Sunday, July 20, 2008

Colourful Sentul Market

Interesting architecture. The building is very simple in design, with small coloured glass windows to allow light to stream in. This is the main Sentul Market building.

This is one section of town that you probably won't see in your tour itinerary of Kuala Lumpur simply because it is way out the promoted tourist belt.

But sometimes, this is where the excitement lies. When travelling, if you are slightly more adventurous, a more meaningful tour would be places that are out of the beaten track.

Quaint sundry shops in the market where you can get anything from rice to horsegram and chickpeas.

The Sentul Market, which was established somewhere in the late 70s, started off as a morning market even much earlier, catering to the needs of the Sentul community which in the 70s comprised of mostly Indians and Chinese. Here the green grocers operate in the mornings, starting as early as 5am, bringing supply from town to be sold to village folk then.

Take a walk into colourful Malaysian daily life.

In the late 70s, the market was rebuilt with a main concrete structure to house the traders but as development moved in, demand exceeded supply and the market simply outgrew its intended size.

Today, there are several sections to the market, with the original main building housing traders selling greens, poultry and fish. Meat stall lie beside this.

The extended area which was built later.

Adjacent to the main building, which is an extended area built much later, is the main vegetable section. Surrounding the vegetable stalls are small sundry shops and coconut merchants.

Sandwiched between the main building and the greens section is the eating area selling Chinese food mainly. The other eating area lies about 30 metres away, where you can find Malay and Indian stalls. There are two Indian stalls selling traditional working-class fare and several Malay stalls selling Indian prata, known locally as roti canai, noodles and the likes.

One Indian stall - known simply as Breakfast Corner - which is highly popular lies at the entrance, selling traditional putu mayam. Here you can choose to have traditional Indian fare such as thosai, putu, vadei, and the likes - including fresh cow milk wrapped in plastic bags.

One of the few left operating this dying trade. The putu mayam corner and the apparatus he uses to steam the coconut-flour cakes (below).

The putu mayam maker is among those very few left in the city, or possible the whole country, selling these steamed delicacy as can be seen from the pictures. As far as we know, not many in the city ply such a trade using tiny steamers as shown.

If you are in Kuala Lumpur and staying near the northwestern side of town, reserve a morning and drop by the Sentul Market. Best day to visit is on a Sunday, when activity starts as early as 6:45am. Drop by for breakfast or grab some of the delicacies and fruits and what have yous. Experience life reflective of what a man-in-the-street in Kuala Lumpur go through daily.


Suseela said...

The most tastes food you can get
and I will anything this world to
that food from California.

Siva Kay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Siva Kay said...

Just saw ur posting while reading on Sentul. Nice blog and good attempt to capture the dying trade of the older generation. I just want to say that the uncle in the picture is not steaming putumayam, he is steaming putu. Putu and putumayam are two different Indian dishes but both are steamed. If you walk into Indian restaurants (not mamak) for breakfast, try asking if they have putu. You will then know what putu is.