Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Imbi Market - the last hurrah!


It has been a long time since I last posted on this blog (4 years to be exact) and my numerous attempts to move on to a new blog has failed miserably...

Well it is only apt that this post will appear in this blog as it is something from my past and present but sadly not in the future.

News has been buzzing around about the closure of Imbi Market and its relocation to a new modern site in Pudu. Although the news of its closure has been announced in the past it has never materialised however this time it is for real. Even the vendors have confirmed such pending an exact date although it will be in the next month or so.

I was having a chat with a friend the other day over this piece of news and unexpectedly nostalgia kicked in. I realised that I have a stronger than normal affinity to this market, a 28 years long attachment to be exact.  That conversation brought back many fond memories and it also made me realised the even though it was just a wet market, I have forged bonds with this place that went beyond time and distance.

Most people talk about the food stalls and how after the shift, it will never have the same atmosphere it has now with the crowded hustle and bustle beneath the colourful umbrellas. For me, it is much much more than just the food.

Let me take you back to the first time I stepped foot into Imbi market. I was all of 7 years old and a lot shorter than my short self now (Yes, I hardly grew). My mum brought me along for her weekly marketing session and I was tagging along holding on to her pants since her hands were preoccupied. That was when I first met the Chicken Lady whom my mum called Ah Mui, the Pork Man; Ah Chung and the Fruit Man; Kou Lou. I also met the egg lady, vegetable lady and the sundry goods couple but my mum didn't know their names or if she did, I was not told. I was a shy little kid then, often hiding behind my mum as she chit chatted with them about their goods or just any random topics.

That was the first but not last time I met them all.  I started following my mum to the Imbi Market more frequently and soon they began to recognise me and I got less shy and would even answer them directly when they spoke to me. This went on for many years despite us moving houses from Mindef in Jalan Semarak to Ampang and then to Cheras. Regardless of where we lived my mum would faithfully go to Imbi market for her weekly marketing. My visits became less frequent as I grew older having other extra curriculums on Saturdays and moving to Johor for University but when I do tag along, the most common comment I get is how much I have grown. Come to think of it, it could be a comment on horizontal growth and not vertical. Haha!

Well fast forward to today, so much has changed and yet still remains the same. For one, my family and I have moved to Puchong and I am now the one doing the weekend marketing instead of my mum. What hasn't change is that I still do my marketing at Imbi Market (Yes, all 60kms of driving to and fro). As for the market, the layout and stalls etc has remain the same from before but yet when you look at the people manning the stalls you start to realised how much time has passed by and how much they have each changed in some way or another.

Ah Mui and her Daughter
Ah Mui; the chicken lady whom was once a loud and chatty character having conversations with her customers as she butchers the chicken is now confined to a chair giving instructions as she has severe rheumatism and can no longer stand for prolonged periods of time. Lucky for her, her son and daughters have taken over the family business and the butcher's cleaver. So now I have a new relationship with her daughter for my orders and its is nice to know that she knows exactly what I want and I just need to tell her the quantities and she will get it all done for me. I even get chided when I do not appear over a few weeks.

Ah Chung and his wife
The pork man; Ah Chung who used to be a young man helping out at his parents stall has now swapped places. Since his dad passed away, he has taken over the stall and now his mum and wife helps out in the stall. Did I tell you that when I first knew him he was a single and not too bad looking guy? Haha! Well now he is married with a daughter who has graduated from university and age has definitely caught up with him. His mum however looks surprisingly the same. :) It is sweet that whenever I do drop by his stall to purchase some meat, he will without fail ask about my mum and how she is doing? Sending his regards to her.

Vincent and his sister with their mum in the background
What about the fruit guy; Kou Lou? When I first knew him, he was a young guy managing the fruit stall while his dad was actually a major fruit importer giving him the edge over the other stalls in terms of variety and freshness although not always the cheaper option. Now if you are living in KL, there is no way that you do not recognise the MBG brand. The fruit stall that exist in almost all major shopping malls. Well now you know that it all started in Imbi Market.  I have since shifted my loyalties of fruit purchases a few stalls down which is run by a pair of second generation young Brother/Sister duo. I prefer their honest approach and service provided (they will help me keep all my groceries while I eat at the stalls). Occasionally, I do get some special discount which is of course an added bonus.

Sundry shop lady
As much as I would like to say that all the stalls have a successor, it is sadly not the case. The egg lady and the sundry shop couple still runs their business themselves. From packing eggs in plastic bags lined with newspaper and tied with a rafia string, the eggs are now packed in  plastic cartons similar to those found in the supermarkets. It is nice to see Aunty doing her part to recycle as she uses cartons provided to her by her customers. So time has brought some changes but time has also brought along the reality that these stalls will not last forever. It is only a matter of time that these stalls will cease to operate as their owners get too old for the daily toll on their bodies. Although I must say for the most part despite their age, they all still look pretty fit and healthy.

For the moment, I am told that all the stalls will relocate to the new premise in Pudu. Whether or not they continue their business for the long term will depend on the crowd the market pulls. It hasn't gone unnoticed that Pudu already has a thriving wet market within close proximity. Rentals for the new premise has increased ten folds so the first 3 months (concession given on rental) will determine the longevity of these business.

If you are still reading this (sorry, I know its a lengthy post), you probably wonder why despite the distance do I still do my weekend marketing at Imbi Market. Surely there is a wet market in Puchong and you are right, there is. Well, call me stupid but I genuinely have a loyalty towards each stall that I frequent. I find that they provide services far beyond what other markets provide. I can get all the fats and vein trimmed off any piece of meat I buy and yes I mean ALL the fats and veins (do you know of any other chicken stall that will de-vein a fillet for you? I don't!) regardless of how tedious it is. Even the fishmonger is willing to de-shell and clean the prawns upon request. I can tell them what I plan to cook and they will honestly advise me on the most suitable cut of meat and not try to maximise their profits from my purchase. I could go on expounding their virtues but I think you get my drift.

Well moving on to the food stalls, I must admit I have a weaker bond with them as over the years my palette has changed with age and the stalls I used to frequent when I was little aren't the same as the ones I choose today. Except for the popiah stall. Yes, the famous Sister's Crispy Popiah weren't so famous when I first tasted them but it was delicious then as it is now. My new found love is for the Ah Weng Koh Hainanese Tea which I only started drinking a couple of years back. Yes, I know they are probably the most iconic shop in the food section but hey, when I was a kid I drank Milo peng not Hainanese Tea. Lol. With that said, I was told by a friend (whose parents know the owners of Ah Weng Koh) that they were considering to cease business for good once Imbi Market is relocated. Their children have careers of their own and it is left to the old folks to continue running the place. It is not an easy job to start your day at 4am to setup and face the continuous onslaught of people and their orders/demands until mid afternoon. However during my own visit, I am told they would relocate and still continue serving up their traditional hainanese tea and kaya toast. Lucky us!

The quintessential breakfast
So what's the future like for Imbi Market? Will its legacy remain despite the relocation? Will it still be the popular breakfast hang out place for many of its loyal customers? Will all the stalls continue on at the new premise or will some choose to go elsewhere or cease their business. This remains a mystery until the date of relocation and an actual visit to the new home of Imbi Market.

What I do know for sure is that Imbi Market is an icon in KL that is known and loved by all. So many write-ups have featured this place especially for its food. People from far and wide as come to visit and experience the unique charm and atmosphere it offers. It has definitely found a place deep in the hearts and memories of many; young and old.

My hopes are that people will always remember. Remember not just the food or the atmosphere but remember the people and faces behind the produce and food stalls... Remember the man yelling at you to get out of the way for him to deliver the drinks! :) Because if you do remember them, then the legacy continues beyond the soon-to-be-demolished brick walls of the Imbi Market.

I know I will... Always.

video
A short video walk through of Imbi Market.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Moving On...

It's time for a change... Time to move on...

http://www.nihcia-next-chapter.blogspot.com/

Are you coming or not?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Excited!!

I am excited... hee hee!!!  Looking forward to the weekend and coming holidays next week... Me is heading to SINGAPORE!!!*clap hands*

Got a list of activies lined up... guess what they are??!!!

Fun yah? ;)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Baking et al

So... what do you need to start baking? 

Everything in the picture below.. :) It makes a unique house warming gift eh?

Tabur Revisited again...




My Favourite hike... It always takes me to a different world... :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Not so great!


Today is a not so good day... Many thoughts playing on my mind...

Got to make some boxes to get me to my "zen" place... Ommmmm...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Who's reading??

Hmmm... I wonder whether is there anyone who actually reads my blog.. Especially since I had such a long hiatus...

So, just to poll... If u are reading this, why don't u say hi in the comment box of this posting... :D

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Focus Ai Chin!! Focus!!

Okay... I have been sitting in front of my textbook for more than an hour now and I have yet to flip the page... I just can't seem to get my mindset into the game... :(

Exam is tomorrow!!! Come on.. Buck up!!

Someone help me!!! I need some motivation... :(

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shell Eco Marathon Asia 2011

I signed up to be a volunteer at the Shell Eco Marathon 2011 Asian leg recently... It was hosted in Malaysia from 6-9th July 2011... We saw 13 countries participating and 94 vehicles in total. I have not had such a fun and tiring week in a long time... Had to wake up at 6am everyday just to make sure we were at the tracks by 7.30am.

I met a lot of new Shell colleagues from other countries and offices... :) Also got the chance to meet many students from around Asia... It impresses me so much to see them put so much efforts into building their vehicles... The trials and tribulations they have gone through in just this 4 days... Some teams managed to pass the scrutineering process quickly and get themselves on the track... other tried day after day to pass the technical inspections... but none of them every gave up... Even til the last day and hour we still saw students going through the inspections in hope of getting the all important safety and technical inspection stickers so that they can compete...

It was heartbreaking to see some teams unable to pass, even worse for teams who managed to pass but were too last to compete... There were even teams who went against all odds and succeeded... They were marked from the beginning as the team which had too many technical issues to even pass through the technical inspection but day by day they made the changes required and on the final day they got their approvals and got to the track... That was truly pure determination. I salute them for the efforts and them being a Malaysian team, I am even more proud of them.

Random photos from the 4 days....

All the vehicles and students line up for an official photo...
Lollipop girls? haha!
Event crew...
Mike! He developes the fuel for Ferrari F1... cool huh?
The infamous SIC umbrella... and Coco...
Riding a buggy on the circuit...
Just me and the circuit....
Moses Chan anyone? He is the Shell Fuelsave Ambassador for Hong Kong..
and the race begins...
New friends...
Steve is literally head and shoulders above me... ;)
Each country is represented at the opening ceremony...

Bali - 4th to 10th May 2011 - Part 2

Last day in Ubud before we head to Tanjung Benoa..... So we just walked around Ubud town and for the first time during this trip I bought quite a few items for myself... =) Last stop before leaving is for lunch... We went to another recommended place; Ryoshi... yeaps.. a Japanese restaurant... haha!! In Bali... Food was surprisingly quite good.. We has just a simple cold noodle and rice bowl with a couple of added side dish... It was simple and light yet well prepared...
Cold soba with tempura bits...
Fried Katsu
Fried Fish cakes
Sukiyaki rice bowl....
 Now that our tummies are full, time to head to Tanah Lot.. Can't go Bali and miss Tanah Lot right? So we are off to catch the sunset... Or so we thought. In the end it was just gradual darkness so we didn't bother to stay longer... but it was beautiful nevertheless...

No, am not committing suicide... just like sitting by the ledge...



It just me and the sea...
 
Now we are off for dinner at Jimbaran... our guide was nice enough to take us to a cheaper outlet which served smaller portions so that we could just experience the beachside setting... Wasnt too pleasant an experience since it was so dark I could hardly see what I ate... haha!
Tables we set with by the beach with candlelights...
My mini set of seafood...
Aili's without the crab...
 Time to check in to the hotel... This time I booked Oasis at Tanjung Benoa... a big disappointment since this hotel cost the most but it was also had the lousiest room and lousiest exchange rates.. I am beginning to think that Bookings.com should not sell rooms in USD if the hotels cant charge is USD. They keep having to convert it to Rupiah but with ridiculous exchange rates.. I just felt so cheated.
This was it... Ewww...
I got conned by this picture not knowing that this is the only nice thing about the hotel... Uurgghhh...!
 Last day in Bali... managed to persuade Ai Li to attend a surfing lesson with me... heheh!!! It was fun fun fun!! But extremely tiring... I can see why surfers are so fit... getting out to see with the board itself requires so much effort... The waves we just relentless... I kept thinking I was taking 10 steps forward and 20 steps backwards...
Lets start with some basic briefing...
Some beach side practice...
Warm up next...
Now into the sea we go... Paddle paddle paddle...
Time to get up....
and I fell as expected..
and again...
maybe?
nopes...
No again...
and again...
Finally... Tadaa!!!!
 After such vigorous exercise, it's definitely time for a spa session.... Mmm.... quite cool... it's a room for 2 with a private tub and all...
Would have been better with some air conditioning though....
Final night in Bali and final meal as well... Made reservations at the famous Bumbu Bali... It definitely did not disappoint...
Open kitchen where we can see all the action...
 
 We ordered the Rijstaffel which is actually a set meal where they served a bit of everything on a big platter... the portions were ridiculous... we order a 1 person set and this was what we got....
Appetizers... + an additional cold chicken salad...

Mains...
Desserts....
 It was definitely a good ending to our week in Bali... Would I go back? Maybe yes, maybe no. Didn't like the sweaty sticky feeling throughout the entire trip.... we shall see... so far I have not repeated my travel destinations yet so this might not be the first choice for repeats...