steamed rice flour cake that’s filled with palm sugar and smothered with freshly grated coconut. One bite would get you hooked- the cake is fluffy and makes a wonderful combination with the sugar inside.
Remember to Kool yourself off with some ice cold drinks. During Ramadhan, there are colourful drinks that are sold in super big packs and the flavours are just unique!
The Ramadhan Bazaar is a colourful event as you can truly witness the amazing Malay culture during this fasting season. You’re greeted by warm and cheerful vendors who have a variety of delicious fares for all! It’s one of the best times to experience authentic local delights and to witness the extraordinary cooking demonstrations.
What about you? Do you have a specific bazaar you’d like to share? What are some of your favourite local Ramadhan delights? For non-Malaysians, how is the Ramadhan Bazaar experience in your country?
We hope you enjoyed this post just as much as we did compiling it. Lastly, we’ll leave you with a special video treat from the Ramadhan Bazaar at Bangsar, KL. Enjoy!
To all Muslim Redsters, “Selamat Menyambut Bulan Ramadhan”.