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A Malaysian Way Of Life
Pasar malam literally means “night market” in Malay. A pasar malam is a street market that opens in the evening (typically from 6.00pm to about 11.00pm), usually in residential neighbourhoods. Normally, a section of a residential area is set aside once a week for the pasar malam to operate.
The concept of the pasar malam was established some three decades ago to enable small traders to earn more revenue. The idea quickly caught on with the public since people in their respective residential neighbourhoods found it convenient to shop at these night markets. In time, the pasar malam became a permanent feature in the life and times of the Malaysian populace.
The pasar malam is a collection of stalls selling a huge assortment of goods. You can shop for a wide range of fashion products and accessories, hardware items, household goods and furnishings, kitchen utensils and cutlery and much, much more. There are also wet and dry market products ranging from vegetables to groceries and other sundry items.
The pasar malam has an unmistakable multi-racial flavour as traders of each ethnic group clamour to meet the needs of its own community. At the same time, it is hardly surprising to see patronage cross-pollinating over ethnic lines as Malay customers shop enthusiastically at Chinese or Indian stalls and vice versa. Haggling over prices is a common practice. Some patrons thoroughly enjoy the fun and novelty of bargaining for the best prices.
An outstanding feature of the pasar malam is its large hawker fare. Not only is the pasar malam famous for its local food at affordable prices, some stalls even cook the meal in front of you so you can enjoy its great taste fresh from the kwali or claypot.
So, keep a lookout for when and where a pasar malam is scheduled to operate in your area. You can check the newspapers or the internet for weekly updates. Or ask your hotel concierge for a schedule.
Lastly, did you know that the Setia Alam pasar malam in Shah Alam is the longest in Malaysia? Well, it is! It stretches over 2.24 kms with more than 600 stalls plying their trade. You can start from the Malay, Chinese or Indian section, but wherever you start, you will come to a point where the sections meet. Don’t stop there. Complete the whole length and breath of the pasar malam experience and you will be amply rewarded with the full array of sights, sounds and smells this 2.24 km walk can offer.
Welcome to Malaysia. Welcome to the pasar malam.