best Street Markets in malaysia
A Truly Authentic Local Market: Nat Pokok Getah, Arau, Perlis

Malaysia is truthfully one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, and my recent trip to Perlis - the smallest and northernmost state in Malaysia - has opened my eyes to many more amazing wonders.

A Truly Authentic Local Market: Nat Pokok Getah, Arau, Perlis

Nat Pokok Getah is more than just a morning market: it is a copybook example of everything Malaysia represents. Amidst the bustling carts loaded with commodities and freshly harvested produce, the locals - both young and old - gather blithely to share a hearty breakfast, stock up on household necessities, or simply to discuss their plans for the day.

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An elderly man in his vehicle at Nat Pokok Getah
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An elderly vendor selling vegetables at Nat Pokok Getah

Time passes slower in the northern countryside.
The locals have chosen to live fully and nonchalantly in the present. There is no hurry or pressure in getting things done. Every smile is sincere, and every conversation struck bears a purpose. Life is perceptibly more meaningful, joyful and composed here.

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The Wonderful Local Produce of Perlis

Nat Pokok Getah is a wonderland for both culinary experts and seasoned home cooks. Nat translates to a market, and pokok getah means rubber tree. Located within a rubber estate in Pauh, vendors from across the region come together to form this morning market on Fridays and Sundays. It first started in 1998, and has thrived ever since as it has been bringing profitability to the vendors and convenience to the buyers.

Perhaps the most unique feature of the market is that it is always shaded - all thanks to the huge surrounding rubber trees that form a natural canopy.

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The rubber trees surround the market to form a natural canopy

Perlis is the perfect starting point for those looking to discover and explore the amazing raw ingredients and yields from this region. Bordering Thailand's Satun province, it harvests the best crops both countries have to offer:

pekasam ikan air tawar
Pekasam are typically freshwater fishes preserved in salt, tamarind, brown sugar and roasted rice.
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The seasonal and highly demanded Perlis Sunshine Gold mangoes 
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Burung Puyoh or Japanese quails
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Burung Puyoh or the Japanese quails
buah kerdas genuak
Buah Kerdas or Genuak - a type of edible stinky fruit
urap jagung, ubi kayu, emping padi
Urap Jagung (steamed corn with grated coconut), Ubi Kayu or tapioca, and Emping Padi (young green rice with grated coconut) 
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Pre-made sauces and condiments for popular Malay dishes
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A vendor arranging his goods for sale.
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A variety of local mollusks
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At RM10 per plate it's an absolute steal!

Cheap & Authentic Local Food at Nat Pokok Getah

It was quite an experience to have my breakfast here. The selection is kept strictly and delightfully Malay - packed with immense flavors and spices. Best of all, visitors can enjoy a satisfying meal completed with a drink and dessert for just under RM10.

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An "economy rice" stall that allows customers to select any combination of dishes, typically served with a portion of rice or noodles.

Live Animals, Secondhand Goods & Antiques for Sale at Nat Pokok Getah

Besides fresh produce and food, there is an entire section at Nat Pokok Getah dedicated to selling unconventional items such as live animals (either for eating or as pets - I honestly cannot tell the difference today anymore), rare antiques and bundle - a local slang for used clothes.

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Used phones and gadgets
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Used shoes

Local Tobacco & Kopi Timbang at Nat Pokok Getah

One of the highlights of the trip was trying out the local tobacco and coffee in Perlis.
The tobacco is like nothing I've seen before - they come in sheets and are sold by the gram. There are different flavors and intensity to suit individual preferences, and these roll-your-own cigarettes are a lot more economical compared to commercial brands.

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Local tobacco is manufactured in the form of sheets and is sold by the gram.
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A vendor preparing an order by cutting the sheets and weighing the tobacco

Kopi Timbang or "scale coffee" is local coffee sold by weighing it on the scale. There are two variations available - black and white - which already have sugar added in them.

serbuk kopi timbang perlis
Kopi Timbang or local Perlis coffee sold at Nat Pokok Getah
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The machine used to grind the local coffee beans

Nat Pokok Getah in Perlis is a sight to behold. It can easily be ranked as one of the top attractions in this tiny state located at the top of Malaysia and right below the Satun province of Thailand. Don't forget to include this as your travel destination when you visit the region in the future. Happy exploring!

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