Pasar malam

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Traditional Malaysian Pasar malam
Pasar Malam in Batavia, Indonesia, period 1900-1940
Pasar malam during day at Jurong East, Singapore. The crowds usually appear during the night.
Pasar malam in Johor Bahru

Pasar malam (Dutch: Nacht Markt or Avondmarkt) is a Indonesian and Malay word that literally means "night market" (the word comes from "bazaar" in Persian[1][2]). A pasar malam is a street market in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore that opens in the evening, usually in residential neighbourhoods.[3]

It brings together a collection of stalls that usually sell goods such as fruits, vegetables, snacks, toys, clothes, shoes, alarm clocks, and ornaments at cheap or at least reasonable prices. Pirated DVDs, CDs and computer software are often sold at a pasar malam. A pasar malam often takes place only one to a few days of the week, as the traders rotate around different neighbourhoods on different days of the week. Haggling over prices is a common practice at such markets.

Pasar Malam are often differentiated by ethnicity. A Malay pasar malam will often contain stalls selling Islamic books, kopiah hats, sarongs and other Malay specialty items. A Chinese pasar malam may sell Mah Jong sets, incense, joss sticks, joss paper and various Chinese prayer supplies. An Indian pasar malam may contain Hindu prayer supplies.

In Malaysia, food hawkers at pasar malam are required to get a licence from local council to ensure health, cleanliness and to control numbers to avoid traffic congestion. A food handler is required to get a medical checkup and Typhim VI injections,[4][5][6] The pasar malam site is allocated by the local council.,[7][8]

In Java, especially in Javanese royal cities Yogyakarta and Surakarta, the grand week-long pasar malam is usually held annually during the Sekaten festival to celebrate Mawlid or the birthday of prophet Muhammad. During colonial Dutch East Indies the annual Pasar Malam was held in Pasar Gambir (today Merdeka square) and become the predecessor of modern Jakarta's annual Jakarta Fair.

In the Netherlands, a yearly Indo Eurasian festival is held in The Hague under the name Tong Tong Fair, formerly known as the Pasar Malam Besar (besar = big). Due to the high number of Indo Eurasians and the successive success of this event since 1959, dozens of pasar malam are held each year in the Netherlands. Recently the Indonesian embassy has started sponsoring a yearly pasar malam Indonesia, mainly to promote Indonesian business and enhance Dutch-Indonesian relations.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Russell, Jones (2008). Loan-words in Indonesian and Malay. KITLV-Jakarta. ISBN 978-9794617014. Retrieved August 26, 2015. 
  2. ^ Nigel Phillips, Khaidir Anwar (eds.). "Papers on Indonesian languages and literatures". 13 of Cahier d'Archipel. Indonesian Etymological Project, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1981: 63. ISBN 978-0950747408. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Street Foods, By Artemis P. Simopoulos
  6. ^ [(Malay) Siri Mula Bisnes: Pasar Malam By Johar Seman]
  7. ^ Location Maps of Pasar Malam by Selayang Local Council.
  8. ^ Location Maps of Pasar Malam by Kajang Local Council.
  9. ^ The Netherlands has the largest number of pasar malam outside Asia.

External links[edit]