Kelantan’s Central Market also known as Pasar Siti Khadijah by the local is a riot of colour. It is one of the most vibrant sites in the country where traders display brilliantly coloured fresh garden produce.
Kelantan’s Central Market is mainly dominated and ‘ruled’ by the womenfolk. It may surprise you that a majority of stalls are run by women. From the early hours of the morning till sundown, these market queens sit across-legged upon their raised wooden platforms, guarding their merchandise.
Perhaps this is a throwback to the fact that Kelantan was once ruled by a princess, Cik Siti Wan Kembang, a female sovereign. Kelantanese women remain fiercely entrepreneurial and have been known to be hard bargainers.
The sights, sounds, and colours are uniquely Kelantanese–women traders display garden produce, food stands grill delectable barbecued chicken and craftsmen offer traditional wares like Kelantanese silver rose bowls.
All around the square, or rather octagon, the energy is electric, effervescent colors swirl, as the fruits and vegetables blush in brilliant hues of bright yellow, deep burgundy, rich mauve, strating scarlet, clam olive and stunning lime green.
Baskets dance in the crowd, weaving through the throng of sarong clad women with spinach kissed snadals, filling with fresh turnips, cabbages, tomatoes and chilies.
The queens dip their merchandise in refreshing bowls of water whilst others wave about their contraption of plastic bag attached to lidi stick, keeping away bugs Piquant scents waft on the moist air, a mixture of tangy spices, sweet meat floss, chewy ‘dodol’, a traditional glutinous rice flour cake made with palm sugar, coconut milk and pandan leaves, as well as the luscious fried fish paste snack ‘keropok lekor’.
A paradise for browsing and shopping, this market offers a myriad of local handicraft including batik, leather goods, clothing and household items.
The market is probably the most photographed site in the country and it is especially lively in the mornings.