Pasar Pelbagai Barangan Gadong: fresh new look, same old charm
Affordable and authentic with rich history
It’s bustling with activity as people browse through the myriad of
foods and items on display backed by the sonorous voices of men and
women hawking their wares.
The newly launched Pasar Pelbagai Barangan is the much
awaited answer to the vendors’ plight which was brought to the attention
of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the
Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
The impressive 5,979 square metre open-air-concept building is within
a stone’s throw of its old location and the iconic Gadong Wet Market.
It houses more than 150 vendors from a diverse background, selling an
equally diverse amount of products ranging from food and produce to
clothes and toys.
The area has been segregated into three sections: A, B and C, with
the vendors categorised as Grilling, Cooking, Non-Cooking, and Fruits
It also comes with the welcome addition of seating, where people can
enjoy their food in comfort as opposed to eating while walking or
standing around, sinks for people to wash their hands, toilets and even a
full-fledged surau where many Muslims can fulfil their religious obligations without having to drive very far.
It’s located on some prime real estate not five minutes away from The
Mall, so don’t be surprised to see a lot of cars parked by the roadside
as people come to the market, probably after work or after picking up
the kids from school, to get some cheap and delicious street food.
Despite the new look, with its high vaulted ceiling and tiled floors,
the night market has retained most of its charms, from the smoky haze
of grilled foods that just makes your mouth water, to the friendly
vendors who would not hesitate to chat with you as you browse their
wares, regardless whether they speak the language or not.
a traiditional Bruneian dish that involves spiced scrapings of meat
wrapped in banana leaves or something similar and then grilled over an
“That’s part of the charm. You’d see vendors trying to talk to
tourists using gestures trying to coax them into trying something that
they may or may not have seen before,” said Lee, a mid-thirties male
He said that as someone who at times has to find himself stretching a
dollar here and there, the night market, whether it was at the old
place or here at the new one, is a great place for him whenever he’s too
lazy to cook.
“I can stretch $5 and get myself some great tasting cendol and soto or whatever I feel like having. There are a lot of choices,” Lee said with a smile.
In Sweden they call this a smorgasbord – a grand buffet with everything under the sun. All your local staples: pais, pulut panggang and various Malay kuehs as well as Satay and Mee Mamak.
Anchovies cooked with peanuts and chilli, a popular traditional Bruneian snack.
However, there is one difference between the new and the old and that
is the batch of fresh faces that are selling things that many would
have been hard pressed to find in the old place such as a stalls that
sell fusion foods and specialty coffee among other things.
Md Safwan Md Hamri, a 26-year-old who just opened a stall at B49
along with a two of his friends wanted to serve specialty coffees to the
market goers along with a small selection of fusion foods.
Md Safwan making some coffee at his stall at the Pasar Pelbagai Barangan in Gadong.
“The market is located in a strategic place and most people come to the tamu
for cheap food. So me and my friends got the idea of rather than going
to expensive coffee chains such as Coffee Bean or Starbucks for their
coffee, we can offer people coffee at a cheaper price,” said the
Then there are youths such as Muhammad Miqdam Zaini, a 23-year-old
graduate who plies his skill in writing jawi calligraphy to the market
goers as well as taking orders for specialty portraits.
“Alhamdulillah, the new building is more than we asked for and we are very grateful,” said the artist.
One of the long time vendors of the market, Hj Awang Damit Hj Ismail
or more famously known as Hj Bosnia, is very happy with the new place,
especially with the facilities. The charmingly chatty old man has been a
vendor for thirty years and he recounted some of his memories at the
“We would have camps located here and there, the conditions of the
tents ranging from decent to plagued with holes, and everything dyed an
orange tint from the glow of the bulbs,” said the dimunitive 60-plus-old
“We’d have good days but when it rains, then sales would suffer so I
am personally grateful that we have a nice roof over our head,” he said.
He has one advice to people visiting the market and his fellow
vendors. “Now that we have been given this ‘palace for traders (mahligai
perniaga)’ let us work together to keep everything looking nice and
Those looking to visit the new market can get there by foot from The
Mall, which is about five minutes away, or they could take the No. 01,
20 or 22 bus which all stops at the market. Just follow the smoke trail.
You can’t miss it.
Ayam golek or spit roast chicken at the Pasar Pelbagai Barangan.
Source of article is BizBrunei.