Sunday, April 17, 2011

N for Nightmarkets

I am writing this from a South-East Asian perspectives, specifically those of Malaysia and Thailand, where the night market is a phenomenon.  It is perhaps in Indonesia too. I'm not sure about the Philippines, may be readers from there can enlighten us.

Before the advent of supermarkets and mega malls, all the marketing (of fish, meat, vegetables and other stuff required for the kitchen) were done at the wet market, also known as the fish market. These markets are literally wet, from melted ice used to keep the fish fresh, and from rain blown inwards by strong gushes of wind.

They are noisy too.  Fishmongers scream all the time, trying to outdo one another in attracting customers to their stalls.  Bargaining is also done at high pitch, if only because the buyer and seller can't hear themselves talk.  If a classroom is noisy the teacher normally reprimands the pupils by telling them that the class has turned into a fish market.




Now we have fully air-conditioned supermarkets, some within shopping malls, for busy housewives do their shopping as well as marketing.  Those living in wealthy city centres and expats frequent these posh if expensive places.

Image: Andrea Peverali
Night markets line the streets of the suburbs.  They fill the need of those working full time during the day, including a large majority of housewives, whose only available time to do marketing is at night, apart from over the weekend at the wet market.  As cost of living escalates and wages fall behind, some government and private sector employees moonlight as traders at night markets.


It's not even night time yet, already pulling
in the crowds

Meat and gear boxes. Photo Courtesy of Life in KL

Nike, Adidas, New Balance, you name it


Merchandise on sale go beyond fish and vegetables. They include shoes, clothings, cheap CD's and DVD's, etc. It is also where you can get good quality Cartier, Omega, Rolex and other famous brand watches for $20 or less, depending on your bargaining skill (all fake, of course).

Eating before nightfall and walking the stalls

School children performing at a night market

13 comments:

Carole Anne Carr said...

Must be a wonderful experience, nearest I've ever come to that is late night shopping in Paris - hardly the same excitement. :0)

Joylene Butler said...

Fabulous, Grandpa. I attend the markets whenever we're in tropical climates, but not at night. We do have our own farmers markets during the summer. You're so right. There's nothing like fresh anything.

My closest experience to midnight shopping would be at Christmas. Nope, not the same thing at all.

Pk Hrezo said...

Oh my, yes! Night markets in Bangkok are an experience not for the faint of heart. LOL! It's where I learned to haggle. Such a fun fun experience!!

Akelamalu said...

I remember vividly the nightmarkets in Bankok - so exciting!

klahanie said...

Why hi there Grandpa,
Apologies for not keeping up with your ongoing 'alphabet challenge' :)
I have been busy signing autographs for my adoring fans :) Okay, not really, but I have been very busy preparing for my upcoming trip to Canada eh! :)
Anyway, enough about me, lets get back to your posting. Wow, what a highly informative story of the night markets in your part of the world. I've never had such an experience such as that. I have visited the daytime Wednesday market in Leek where you can buy onions such as leeks. Must go, because I'm starting to 'stall'.
And thus, my friend, 'O', pray tell, what will be next letter in the alphabet challenge eh?
In peace and a genuine fake watch, your way, Gary :)

Lo said...

One of my favorite memories from my travel adventures was the Night Market in Bangkok. Fabulous. I think I bought a Cartier watch for $5 and it worked for almost an hour.

Grandpa said...

Carole, hardly - the chaos and the noise alone would 'drown' you...

Joylene, thank you. We have our farmers' market too, normally once a week in various locations. And yes, you get fresh stuff at almost farm gate prices.

Akelamalu, quite an experience, isn't it...

Grandpa said...

klahanie, Hi Gary, you are funny even when commenting! LOL :)
I like 'starting to stall' and the rest too. As for fake, some are really good fakes...
Pleasant trip to Canada. I'm sure you can still read my blog whilst there eh?

Lo, prices had gone up considerably, minimum $10 now. Shelf life is still about the same though...

TheFusionTea said...

Hi Grandpa, I love night markets to see people and also to be seen :)

Aishah of The Journey

Grandpa said...

Pk Hrezo, very sorry M'am, I missed you there! If you do enough haggling it will turn into a fine art, and you will have no problem later :)

TheFusion Tea - I like them too - almost a weakness, in fact. Or a form of relaxation.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

wow thats really great! and i loved that it tied into my post about stocking up. i think we will see more of these kinds of markets. we have "official" farmers markets but from time to time even way out here in the country we have guys selling stuff out of the back of a truck. my favorite one was someone selling 10 New York Strip Steaks for $10. we wondered if it was really kangaroo or something.
;-)

Her highness, Samantha VĂ©rant said...

Chili peppers! Chili peppers! I've been looking for those! They don't sell fresh ones here in France, or at least at our fruit and veggie market. Great pictures, Grandpa! I've been to the night markets in Thailand...

Grandpa said...

Ohiofarmgirl, the downside of this Challenge is that you don't get to leave your post long enough for comments before doing a new post. So I keep coming back to check - and good thing I did too.
If you cut the middle men out things can be much cheaper.
Would you believe that I sometimes sell my durians out of the back of my truck?


Her highness, we have plenty of those here - the small (and a lot hotter) ones too. Thank you, next time try the ones in KL.