Monday, June 23, 2008


Food prices in Peninsular cheaper than those in Sabah, Sarawak


Food prices in Sabah and Sarawak are still higher than those in Peninsular Malaysia, according to the weekly marketing guide posted on the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry’s website. While all the States in Peninsular Malaysia show a significant increase in food prices, such as those for poultry and vegetables, in Sabah and Sarawak they are at least 10 per cent to 15 per cent costlier. However, the prices of seafood like fish and prawns are much cheaper. Ikan kembung hitam and hijau (local) cost only RM6 in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu while in Seremban, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru and Alor Star they cost between RM7.50 to RM10 per kg. Prawn (small) costs only RM6 in both Sabah and Sarawak while in Kangar, Malacca, Ipoh and Penang they cost between RM8 to’ as high as RM16 per kg. “This is probably due to proximity. Sabah and Sarawak share a border with the province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the South,” said a trader in the SS2, PJ, market. “The traders don’t need to import seafood from the Peninsula so they don’t need to increase the price to make huge profits,” he said. When it comes to dry food, Kota Kinabalu still records the highest prices. Eggs (A, B and C grade) are about 8 per cent to 10 per cent more expensive and the same goes for the different types of vegetables, Qnions and garlic. And while the price of red onions is between RM1.40 and RM2 in Kuantan, Terengganu and Penang, in Sabah the red are priced at RM4 per kg. Shallots are sold at RM6 in Sabah and Sarawak while in the peninsula they are sold between only RM2.50 and RM4 per kg. Sabah has some beautiful places worth visiting and one of them is the Central Market in Kota Kinabalu. The market has two sections - the waterfront area for fish and an area in front of the harbour for fruits and vegetables. Other things to look out for are orchids and grapes imported from the United States and asparagus that is grown on the slopes of Mount Kinabalu. The prices of the food may be on the high side but you are guaranteed produce that is fresh as it is grown locally. The market offers almost everything, from a betel nut chew (a local concoction which leaves the mouth bright red), strange jungle fruits, nose-tingling spices and fresh herbs. Amid the stalls selling souvenirs are small outlets where Malaysian artists display their works. Here, visitors may even have their portrait painted or order custom-made crafts. In case you ever get bored, just outside the market is a riverside amphitheatre where there’s always a wayang kulit show, as well as more contemporary entertainment for the younger crowds. Another market that is worth mentioning is the one next to the wet market, in the waterfront area. The market is aptly-named Filipino Market, as most of the stalls are owned by Filipinos who sell a wide range of souvenirs, as well as fashion apparel.