Night Market in the Daytime

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‘Balik kampung’ usually refers to a tradition of journeying back to your hometown during festive season. In the case of the Singapore Malaysian Association’s (SMA) Pasar Malam food festival, “Balik kampung” could be more accurately translated as ‘a taste of home’. Pasar Malam literally translates to Night Market, but the lack of tropical heat in Canada makes it much easier to put on such an event during the daytime.

According to organizer and SMA incoming president Kamal Gurang, the event has changed a great deal from year to year, beginning with a family picnic approach, and evolving over the past few years into a catered event. 2008 marked the first year that a number of new food suppliers joined original caterer esnacks, to present a wide array of Southeast Asian food choices. In addition to a range of caterers bringing favorite Indonesian and Malaysian dishes such as mee-siam, satay and seri muka, there was even Thai Cuisine Experts – a Peel Region restaurant that features halal food.

For this year’s festival, organizers even invited alternative health practioners including Active Family Chiropractic and traditional Chinese medicine practioner Lawrence Gao. The event took place indoors at Mississauga’s Huron Park Recreation Centre, to avoid the possibility of being rained out.

The only mistake they made this year was underestimating the popularity of the event, since food ran out more than an hour before the event was scheduled to end. Rest assured that next year there will be even more food – but it might be wise to come early anyway – that way you can spread your overindulgence over several hours, to avoid that so-full-you-could-burst feeling.

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