17 June 2012 – One of the things my wife and I love doing when visiting a new city (especially one in Asia) is taking a trip to the fresh food markets. Seeing the buzz of activity around you as people go about their shopping can be quite an experience, and one way of getting a sense of the culture. It’s also a lot of fun to marvel at the varieties of produce around and sample the local delicacies, perhaps even discovering things that you might not find in your part of the world.
If you happen to love photography as well as fresh food, Kota Bharu’s Central Market (or Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah in Bahasa Malaysia) might just be the place for you. Located a short walking distance from Kota Bharu’s main bus station, it is the city’s largest wet market and one of its main attractions. For photographers, there are several levels within the actual building itself where you can get a bird’s eye view of the colourful and vibrant produce on display on the ground floor.
The first floor is where you’ll find the food stalls as well as stores selling spices, packaged foodstuffs, dried food and other local delicacies.
One thing that really struck me during my time here was how friendly the people were. While taking photos, I was approached by a lady from one of stalls behind me who was curious about my camera. It turned out to be a great opportunity for me to practice my Hokkien.
After our conversation, I asked her permission for a photo (below). Perhaps feeling a bit awkward, she then pointed to a couple seated nearby and encouraged me to take a photo of them. I was more than happy to oblige!