As a kid, I often accompanied my mom to the traditional morning market to shop for cooking ingredients.
Needless to say, it has been years.
When I shop for stuff these days, it’s usually at hypermarkets, because I’m a sucker for things that are nicely packed and a place that is air conditioned lmfao. Another reason is because I’m perpetually exhausted and can’t get up early enough 😦
She recently asked if I’d like to accompany her to the market because Chinese New Year is just around the corner and there are loads of interesting items on sale during this period. Knowing my weakness for documenting things, she lured me with a tantalising “It’ll be good material for your blog”. So I got my ass up at 7.30 on a Saturday and we drove to the Taman Puchong Indah Morning Wet Market.
The market features dozens of stalls selling everything from meat, vegetables and seafood, to clothes, accessories, herbs and toys. Since it’s so close to CNY, there were loads of people doing some last minute shopping.
The atmosphere of a morning market is certainly different from buying your stuff at a supermarket. The hustle and bustle, the loud bargaining and chatter and the jostling your way through the crowd is a far cry from the sterile supermarket aisles, where you can spend your entire time shopping without interacting with anyone but the cashier at checkout.
The first day of CNY is on 5 February, and as the Moo mentioned, there were loads of interesting items you don’t see beyond the festive period. (Above) Niangao (sticky rice cake) for prayers. These are offered up to the Kitchen God deity because he’s the guy who reports up to the Jade Emperor in Heaven about whether or not a family has been good for the year. The rice cake, being sticky and sweet, will ensure that he keeps his mouth shut on bad things, and only reports good things about the fam. Bribery at its finest.
It is common for families to decorate the home with couplets with auspicious words, sayings and wishes. And of course they are in red and gold – ‘lucky’ colours that denote wealth and prosperity in Chinese culture.
Various decorations; including gold ingots, God of Prosperity stickers, couplets, etc.
2019 is the year of the boar, so the cakes which are placed as offerings to the gods were also in the shape of pigs. Really creative! There were other shapes as well, such as lotus flowers and pagodas. PS: The cakes are non edible.
Niangao. In Malaysia, it is often prepared deep fried on its own or with sweet potato /yam. It can also be steamed and rolled in shredded coconut. They are also known as Tikoy in the Philippines.
Waxed and cured meats.
Flattened waxed duck threaded with a string. These can be cut into slivers and enjoyed with lots of rice due to the strong, savoury flavour.
Vendor preparing chao gou (stir fried radish with egg and beansprouts) in a wok, the steam and smell wafting up into the air as passers by watch.
I guess it’s not something you can see at the hypermarket.
Will be going back to the parents’ hometown tomorrow for the upcoming celebrations. More to come!