Ramadhan Bazaar has become such a Malaysian icon and a huge part of our Malaysian culture, that it is no longer only visited by Muslims who are fasting during the month of Ramadhan, but also non-Muslims. As you know, Malaysians have a fascination for food, so the Ramadhan Bazaar is no exception and you will see all walks of Malaysians crowding these bazaars to sample the food.
I recently visited the Ramadhan Bazaar near my house and was fascinated with the selection of foods available. Unfortunately, i am looking at this from a fitness perspective and sorry to say but much of the selection in the Ramadhan bazaar is unhealthy, but i still managed to find some that were decently healthy.
Here are some of the things i found that were relatively healthy to eat or how you can make it into a healthier meal.
Roasted Chicken Wings - when i saw the stall selling this, i had to get it. The ones i got were spicy honey BBQ wings. It was absolutely delicious. Other roasted chicken available was of course the Ayam Percik. I also saw one stall roasting and selling whole chickens, but by the time i saw the stall, i already had too much food in my hands, so i said i will check it out next time.
Ikan Bakar - Marinated in spices and a chili paste and then wrapped with banana leaf and baked. This is another of my favourites and the one i got tasted wonderful. I always squeeze some lime over it before i eat it.
Satay - OK, satay can be unhealthy because of the satay sauce (which is usually loaded with sugar) and the little piece of fat in between. If you want to be healthy, be sure to remove that piece of fat in the middle of the satay and eat the saucce sparingly. If you can do that, you have a pretty healthy meal on your hands. If you are going to eat the entire thing, then its not so healthy. So eat wisely.
Roti John - technically this is a pretty healthy thing to eat. Its egg, chicken or beef, with onions and lettuce pasted onto a bun. Problem is, every time i have bought this in the Ramadhan Bazaar, all i could taste was Mayonaise. Thats because they drown the entire thing with maynaise and chilli sauce. So if you could tell the vendor to cut back on the Mayo and Chilli sauce, then this is a pretty decent meal to get. OR, tell him to put the Mayo and Chilli separately - this way, you choose how much you want to take. PLUS, i think it will taste a whole lot better this way.
Nasi Campur - Again, it is what you choose to put on your plate that makes it healthy or unhealthy. If you want to be healthy, choose more vegetables instead of the fried items. The one thing i saw in almost all stalls - ayam goreng with the "serbuk". OK, not sure what you call it, but this is the coating of the chicken that comes off from the chicken when you deep fry it and sinks to the bottom of the "kuali" and sits there. then these guys scrap it up and sprinkle it all over the chicken. Tasty? Absolutely. Healthy.... err.... maybe not. So just be careful once again with what you throw onto your plate.
Unfortunately, all the other things i saw were pretty unhealthy, so i stayed away from it. They had the usual selection of kuihs, dadih, drinks, nasi lemak and murtabak... which reminds me.. the one unhealthy thing i did indulge in was the the Murtabak... i really love Murtabak, so i decided to treat myself to it. Absolutely wonderful.
Overall Rating - Ramadhan bazaars aren't the healthiest place to get your meals, but you can still find some pretty decent food if you look carefuly and be careful with how you order it. I would not recommend it everyday, but hey, every once in awhile is OK. I understand that these bazaars have become so popular because most people are rushing back from work and don't have enough time to cook before its time to buka puasa. So if you go there frequently, try your best to make some smart choices as mentioned above. Its not impossible and these small steps will go a long way towards your health.
Anyway, what are your favourite foods at the Ramadhan Bazaar? Do share with us and as usual, look forward to hearing your comments