Our new home town, Mersing, is a pretty small place, it only has one set of traffic lights, a couple of circles and has somehow managed to arrange itself into a shamble of one way roads or “Jalan Sehala” as they are called in Bahasa Malaysia. In any case Mersing is a pivotal town for all foreigners looking to get to the beautiful islands off the Southeast coast, the most famous being Tioman Island, because this is where the ferries leave from!
But what do you do if you plan to overnight in Mersing before heading to Tioman on the morning ferry (protip: do this), is it possible to overnight here? Of course! For such a small town Mersing has an incredible selection of hotels, b&b’s and even a backpackers. Here’s Lonely Planet’s guide to accommodation in Mersing. The good news is that if you happen to be here on a weekend then you can head to the Friday night market in Mersing which sells all kinds of incredible local Malaysian street food, fresh produce, clothing and more. We’ve also just written a guide to Mersing.
If you’re a tourist and have arrived by bus, chances are that your accommodation is going to be on the ‘jetty’ side of town, this means your walk to the market will be about ten minutes, and it also means that you’ll have to cross the Mersing River bridge where some pretty spectacular sunsets can be seen from.
Longan or Dragon Eyes (Tastes similar to litchis.) I love this fruit!
A cat(fish) among the, er, other fish.
Different types of mangos – we haven’t figured what is best for what just yet but we’re getting there.
Banana’s by the kilogram, yes please!
A peanuty type pancake dessert. Tastes exactly the same as those old peanut sweets that were made to look like real peanuts and tasted phenomenal (you know what I mean right?) – this tastes just like those! A great find.
Yummmmmm…The famous Malaysian Satay. These are chicken but at the market you’ll find beef and lamb too.
Drinks to quench your thirst.
Putu Bambu (yes, because it’s made in bamboo) – a rice based (I think) type of dessert filled with delicious palm sugar in the centre. Definitely worth a try.
Sweet & juicy corn.
Chickpeas and and (actual) peanuts.
Murtabak (?) filled with ayam (chicken) or daging (meat – beef or lamb – your choice)
The locals love it here.
Popcorn. Somewhat of a bone of contention for us here. You can only get popcorn with some kind of sweet flavour to accompany it. Usually caramel. The idea of salted popcorn seems lost upon our Malaysian friends. Nevertheless, if want some caramel popcorn for the road, here’s the place to stock up on it.
A word of warning: on hot days the market can get quite smelly due the open drains. You either get lucky and there are no smells or you aren’t. In which case I recommend shopping with a clothing peg attached firmly to your nose and then moving away to eat your meal somewhere less ‘fragrant.’
Who knows why Asian drains are the way they are but they’re not changing anytime soon, so in meanwhile let’s just deal with it :)