Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Filipino Market in Kota Kinabalu

The Filipino market is situated right in front of the Le Meridien Hotel, Kota Kinabalu. It is a market-like shopping paradise with a maze of stalls within. Frequented by the locals and tourists alike for bargains in local goods and many other products from the neighbouring countries like the Philippines and Indonesia. It consists of three section:

1) Handicrafts and souvenirs...
These 'sleeping beauty' masks are almost half a meter in length each!! No idea where they came from but are quite finely crafted.

The 'sompoton'
A local instrument very popular among the Dusun/Kadazan

Below is a brief description of the instrument extracted from : An Introduction to The Traditional Musical Instruments of Sabah, Sabah State Muzium, Kota Kinabalu. 1992.

This mouth organ is the most fascinating of the Sabah native musical instruments. It is constructed from a dried gourd and eight bamboo pipes arranged in a doublelayered raft. One of the pipes has no sound, but merely balances the bundle. By blowing or sucking the gourd's mouth, the player can produced a soft sweet harmonious sound. A small lamella of polod palm (like tiny bungkau) is inserted in the side of each sounding pipe near its base. The pipes are fitted into a hole on one side of the gourd and sealed with bees wax. The lamellae lie inside the gourd and provide the sound of the completed instrument. The pipes are bound with thin strands of rattan.
While playing a sompoton, the player covers and uncovers the ends of three of the four shortest pipes with three fingers of his right hand and three small openings cut in the base of the front shortest pipe and front and back pipes of the longer raft with fingers of the left hand. The sompoton can be played as a solo instrument for personal entertainment or in groups to accompany dancing.

Sompoton - Audio (wav- 282kb)

An array of colorful baskets from the Philippines.

The young boy setting up his merchandise in one of the many stores.

Elaborately decorated chandeliers made entirely of sea shells!

2) Salted and dried seafood...

Pasar Ikan Masin - 'Salted Fish Market' ?

These foot-long delicacies are very popular among the local Chinese as well as those from Taiwan and China.

Very popular with the Indonesians are these paper-thin fish slices, cured and dried. They are usually deep fry and serve as a side dish with rice.

Dried abalone

Dried squid

Found these interesting pair of 'sea horses' in one stall. They are only about 6 cm in length but look at the price. Anyone has any idea what they are used for? Medicinal?

3) Fresh fruits and food...

Mangoes from the Philippines

Edible seaweed

Blocks of ready-grated tapioca, a stable for many of the immigrants

A breakfast stall

Freshly made 'belacan' - shrimp paste

In the evening, this place becomes a night market cum food bazaar buzzing with activities. BBQ stalls sprout up almost everywhere by 5 pm, all with wide selection of fresh seafood on display. Satay stalls, stalls selling pre-cooked dishes, fruit juice stalls and stalls offering all kinds of delicacies are available for anyone whose stomach is strong enough to withstand the onslaught. Warning: Only for die hard foodies with very high tolerance for E. coli...

Note: Beware of pickpockets and bag-snatchers when roaming around this area.



DonDon said...

oh, so nice market. I would love to go there next time i visit kk...by the way, about the seahorses, they are expensive in my country too. I remember that my dad often put them into strong wine (like rice wine) and leave them for long time and drink the wine. He said it's good for health but im not too sure how it works, hehe.

The Drool Team said...

Guess as much, about the seahorse. The market was surprising quite nice now. Cleaner and not as stuffy as I remembered.

Anonymous said...

I am usually not big on markets, but my better half (sometimes best half) always drags me to them, like the time we spent an entire day at Chatuchak - that was memorably ghastly.

Luckily, she also avoids the wet markets, and that's a good thing. Me personally? Give me a nice hardware store anyday :-)


jotan23 said...

we didn't enjoy the filipino market that much :/