Where Are All The Nostalgic Bazaar Ramadan Food? Here’s What We Miss & Why They’re Hard To Find Now
Ramadan is upon us which means that Muslims from all over the world are abstaining from food, drink and anything that feeds their nafsu (lust/wants).
Here in Malaysia, Muslims and non-Muslims alike are practicing solidarity and understanding towards the sensitivities that come with fasting by treating each other with respect and much-needed patience.
While this holy month brings forward our aptitude in tolerance and spirituality, it also signifies the commencement of the long-awaited bazaar Ramadan.
After a tumultuous battle with Covid-19, restrictions have since loosened and we can all enjoy walking through a cloud of delicious smells wafting from the wide variety of food available at the bazaar.
Prior to the pandemic, this would be one of the most exciting times of the year but sadly, upon my first few visits at the bazaars, I was left disappointed by the quality and selection of the spread.
It seemed like everywhere I looked, the stalls were repeating themselves and I could not distinguish between one vendor from another.
I remember vaguely the excitement I would feel to come home with dozens of pink plastic bags filled to the brim with food to break fast.
But now, it is a struggle to even come home with two bags due to the declining variety at the bazaar.
Scouring the bazaars – our senses heightened due to our increasing hunger in anticipation for dusk – before going home with a bountiful haul of food used to bring families closer to each other.
Do you remember eagerly reaching over one another at the dining table as you spooned different dishes onto your plate?
The camaraderie you would feel when everyone was smiling and enjoying their food in unison has now been replaced with apathy at the mediocre food that used to taste incredible after a long, hot and tiring day.
Before, my heart would swell with pride at the plethora of different, yet traditional food sold at the bazaar but now, it aches in disappointment, as most of our cultural gems have been traded for cheap, cheesy, and cloying gimmick food trends that neither taste good nor look appealing.
I’m not the only one who feels this way.
A Facebook user shared his thoughts on the matter in the post below, reaping similar comments that agreed with him.
Twitter users also shared their thoughts:
The possible reason for this anomaly could be linked to the incline of prices for vegetables and other ingredients needed to make our favourite Ramadan food.
Previously, JUICE reported on the price hike for Gardenia bread and the same can be said about vegetables that have seen a 30-40% price hike, according to Channel News Asia.
Not only are the ingredients much more expensive than before, vendors simply cannot bear the cost due to the aftermath that the pandemic had on finances.
Not surprising, some vendors resort to using lower quality or quantity of ingredients and selling “viral” food trends in hopes that it might arouse enough curiosity to attract customers.
It would be unfair to paint in broad strokes and claim that all bazaars are the same.
While it is sad to watch some of our favourite bazaars fall victim to “viral” trends to earn profit without sacrificing cost, there are still some good ones out there and there is no better time than now to share those locations with each other.
In the meantime, to lighten the mood, let us wax nostalgic by reminiscing on some of our favourite bazaar Ramadan food.
Here they are…
There’s nothing more refreshing than to break fast with a cold jelly-dessert.
Who can forget this smokey, sweet and delectable Malaysian favourite?
While it is available at most bazaars, the sauce has gone from a thick gravy-like consistency to almost runny.
How to buka puasa like this?
We all remember the queues that spanned to the end of the bazaar just for these murtabaks right?
While these baddies are still around alongside the agonising queue, the quality has definitely gone down and it just doesn’t taste the same anymore…
I used to savour eating this dessert at the end of my meal but sadly, I can’t even find them at bazaars anymore…
A favourite of my mom’s, if you know where I can get this, please let me know.
She needs this in her life!
Kuih koci, kuih kaswi, kuih akok and ondeh-ondeh…
These used to be available in abundance but there has not been a single sighting!
Is it just me or are people not selling this refreshingly sweet drink anymore?
My thirst has yet to be quenched!
When in doubt, always look for nasi ambeng.
It comes with rice, protein, vegetables and noodles.
Perfect for breaking fast after a long day of work.
A personal favourite of mine, this loss has been the most devastating out of all the picks from this list.
I miss the smoky aroma that used to waft from kambing golek…
Bazaars just don’t feel the same without it.
Apam Mekar Ais Krim Soda
If you know, you know.
And if you do, I’m sorry for your loss.
Some may definitely disagree about these picks depending on the bazaars they frequent.
So, if you know a bazaar that still sells these without the depletion in quality, or if we missed any of your favourite traditional bazaar foods, feel free to leave a comment!