Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

Pasar Pulau Sebang @ Tampin – A Photo Log

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Whenever I am overseas, I love visiting the traditional “wet markets” which the locals go to for their groceries and daily produce. It provides a real glimpse of what the locals eat and the cuisines that develop as a result.  During one of my recent visits to Melaka, I was brought to the Pasar Pulau Sebang morning market located at the heart of Tampin by a friend who guaranteed that I would love love love this place. And boy was she right!

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Tampin is a border town between Negeri Sembilan to the north and Melaka to the south. I was quite amused as we reached the place, my friend told me while pointing to a road just a stone’s throw away, “Once we cross there, we are in N9. Over here we are still in Alor Gajah Melaka.” While it is not like we are crossing the India-Pakistan border or something, the feeling is somewhat special.
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Pasar Pulau Sebang is a bustling morning market in the middle of this small town. The drive from Melaka took almost an hour, mostly through a single lane road alongside the malay kampongs whose wooden houses are aligned between the winding road and the hills of oil palm plantations…
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And just as we were getting really drowsy from the super early morning ride, all of the sudden, a town sprang up from nowhere with three or four storey old buildings like shophouses flanked on both sides. This is a predominantly Malay district with a strong Chinese presence, especially the Hakka community here.
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Apart from the fixed stalls inside the market, some folks can also be seen peddling their own homegrown produce along the roadside leading to the market, in hope to catch the shopping crowd.
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Some interesting stuff which we don’t even get to see at regular wet markets…
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Homegrown fruits and vegetables, they may not look very good aesthetically but I was told they are harvested off the branches before coming to the market…
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homegrown sawtooth coriander, a pleasant surprise to see these here as they are not commonly used in our local cuisines apparently…
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And here’s a Malay lady sorting out freshly harvested petai still in pods which she was selling. These “papan” are studded with large and green stinky beans which purportedly have very good medicinal properties, particularly for cleansing the excretory system… If only I could bring them back!
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Along one of the small lanes, one would be quick to observe a queue developing  outside a small shop that sells Chinese steamed buns. They are very very popular amongst the locals here and it is easy to see why. Piping hot buns fresh from the steamer being rapidly snapped up in no time…
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And the queue outside the shop waiting patiently for the buns to be ready…
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Their big pork buns are the most popular,  followed closely behind by their char siew baos
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Their lor mai gais are also very very good, easily one of the best I’d eaten in a long while… regret not packing some back as well!
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And here’s the reason why my friend said I would love love love this place! There are quite a number of stalls selling kuehs and their selection is simply amazing!!!
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A good variety of kueh koo (angku kuehs) with sweet and savory filling which are known to the Hakkas as 粄 ban instead. The black ones which are made from mugwort, are called 艾粄 ai pan, compared to similarly coloured ones which the Peranakans using daon ramey and called kueh koo itam. There are also hee pan 喜粄 near the top of the photo, pink for the traditional ones while yellow ones are made from pumpkin.
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Here’s another “kueh” stall. Unlike the previous ones which sold mainly steamed kuehs, this particular stall sells traditional baked cookies, tau sar pniah, pong pniah, beh teh soh etc which can store a tad longer compared to the steamed ones. But my favorite beh teh soh shop is in Muar, so I’m giving this place a miss…
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Ondeh ondeh the size of golf balls. Didn’t get to try them so I ain’t sure how good they are…
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Kuih Katsuri…. mung bean fritters are my absolute favorites!!!!
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Some other kuehs available from huat kueh to pak tong gou, jeen doei and kueh sarlat, literally spoilt for choices!!!
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Something else familiar, the Peranakan form of apom balek but without banana or durian filling…
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There were also many eateries for one to sit down and have a bowl of fishball noodle soup, porridge or wantan mee. Prices were quite reasonable as portions were rather big, even for RM 3.50. Do take note that the price increments for bigger portions usually mean more noodles, and not more ingredients or toppings. Any requests for the latter, i.e. more wantan dumplings or more char siew roast pork, would be calculated separately…
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These eating places are not just for one to fill one’s tummy with an affordable yet good breakfast but more importantly, the sharing of the latest news and gossips in town, or just mindless banter amongst the regular kopi kakis over a cuppa siew dai
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Here’s a small Malay takeaway deli within the market selling epok epok, pisang goreng, not forgetting the kueh keria and even doughnuts!
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A makeshift Chinese pan fried radish cake stall outside the market area set up right smack in front of the van.  The “chye tau kuey” smelt really good I must say!
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Yet another “yummy-on-the-go”, an Indian roadside hawker peddling vadai and all sorts of muruku from his motorbike. Judging from the number of local folks who are queuing up for a packet or two , his stuff must be really good too!

So if you are a fellow fanatic for local street food like me, do consider paying Tampin’s Pasar Pulau Sebang a visit if you have half a day to spare or so. It is a 40 min to an hour drive from Melaka city area so it is best to charter a taxi and share the costs with another 3 more friends. Otherwise, there is 2 “Panorama Melaka” bus services that run between Melaka Sentral bus terminus and Tampin, one which goes via Durian Tunggal and another through Cheng. Do take note however that the bus rides can take up to 3 hours as the whole journey is around 100km or so with the routing. So the chartering taxi option might be a better one!

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