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Main entrance of Central Market

Once you arrive at Pasar Seni/ Central Market via the Light-Rail Transit (LRT) train, you will be greeted with a sudden hustle and bustle of individuals of all backgrounds. Don’t be scared of the energy, instead; enjoy and breathe in!

When I first went there with my friend at 17, she was looking for a knock-off inexpensive watch for her boyfriend. However, I soon realised that the place made me feel unsafe and I regretted my decision to follow her. The reason being is because the place seemed quite dangerous for students, especially those who came without adult supervision. We were both in school uniform and people assumed that we were playing truant. 

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Main entrance of Petaling Street, a cheap market for textiles to flowers

The second time, I went there with a college friend and I loved every second of it. Back then I was 23 and I fell in love again with how much my country has so much to offer. I guess our perspective changes when we grow older. I was just ignorant and not willing to see what was in front of me. Even now, I would jump at the offer to go to Central Market whenever anyone invites me.

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Look at the daunting colour! (Don’t judge a book by its cover)

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The famous air mata kucing stall in the middle of Petaling Street

For example, you can get a refreshing air mata kucing drink for RM1.50 (₩407.00) on humid Kuala Lumpur day. Air mata kucing is a type of local fruit that is smaller than a lychee and longan, famous for its own natural sweetness. People tend to be intimidated by the colour of the drink, but will most definitely change their mind as soon as they take their first sip. It is safe to say that it has become a ritual for me to get a cup of it every time I go there.

Once you get a drink, you can browse the shops and have nice dining experience. There is an array of cafes, restaurants and what Malaysians like to call kopitiam and mamak; kopitiam which translate into an old coffee shop usually owned by an old couple that serves local fresh handmade bread and coffee. In fact, these shops have been running from generation to generation. Mamak on the other hand, has an array of delicacies, from Indian roti, Malay nasi lemak and Chinese style noodles. Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures, after all.

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Local meals; nasi lemak (left) and assam laksa (right)

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Western delicacies; fried nest (top), spaghetti (bottom left) and English breakfast (right)

The meal on top is the signature nasi lemak (coconut rice on pandan leaf, spicy paste (sambal), fried anchovies, ground nuts, cucumber and a boiled egg), a bowl of octopus sambal and assam laksa (glass noodle with a sour based soup, served with fresh cucumber and some onions). Both the meals are quite known in Malaysia for being refreshing and will leave one salivating for more. Even any overseas student would feel homesick, but safe, as soon as they have a plate of nasi lemak.

Other than the local delicacies, visitors can also opt for a Western and Asian influenced meal in Central Market that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Below is the image of the local delicacy, and an English style breakfast is also available with a deep fried nest (eggplant, vegetables, chicken, sweet potatoes) Lastly, salted egg chicken spaghetti is the current trend and favourite amongst Malaysians at the moment.

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Chinese temple

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Indian temple

If you are ready for an adventure after your meal, you can make your way around the area and you can see both Chinese and Indian temples. Fun fact, both the temples shown in the image above is actually opposite one another on the same street. It is pretty interesting and heart-warming when you can see both sides praying, minding and respecting each other’s religion despite having different beliefs.

There are just so many things to see and experience in Central Market of Kuala Lumpur. What used to be an old fresh market that my grandma often visited to get us fresh vegetables and seafood in the morning is now a hub for both the old and new to connect and celebrate what Malaysia has to offer which is; food, culture and beauty.

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