Pasar Malam Sibu

Priscilla Tawie

A heaven for food hunters, Street food at its finest

Night markets have always been an exciting place to visit for me as I could browse through items such as electronics, fashion items, and most importantly, food! Hence, whenever I travel around, the first place I would Google up is the area’s ‘Pasar Malam’.

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit Sibu. While I have been to Sibu a couple of times before, I have not gone for a throrough trip around town. This time, I planned my whole trip there in advance to immerse myself with local delicacies.

I was informed that there are two ‘Pasar Malam’ in Sibu, one at Sibujaya, which was quite far from the town centre. The other one is right in the middle, nearby Sibu Waterfront. Since I stayed in town, I opted to visit the nearer one as I could walk on foot.

When I arrived, I was amazed as it is not what I expected it to be. Sure, there are food, clothing items and accessories, electronics, but the display of the food surprised me.

While the food stalls are quite repetitive, the array of pork arranged on the stalls’ were mouth-watering. With the delicious three-layer pork, the pig’s head, pork sausages and the likes, it was certainly a ravishing sight.

Mouth-watering barbecued meat.

Cheap and delicious ready-packed fast food.

Other than that, there was also the colourful food from the economy fast food stall, and a dim sum stall selling a variety of steamed buns and siobee! It was definitely a food haven for anyone.

At the other end, one could not help but notice the thick smog from the Malay section of the market. I took a closer look and saw barbecued meats on sticks — chicken satay, beef satay and instantly my mouth watered as the fragrance smell of the barbecued meat hit my nose. 

There were also different types of ‘lok lok’ on sale and also the famous sweet red chicken. It was truly an amazing feeling to be surrounded by the food of ‘Sarawak’. I was spoiled for choice and if i could, I would have tasted everything available at the market.

The Pasar Malam is located at Jalan Market, Pekan Sibu and is open daily from 6 pm to midnight. During the day, before the market is opened, the vicinity is used as a parking lot for businesses nearby.

One interesting thing to note about the Pasar Malam’s drink stalls is the re-use of plastic bottles to store drinks. It was obvious, with the label being ‘7-up’ but the content was soya bean. According to one of the stallowners, it was the norm to sell drinks in reusable bottles. To them, it is another way for them to help the environment.

Pasar Malam — a symbol of unity

When I visited the night market, it was flocked with people of different races and religions. You could hear echoes of local languages and dialects — Mandarin, Iban, Foochow, Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Sarawak. It was a truly a magnificent sight. And amazingly, everyone could understand each other albeit the differences.

Not only that, the stallowners all came from different backgrounds, coming together to build a platform where food lovers can experience a gastronomical adventure. To be able to sit through all that together, side by side is proof of the unity that is one of Sarawak’s main identity.

There may have been arguments about which food is the best, or which stall provides the best goods, but one thing for sure, no argument could break the bond that is ‘Ibu Pertiwiku’.

A dim sum stall selling a variety of steamed buns and siobee.

Local desserts such as the ‘Bubur Kacang Hijau’ and ‘Bubur Sago’ can easily be found at the market.

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