There is a farmers market that I have been passing by for a number of months since my parents moved houses. Farmers market (or Pasar Tani in Malay) takes place in almost every town around Malaysia. Each varying in sizes and usually held either on Thursday, Saturday or Sunday mornings depending on which town you happen to be in. My appreciation for fresh produce market happened during my undergraduate years in Melbourne when I would walk the neat aisle of South Melbourne Market and admire the vibrant fabolous colors of fresh vegetables and fruits, and when I moved into the heart of the city in my final year, Victoria Market became my weekly haunt for fresh ingredients. It was also here where I was introduced to organic produce and how it is different from all the others stalls selling similar items. Later on when I decided to complete my Masters degree in Brisbane, I began to understand the concept behind a ‘true’ farmers where you are buying directly from the farmer who grew those produce thus eliminating the price hike that usually happens when there is a middle-man involved in the process. One of Brisbane’s farmers market which I love and would happily wake up early in the morning and go through multiple-transfer and modes of public transportation for is the Farmers Market in West End. If you ever associated farmers market as the true hippie, make-love-not-war type of congregation minus the illegal substance, this would be it.
That, plus if you find a friendly, happy seller behind the stalls, you get to strike up amazing conversations on food and how those produce came about. Nothing like knowing exactly where your food comes from!
Back at home and every Sunday, the roads surrounding the Melawati Stadium in Shah Alam will be filled with cars notoriously parked on either side of the roads and families jay walking across towards the vast car park area around the stadium lined with rows and rows of blue-topped stalls. Don’t ask me why they don’t choose to just park their cars in the proper parking area (Ah Malaysians, we are such a creative bunch sometimes). Last night, I convinced my sister that we should at least have a look, because we happen to live so close by and it’s kind of pathetic if we keep experiencing these mad traffic not knowing what brings the crowd back here every single Sunday without fail.
So off we went, at the ungodly hour of 7:30 in the morning to beat the crowd and while the weather is still slightly cool. And boy, have we been missing out! Most of the stalls selling fresh produce were already up by then, so was the ones selling hot, cooked (and not always necessarily healthy) food for breakfast. The term ‘market of everything’ popped in my head as we zig-zagged our way from stalls to stalls.
From fresh colorful vegetables, fruits and herbs..
to hot kebabs …
to mountains of dried anchovies …
and even live fishes to add to your aquarium!
The photos obviously doesn’t do justice to the real thing itself like how the tiny fishes in the plastic bag were really colorful and pretty and all you can see from it are just.. numbered plastic bags with water. I was walking and trying to snap photos from my Blackberry while holding on to all the stuff we bought along the way. Next time around, we’ve decided we’ll bring one of those trolleys that you pull along from behind.
While we were there, I bought a whole bunch of fresh bok choys, kailan, and gotu kola or penny wort (pegaga). It makes me really happy to see fresh produce being sold, it reminds me there is still hope against the canned, preserved and pasteurized food industry that has become so convenient and mainstream these days. Now I’m tossing between wanting to make some green smoothie with a handful of each thrown into it, some fresh coconut flesh and bananas or just boiling some of the gotu kola to make a nice, cooling tea. What do you think?