Lately I'm having this pasar malam crave thing. Nasik ayam, nasik air, keropok, murtabak daging, apam balik, roti bom, ayam goreng, char kuay teow, mi bandung, and the ultimate most irreplaceable unbeatable shake ever, the coconut shake. The coconut water and flesh topped with vanilla ice cream, one is simply not enough. Back then it was only RM1, so every time we went to the pasar malam we would always end up with 5 or 6 coconut shakes, one for each (I have 4 other siblings with huge stomach in need to be constantly fed), but still never enough. We would then gather in front of the TV watching some cartoon like Ninja Boy while munching all those unhealthy food. Heaven.
Until came Ayah warning us that Maghrib was about to begin and siapa tak mandi lagi pergi mandi sekarang lol.
I guess it was the atmosphere. The hustle and bustle of people busy looking for food, or sometimes just wandering around aimlessly. I grew up in a tiny rural area (was a fishermen village, once) of Paka, Terengganu. Google that, see if you find anything. Pasar malam was on Wednesdays. When I was in primary school, I relied heavily on Umi and Ayah to bring me there. Else me and my friends would ride bicycles ramai ramai to pasar malam together. Then I grew up a little bit, rasa otai sikit, went there with my forever childhood friend, Nazihah by a motorcycle. No I couldn't ride a motorcycle back then, and I still can't. Later after entering college, we went there driving, occasionally. I remember the thrill of riding a motorcycle since I couldn't ride my own. Excitement.
It was Terengganu, I was young, I didn't know any sort of other entertainments. Pasar malam was our socializing park.
The pasar malam was held near the beach. Oh yes, Paka is so very tepi pantai, which is super nice. So sometimes we would buy stuff and eat them straightaway at the beach, watching the sun went down and the red streaks filling in the sky. Which was one of the reasons why Ayah doesn't fancy pasar malam much - he's not a big fan of crowded places, and the idea of going out nearing Maghrib. Banyak syaitan ish ish.
What was so good about the unhealthy food, I don't know. But I guess it works the same way as mamak, Ayah said roti canai mamak sedap because of the peluh peluh mamak yang tebar roti tu. So for pasar malam food, it's the habuk and dust and saliva of people crowding the place (eiyew) that make them taste good. Argh. Disturbing betul description.
These are memories. My childhood. Yes despite not being able to speak the language anymore, I grew up in Terengganu, spent more than 10 years there, acting like a local (which usually turned into huge fail). Usually people would be surprised if I tell them I spent my childhood in Terengganu, perhaps because we look as if we are so settled in Kuala Lumpur now. But no, we still have our home in Terengganu, the one Ayah named Darul Sementara (because dunia is only temporary), the cold and empty home.
I've never referred myself as orang KL, nor am I orang Terengganu, because we don't have any relatives there since Ayah is from Kedah and Umi is Kelantanese and I was born in Subang Jaya, Selangor. I'm just.. I don't know. That one particular thing about me is that I don't have any sense of belonging to any place. Home can be anywhere. My family moved from Terengganu to Myanmar back to Sarawak while my brother and I lived in Kuala Lumpur.
But now it's Taman Melati, Kuala Lumpur. The view of MRR2 and Genting Highlands from 25th floor might not be as pleasing as stepping on the fresh grass back home in Terengganu, but still, it is home, for now.
I've never been to Taman Melati's pasar malam, though I've been to Kampung Baru many times for the food, but I bet nothing could beat the memory of coconut shake and rangka ayam goreng seringgit satu in Paka.
Some putu discussion to further enhance my frustration and longing for pasar malam food.
Thanks Faizul sebab layan aku dan putu putu kuuu.