Named after Prophet Muhammad’s wife who is known for her great entrepreneurial foresight and skills, Siti Khadijah Market is a local market that is mostly occupied by women sellers. Siti Khadijah Market is located in the capital of Kota Bahru in the state of Kelantan on the west peninsular of Malaysia, also well-known for having various Malaysian traditional treasures like the Museum Islamic or Dewan Syurga and Handicraft Village and Craft Museum.
Besides the usual things that you see in a common wet market such as vegetables, seafood and fruits, there are also food stalls selling local dishes such as ayam percik, nasi ulam, blue coloured nasi kerabu, nasi kukus, nasi tumpang, budu, laksam, solok lada and different kinds of soup noodles that are freshly prepared daily and ready to eat. While you try out these local and authentic traditional dishes, do not forget to try out the local Kelantanese deserts such as kuih muih, tempeh, tahi itik, kuih kartun, puteri mandi, bunga tanjung, sira pisang, serabe, jala emas, butir nangka, lidah buaya, and the hot milk tea, a staple drink for the people of Kelantan. If you are not a big fan of sugar, it is very important for you to inform the tea seller to tone down on the sugar’s quantity in the tea as they are very generous with their sugar helpings. Besides the local dishes and desserts, you can also find different types of local snacks and drinks at the market. The local snacks are sold at a separate segment of the market and one of the recommend local snack to try is boiled corn kennels.
The four-storey market building was initially named as Pasar Besar Buluh Kubuh in 1985 as the market is located in Buluh Kubu, the centre of Kota Bahru and the market’s official opening ceremony was graced by Sultan Ismail Petra, the former Sultan of Kelantan that rule from 30th March of 1980 to 13th September of 2010. Besides that, the foundation stone of the Siti Khadijah Market is also made by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, the federal Minister of Finance and he was also a Kelantanese prince. However, in 1997, Pasar Besar Buluh Kubuh was renamed to Siti Khadijah Market by Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the former Chief Minister of Kelantan that managed Kelantan from 1990 to 2015. The reason for the name change was to respect and honour majority of the female vendors selling in the market.
As one of the places that you must visit when you are in Kelantan, Siti Khadijah Market is also said to be one of the most beautiful markets in Malaysia that were often photographed and covered by the media. Separated into four different floors, the ground floor carries fresh produce items such as fish, chicken and vegetables, the first floor carries dried foods such as serunding, dodol, rice dishes and noodles dishes while the third and fourth floors carry products such as souvenirs, household items, decorative ornaments, clothing and etc.
The variety of the fishes you can find in the market include long-tail shad, round herring, tunny fish, Indian Mackarel, pomfret, eel, catfish and etc. while the variety of vegetables include chilli, cabbage, cauliflower, aubergine, long bean, okra, lemon grass, gourd, lettuce and other common vegetables. Local fruits such as ciku, jackfruit, guava, durian, mangosteen, langsat, duku, binjai, cempedak and foreign fruits such as grapes, bananas, mangoes, oranges, watermelon, lychee, apples, datepalms and many others are also sold in this market.
Being one of the busiest markets in the state of Kelantan and the focal point for local folks to buy almost everything, Siti Khadijah Market usually starts its operations at around 8 AM early in the morning and closes around 6 PM in the evening. If you would like to avoid the busy crowd, I would suggest to skip Friday, Saturday and Sunday because these three days are said to be the busiest days.