Did I tell you I enjoy poking around flea markets, charity fairs, bazaars and yes, even morning markets like Chowrasta? The sights and sounds (and the bargains) are amazing. Sometimes I get intrigued by the kinds of innovative consumer items and products on sale. And of course, at times, I am so tempted to buy them all.
I have not been to Lorong Kulit for the longest time now but Sundays are the best days to go. I wrote about it once last year or was it the year before last? Anyway, I don’t go to buy much except fresh fruits and maybe, a look-see around Tuan Haji’s gems stall. You can read the post and find out more about Lorong Kulit. Lorong Kulit is open seven days a week but the best day is of course Sunday when all the traders and vendors come out in full force. Parking can be tricky as this area is bonkers on a Sunday. Try parking behind the City Stadium. Go before 9am or you will be in for a sweltering time.
The next market I love is the wet market. Some may despise it for it stinks – well – of everything! Of fruits, of meat, of fish, of vegetables. Of wet slippery floors and loud brash people. But that aside, wet markets have other stuff too. Like the Lip Sin market. On Saturdays and Sundays, you can find racks and racks of blouses, skirts and jeans on sale. And trinkets. All shiny stuff that we women adore. I’ve even bought bags at this market. Clutch bags for dinner, and casual holdall bags, whatever shape or size. Of course, they’re so NOT branded lah. There’s even a magician who sells magic kits and performs the odd trick or two at this Lip Sin market on Sundays. His name’s David – this I know because Nic is a closet magician and he’s bought magic tricks from David.
The other market I like is the Little Penang Market which is at Upper Penang Road on the last Sunday of each month. It’s a crafts-and-food market showcasing the best of Penang’s artisans and craftsmen and craftswomen. These people are the true entrepreneurs of their wares – they make the products themselves. I’ve met Mr Khoo who sells potted plants such as rosemary, basil, and other herbs (actually I bought a pot of gorgeous-smelling rosemary from him). I’ve met Mr Cheong who handcrafts items like letter openers, swords, bread tongs and more from discarded wood.
I’ve also met utterly creative women like Chiat Peng who designs a 101 things – she makes bags, earrings, rings, and lots more. I’ve bought two pairs of earrings from her before and I thought her designs were good (especially when I went to her blog and saw her designs there). In fact, my good friend Karen was commenting on how pretty my earrings were! Thanks Chiat Peng!
I also love charity fairs and bazaars for their unique items – the American Women’s Association of Penang organise good Christmas bazaars in December. And of course, the Japanese community in Penang as well. All one has to do is to keep one’s ears and eyes open and there’s a bunch of good finds in Penang any time of the year.
Thai product fairs are also my fave haunts. I like the mesmerising bling-bling clothes and tacky, garish, plasticky jewellery. I sometimes find the best skirt or blouse at these places (and I practise my bargaining skills too with these Teochew-speaking Thais). In Penang, Thai fairs are often held in shopping malls. The one I went to recently is at Midlands One-stop Centre. After shopping, you can slurp down a bowl of khanom jeen or tomyam and have your dessert of pulut mango too. What a way to end a shopping experience! Or for Nic, it’s a place to enjoy a good reflexology massage.
And then there’s jumble sales and garage sales. If you like these sales, you might want to check out Shopping with Soul Doctor who lives in KL and noses out the best car sales, warehouse sales, flea markets and more. I wish I were in KL!
These days, one can do more than buy a fat pig at the market!
PS. And I love going to Chatuchak in Bangkok. Even non-shopaholics will be impressed. This place is nirvana for Sophie Kinsella fans – from pets to furniture, from bags to clothes, from snacks to full meals – I mean this place is the cat’s whiskers! I have not explored all of Chatuchak so that will be a reason why I must go to Bangkok sometime soon!