Tuesday, March 3, 2009

getting my feet wet

How to even begin describing this monster of a place, of a genre, really? If it wasn't apparent, I did a fair amount of research before our trip on basically everything food-related in Southeast Asia. And a huge aspect of the SE is the wet market, a place where a local can buy not only produce but also meat, poultry, fish, clothes and toys? The list goes on. Its name is derived from the water that vendors use to wash off their stands/goods. And many argue that they encapsulate the heart and soul of the SE. I love hearts and souls, so I made it a must-see on our list. (For comparison purposes, Jena's must-see was the Petronas Towers, and Aubrey's was Batu (aka full of monkeys) caves. We are such different people, and yet we love each other so very very much.)

We went to the Chow Kit wet market our last day in Kuala Lumpur. It was kind of a transcendent experience.

Green bean man poses with his produce!

Huge bonus for being a tourist here: the market rarely gets them (something about how the ground is dirty...? Pansies!) and so vendors are totally down for talking with you, letting you take pictures of their stuff/themselves, and even giving you a little sample of their many varied fruits! Freebies!!

This was something crunchy and red. I liked it a lot.

This is a mangosteen...less fond of this. (And I'm sorry to all the people this offends.) Ok, it's kind of slimy, and it looks like a garlic clove, for heaven's sake, how was I supposed to like it?

The rows and rows of peppers were extremely photogenic.


This was a happy surprise outside: sugar donuts and other fried things! How many ways are there to say I love wet markets?!

And I'm happy to report that we braved it with flip flops! When we returned to our hostel, we excitedly recounted to our hostel's owner our morning activities. He looked alternately at our faces and our feet and with an air of incredulous disgust asked, "You did not wear rainboots? You wore those?" Yes, sir. And we have the remnants of fish guts on our toes to prove it!


  1. Love this.

    Could the red crunchy thing possibly be a rose apple (see picture:http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2399/2482089649_cedfb6e541_o.jpg)? So delicious. I'm a bit hurt about the mangosteen, however. But then again, this aligns with your liking of core fruits, so I can't take it TOO personally. You've definitely up your street (market) cred when it was revealed that you braved the ordeal in flip flops. FLIP FLOPS taking on fish guts! Wow. Keep this up! =)

  2. The photos are so beautiful!

  3. woah. that sounds awesome! You're awesome!

    awesomeness ;)

  4. mmmmmm i wants to go back to the wet market!!!!

  5. green bean man looks nice. maybe i would want to be his friend.

  6. i heart malaysia. those "green beans" are actually petai, stinky beans. kind of like the m'sian version of bitter melon. i can't believe you insulted mangostein, but i'm glad you liked the water apples (they are crunchy and plain - you would like them). i also can't believe you included a picture of the chickens. but i liked your description of the wet markets, toys and all. it made me smile. sorry for the stream of consciousness-ness... miss you!

    (and, as always, appreciated the wordplay in the title!)

  7. STEPH! I'm catching up on blog reading today and I wanted to comment and say that the mangosteen was my favorite new fruit I tried when I was in Thailand! You can't find them ANYWHERE in the US. So far I've found them frozen at TJoes and Asian Markets. Frozen mangosteens just doesn't cut it.

    Give 'em a second shot! =D They like you, trust me, I know.

    Miss ya.


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