Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I don't cry. I eat...at the Ramadan Bazaar, Jalan Gaya and Asia City, Kota Kinabalu


No food at all? "Nope, not even water."
When does it end? "Sunset until sunrise the next day".

That was pretty much how the conversation went when I was being educated about Ramadan (or Puasa as we call it here). When I was growing up in Malaysia, I knew of it but I didn't know much about it. So it is quite nice for me to learn about it now since I live among the Muslim community.
Cendol - icy cold dessert drink perfect for our hot weather
Basically in the month before the new year (which is called Hari Raya) Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset. This includes no water (which is probably the hard part for any human being) and at the end of the day they have "break fast" and dine with their family.
Pickled fruits
"But I thought this post was about a food bazaar??" I hear you say. Yes, it is. And this is the fun part for everyone! Every day during fasting month these bazaars are everywhere!! Usually those who are fasting will come by these bazaars to pick up a few things to bring home to break their fast. 

I was told that these bazaars boast all things delicious from BBQ fish to icy cold desserts! And that the smell is AMAZING. I thought that this must be a MUST DO for anyone living here or lucky enough to visit Malaysia during the month. 

And readers...the bazaars are totally amazing!! Check it out:

The very popular briyani yellow rice which I tried and it was delicious!

Oodles of noodles!

Satay Enthusiasts beware- those are not giant satays...they are chicken butts!
Pulut - a sticky sweet rice snack wrapped in leaves

BBQ chicken wings- something that Sabah does really well!

The photos above are the ones at the end of Gaya Street outside the Horizon Hotel. Smallish but still full of variety, it's a perfect way to get your dinner around 5-6pm. The bazaar closes around 6 as that is the time when most Muslim families go home to "break fast" and feast with their families :)


Another undiscovered gem was just across the road from my office at Centrepoint Shopping Centre. Hidden away in the plaza area of Asia City at Kampong Air the Ramadan Bazaar is much bigger than the ones at Gaya Street and felt a bit more festive. With a bigger variety of biscuits and treats to keep for while you'll find that there are a lot more goodies here for dinner, dessert and snacking :)
Fried chicken with briyani rice- I LOVE THIS! 

Making Murtabak - something like a Turkish Gozleme
BBQ chicken...yum!
Although both bazaars were fun I found the Asia City one a lot more festive and fun. This is something you should experience if you're ever in Malaysia.  These bazaars end when fasting month ends (around 17th August 2012) so only a week and a half left!
 For  Muslims fasting is about cleansing for the new year. Discipline is definitely essential and it is something that is not so easily obtained (I certainly wish I had more!). To be able to be so disciplined for a good 12 hours to not eat or drink when you're surrounded by other cultures who are not fasting, I have nothing but TOTAL respect for my Muslim friends.

As I clock up more time as a Sabahan resident I am learning more and more about the people that surround me and what makes Sabah such an interesting place to live. Hari Raya is just as celebrated as Chinese New Year and I love how the locals here can live together and respect each other's religions and cultures. And that creates a more interesting culinary palette for all of us here!

Happy Berpuasa to those who are fasting this month!

Daphne xoxo

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