I’m trying to be less of a perfectionist when it comes to blogging. I always get so obsessed with the writing and details and whether the post is informative enough or if the photos are pretty enough or if anyone will even be interested. This is why I can never seem to blog in real-time (my mom always complains I’m too slow!). So many of my daily happenings are left unwritten simply because I never deem them “blog worthy” enough.
I’m trying to change that. I don’t want so many self-imposed “rules”. I want a blog that’s authentic, as well as informative. I want to capture more of my life so that I have something to read later and smile at the memories. So I’m going to try my best to blog in real-time more, even if they won’t be well crafted posts.
Anyway, let’s get on to the post already!
I finally visited a Malaysian night market (pasar malam) after having been here for so long already. Unlike the permanent night markets of Taipei, the ones in Kuala Lumpur are weekly, per location. There’s a different night market every day of the week, but they’re all in different parts of the city. And a lot of the vendors will move around to the different ones.
So anyway, the one closest to me is the night market in SS2 on Monday nights. This is a great one to be close to because it’s the largest night market in Petaling Jaya. (I was super confused at first too, but technically, I now live in Petaling Jaya, not Kuala Lumpur. PJ is the city right next to KL.) This market wraps around the entire commercial block in SS2.
SS2 is a neighborhood known for really good Chinese food and an abundance of bridal shops (this part is unrelated). So this is mostly a Chinese market, where you can find all the favorite Malaysian-Chinese delicacies.
I first went with a new local friend, who introduced me to a lot of the dishes. A couple of weeks later, I came back again with Rachel (who’s here to spend Christmas with me!). In these two visits, I tried a LOT of food. I thought I’d share them and give you a tour of a Malaysia night market!
Besides food, the market also has a ton of random knick-knacks. . Phone cases, clothes/accessories, travel adapters, fake Lego, Pokemon plushies, makeup, colored contact lenses…literally almost anything you’re looking for.
Now, onto the food I ate!
The first thing to catch my eye were these large steamers of the most colorful dumplings (siu mai).
Each one is a different flavor, though I’m not exactly sure what they are. The meat filling is usually pork and shrimp (correct me if I’m wrong), and then plus another unique ingredient. The purple one is definitely taro, and the black tasted like black pepper… But I’m not sure what the others were!
Cost: 5 for RM 6 (US $1.50)
This guy frying up fresh radish cakes seems to be a popular vendor. Fried radish cakes is a beloved staple dish in Malaysia. The “cakes” are made with grated white radish and rice flour; then fried with garlic, chili sauce, and an egg. The cakes are very soft in texture, almost to the point of mushiness.
Cost: RM 4.80 (a little over US $1) for the small size
Then we passed by this booth selling crepes (apam balik). This is James’ favorite so he always stops here. There are two types: thick & chewy, or thin & crispy. James likes the thick pancakey ones, which have a sweet peanut filling in the middle.
But I prefer the thin crispy ones, which have a sweet filling of brown sugar, roasted peanuts, shredded coconut, and sweet corn.
Cost: RM 1.20 for one (US 30 cents)
Next stop: to buy popiah at this famous stall – Stadium Popiah! Apparently, this is perhaps the most famous stall at this night market. It’s just one old man making them as fast as he can for the never-ending line.
Popiah is kind of like a burrito (google calls them spring rolls) made with a very thin crepey flour wrapper. Each place makes them differently and I’m actually not 100% sure what’s in this one. I know there’s chili sauce, lettuce, cucumber, tofu (?), Chinese sausage, and picked radish. It’s good, but I gotta admit, not my favorite.
Cost: 2 pieces for RM 6.60 (US $1.50)
When we walked by a place selling satay, we just had to grab some sticks. These grilled meats (chicken, beef, and lamb) are eaten dipped into a peanut sauce. Satay is a Malay food, so James said it’s pretty rare when they have it at this night market.
Cost: I think it was something like RM 4 for 6 sticks (less than US $1)
And same with these sausages! We just had to get a spicy sausage with Thai chilies to share.
Cost: RM 3.50 (less than US $1)
We grabbed one of these glutinous rice dumplings as well. The one we got is salted egg (duck, I believe) and pork. These are sticky rice bundles wrapped up in bamboo leaves and then steamed. I grew up with my grandma and mom’s homemade versions, so these aren’t new to me. But Rachel enjoyed it for the first time.
Cost: I forgot, but probably around RM 3.
And of course, you can’t forget to pick up some dessert! Remember, all the food featured here are from two different visits, so I’m not thaaat much of a pig!
I cannot resist egg tarts if I see them. They will forever be one of my favorite pastry items ever.
Cost: RM 1.20 each piece.
James also urged us to try angku. It’s a popular Malaysian dessert that he said reminds him of childhood. The beautiful bright colors definitely caught my eye.
I guess these are also called tortoise cakes (and yes, I totally see why!). They’re soft sticky rice cakes with different fillings inside. The options here are red bean, mung bean, peanut, and coconut. We got the orange one, which was mung bean.
Cost: I think it was only RM 1 each.
And then, as we were leaving the market, we passed by a vendor selling steamed buns. Check out how cute these are!!
These buns are made to look like mushrooms and peaches (not sure what the green one is)! The peach buns are impossibly cute, and they’re filled with something even more delicious – salted egg custard. Of course we had to get it.
Cost: RM 3
You have to be really careful when you eat this, or else the filling will all drip out and be wasted. If you haven’t tried a salted egg custard bun before, just trust me and buy it next time you come across it! The sweet salty yolk custard is heavenly.
So after buying everything we wanted to, it was time to sit somewhere and eat them. Next to the market is a popular food court (yes, MORE food) with an outdoor seating area. It’s a nice place to get away from the crowd at the market.
Of course, since the food court is just right there, James ran in to buy char kuey teow from a popular stall. This is a national favorite dish made with flat rice noodles stir fried with prawns and cockles. The stall here also throws in a few pieces of sweet Chinese sausage. Char kuey teow is one of my favorite Malaysian dishes ever and I can never say no to it!
Cost: RM 6
And that, concludes everything I ate here!
Sorry that this post may have been a bit confusing, because I combined 2 visits. So no, I did not eat all of this at once! Night markets are always one of my favorite activities because I love being able to sample a bunch of different snacks.
- Where: This night market wraps around SS2’s commercial center (where the Starbucks is)
- When: Monday nights, from 5:30 pm to 10 pm
- Parking: An absolute nightmare, as far as I can tell. If you can Uber, I’d suggest doing that.
What night markets have you been to? Which of these foods have you had, and which would you like to try?
And I think I realized the reason I can’t blog in real-time is because I’m incapable of being terse.