A little-known gem in the city is Chow Kit Market, located in a seedier part of town – Chow Kit. This market is one of the most underrated places I know in KL!
One thing I like about this market is the ability to buy things in a way that’s almost packaging-free, zero-waste and eco-friendly. I can pick the exact garlics that I want, and however many of them I want and being able to say no to plastic bags easily.
The alternative to grocery shopping at a wet market is of course grocery shopping at a supermarket. Supermarkets offer convenience and cleanliness but what I don’t like about supermarkets is the insane amount of packaging and waste involved. When I want to buy, say, five oranges, I will have to put them into a plastic bag to be weighed, after which a sticker would be put on the plastic bag to indicate the weight and price of the oranges and the plastic bag would probably be sealed off with a sticker. You can already how this results in waste: the plastic bag, the seal sticker and the price sticker exist just to facilitate pricing, payment and so you don’t put more oranges into the bag after getting it weighed. You may recycle the plastic bag, of course, but when you want to remove the seal, you would probably ruin the plastic bag and hence, it goes straight to the trash.
Small things like these add up over time and if enough people do it (yes, there are more than enough people doing it), they do have a significant impact on the environment.
Shopping at a wet market, where your items are directly weighed and priced, and you pay directly to the seller right away, eliminates the waste that I’ve discussed above. If you don’t want a plastic bag, you can just refuse and put your purchase straight into your own bag. Some sellers may not be used to such a practice and insist on giving you a plastic bag because they think putting apples into your bag would ruin it.
For this reason alone, I would definitely shop at markets instead of supermarkets. Every small gesture in saving the environment counts!
For a wet market that’s easily accessible by public transportation including train (Monorail) and bus, check out Chow Kit Market!