A Pasar Malam In Dunkirk

Feeling a little homesick and missing Malaysian food dreadfully, IGNITE ambassadors jumped at the chance to grab some Malaysian delicacies after learning of a pasar malam in Dunkirk –  a residential area about a 5-minute walk from the University of Nottingham’s University Park South Entrance.

The Malaysian Night Bazaar, or more commonly known to Malaysians as pasar malam, is hosted biweekly in the Dunkirk Community Centre by Nottingham’s Malaysian committee and fellow local Malaysian eateries. Every semester, UON’s Nottingham Malaysian Society organises a Walk 2 Eat – Pasar Malam DCC event, and welcomes fellow freshers, exchange students and internationals to join in as they guide you to the lively night in-door bazaar.

The market itself was dreadfully packed and the food ran out fast. Thankfully, we managed to secure some Nasi Lemak, Penang Laksa, Ayam Penyet and various Kuih via pre-ordering. After navigating our way through the overcrowded hallway, the Food section team managed to return to our quarters with a haul of delicious smelling food after a 2km trip from Dunkirk’s well-known Malaysian food bazaar.

Pasar Malam Haul

Malaysian Night Bazaar Food Haul

Nasi Lemak Masak Ayam Rempah

The first thought that came to mind when we took a bite was – the sambal was not spicy enough. Certainly, the sambal is more of a sweet variant, and not as spicy, perhaps because of adapting to local palates. The chicken is what you would normally expect from a typical Nasi Lemak but compare that with how chicken usually tastes in the catered accommodation halls (overcooked, bland and dry) that is a major improvement still. The dish cost £4.00, a decent value-buy considering the average meal in any restaurant or take-out in Nottingham is around £5.00-£7.00.

Nasi Lemak With Chicken

Nasi Lemak with Fried Chicken sold by Nott’s Kitchen

Penang Laksa

The “Penang Laksa” isn’t really that “Penang”, aside from the staple thin translucent rice noodles used. The broth, while not bad, does not actually look or taste like the reddish-brown, slightly spicy and sour Penang Laksa. It’s still worth it, though, when you are starved for anything that has flavour or spice given the frequency of encountering bland British food here. The Penang Laksa cost £3.50.

Both the Nasi Lemak and Penang Laksa can be somewhat pricey for some given the fact that it doesn’t taste that different from what you would typically find in Malaysia, and very average-tasting, I would personally only get the Laksa if I’m really craving for any at all.

Laksa

A Penang Laksa, but with little “Penang”

Roti Jala, Kuih Seri Muka, Karipap and Air Bandung Soda

Stalls selling Kuih ran out fast so it was a good thing I pre-ordered. For those with a sweet tooth, they will be a real treat as they were just as good as the ones back home. I also managed to snag some Roti Jala and Karipap at the last minute. They tasted decently good, though nowhere the same as what you would get in Malaysia. As for the Air Bandung Soda, it may have been a little too sweet for some as the combination of the sugary sweet rose-flavoured syrup is combined with carbonated soda with some cincau (grass jelly). Ranging from £1.50- £2.00, the prices were relatively reasonable.

Roti Jala and Air Bandung

Karipap, Kuih Seri Muka, Air Bandung and Roti Jala

Overall, we found the food to be slightly overpriced, although we were glad to have met and mingled with many fellow Malaysians and a few adventurous International students eager for a taste of our cuisine. The food is certainly worth it when you are seeking the comfort of something that reminds you of home, especially when you are tied for options.

By Nabilah Abu Hassan Alshari

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"I am not a glutton - I am an explorer of food." - Emma Bombeck

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