Kuala Lumpur’s Central Chow Kit Market

by Mark Wiens on March 18, 2013 · 2 comments

Chowkit Market

Chow Kit Market

Kuala Lumpur is one of my favorite large cities in Asia. The skyline is impressive, including the mega twin Petronas Towers and the towering Menara KL.

I also love the tropical greenery, which is nicely evident along the sides of the streets and within lush public parks.

And while the entire city is quite pleasant, nothing makes me more excited about a trip to Kuala Lumpur than the thought of the outstanding realm of Malaysian food to consume.

Nasi lemak, a coconut infused rice topped with a variety of flavorful curries, a wide range of Indian food, and plenty of authentic Chinese restaurant choices all add to the smorgasbord.

While I love to eat in Kuala Lumpur, I also love to walk around fresh markets and see the ingredients that are used to prepare the local cuisine.

Chow Kit is an area in Kuala Lumpur that’s mainly known for being home of one of the city’s largest fresh wet markets. A bounty of colorful fresh ingredients fill the narrow aisles of the market each day.

Stink beans

Stink beans

One of my favorite things in the world to eat is something known in English as stink beans (in Malay they are known as petai and in Thai as sataw). These green, pinto beans sized, beans come housed in long pods that grow from huge trees.

They didn’t get their name for nothing, sure they do have a pungent aroma to them, but when cooked in a curry, or even just eaten raw, the stink bean is indeed one of my favorites things to eat in the world.

Chow Kit market happens to be packed with stink beans!

Fish vendor at Chow Kit market

Fish vendor at Chow Kit market

As for protein, fish, goats, chickens, and and cows are all widely represented.

While pork is frequently eaten, especially by the Chinese communities in Kuala Lumpur, this markets mainly caters to to a Muslim majority, so pork is not as available.

The wonderful supply of fresh fish, prawns, squid, and octopus makes Malaysia another wonderful seafood lovers’ paradise.



Finally, as I’ve already mentioned about Kota Kinabalu market (located in Malaysia but on the island of Borneo), Malaysia is a land that’s seriously blessed by its supply of fresh fruit.

All sorts of tropical fruits are available in large quantities. If you’re a fruit lover, you’ll be salivating at the selection of delicious sweet looking fruit at Chow Kit.

Chow Kit Market

Chow Kit Market

As much as I love eating at restaurants and street stalls when I visit any city, I also love to wander around local markets to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at where the fresh ingredients are coming from.

It’s incredible to see all the things that go into the food we eat.

On a quick side note: Some local Malaysians have warned me that Chow Kit is regarded as not the safest area of the city, apparently crime has been on the rise in the area. That being said, it’s still a wonderful place to visit, but going with a few friends during the daylight hours is a good idea.

About the Author:

is the author of 164 posts on Go Backpacking.

Mark was raised in central Africa before migrating back to the US for University. After graduating, he decided to continue traveling the world. On Migrationology, he shares the cultural side of travel from a slow paced local perspective that often revolves around his love for eating all forms of food. Join him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter @migrationology, and add him on Google Plus.

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Categories: Features, Malaysia
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