Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar, is regarded as the most sacred month by the Muslims as this is when the holy book al-Quran is believed to have been revealed, and when Muslims practice one of the five pillars of Islam: fasting. From dawn to sunset, Muslims all over the world participate in month-long abstinence of food, drink, and sexual activity. Fasting is a very social activity, with Muslims encouraging each other on the act, and mainly getting together for iftar, the breaking of fast ceremony after sunset.
As an Islamic country with a penchant for food, Malaysia celebrates Ramadan in the most glorious form, as streets from all corners in the country turn out to be massive street food fiestas, also known as Bazaar Ramadan. Muslims flock to these bazaars for iftar food, and non-Muslims get in the action, too – this is one of the best times in the year to taste some of the most sumptuous Malay dishes, such as ayam percik, murtabak and laksa utara – and all inexpensively priced. The rows of food stalls starts selling as early as 16:00 (usual break fasting time is 19:30 in Kuala Lumpur), and they can stretch up to two kilometres in length! Here we have listed five of the best Bazaar Ramadan available in town during the fasting month, so that you’ll never go hungry if you happen to visit Kuala Lumpur during this time period.
Kampung Baru Ramadan Bazaar
Kampung Baru, with its Malay heritage, also plays host to one of KL’s best Bazaar Ramadan, come the fasting month. Situated along Jalan Raja Alang, the bazaar sees over 200 stalls selling mouth-watering delicacies and Malay dishes, and one that could never go unnoticed is the Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa stall, touted as the city’s best nasi lemak (fragrant rice with anchovies, peanuts, egg and sambal). Bubur lambuk (rice porridge) is also another well-known dish here; it is cooked at the local mosque and distributed to the public, for free!
- Address: Jalan Raja Alang, Kuala Lumpur
- How to get there: Alight from Kampung Baru LRT station, and the bazaar should be less than ten minutes’ walk.
TTDI Ramadan Bazaar
TTDI, short form for ‘Taman Tun Dr Ismail’ is a neighbourhood right in front of One Utama shopping mall and is another hotspot for iftar food hunting. The Bazaar Ramadan here is located at Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 2, and throngs of people usually line up for its murtabak raja, a stuffed pancake swollen with either lamb, beef or chicken. Get there early around 16:00 to enjoy fewer crowds, parking spots (it can get quite congested) and delectable fresh dishes!
- Address: Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 2, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
- How to get there: Nearest LRT station is Kelana Jaya, taxi is required for a 15 minutes’ drive to the bazaar.
Jalan Masjid India and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman Ramadan Bazaar
Jalan Masjid India and the adjacent road to it, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, are famous shopping sites for anything traditional – attires, snacks and textiles are all on sale at cheap prices, making it one of the best shopping haunts in KL. The bazaar Ramadan held here extends the concept to Malay food, and with good measure too, as stalls such as Mak Wan selling nasi campur (rice with Malay dishes) is usually sold out by 17:00! Its centralized location makes it accessible too – it’s just minutes away from shopping district Bukit Bintang.
- Address: Jalan Masjid India, Kuala Lumpur
- How to get there: Nearest train stations are Masjid Jamek LRT and Bandaraya LRT.
Bangsar Ramadan Bazaar
The affluent neighbourhood Bangsar is not excluded from the food frenzy, and holds its own daily Bazaar Ramadan at Jalan Telawi 1, right beside Saidina Abu Bakar As Siddiq mosque. Some say it’s not as big as it used to be, but it is still the one of the best bazaars to visit, especially when you’re pressed for time. Its legendary putu piring made KL citizens sing its praises, making us feel that Bangsar is, truly, one of the KL’s best food havens.
- Address: Jalan Telawi 1, Kuala Lumpur
- How to get there: Nearest LRT station is Bangsar, and the bazaar is within 15 minutes’ walk.
Shah Alam Ramadan Bazaar
Shah Alam’s favourite local market spot is the car park of Shah Alam Stadium (it houses the farmer’s market on Sundays and occasional flower markets) and during the fasting month, it turns into a food bazaar for Muslims and inquisitive tourists too. The bazaar sees crowds from working professionals to students of nearby universities, and with plenty of parking slots around, it remains one of the most accessible in town. Noteworthy specials include S.S Ali popiah (fresh spring rolls) and laksa utara, but seriously, with all the sights, sounds and smells stemming from the stalls, it’s hard to not go overboard with the food!
- Address: Stadium Shah Alam, Seksyen 13, Shah Alam, Selangor
- How to get there: Nearest KTM Station is Batu Tiga, taxi is required for a ten-minute drive to the stadium.