Hornbill Unleashed

January 1, 2011

Sunday Market in Satok

Filed under: Alternatives,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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Sim Kwang Yang

One of the most famous and popular landmarks in Kuching city has to be the Sunday Market, the open air marketplace located at Jalan Satok. Rare is the odd resident of Kuching city who has not made a trip to this congested, lively and fascinating market place on a weekend.

The Sunday Market started out as a place to buy jungle produce from the farmers from the hinterland of Kuching city, mostly from Bau, Lundu, Padawan and Serian. Farmers from the surrounding area would take buses or hitch rides, and start to congregate at the market as early as Saturday morning, and begin trading at noon time.

Some farmers even arrive on Friday night, the night before the market begins. They spread out rattan mats on the five-foot-way corridors outside the shops in the market area, and wake up early the next morning to set up stall to sell their wares.

Here the city folk have been able to enjoy a wide array of jungle produce at very competitive prices. The goods are cheap, and a shopping trip to the market will not burn a hole in your pocket. For as little as RM20, you can complete your weekly vegetable shopping and that is why the market is so popular with local shoppers.

My personal favourites are the wild ferns and the exotic vegetables on sale there such as paku, midin and bamboo shoots. I especially miss the crunchy fern midin — I have rarely seen midin in West Malaysia and it seems to be a unique product of our fair land, Sarawak. I have seen midin on sale in Kuala Lumpur, but it was probably imported from Sarawak, because it was on sale for RM30 per bowl.

The original location of the market was concentrated in the streets around Jalan Gambier and Jalan India, but the market was later moved to its present site in Jalan Satok some two decades ago. Over the years, the market has gained popularity. It has grown from strength to strength and is now a ‘must-see’ place in Kuching city for most visitors.

To the original vegetable stalls at the market, new tenants have added many more types of goods and variety of fare on offer. These new stall have added colour to the general busy atmosphere of the very congested streets. Nowadays, you can get hold of almost anything that money can buy there, and the prices are still reasonable.

Apart from jungle produce, you can buy all manner of goods, available in large quantities. The fruit stalls are the most popular outlets as you can buy some exotic items from the market.

On a good day, you can buy sago worms, a local delicacy. The local population may swallow them live: they claim that the best way to taste the squirming thing is by popping it whole into the mouth. Talk about freshness! Alternatively, some housewives may prefer to fry them before eating.

Many Kuching people have become addicted to visiting the market every weekend. It is an occasion for a family outing, as strolling along the congested street market, and examining the goods on sale has become a very pleasant day out for city folk.

I have certain taboos about some of the food on sale there and one of them has to be python meat. For one reason or another, eating snake meat has not entered into my culinary repertoire. But the sellers have no lack of customers at the Sunday Market.

You can also buy a puppy, kitten, hamster or rabbit. All sorts of animals are offered on sale in small cages. I personally bought my own puppies at the Sunday Market once, paying RM30 for two young, lovely puppies.

One lady selling puppies is also a gardener. She brings her jars and bags of beautiful orchids and other flowers from her garden to the market. As I am a big fan of the joys that can be gained with green fingers, the garden section is my favourite spot in the whole Sunday Market. I have known the orchid lady personally for many years, for she is a neighbour and an old friend from Jalan Ban Hock. Her garden shop is usually located at one of the big corners of the Sunday Market.

Inevitably, you are bound to bump into the odd salesman from the countryside trying to persuade you to buy their homemade rattan furniture. I have seen some excellent rattan work and these lovely pieces can be a welcome addition in any living room in the city.

All in all, the Satok Sunday Market is still one of my favourite places in Kuching city. I have heard rumours of the authorities trying to relocate the market elsewhere, but I am sure this would be an unpopular proposition for Kuching folk. Let us face it, we are all lifelong fans of our grand Sunday Market — a regular feature of public life in Kuching city.


(The author can be reached at kenyalang578@hotmail.com. All comments are welcomed.)


  1. i just want to buy malaysian fruits wholesale in kuching. is satok the right place?

    Comment by Ivan — August 14, 2011 @ 4:35 AM | Reply

  2. The Sunday Market in Kuching is the perfect place to measure the success or failure of the state BN government and the level of poverty prevailing in Sarawak. Replicate the scenerio across the length and breath of Sarawak, we can tell that majority of the ordinary folks from both the urban and rural areas are struggling to survive. Some who peddle their jungle produce in the markets could only make less than RM50 for that weekend after deducting expenses and provided they managed to sell every products they brought with them.

    Every single “pasar tamu” found in every districts throughout Sarawak reveal how the state government of UMNO dominated BN led by one of the most corrupted state leaders, had failed to uplift the socio-economic standard of its people in the last 47 years. Given the rich natural resources at our state’s disposal, each and every Sarawakians, past and present including those to be born would have inherited a windfall of not less than RM20,000 each for every year since Sarawak formed Malaysia 47 years ago.

    Comment by Lee Hui — January 1, 2011 @ 7:53 PM | Reply

  3. Agree with Apai and localboy. The market is of great benefit to traders, shopkeepers and of course we shoppers. But we know the government don’t give a damn unless the politicians benefit from it personally. The poor peasants can cooked to death for all they care. Imagine if they just pump a couple of millions to spruce up the place. I feel quite shy to bring overseas friends there because the place stinks due to clogged drains and rubbish dumped everywhere. On a hot day, it’s just like going into a sauna.

    As for the new Dun, what can you say except that it is a piece of ugly architecture that will never win any award. Maybe the ugliest building in the country. It’s a sacrilege to our historical Astana and it’s surrounding. How could any dumb ass come up with something like that and of all places, in front of the Astana. Like the Civic Center, it’s a total waste of public money and only mar the landscape.

    Comment by poor pek mo — January 1, 2011 @ 5:30 PM | Reply

  4. My wife’s “must visit” place with her friends from overseas. Instead of moving it to somewhere else, if that’s true, the market should be re-organised so that it’s less haphazard. The whole area could be paved and drainage improved. On a rainy day, it’s very messy. Stall operators should also be required to keep the place clean instead of dumping all their rubbish on the floor. Apart from that it is really an interesting place to visit. Something for everyone whether you are looking for food, plants, pets, costume jewelry etc. The only problem is looking for a parking space.

    Comment by Apai — January 1, 2011 @ 9:25 AM | Reply

    • Great idea – Let’us ask George and his big boss.

      They got (our) money, ideas (from expensive overseas consultants) and plenty of land (stolen from our people).

      It just shameful that after 47 years we still have to put up with the conditions Apai described.

      In the heat or rain and the rubbish- and flies it is no fun shopping. Should be relaxed and enjoyable.

      Last Sunday I went and wow I was drench in searing heat in seconds just trying to select some stuff a a stall. Well we live in the new age and should enjoy some modern amenities. This is good for both Sunday vendors and us shoppers.

      Nothing seem to change.

      So you big time and big spending politicians how about spending big with on us.

      Built us a large undercover air-cool Sunday market place on 2 levels with Car park underneath and stalls above which is paved and clean and also provide for provide facilities like water supply, rubbish bin and municipal workers to clean up and toilets etc?

      It does not have to be as UGLY as the new DUN which sits like an alien space craft in a horror movie. It is an ugly blight, a nightmare on the beautiful river scene before it was put there. It just overpowers and ruins the view of the Astana (with the stupid big sign as if we did not know what it is!) How many millions spent?

      Or is put there to terrorise our dreams??

      Comment by localboy — January 1, 2011 @ 10:22 AM | Reply

      • What a deplorable place worse when it rain, it’s all boil down to personal hygiene and lifestyle. Only time gets real clean up when some minister,council member pays a visit, (o..ya, rite! very soon, election time)

        Comment by sam — January 2, 2011 @ 12:34 AM | Reply

  5. news item

    FYI- Readers this is the article posted in Dayak Baru and mentioned by a few bloggers in HU last few months. The UMNO BN gov’t has not responded to the claims by RPK or queries by the oppoisitio leaders.

    What is BN trying to do?
    Taken from: Malaysia Today- Sept 2010
    Why is BN buying pistols, grenades from underground sources

    Raja Petra Kamarudin

    (Malaysia Today) – What I am concerned with is the latest revelation of the Malaysian government purchasing millions of rounds of ammunition and tens of thousands of pistols, submachine guns and stun grenades. And this is the Malaysian government’s shopping list.

    9mm pistols & accessories
    9mm submachine guns & accessories
    7.62mm sniper ammunition
    9mm para subsonic ammunition
    9mm para hollow point ammunition (a hit from this bullet in the body = 100% dead)
    Stun grenades One-Bang
    Stun grenades 7-Bang
    Now, there is nothing wrong with governments buying bullets, pistols, submachine guns and stun grenades, even in the millions of rounds and tens of thousands of pieces like what the Malaysian government is doing. All governments do this, even the Malaysian government. But this particular cache is not being procured through normal channels. There is no tender being called for this purchase. It is being negotiated through “underground” sources, the way illegal organisations or terrorist groups would normally do.

    Why would Malaysia want to by-pass the official or legal channels in buying all these guns, ammunition and grenades? Are they meant for illegal purposes? Are they meant for onward transmission to terrorist groups that Malaysia is supporting? Or is the final destination of this cache of weapons Malaysia itself?

    This is most alarming.

    They most certainly cannot be for the Malaysian security forces. If they were then the government would buy them through an official tender and from authorised or legitimate suppliers instead of through underground sources. But if they were for foreign terrorist groups then for sure Malaysia would not want to do it the legal way because then they can be traced back to Malaysia.

    Youth Movement for paramilitary training?

    What is most worrying is the recent announcement that Umno intends to send its Youth Movement members for paramilitary training. Does Umno intend to train and arm its Youth Movement? If so then what is the purpose for doing so? And is this latest underground procurement of millions of rounds of ammunition and tens of thousands of pistols, submachine guns and stun grenades part of this plan?

    The Malaysian government needs to reply to all these questions. The rakyat cannot remain silent about this very alarming turn of events. We know that there are moves to buy these armaments. That, the Malaysian government cannot deny. To deny this is futile. But what we do not know yet is the reason the Malaysian government is buying them on the black market and whether these would all finally end up on the streets of Malaysia in the hands of Umno Youth who would soon be trained on how to use them.

    Need to demonstrate outrage

    The Members of Parliament from both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat need to demonstrate outrage. This is not just about swindling the rakyat out of billions of our tax money. That, after all, is only money. This is more serious. This involves the nationâl security. Governments cannot turn rogue by dabbling in illegal arms and ammunition purchases without explaining what they intend to do with enough firepower to start a civil war in the country.

    Lim Kit Siang, Anwar Ibrahim, Abdul Hadi Awang, and all those presidents of the non-Umno component members of Barisan Nasional hello can you hear me? Please get to the bottom of this matter and demand that the government explain itself.

    Don’ deny it. Don’t issue statements that the police will be asked to investigate this latest lie from Malaysia Today.

    This is no lie.

    We are aware of what you are buying.

    What we want to know is why you are buying them and what you intend to do with them.

    And why are you going onto the black market to buy them from underground sources if there is nothing sinister about what you are doing? –

    Malaysia Today

    Comment by Orang2bangkit — January 1, 2011 @ 1:20 AM | Reply

    • We should send a memo to the King and set up a Royal Commission to investigate this issue.

      No one should be allowed possess such weapon further more in such amount…only qualified and trained personnel from our security forces are the only one to have access to these kind of fire power.

      PR or any peace loving politician out there should come together and get to the bottom of this; as keeping these high power weapons and ammo meaning you are preparing for a war or to get someone killed.

      It be interesting to know where they keep all these weapon and ammo. Don’t tell me that our arm forces are in cohort; hiding them in their weapon depo?

      So someone out there must find out where they hide these entire weapons…get hard evidence guy.

      I used ‘hollow point’ ammo in the past and the result is bad news!

      Comment by Headhunter2million — January 1, 2011 @ 4:42 PM | Reply


        Get real! Royal commissions are good for nothing except to drag their feet at our expense and hide the truth or not be told the truth for a start.

        Now you put weapons in the hand of UMNO and PERKASA fanatics and you have a double deadly combination. They must be planning on political assassinations and mass executions of their opponents.

        Why aren’t the security people doing anything? Should they not go and investigate Najib?

        Wait a mo… Isn’t his wife the A4 explosive expert? The investigation was quickly covered up when he replaced Pak Lah??

        This is hopeless!

        We might as well go and find our own weapons for self-defence! The security forces are not paid to defend us innocent citizens.

        Comment by Headhunter18million — January 2, 2011 @ 4:52 PM | Reply

      • C4? Malaysia and UMNO C4?

        Ask a Cantonese or Hakka fellow for translation of “C4”!

        Comment by Headhunter10million — January 2, 2011 @ 10:41 PM | Reply

      • Yes…..we sarawakian/sabahan should starting arming ourselves becuase the army wont be protecting…they are UMNO/BN dogs!

        All able body East Malaysian should own at least a side arm (Glok is my favourite thou) orang ulu….biasa lah guna Saddam….

        Comment by Headhunter4million — January 3, 2011 @ 1:31 AM | Reply

      • “Memo” or “ammo”?

        Comment by Headhunter18million — January 3, 2011 @ 10:38 AM | Reply

      • “C4” means colloquially or literally “fire burnt out” or coming to a dead stop (for e.g. a car “C4”)

        Malaysia c4- comes to a dead stop. May be go astan?

        Comment by Cantonfello — January 3, 2011 @ 10:43 AM | Reply

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