You’re the one that I want…

The month of Ramadhan is here – in fact, they have been fasting for a week now…and I did drop by the bazaar at Bandong here the other day. This one is smaller than the main one at the town square but I don’t bother to go to that one anymore since that time I went many years ago and bought a few items only to end up throwing them away – they were not even decently edible. I do think it is good to cash in on the occasion and make some money for the forthcoming festival but it certainly does not mean that everybody should set up a stall…especially when they can’t really cook.

Of course there are good ones there too…just that I would not know exactly which those would be and besides, my head would start spinning at the sight of so many stalls and so many people and the current hot weather that we’re experiencing certainly is not helping one bit. Here at Bandong, I would go to my regular ones…

Mak Met's stall @ Bandong

…where I would be familiar with what they sell or they would tell me what is good and worth giving a try.

They have a lot more to offer than what one would be able to buy on their usual days so other than the nasi lemak and mee mamak and stuff, there is also the nasi kerabu

Bandong nasi kerabu

…and Penang laksa or our local version of the rojak – the cross between the Indonesian gado-gado and the Indian pasembur…which we may get at times but not really on a regular basis. What I like is how they make an effort to ensure the cleanliness of what they sell by covering their displays with cling film or put the kuihs (cakes) in plastic…

Bandong kuihs

…so they will not be exposed and the prices of everything are indicated clearly. I saw a friend’s photograph of one of these stalls at a bazaar in Kuching. Yes, they have a lot there too but I was put off by the sight of all the uncovered food. The kuihs are all placed in trays so other than the exposure, you will need to ask how much each would be…and then you would need to wait VERY patiently for them to count (and count again and again) and pick each one gingerly to place in plastic bags to sell to you.

Here at this stall, I saw that they were selling lontong as well and these packets of the Kelantanese laksam

Bandong laksam

…and all these tempeh and kerabus and what not…

Bandong kerabus

Gosh!!! Just here alone, there are so many things you would want to buy that you simply can’t make up your mind which to choose. Never mind! This is going to go on for a month so do keep a check on yourself and buy only a few items at one time…and spread it out over the whole month of Ramadhan.

I was there that day to grab hold of some of the much-coveted Kate’s panggang

Kate's panggang

…which are not easy to come by on normal days. I hear that the old folks are old now and cannot make them themselves so they can only supervise the young ones who, unfortunately, are not all that keen on the business. They’ve shrunk now – by at least 25%…but the price is still the same, RM1.00 which is more expensive than the rest in town but it is worth it as it is absolutely the best! For one thing, I was told that they do not make much each time, less than 100 at times so if they make 50% profit out of each panggang, that means they can only make a profit of RM50.00 each time. I do feel they deserve that little bit for all the hard work…plus the exclusive quality of their panggang.

I dragged my friend, Philip, home from the US, along as I was sure he would love the experience and I was telling him how nice the bread pudding was…

Bandong bread pudding

– the lady boss made this herself and hers was different as it seemed she blended the bread with the batter so you would not see the bits of bread in it. Personally, I quite enjoy that and would buy it once in a while when it is available. Unfortunately, Philip was not all that interested and while we were talking, the next thing I knew, the lady boss had given me one and put it in my bag of purchases…on the house. They’re really so very nice and generous here. In the end, Philip just bought a (small) packet of nasi lemak which he said he enjoyed very much (even though it wasn’t actually the nicer ones that I would very much prefer…and he also bought some satay as well from this stall

Bandong satay 1

It seems that the prices have gone up now from 50 to 60 sen…

Bandong satay 2

…but it was no matter as Philip said that it was really good – much nicer than those at one other place that he liked a lot.

We walked around the bazaar and this was the scene at my regular Malay food stall here…

Bandong Malay food stall

…where I would tapao some food home sometimes when we do not feel like cooking. It is quite easy to tell where the good ones are really – you just look at where the crowd is. There weren’t that many people at the other stalls, it seemed…

Bandong Ramadhan stalls

…even at their stall selling all the barbecued stuff…

Bandong BBQ stuff

Maybe it was because of the heat so most people would prefer to keep their distance but their ayam percik sure looked good…

Bandong ayam percik

I didn’t buy any that day but I’d probably go back again and get some to try…eventually.

I did buy these…

Kelupis 1

…from one of the less crowded stalls though, the only one there that was selling them. They’re called kelupis and they are a variation of the panggang, wrapped in a different kind of leaf and either boiled or steamed, not barbecued over a hot charcoal fire. They did not come cheap though – RM3.00 for one ikat (bundle) of three and I was kind of disappointed that they used nylon strings not the dried grass ones that they use to tie changs (dumplings)…and I positively remember them being a lot “fatter”…

Kelupis 2

…but it was no matter really as I had not had it for a long time and it tasted great and was so very nice dipped in kaya or condensed milk. It’s so hard to get hold of such things these days probably as in the case of the panggang, the old ones have died or are not in the position to make anymore and the young ones are just not interested.

So, have you been to any Ramadhan bazaar in your area? Bought anything that you enjoyed a lot?