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BREAKING OF FAST: Those pressed for time head for food stalls for their favourites
KUALA LUMPUR: FOR many busy city folk, the Ramadan bazaars located in and around the city are a convenience they welcome with open arms during the fasting month.
This is especially true for households where both husband and wife are working.
Rahim Mat Nor, 40, said that he visits the Ramadan bazaar in Pantai Dalam often, especially during weekdays, as both he and his wife are working.
“We do not have time to cook for the breaking of fast. We mostly buy kuih and other food that interest us like the ayam percik , for instance,” he said.
Ramadan bazaars are also popular with those looking for traditional delicacies and new treats. A check at the Ramadan bazaars over the weekend found them packed with people, including celebrities and VIPs. At the Ramadan bazaar in Kampung Baru, which is the best-known in the city, bubur lambuk, fried cempedak and kambing panggang were among the hot sellers.
Among the stalls was one run by Samsiah Kamaruddin, 39, from Johor, whose murtabak Singapore was one of the delicacies that caught many people's eye.
Samsiah said that the various herbs and spices were what made her murtabak Singapore different from the rest.
"We are using a special recipe, which was passed on from our friend in Singapore. My husband has been making and selling the murtabak for the past two years here at the bazaar," she said.
Bubur lambuk trader Faisal Abidin, 36, who sold out his porridge in four hours on the first day of Ramadan, was delighted with the good response.
"Business has been very good, and we will have to start making extra because of the high demand," he said.
Another stall which was full of visitors was Ikan Bakar Abang Misai.
Chef Sufi Musa, 37, who has been returning to the Kampung Baru Ramadan bazaar for the last seven years, was happy that business was brisk.
"Business is good and we hope to see more people coming here," he said.
Some of the traders were also happy to see Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad visiting the stalls. They said that he was looking for his favourite cucur udang, tepung pelita and popiah.
Another popular Ramadan bazaar is in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman where food stalls jostle for space with stalls selling clothes for Hari Raya and praying veil.
Among the more popular food stalls is one selling a variety of stew -- chicken stew, chicken wing stew, lamb stew and beef stew.
Stall owner Mohd Hisham Abdul Rahim said he came up with the recipe about six months ago with the help of his mother.
Hisham, who also sells nasi ayam madu, said he inherited the business from his parents.
Visitors will also be able to find stalls selling otak-otak, a variety of dates, serunding, tapai, wajek, durian dodol, cendol, murtabak, chicken chop, roti john, burgers, fry noodles and rice, curry noodles, laksa, nasi kerabu, nasi dagang, nasi briyani, chocolate cake, and Raya biscuits including pintal bilis, batang buruk, popiah serunding ikan and pineapple tarts.
In Pantai Dalam, the 220 traders are offering a wide variety of food items ranging from the traditional Malay kuih to rice and side dishes to ayam perchik and roti john.
Kuih seller Ruslim Buyung, 50, who had one of the largest stalls there, said the fasting month was good for business as most people did not have time to make their own kuih.
He said the bingka ubi and kuih bakar are the best sellers as the ingredients used are fresh.
"Our bingka ubi is made of tapioca that is brought here from Sabak Bernam every day. We do not use colouring or substitute the original ingredient," he said.
In Taman Tun Dr Ismail, there are 157 stalls which are opened from 2.30pm to about 7pm.
Zulhazmi Sabri, 38, who has a stall selling tepung pelita istimewa, was enjoying brisk business. On the first day of Ramadan, his 1,400 pieces of tepung pelita were sold out by 5pm.
Other favourites at the bazaar is the "Popia Basah 70 sen". Visitor Abdul Hamid Mohamad said he didn't mind the long queue at the popiah stall.
"The popiah is different because of the sauce," he said.
Khairul Anwar Mohd Noor, 26 who lives in Pandan Indah, travels to TTDI just to get the raja daging cheese murtabak as well as the nasi briyani Johor.
"Both the dishes are among the most sought-after at the bazaar," he said.
In Taman Melawati, delicacies such as sotong bakar, ikan bakar, tepung pelita and "oblong" (oblong-shaped burger) were among the favourites. Visitors should also look out for the special mutton barbecue called Jack Biri-Biri Stew Grill Power.
At the Ramadan bazaar in Wangsa Maju, more than 80 stalls were enjoying brisk business selling, among others, ayam percik, rojak buah, putu piring and ayam golek.
Among the popular dishes is the ayam tempayan makmur where the chicken is grilled in a huge clay pot which adds to the aroma of the dish.
Traders tried everything to attract their customers including creating new food. Among them is Mohd Rozaimi Hassan who sells roti bom pandan.
Rozaimi said he started selling roti bom pandan three years ago and the response was overwhelming.
"I wanted to create something different, so I came up with an idea of making roti bom filled with pandan. At the beginning, the response was quite slow as people were not used to eating it.
"With time, people were more accepting of roti bom pandan and now it is one of the favourites in Wangsa Maju," said Rozaimi, adding that he usually sells more than 200 pieces of the bread a day.
In Shah Alam, there are about 30 Ramadan bazaars at different locations.
Visitors should visit one of the largest bazaars, which is located at the Shah Alam Stadium in Section 13. There are over 200 stalls offering dishes such as kebabs, ayam percik and flavoured fried mushroom with black pepper or cheese.
Long queues can be seen at stalls run by well-known traders like Zaharah Ayam Bakar Madu Asli, Papa John and Amza Kebab Cucuk.
Among those queuing up at Zaharah Ayam Bakar Madu Asli was Azzah Nur Rahman.
"I love their succulent chicken very much," said the 31-year-old from Kedah.
Besides the well-known traders, there are also few newbies at the bazaar including 27-year-old Mohd Fahmi Mohd Safi who sells grilled fish, lamb and meatball.
Fahmi hopes that his business will be successful.
"We offer fresh grilled items and I hope customers will love them," he said.
Besides grilled items, Fahmi also sells a drink called the blue coral. The baby blue coloured drink made off blue coral powder and creme has become an instant hit among visitors who were attracted to its name and colour.
Student Nur Diana Mohamad, 21, bought two packets of it.
"I just want to try the drink and I hope it is good as claimed by the seller," she said.