If you come from tropical Africa, you will find Malaysia much more interesting than just its sandy beaches. Yes I’m talking about food. There’s every familiar thing you possibly can imagine. I get questioned a lot about the kind of foodstuff available to us in Malaysia. So many people think rice is all we eat. That may be true for some people, however its very possible to have a very decent African meal here in Malaysia.
When I first got here, I was thrilled to find food items like coco yams, cassava and even plantain leaves wrapped and sold in grocery stores etc. I must also commend all those in the business of importing food stuff from Africa. Which is why I decided to take you on a tour of the food market known as Chow Kit market located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
CHOW KIT MARKET
Chow Kit is part of a district in Kuala Lumpur located around Jalan Chow Kit and is enclosed by the parallel streets such as the Jalan Raja Laut and Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. The name Chow Kit came from the name of a tin miner and a municipal councilor, Loke Chow Kit.
I visit this market once a month to buy in large scale what I wouldn’t want to pay a fortune in a grocery store. But before going, I have to psychologically prepare myself for the WET section. Lol.
- First, you’ll need to put on the right shoes because it can get really mushy/muddy. Except you do not mind dirty fish water being splashed on your legs while you’re shopping.
- Get your ‘A’ game bargaining power. You’ll need it. But it may not work in every case. Most of the prices in the wet section are fixed or may differ by RM1 or RM2.
You’re probably wondering why these chickens come in different shades. Hahaha I had the same concerns the first time I set my eyes on them too. The yellow set (hard chicken)are locally grown chicken and reared with little or no fertilizers. they are delibrately coloured that way and I couldn’t get any reasonable explanation for that. The other skinned ones(soft chicken) which I’m holding are those usually sold in grocery stores. Those have been fattened with chicken feeds. Back home we call them ‘Agric fowl’. Before buying these, it’s important to know the qualities of fresh and healthy chicken.
- It should have no odour, should be pale pink and little fat
- Find chicken which are healthier in the breast than in the thighs.
- Press against the chicken to determine its freshness. Stale chicken wouldn’t bounce back when poked or would be strangely hard.
Yams are one of those items you’ll have to plan to buy. I consider yams to be very pricey in Chow Kit. A tuber of yam would cost on average RM50 (approx $12). However, the quality is unbeatable.
This button like seed is very popular in Cameroon and Nigeria. It is used in cooking a special soup called Ogbono soup which considered a delicacy amongst it’s popular groups.
If you’re looking for a place to get up close with Malaysians, then chow kit is the place for you. At least you’ll meet one or two people to strike a conversation with. By the way I love Malaysians. They are overall friendly people.
What they do is;
- They let you keep your purchased items especially those heavy wet items which require lots of muscles to carry around like meat, fish chicken etc. But this would be on the condition that you’re buying from them of course.
- They deliver all your purchased items to your car for a minimal charge of RM5 or more if you’re so generous.
If you’re such an African foodie, then you have nothing to worry about coming to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia because Chow Kit has got you covered. This may not be the same in other states in Malaysia.