Sibu Wet Market in Sarawak

April 16, 2012 by  
Filed under General

Sibu in Sarawak, a quiet town along Rejang River is one of the three towns in Malaysia which has predominantly Foochow-Chinese population. Sibu is not only famous for food (such as Kompia, Kampua noodles and the like), but also boasts of being the hometown of a national patriot called Rosli Dhoby. The town symbol is the Swan and one of the landmarks in Sibu which we would highlight here is the Sibu Wet Market.
Unlike most of the traditional wet market, Sibu Wet Market is a twostorey building and is one of the largest wet market in Sarawak; some say it might be even the largest in Malaysia. It is also known to be a hot tourism spot, for foreigners. Here they are able to see and experience things or happenings that are not available in their country under one roof.

Open from the wee hours of the morning till late evening, Sibu Wet Market offers a variety of products to its visitors. In the morning, the market is filled with crowds of locals buying supplies for the week and even during the late hours in the evening, the market is still busy and full of activities. Locals know that this is the place to come to if one is in search of cheaply priced items and imitation goods sporting well-known brand names: handbags, clothing, watches, jewelry, sunglasses, home decorations and just about everything under the sun.

An interesting thing about this market is that there are no clearly identified trading areas for certain products to be sold. Indeed, some vendors seemed to sell whatever they wanted leading to some rather eclectic selection of wares on display. All this adds to the overall charm of the market.

The ground floor area is generally reserved for selling fresh meat, fish and jungle produce while upstairs is allocated for food stalls and retail shops. Most of the retail shops sell clothes and shoes. Some shops specialize in selling reasonably priced quality used clothing imported from overseas.

There is a section in the market which focuses on the cultural or traditional products and one of it is the Iban section. Some may not know most of the things is sold here, especially foreigners where the products range from strange-looking vegetables or jungle fruits, to traditional herbal remedies.

Some may be freaked out by the sight of the huge, live sago worms, some larger than an adult thumb but they are are a real eye-catcher. It tasted like juicy French fries when deep-fried, sago worms are extremely rich in protein and serves to boost the meager protein intake of jungle folks. Some fry them with preserved durian flesh (also known as ‘tempoyak’ in our local tongue) and is said to be a very popular recipe among the locals.

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