The celebration of the holy Ramadan festival brings along a unique experience that can be enjoy by all Malaysian, the food bazaar. During this festive season one can get to sample a variety of authentic and delicious Malay cuisine which is freshly prepare for the Muslim to break their fast.
One popular food bazaar in Penang is at Jalan Makloom, parallel road to Jalan Sungai Pinang. The place is jam packed with 50 over hawker stalls and stretches all the way to Jalan Perak.
This stretch of road transforms into a food haven with the hawkers piling their foodstuffs starting from 4pm till 8pm. The wide spread of delicious fare sold include traditional Malay kuih, lemang, barbecued chicken, nasi lemak, laksa beras (a Kedah/Perlis dish), rendang, satay, cucuk udang and nasi ulam. Other cross culture food such as beef and chicken pita, burgers, apong balik (known as ban chang kuih in Chinese) and chicken rice are also found. There are other favorites, such as nasi briyani, popiah and murtabak.
For drinks there are the popular ros syrup, jagung, cincau, mata kucing, sugar cane and the refreshing soy bean.
Stalls which constantly attract crowds are the kuih and pita kebab stall. There is a wide selection of desserts with jellies, savory kuih and the rich creamy kuih made from coconut and palm sugar which is popular with all ages. Delicious onde-onde (mini green balls filled with the syrup of palm sugar) are not to be left out!
Though pita bread is widely consumed in the Middle East, this Mediterranean cuisine has yet to make a major impact on our shores, especially in the pasar malam. The Melati Kebab Pita serves pita with two types of meat. In addition to beef stuffing, there is chicken too. The owner fry the minced meat in a flat pan till it is flavorful. Onions, chopped tomatoes and strips of cucumber are added on for texture and flavor.
One can smell the delicious aroma of the meat wafting all over the place. The stuffing is drizzled with chili and tomato sauce, and mixed together before being stuffed into the pocket of the pita bread. It tastes simply delicious.
Beef pita @ RM2 and chicken pita @ RM2.50
Another favorite that is cooked on the spot is BBQ chicken wings and a handful of grilled items. Well-marinated chicken wings are beautifully grilled with a hint of charcoal aroma. The chicken marinating sauce seeps deep into the meat, making every bite satisfying with the infused flavors.
Utara Honey Chicken – different items from RM1 to RM4 per piece
Jagung (maize) and Ayam percik
It is interesting to see crispy deep-fried mushrooms at the bazaar. It is so easy to pop the mushrooms into the mouth. The Keropok lekor made of fish paste are best eaten with chilli sauce. These deep-fried items together with the cucur udang are great snacks to nibble on, which leave you wanting more.
Cahaya Mutiara Nasi ayam, Hardi Madu Nasi goreng ayam and the pungent and flavourful Nasi ulam are popular rice dishes. Nasi ulam is served together with onions, fried ikan bilis, salted egg and fresh local greens and herbs. Nasi ayam comes with a salad of cucumber, tomatoes and lettuce.
Nasi ayam and Nasi goreng ayam – both chicken rice but with totally different flavor
Other interesting snacks are the putu piring, apong balik (known as ban chang kuih in Chinese), roti canai/murtabak and kek pokas. With so many satisfying treats, it is hard not to stop by this place for hawker food.