With Malaysia in the endemic phase and its borders once again open to tourists, many events and activities have now resumed, including open air night markets. And since it has been close to three years since I last went to one, I dragged the Hubs to the OUG Pasar Malam in KL for a foodie adventure.
Held every Thursday evening from 5pm onwards, this predominantly Malaysian Chinese night market may not be the largest or the most popular, but there are lots of interesting things to see, cheap items for sale, and more importantly, delicious street food.
We parked at the housing area next to the market and walked a short distance to where bright yellow umbrellas had been set up, the familiar hum of electric generators filling the air. I was surprised to see the sparse crowd (something almost unheard of pre-pandemic, because Malaysians love pasar malams). There seemed to be less stalls as well. I guess the pandemic did take a toll on businesses.
The market is spread across several streets, but it is not very large, with maybe 50 or 60 stalls at most. Aside from snacks and local fare, you can also find cheap mobile phone cases, accessories, clothing, jewellery, bags, fresh produce, and more.
Although it was drizzling slightly, it felt nostalgic to be walking around a night market again! Nothing beats the atmosphere of a night market – the smell of food being cooked wafting across the air, the sight of a hawker cooking char kuey teow over a huge flame, sellers shouting to customers to try their goods, thumping Chinese techno music – it’s an experience that you won’t find in the cold, clinical confines of an air-conditioned shopping mall.
Pro tip for visitors to the Klang Valley – there are pasar malams every day of the week in different areas. Some of the vendors will move to different markets every evening, so you might spot them even when you visit another spot. The major ones are the SS2 pasar malam on Mondays, Taman Connaught pasar malam on Wednesdays, and Setia Alam pasar malam on Saturdays.
While some stalls are unique to their particular pasar malam, you will typically find several that offer similar items. Standard fare at most Malaysian Chinese pasar malams would include fried goodies like salted egg fried chicken, squid, and roast meats. If you’re wondering why there’s an Ultraman on the banner, it’s because “Ultraman” is called “Ham Darn Chew Yun” (literally ‘salted egg superman’ in Cantonese – I guess because the eyes have a similar appearance?).
Deep fried chicken skin. One does not eat ‘healthy’ at a pasar malam. If you’re looking for that then you’re better off at a salad bar. 😛
Like many other things, food prices have also increased at the pasar malam. It is no longer super cheap, but of course, items are still relatively affordable. Just be prepared to shell out a little extra, especially if you’re buying a lot of snacks rather than having one big meal.
So, what did we get? There were so many options to choose from that we had a hard time picking just a few, and after walking up and down the main street several times, we settled for:
Lemongrass pork sausages (RM4 each). The meat is minced and blended with lemongrass and chilli, then stuffed into a chewy sausage casing. The flavour was a tad strong for me, but it was tasty nonetheless. The barbecued pork skewers (moo ping – RM4) did not fare as well, as they were almost pure blobs of fat.
The husband loves crispy apam balik, so we got a bunch of these to try. They were thin, flaky, and sweet, with a generous filling of crushed peanut and corn.
Another snack I haven’t had in a long time – keropok lekor (fried fish snacks)! These were sold by a Malay auntie, and came in several different varieties. The thin crispy one is great for those who like a bit of crunch, but since I prefer something with more bite, I went for the ‘losong’ (long and cyllindrical). RM2 netted me five pieces. They were nicely fried, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. But as I munched, I couldn’t help but reminisce about how as a student, just RM1 could get me five pieces of losong, and 10 of the crispy ones. Inflation’s a btch.
The highlight for us from our trip was these crab-filled mantous, available steamed or deep fried. We got the deep fried ones for RM5 per pop. They were not greasy at all, and the frying gave the bread a crispy texture, while the inside remained soft and fluffy. The filling was generous and flavourful – it reminded me of Singapore chilli crab. So if there’s one thing you have to get at the Pasar Malam OUG, I recommend these!
I was happy to be back at the night market again, and although it’s much less lively these days, it’s still nice to be back enjoying the open-air atmosphere.
PASAR MALAM OUG
Jalan Hujan Emas 4, Taman Overseas Union, 58200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Open every Thursday from 5PM – midnight