I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but when my husband asked if I wanted to go to the Central Market in Kuala Lumpur my first thought was, “Oh they have that grocery store chain here?” Um. No. Not that Central Market. This one is far more interesting.
Ready for your history lesson? KL’s Central Market (also called Pasar Seni) has a history dating back to the late 1880s, when it was used as an open air wet market. The popularity of the market caused it to expand and eventually a permanent building was put in place to house all the vendors. The building underwent a facelift in the 1930s and that façade remains today – although works have been done to maintain the integrity of the building.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that Central Market became a place of handicrafts and art rather than fresh meats and produce. The building is laid out so there are several halls, each designated to a constituent of Malay culture: Straits Chinese, Lorong Melayu, Baba Nyonya and Lorong India to name a few.
So, what all this means is it’s a great, air-conditioned place to shop, buy some souvenirs and get a bite to eat. The market has several restaurants inside, but even better is the Kasturi Walk, just outside the market where vendors sell Malaysian snacks, meals and drinks alongside knock-off retail items such as handbags and t-shirts.
Central Market Sdn Bhd
Jalan Hang Kasturi
Hours: Monday – Sunday 10am – 10 pm