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Best markets in Penang

Straying away from the already well-known, all-time favourite Batu Ferringhi night market, these photographs by Mark Walker capture the robust and vibrant ambience of several other day and night markets around Penang

Photo: Mark Walker
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Apollo Market in Butterworth

Hop onto the ferry in Pengkalan Weld to Butterworth and then onto Rapid Penang bus 604 to the Apollo day market in Butterworth. Just ask the bus driver to drop you off to the Apollo Market junction and he will oblige. The food stalls take up a large part of the market which stretches for about half a kilometre. Here, you order your food at the respective stalls before sitting down at a table. Miraculously, your food will materialise before you and bear in mind, when it gets busy, you’re required to share a table and who knows, you’ll get to know new friends. Food wise, sample the traditional food such as char koay kak that’s a stir-fried mixture of radish, bean sprouts, egg and rice flour. This combination does make wonderful comfort food.

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Butterworth
Photo: Mark Walker
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Macallum Street satay seller

The night market’s satay vendor is a real showman. His satay, just like him, is popular. Basically it’s marinated chicken, beef or mutton pieces on skewers and grilled over charcoal fire then dipped into delicately spicy peanut sauce before taking a bite. To add texture to the dish, there are ketupat or rice cakes, sliced shallots and cucumber for accompaniment.

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George Town
Photo: Mark Walker
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Chowrasta Bazaar

Chowrasta market is one of the most famous day wet markets in Penang. Located on Penang Road, it’s walking distance from most hotels in George Town. Its busiest hours are between 7am and 10am when people go to buy their fresh produce such as vegetables, fish, meat and other essential ingredients for most Malaysian dishes. In this photograph of the coconut milk stall within the market, a worker grinds the white flesh of a coconut that will then be mixed with water and squeezed to produce litres of coconut milk to add into curries or desserts.

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George Town
Photo: Mark Walker
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Jalan Kuala Kangsar Market

Jalan Kuala Kangsar in George Town is a very lively street market that links Campbell street with Chowrasta Market. There are old shop houses and market stalls selling everything from lingerie to durian – the king of fruits, according to Malaysians. Here you see ladies riding in a trishaw just outside of the market. In George Town, trishaws are ubiquitous and a unique way of seeing the sites around town. As a rule of thumb, the cost of an hour’s ride per person is RM30.

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George Town
Photo: Mark Walker
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Tanjung Bungah Night Market

The ladies obviously know each other and are regulars to this night market each Tuesday evening in the neighbourhood of Tanjung Bungah. It’s a popular spot for residents of nearby areas to do their weekly supply of fresh produce and, as you can see, to catch up on gossip! It’s a skip and a hop away from areas such as Tanjung Tokong and Batu Ferringhi. Oh, while you’re here, seek out the pork burger stall, it’s been said to serve freshly prepared lean, thick patties.

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Tanjung Tokong
Photo: Mark Walker
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Air Itam Day Market

This day market’s fruit stalls are a riot of colours and textures even on a rainy day. The lady in this photograph had the sense to bring her umbrella and without missing a beat, she continues to inspect fruit and vegetables on offer before heading on home. There are food stalls selling delicious stomach-warming foods such as roti canai and char kuay teow within the market too. Located within the Air Itam area, the market is on Jalan Pasar and is very close to two major tourist attractions of Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si Temple. Therefore, the market makes a perfect starting point for a day’s exploration of the area – fuel up on great food before continuing your journey. Hop onto Rapid Penang buses 203 or 204 from KOMTAR or Pengkalan Weld bus station.

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Air Itam
Photo: Mark Walker
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Jalan Kuala Kangsar Market

This lady has her family business in Jalan Kuala Kangsar’s market, very close to the entrance of the popular Chowrasta wet market. Although she sells a variety of local drinks, what makes her stall worthy of a visit is the sweet Nonya desserts called bubur or dessert porridge. The little one, still yawning from the early hours, may well explain to you in Hokkien what they offer. Just look around for someone to translate it, if not her mother.

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George Town
Photo: Mark Walker
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Campbell Market

This small wet market on Campbell street dates back to the turn of the 20th Century. Inside, there’s fresh fish, meat , spices, veggetables and fruit. However, you’ll need to get there way before 9am to ensure the freshest pick. Fresh locally caught fish will arrive at the market in the early hours of the morning. As you can see from the photograph, the fish monger then prepares them for sale along with all sorts of seasonal small shell fish.

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George Town
Photo: Mark Walker
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Jelutong Night Market

The Taman Kheng Tian or Jelutong Friday night market is situated at the major cross roads of Jalan Perak and Jalan Van Praagh. Filled with, as usual, fresh produce and food, my favourites are the dim sum filled with minced pork or prawns steamed in bamboo containers and the fruit rojak. Both make perfect evening snacks. A typical rojak will have fruits like rose apple, pineapple, mango and cucumber mixed with cuttle fish, turnip, beansprouts and served with a thick shrimp-based sauce and chopped peanuts. The rojak stall here claims to the ‘best rojak ever'. Well, you be the judge!

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George Town

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