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Tsk, tsk… Malaysian Night – the very first of its scale – at Trafalgar Square was suppose to replicate a Pasar Malam or Night Market, but it fell way short of what many had expected. You can readCatty’s immediate reactions (plus comments from those who went) following the event. Needless to say, many who went, left early and hungry and disappointed. There was nothing but an endless sea of warm bodies rubbing up against one another to queue up at the food stalls, in vain. By 7pm, the time which you’d expect most people to show up, the stalls sold out of food. We managed a plate of rice with curry and a can of Sarsi, even so, it was rice scrapped from the bottom of the cooker, and chicken that had long since gone cold.
Shortly after the sun went down, we left and went to Baozi Inn for dinner instead… which has become abit shite…! The Zha Zhiang Mein…incredibly inedible.
So what would I have done better? I don’t know. I’m no event organiser. But I’d like to believe I’ve at least been a ‘real’ Pasar Malam before, and I feel that restaurants are the least capable candidates for turning out the kind of food at pasar malams. In effect, they just can’t whip out cut-down versions food they serve in their respective restaurants quick enough. If anything, you go to a market to get away from restaurants no? Where were the smoke-on-scene street food? Grilled fish, roti Johns, roti prathas, kuehs, teh tarik, fresh fruit juices, ABCs, stall after stall of char keuy tiaw? Didn’t see ‘em, nada.
It might be a little unfair to compare it against what we’ve got in Asia, though successful cultural markets are a result of collaborations with a plentiful number of providers and I don’t believe the comparison is limited to Malaysian night markets. Take for instance the London markets such as Broadway, which feature many weekend entrepreneurs. So I suppose that the fairly abysmal stall to customer ratio was to blame for the food running out so early on in the evening. There were simply too many mouths to feed. So the gist? Maybe the organisers should talk to more people for next year’s, now that we know there is a demand, so to speak.
I do wonder if Malaysia Kitchen had ever been to a University cultural fair organised by students. Albeit on a much modest scale, and spread over campus space, I remember my uni days when the various societies (especially the Malaysian Society) would put together campus-wide cultural events in a similar spirit such as this one, and to great effect. The beauty of such markets, were always the variety, and that’s not just the food, but other non-perishables too – something sorely lacking at Trafalgar Square.
Case in point, this Taiwanese Food Festival , managed by various Taiwanese student societies around Britain, late last year, was exemplary. In the sheer number of stalls, variety of food, the bustling atmosphere and – this is important – the smell of lots and lots of cooked food … heck it almost felt like the real thing in Taipei.
Malaysian Night at Trafalgar Square was smell-less.
Ahh memories. I did eventually bump into my buddies from Imperial at the event, whom I hadn’t seen since I left four years ago, so that was nice.
…So if you’re reading this Mr organiser, do consider a session with an M-Soc president at the nearest University when you plan M-night 2011, I suggest starting here.