It was just starting to rain, and after finishing a breakfast of hakka mee at Chun Kee Tai Bu (see 7 Must Try Food Experiences in Kuala Lumpur), I took off to find Pudu Market.
Where to find Pudu Market
Pudu lies just on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur and is home to Pasar Besar, the city’s largest wet and dry market. Simply known as Pudu Market, here you will find a bustling market offering the usual wide array of goods.
Upon entering the market, with the rain becoming heavier, I went straight for the first overhead canvas cover I could find. I wasn’t really concentrating on where I was; I was just trying to establish a dry spot to settle.
Chickens of Pudu Market
Looking around, I found myself surrounded by cages housing a large variety of chickens that were squawking loudly as they peered out through the wire of their pens. I watched as a steady stream of customers came to the stall, picked a live chicken, and waited as it was dispatched and prepared for cooking later that day.
I had managed to catch the eye of the stall holder who seemed to be in charge. Keen to explain what was happening, he ran through the types of chickens for sale, those best sold young for the oven, and those that were older and only suitable for soup or stock.
He also explained that the selling of live chickens was coming to an end with the government making some noise about ending the practice. And whilst the selling of live animals is a political issue globally, in markets such as the Pudu Market, customers are at least able to secure the chicken of their choice and watch it being dispatched and prepared, knowing the produce is as fresh as possible.
Moving on, I entered the heart of the wet market, which is positioned outdoors. Here, the market is made up of tightly packed rows of stalls covered with large, colourful market umbrellas overlapping and angled to allow some chance to wander up and down without getting too wet or too hot when the harsh sun is bearing down.
Although the pace of the market had probably slowed down a little from early in the morning, it was still a challenge to navigate my way down the narrow rows while trying to avoid the puddles and keep out of the way of customers who had arms full of bags.
In a way, this worked to my advantage, as it meant constantly stopping in front of stalls, giving me the chance to strike up a conversation with the holder. After explaining that since I was staying in a hotel with no kitchen in the room and buying a bag of chicken feet would be a waste, the stall holders would relax and happily explain what they had for sale and where it was sourced from.
Impressive Seafood Display
One chap even fetched a number of live prawns from an iced bucket that were the largest I’ve seen!
I was impressed with the freshness of the seafood on display in Pudu Market. Many stall holders sell their fish, crabs, and prawns live with a comical sight of one table full of live catfish wriggling so much that they were jumping over the edge into some sort of futile escape bid. As the stall holder picked one up from the surrounding area, another fish would fly over with an ongoing game of search and rescue ensuing.
Further along, there was a range of live frogs for sale, some housed in cages while others were contained inside a large bucket.
By now, the rain had stopped and the sun was beating down, causing an increase in humidity and a heightening of the aromas of each stall. This became more prominent as I approached the meat section.
Waste not, want not
One thing I like about Asian markets, and especially Pudu Market, is the principle of nose-to-tail butchery being on full display with the animal’s liver, heart, feet, and intestines displayed alongside the prime cuts. Every part of the animal is for sale with no wastage in sight.
More pleasing to my senses, though, was when I reached the stall where the unmistakable aroma of charcoal filled the air. Cooked duck and pork was being sold whole or in pieces with other morels being fried on the hotplate.
Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables
I finished my visit to Pudu Market walking through the fruit, vegetable, and herb section where there was a real celebration of colour, not just with the freshly picked crops but with the way the sun shone through the multi-coloured market umbrellas.
Despite starting my wander through Pudu Market in the rain and ending in the high humidity, I really enjoyed the visit. I found the atmosphere very friendly with a majority of the stall holders happy to have a chat.
If you’re a fan of visiting markets, I’d suggest putting Pudu Market high on your list when in Kuala Lumpur.
P.S. I love visiting markets and post about them often. Sign-up for my monthly newsletter so you can receive these new posts straight to your inbox. SPAM free!