Early morning shoppers
Foodies know that the best dishes are prepared with the freshest ingredients. Hence, most would not hesitate to sacrifice a few hours of their early morning to pick up the newly arrived produce from across the region at supermarkets or neighbourhood wet markets. I would like to think that I am no exception, but I love my morning sleep-ins. The only reason I would get up at 6 in the morning is to make a much loved trip to Larkin Farmer's Market in our neighbouring country, Malaysia. Located near the Larkin Stadium in Johor Bahru city, the farmer's market is a thriving bustling open air street market that comes to live in the wee hours of Saturday mornings providing cheap, fresh and sometimes naturally organic vegetables, fruits and more. Did I mention cheap?
The location itself is not difficult to find. Just a litle further off from Larkin Bus Terminal, the market is located right next to Larkin Stadium. The vendors who set up shop there come from all walks of life – from farmers to those selling vegetables that are grown in their backyard. There is a plethora of items on offer too ranging from fresh vegetables, fruit, dried items like ikan bilis, freshly buthcered meat to even a section specalising in clothings. There is also a section dedicated to Malaysian favourites like nasi lemak, chendol, and other savory and sweet treats for the hungry shoppers to grab a bite mid-shopping.
This time round, we first made a pit stop at possibly the only vegan snack we can lay our hands on, some freshly deep- fried vadi. Piping hot and just scooped up from the simmering oil, these vadais were light and fluffy with a nice spice hit from the curry leaves and dried red chilli. Selling at 3 pieces at RM1, once needs willpower of steel to be able to withstand buying too many of these greasy morsels and regretting the inches added to the waistline.
Having satiated our morning hunger pangs with some vadais and chendol, we made our way to the fruit section where a selection of tropical fruits were on offer, from pineapples, watermelons by the truckload, mangoes, bananas, papayas and more. At RM 2 per kg, the bananas were a steal and we made sure we grabbed about 9kg of this yellow-fingered beauty for our juicing needs. Mangoes, this time round, were not as cheap as we would have liked, but we still ended up grabbing a few kilos. We also scooped up some papayas and other tropical fruits that were on offer.
After grabbing all the fruits that was physically possible for us to haul, we made our way to the vegetable section were a wide variety of fresh produce awaited us. For those who enjoy making malay and South East Asian food, you will love this place as you can buy herbs and spices at a very affordable rate. For example, one piece of torch ginger in Singapore supermarkets can set you back by $0.50, but you can buy 3 for RM$2 there. Also, herbs like turmeric, lemongrass, lengkuas, kaffir lime leaves are cheaply available there. Larkin farmer's market offers many interesting local produce to choose from and for those who are keen to eat local or just enjoy a great bargain with some nice food thrown in, this is a place to visit (provided you are able to sacrifice some hours of sleep in the morning!)
Larkin Farmer's Market is best visited on Saturday mornings from about 7 to 9 for the best produce.
It is located near Larkin Stadium – http://wikimapia.org/127677/Stadium-Larkin