Had some free time to spare after having breakfast at Keng Lan Huat Wantan Mee, so we just took a random walk around George Town. At the same time, we wanted to check out some street art that we didn’t get to see earlier. And somehow we ended up at the lively Chowrasta Market. The morning market was buzzing with so much action!
The morning market scene
Street vendors lined the roads just outside the Chowrasta Market complex, hawking all kinds of wares. Good array of snacks, confections, breakfast foods and local eats too.
What is the meaning of Chowrasta?
Chowrasta means ‘four cross roads’ in Urdu. The name probably refers to the four roads surrounding the market complex – Lebuh Tamil, Jalan Kuala Kangsar, Jalan Chowrasta and Jalan Penang.
Morning market activities literally spilled to these surrounding roads and streets. The shops in the vicinity were selling fresh produce, dried goods, household stuffs and more.
Popiah skin in the making. Not something we would see all the time so it was quite fun to see the man in action.
And this is the market complex, which is a building on its own.
The original single-storey market was actually built in 1890. After several renovations, Chowrasta now is not only the oldest but also the biggest and greenest market in Penang.
Upon entering the market, we could see shops selling local snacks, kiam sng tee (preserved fruits), dried goods, household essentials, clothing, second-hand books, footwear and more on ground level and on the second floor.
Chowrasta Market is probably the best place to buy anything nutmeg
Penang is famous for nutmeg and here at Chowrasta Market, you can find nutmeg products of all sorts –
- Preserved nutmeg
- Nutmeg tambun biscuit a.k.a. tau sar piah
- Nutmeg syrup
- Nutmeg jam
- Nutmeg tea
- Nutmeg coffee
- Nutmeg balm
- Nutmeg medicated oil
And the list goes on.
If you’re interested to buy any of these nutmeg products for yourself or for others as gifts, you should really come here as the prices are more wallet-friendly unlike those touristy souvenir shops or food gift specialty stores. Shopkeepers here are very warm and friendly too.
On top of nutmeg products, you can also find non-food souvenirs like key chains, fridge magnets etc.
Where locals shop for daily groceries
Going further into the complex, there was also this wet market section where the local residents would come to shop for their daily grocery needs. Fresh fruit and vegetable stalls. Live poultry. Butchers. Fishmongers. Typical wet market scene – but this place was way cleaner than some other wet markets I had visited previously.
Pretty fun to walk within and around Chowrasta Market, just to see what people were selling and buying. The atmosphere of the morning market both inside and outside the complex was really bustling. Great place to people-watch and experience the local way of life.
Pasar Chowrasta itself was big, clean and spacious. Plenty of food options around. Lots of stuffs to buy. This was definitely one of the best markets I had ever come across in Malaysia.