KUCHING: The Satok Sunday and wet markets used to be flooded with locals as well as foreign tourists during the weekends.
As one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kuching, the markets were the best place to find fresh produce, handicrafts, knick-knacks and many more.
Apart from this, its famous eateries, known as ‘benteng’, which only operated at night, enabled visitors and locals to enjoy the various delicacies, including ‘Mi Kolok’ and ‘Laksa Sarawak’.
As a regular visitor, I would definitely visit the ‘Mi Kolok Mangkuk Merah’ stall – one of my favourite stalls because of its unparalleled ‘Mi Kolok’ taste.
A month before the Hari Raya, the parking lots near the ‘benteng’ would be transformed into a shopping venue, offering a variety of ‘baju kurung’, ‘baju melayu’, cakes, biscuits and more.
The hustle and bustle is always fresh in my memory.
However, all the mood and excitement are just a memory to the community around Kuching because the state government decided to move about 1,400 traders in 2013 to a new place called Medan Niaga Satok, next to Kubah Ria.
According to then Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) mayor Datuk Abang Abdul Wahab Abang Julai, the relocation was inevitable as the markets had grown too huge and vibrant to be in the middle of the city.
He added that DBKU understood the tourism value and historical significance of the market but was left with little choice.
“Located next to the new Kubah Ria, the RM47 million Medan Niaga Satok is a collaboration between the state government and Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (Fama) to replace the current Satok Market.
“It comprises Fama’s support service centre, a farmers market, a wet and dry market, a plaza and cafeteria as well as a food court.
“These new facilities would provide better comfort to the traders.
“Added with modern design and cleaner market waste management system, rest assured that both the traders and customers would find this new market both convenient and appealing,” explained Abdul Wahab then.
Although the atmosphere in the new place is not as lively as the old one, as a local resident, I thank the state government for providing a more comfortable place for both traders and visitors.
It is also my hope to see the old ‘benteng’ traders regain their glory and make a profit like they used to some years ago.