The day I stepped into a wet market

I usually buy groceries at the supermarket late at night. Mom would usually go to the wet market on Sunday mornings to buy meats and kampong chicken and of course breakfast. I don’t really go to wet markets, but because my Malaysian friend Cher wanted to go and eat proper Malay food, I had to drag myself out of bed early Sunday morning to meet her at Paya Lebar MRT station. Cher recently moved to Singapore to do her Masters at NUS, so she’s missing good Malay food. But before meeting her, I had Nasi Lemak for brekky at home. Nasi Lemak is rice cooked in coconut that’s served with egg, fried fish, fried anchovies and sambal tumis (a sweet and spicy chilli sauce) Our buddy Joycey would join us later.

Nasi Lemak

Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre is located right across from Joo Chiat Shopping Centre. So it was a short walk in the piercing sun from the train station. As it was a Sunday, there were so many families doing marketing and eating. The ground floor was dedicated to the wet market, the meats, poultry and fish was in a dedicated area whilst the vegetable and fruits to the left side of the floor. The food centre, clothing and traditional medicine shops were on the second floor.

We headed straight to the food centre, shared a table with a couple. And left Joycey to hold the fort, and keep our seats whilst Cher and I bought our foods. Cher wanted to eat Laksa Siglap, fat and thick rice noodles smothered in a thick and spicy coconut and fish sauce. As Joycey had recently gotten braces, we got her Bubur Ayam, rice porridge with a spicy chicken broth poured all over it. Two bowls for less than SGD 6. We bought them from Warong Solo. I have been eating from this stall every since I was a little girl. So it’s a pretty established food stall that the same family has managed for decades.

Bubur Ayam

I had an egg masala thosai, a fermented rice flour battered pancake, that had an egg cooked onto it, and potato masala to “beef” it up. I got this at one of the best Indian Muslim stalls at Geylang Serai Market. Oh and every food stall at Geylang Serai Market is halal, permissible for all Muslims and a pretty good place to eat affordably for all races and nationalities.

Best Thosai Stall in Geylang

Egg Masala Thosai

Sharing a table with other people at the market is pretty common. An older lady and a younger woman joined us. We had pretty interesting conversations with these two ladies. Communal eating is pretty fun when everyone’s there to enjoy the foods. A thunderstorm outside also made the whole setting pretty fun.

It was still raining when we were done eating, and bid our goodbyes to the ladies. So we went around the ground floor looking for herbs, spices, tempeh and tamarind for Cher too cook with. Prices at the market for vegetables and meats are definitely much cheaper and more affordable than supermarkets. And the choice of cuts of meats are so wide! Cher was like a kid in a candy store, she was so happy. Mom gave Cher a bottle of ABC Sambal Terasi which she eats cucumbers and sorts of vegetables with at every meal. So Cher wanted to get some for her bestie in KL. And she found the fermented shrimp paste sambal, or what we call in Singapore sambal belachan or in Indonesia sambal terasi. A spicy hot bottle of goodness that’s a perfect accompaniment for everything, heaps better than a bottle of Sriracha. I bought two types of Jamu for mom and me a traditional Indonesian medicine made out of rhizomes like ginger, turmeric, betel leaf, honey and herbs.

I think maybe next time we’d go to Geylang Serai Market on a weekday. Less people, more taxis, shorter queues at the food stalls.


6 thoughts on “The day I stepped into a wet market

  1. Liz says:

    A very interesting write up on wet market, I have never heard of wet market, but now I know. Seems everything is cooked with coconut and fish? I love coconut, and fish so no problem for me. And could you please add titles or captions to your photos? will make it much easier to follow the story and link everything. Thanks, hope 1’m not asking for too much. Enjoy your week!!!

    • salsachica says:

      Hi Liz! It’s kinda like a farmers market but they’re not all farmers hmm kinda. I’ve kinda been writing some of my blog posts on the ride home or to work, or before sleep kinda posting the pics on the fly, will add captions thanks for the suggestion! Hmmm coconut milk is very predominant in Asian cooking. As for fish, I feel like there’s a curse on me, anytime I’d eat fish, even in burger form I’d get a bone. The only fish that seems somewhat safe to me is tuna or salmon and that’s not really served in such food centers 🙂

      • Liz says:

        Thanks for adding the captions. I hope It wasn’t too much work for you. I love reading about foods that I have never tried, and I am an expert at eating fish with bones…but a bone in a burger is not interesting because one is not expecting it. They should use the right fish fillet. I don’t know much about sea fish. I was brought up by a lake so my domain is fresh water fish. Thanks. Pleasant day to you.

      • salsachica says:

        Not a problem at all 🙂 there’ll be more posts about food since, NaPoWriMo is coming to an end. Yeah bones bleah i’m not an expert at all haha

  2. Mie Ululani says:

    …i’m still salivating…!

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