Want a holiday with a difference? Visit Siti Khadijah Market, one of Malaysia’s most iconic destinations.
Alive with colours and cramped full of local treasures, Pasar Siti Khadijah or Siti Khadijah Market is in a class of its own. The famous market is synonymous with Kota Bharu. In fact, a visit to Kelantan’s capital city would not be complete without a stopover at this East Coast commercial hub.
Named after the Prophet Muhammad’s wife, Khadijah binti Khuwailid, who was held in high esteem as a successful businesswoman, the market truly lives up to its female entrepreneurial legacy due to the large number of women traders at the site.
Thousands of visitors come to the market, which operates from 6.00 am to 7.00 pm every day. Besides the female traders, you can also see that women also form a majority of the customers as the market is very popular for its textiles, hijab or tudung (Muslim headscarf), and kitchenware.
All the products are housed in the market’s octagonal building, which is divided into four floors. The range of goods is dazzling, from foodstuff and fresh produce to handicrafts and household needs.
Whether you’re on a gastronomic mission, a shopping excursion, a souvenir hunting trip, or simply scouting for an Insta-worthy location, everyone is sure to find something that captures their interest.
Due to the sheer number of daily visitors, the market has two automated teller machines within easy reach for those who need ready cash. A mosque is also within walking distance from the market.
We’ve put together a quick guide to the main sections of Siti Khadijah Market to help you with your exploration. All set to begin? Let’s do it!
On sale at this floor is a rainbow of vegetables, fruits, cooked dishes (especially breakfast items of all shapes and sizes) and household goods.
When it comes to rice grains, try the ‘Burung Serindit’ (Parrot) brand, which is highly recommended by the locals. The rice is sold by weight, and buyers can ask the shopkeepers to measure their quantity of choice. You can also buy the same brands at Rantau Panjang and Wakaf Che Yeh but at a slightly higher price.
The first floor is where you’ll find various dried and packaged foodstuffs such as keropok ikan (fish crackers). Depending on the type of fish or seafood used and the manufacturer, each brand and type can differ in quality.
Other offerings include dodol (sticky confection), sambal daging (known elsewhere in Malaysia as serunding daging or beef floss), ikan kering (dried fish), sauces (budu, Kelantan’s very own signature fish sauce, deserves honourable mention), cookies, cooking utensils, plasticware, and spices.
This is also where you can buy a wonderful assortment of quintessentially Kelantanese kuih-muih (traditional cakes or desserts) such as akok, jala mas, cek mek molek, bunga tanjung, butir nangka, lompat tikam and many more.
You will get the same price from all traders but buying in bulk can get you special discounts. And don’t forget to bargain to score even more savings.
And when you get exhausted from all that shopping, visit the food court to recharge. This foodie’s paradise is known for its affordable and delicious dishes; expect to pay between RM2 to RM5 for a simple meal of rice or noodles. Bring an empty stomach for a breathtaking kaleidoscope of homegrown cuisines is here to tempt you. Kelantan’s rice delicacies like nasi tumpang, nasi kerabu and nasi dagang are must-tries. Ayam percik and laksam are also unmissable treats.
Second and third floors
You will find batik (textile printed with, or drawn in, traditional designs), songket (fabric interwoven with gold or silver threads), arts and crafts, bags, shoes, brassware, jewellery, toys, cosmetics and t-shirts among others.
For Muslim women, this is the place for buying hijabs. The varieties, colours and prices are endless, and you’d be sure to spend a few hours here.
It pays to walk around as much as you can to survey the options. The friendly traders are always ready for a chat, so you have the perfect opportunity to put your haggling skills to the test!
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