Ramadan is the holy Muslim month of fasting, where practitioners of the faith abstain from food and water from dawn until sunset. Malaysia has a sizable Malay population and the best part about Pasar Ramadan (Ramadan Bazaar) is the sheer amount of food available. The Pasar Ramadan is a setup consisting of independent stalls selling food, and most of the consumables are excellent.
I always make it a point to visit the Pasar Ramadan every year. It’s held annually during the puasa (fasting) month and a lot of good eats can be found concentrated in the bazaar. All cities and towns in Malaysia have a Pasar Ramadan setup a month before Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which is the most important celebration on the Muslim calendar.
I went to the Pasar Ramadan with a couple of buddies yesterday evening to check out the place. Pasar Ramadan is only open for several hours in the evening and I figured I should go this week since Hari Raya Puasa falls on next Wednesday. Thus, it’s just about a week left before the annual Pasar Ramadan shuts down for the year.
The people manning the stalls are generally a friendly lot and being the quintessential blogger that I am, camwhoring is a must on the To Do List. I can’t help it – I’ve been blogging for six years! 😉
The Pasar Ramadan sells food and drinks of all sorts. I have noticed a trend this year where the local shaved ice drinks like ABC Special, Chendol, etc are all sold in huge packs. It’s at least 1.5 liters of fluid in there! I guess it’ll look appealing after not drinking the entire day, but still, that’s a lot of liquid!
The sheer variety of food at the stalls is amazing. There is everything from otak-otak…
…to keropok lekor, a fish cracker originating from Terengganu.
There are also more conventional fare like fried noodles and nasi campur cooked on the spot.
One other trend I spotted this year is that the cakes sold at the Pasar Ramadan has been given the Premium Treatment (TM). Gone were the days of kueh lapis (layered cakes) and other delicious but aesthetically lacking cakes. The cakes sold are now topped with cheese or encapsulated in pudding.
I also managed to find a Roti John stall. I haven’t seen Roti John in Sibu ever! It’s RM 2.50 each and comes with either a chicken or beef filling. The etymology of Roti John is quite interesting – it was created for Caucasian tastes during the British Colonial rule and the name came about from the colloquialism for Westerners at that time.
Caucasians were referred to as “John”, a very common English name and thus Roti John was born. It’s literally translated as John’s Bread. 🙂
I love Roti John and have only seen it in KL, so it’s nice to eat it again. It’s basically a sandwich with a minced meat patty inside. Sarawak has a version of Roti John, which we call kebab. It was fun to walk through the Pasar Ramadan again, since I missed it last year. It’s just so chill and relaxed, and I like the throng of crowds buying food during the two or three hours it’s open.
You Don’t Mess with the Koran, er…I mean, Zohan. 😉
27 thoughts on “Pasar Ramadan”
da keropok lekor is called gao sai in terengganu
which literally means dog’s stool… ：）
I went to Pasar Ramadan at Tabuan Jaya that day. Saw a dog with 2 legs squatting beside his car urinating at the parking space. LOL!! Lost appetite.
I love Roti John!! When studying in JB last time, in front of the college there is a stall selling Roti John, damn F delicious. Argh!
Gao Sai? OMG!! taik anjing… hahahahaha….
Bongkersz.. Tabuan Jaya has a Psar Ramadhan??? I tot the place was cleared looorrr.. where about?
I always go to Padungan’s Pasar Ramadhan.. nice Beriyani and Chicken Satays. yum yum..
is the bazaar located behind sanyan eh??
i went to bazaar ramadhan here in parit buntar and it is odd to see only malay people is around.
in sibu we got a lot of malays,dayaks,chinese and etc.
O.H M.Y G.A.W.D!
look at the food! I miss the kuih! I didnt even know it is Ramadan.
I would get very excited to see so many things going around.. the smell, the colours (not refering to human) of the food, and I would definetely do the bloody blogger thing too — taking photos! lol
hahah I haven’t eat roti john in a very long time.
I went to a ramadan bazaar today too. I like to try the dishes that only West Malaysian Malays have and can’t find back in Sibu. They have lots of different dishes I’ve never eaten here. The ubi kayu cooked with syrup is lip-smacking good! You should get those in Sibu to make that. Tomorrow I’m going to try “pulut durian” dessert 🙂 Wonder what that is…
annant: Seriously???? By the locals or Chinese?
bongkersz: Yeah, it’s so hard to get Roti John over here. Don’t know why it never took off. It’s nice, but then we have kebab (e.g. ferry kebab) which is almost similar.
Coki: There are a lot of Pasar Ramadan in Kuching. Over here, we have one city council and they congregate and designate the town square as the Pasar Ramadan. I think it’s better this way, everything at the same place. 🙂
benjy8769: Yup, that’s the one. There’s only one in Sibu. It’s behind Wisma Sanyan at Sibu Town Square Phase II.
cynthia: Yeah, that’s the part I love about Pasar Ramadan too, the sights, the smells, the food. I used to buy a lot and binge at home. Heh!
Eric Y: Me too, which was why I jumped at the chance to eat it. I forgot to ask the guy where he operates usually or if he’s independent and just does it during Pasar Ramadan every year. I shall go and ask before it ends.
Pixeldoll: Pulut durian sounds great! 🙂
I like to try things that I can’t usually get too, we’re similar that way. 🙂
Another nostalgic thing. I only did a couple of Pasar Ramadhan back in the old days.
However, when I was in UKM, I was “forced” to do Ramadhan for three years. The whole cafeterias would close during day time (7am-5pm), and only did their businesses starting from 5pm-7am. It was an insane. The only way to get foods were out of campus. I stocked up so many cup noodles in the first year. LOL I was really amazed with the choices of food they have during the ramadan though. Kuih-muih variation alone was 3-4 times more than normal days.
Oh, one of the senior who stayed in the same dorm as me, during ramadhan, not only she drank the whole 1.5 L of sweet Rose water with thick evaporated milk, but her rice also had 2 big pieces of fried chicken, rendang, daging kicap manis and sayur masak lemak with full big plate of rice. Finished clean clean, everyday for the whole ramadhan.
Love the pictures of the festival. Never saw these type of food before. Which one is your favorite? When I do outing enjoy taking pictures. Is your camera a Panasonic DMC-FZ50. I had one that FZ30 not happy that time. Planing to get Pentax K100D, It use AA batteries which rare for DSLRS. There more stablization in a Pentax.
My friends and I use to belonged to photo club in high school. My friends use Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H5 Digital. It bright and sharp 3″ TFT LCD 230,000 pixed screen.
We never this kind of festival in San Francisco. Are Chinese Muslim? My father side is Chinese Muslim and my mother side American Born Chinese Cantonese Jungsan.
Those picture very well in telling a story. Did you use a Canon A510? I always enjoy taking pictures and use a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H5. It a very good digital. But not cheap set me back 500.00 USD. My sister use Pentax K100D it take good images still photos.
Fab festival photos. Never seen or tasted these kinds of food before. My friend is Muslim from Indoneian I will show her your blog photos if she know of these foods. I see readers enjoy taking photos too. I got a Sony Cyber Shot but it an Ultrazoom MSRP. Planing to get another Sony DSC H5.
Roti John look so good but never had it before. It hard to find Southeast Asian food in certain States. Your blog bring your country closer to people to see and read. What camera you use for those pictures? It seem very sharp. I use Nikon SLR Prof.D500 with 18-55mmF/3.5 5.66ED AFS DX and 70 300mm F/4 5.66 ED. It great for blogging.
Planing a trip soon to Asia and heard of Roti John but never had it before. Hong Kong serve it. My cousin married to Chinese Singaporean so planing to see Singapore and try many Roti Johns. Which one it the best?
Try to find Roti John in Honolulu and no where. There an Singaporean food stall but Roti John. Now
I will look for a recipe to make some to taste. Which kind is the best ? Heard of it but never had any.
A Croque Monsieur I could make no problem but never had a Roti John. I saw picture on Flickrs and to me look like Indian sub sandwich grill. Croque Monsieur is the same. Now I too will try to find a recipe to make it. Your blog with food make people want go out and try it too but in other countries it not easy to find. People learn more of the country and culture from blog reading.
Your blog inform me a lot of things I never have to chance to see. Enjoy very much your funny reader who write back to you they can be really interesting in what they write. I am surprise you got a lot ABC readers I guess like me interested in Southeast Asia cultures. Keep it up. Now you cause many out there to try Roti John and I one of them too.
Your blog entertain and inform me of many things in Malaysia. Studying in State from Hong Kong enjoy reading many things you have in it. Your blog readers and writers are very entertaining too.
You should go to the Pasar Ramadhan in Mile 10 RASCOM Camp. The food there is mainly from West Malaysia and it tastes great. My personal favourite is nasi kerabu, a blue-coloured rice and is added with fried fish, stuffed chilli and salted egg. You should try it. But, the bazaar only starts at 4.00 p.m.
yeah roti john is sinfully good! i love the bread when it is soggy with all the mayo and ketchup..yumm
Most of your photos has distractions. It’s the skill that matters, not the type of camera that you’re using. Hmm, your pictures could be better. Love the last pic though 🙂
By the way, I thought you shouldn’t be eating there as our Muslim friends are still fasting. It is disrespectful to do so. I’m no holier-than-thou but just to point out one of the basic etiquette.
Hey, that Roti John sure look good. An interesting grill sandwich. I found a recipe on the web but like to know which kind of Roti John is the best. In the States it not easy to find places that serve it.
There are two blogs that have not bad easy recipe for Roti John. http://www.aromacookery.com http://www.grouprecipes.com. I like the basic one with eggs. Croque Monsieur is very nice too. I make it for breakfast or lunch when my friends come over.
HB, how do you say Roti? Is it with short i or long i ? I thought it in Rota or Rote.
Every ramadhan posting makes me felt like a noob. Honestly, I haven’t been to any ramadhan bazaar and I am a Malaysian… and I don’t even know about Roti John…sigh…
by da local Chinese 🙂
fish fish: The cafeteria closes for the fasting hours in your uni? That’s interesting. Yeah, I guess I would binge on food too if I had been abstaining for the entire day, but it’s not a really good idea to be doing that as I’ve noticed lately. Getting fat. 🙂
Erica: I like the Roti John coz I hardly see it over here. I’ve used all of the Sony T series. The T-2 got lost in Miri, the T-70 fell into a waterfall and I’m using a T-300 now. I’m thinking about getting a d-SLR but with my penchant for losing/dropping things I’m not sure it’s a good idea. 😉
Vickie: I would say the vast majority of Chinese are not Muslim. There is a tribe of Muslim Chinese in China though, but they are a minority. There are Chinese-Muslims over here, converted into the faith, usually via marriage.
Judy: Thanks! I like the Sony digicam series too, I used to use exclusively Nikon cameras until I got out of rehab and switched to Sony due to the portability. If I get a dSLR it’ll be a Sony too, the alpha.
Carol: I’m using a Sony T-300 – it’s a 10.1 MP portable digicam, touchscreen 3.5″ with basic features. I take it with me everyday, it’s easier than carrying around a dSLR and better for blogging purposes since portability is king for content. I’m interested in the new Sony T series that’s really slim, that would be even better for everyday carrying.
Vince: I don’t know, I haven’t been to Singapore in a very long time. Hmm…perhaps I should head over soon.
Shelly: I’m not sure where the recipe for an authentic Roti John would come from but you can try searching the net. Cheers!
Michale: Yeah, it’s something like that. Thanks for the kind comments! 🙂
Jason: Thanks for reading Jason! 🙂
Jeff: Cheers buddy!
Aaron: Nasi Kerabu! Yeah, I love the stuff too, I know what that is. I can’t find it in Sarawak though. Very nice stuff. RASCOM Camp as in Sibu RASCOM Camp or Kuching RASCOM Camp?
Most Ramadhan Bazaars start at around 4 pm until before the breaking of fast.
xin: Indeed, it is xin-fully good. 😉
I like it soggy as well, it tastes a little like Ramly burger. I don’t like ketchup on my roti john or ramli burgers though, prefer chilli sauce.
Blue Curacao: It’s intentional. I guess it depends on what you want to capture. I like scenes with people in there or it’ll look very sterile and boring.
Hmm…I’ve been told the opposite by some of my Muslim coworkers in KL. It is seen as an insult to them to have to hide and eat just for their sake, since it suggests that they are not true to their religion and cannot resist temptation. The rule there was, everything as usual.
Josh: Hmm…the definative Roti John could be very, very elusive. It’s all up to personal preference, me thinks. 🙂
Patty: Cheers for that! Appreciate your providing the URL for the recipes for Roti John. 🙂
Jordan: It’s “Ro” as in “Roll” an “ti” as in “tee”. That’s how we pronounce it over here but it could be different in India or the Middle East.
eiling: OMG! Heresy! 😉
Roti John is great, you should check it out. I like Ramadhan Bazaars coz I like spicy food and most Malay food is spicy. 🙂
annant: Eh, you lost me there…what by the local Chinese?