Pasar tani means farmer’s market in Malay.
One can always find a big variety of fresh ingredients and food at such an event, which is held throughout Malaysia.
The last pasar tani that I visited was in Larkin, in the state of Johore.
In line with my interest, I was mostly drawn towards the traditional or heritage food.
One was the circular-shaped sweet snack called deram deram. It is made from rice flour and palm sugar which gives it the rich caramel color. There is an art to frying deram deram. The oil has to be at just the right temperature for the rings to be slightly crispy on the outside, while maintaining a soft texture on the inside.
Another favorite is kuih apam, which is steamed cakes. They are usually eaten for breakfast.
I remember my grandmother used to bring home these cakes from her early morning rounds at the Geylang Market. The cakes come in different colors, and as a child, I was attracted to the brighter ones, and would try to grab the pink one for myself.
Kuih apam is often served with grated coconut. As an adult, I realize that much of the enjoyment of this sweet is in the simultaneous play of contrast and complement. The pristine white of the grated coconut contrasts with the bright colors. A pinch of salt is usually added to the coconut, and this little bit of salty tang brings out the sweetness of the cakes.