Pasar Rame – Medan, North Sumatra

Pasar Rame is one of the most famous traditional markets in Medan.‘Rame’ is derived from the word ‘ramai’ which means crowded in English. Established since 1973, most of the stores have been passed down from one generation to another. As the centre of family businesses, you would expect that each of them offers unique features or Pasar Rametaste from one another despite of the similarities of the goods sold. Some of them might be better or more famous than the other which is usually reflected by the price. So, one rule that you should bear in mind when visiting this market is never forget to haggle and haggle. Therefore, mastering some local Hokkien phrases like kuice (how much for asking price) and kamsia (thank you) might come in handy for this situation.

Aside of daily necessities, some highlighted goods that you would find here:

  • Varieties of sweet fermented fruits

One thing that comes to mind for most Medanese when we mention Pasar Rame would be the sweet fermented fruits. Here, you could find some fruits like snakefruits, mangoes, ambarellas, nellikais (a kind of orange), nutmegs, guavas or even the rose apples (also known as chompoo). You would find that those fruits are either dried or pickled with varieties of sweetness level offered to customers. Each store would offer a slightly different taste according to the heredited family recipes from each store.

  • Local light meals

Some highlighted light meals that you should try while you are at the market would be pecel (vegetables with nut topping and chip known as peyek), misop (rice noodles or fettucine known as kwetiau with meatballs and chicken meat), es campur (shaved ice topped with jellies, red beans, and fermented cassava plus coconut and brown sugar sauce). These light meals would just be perfect to recharge your energy after a tiring shopping day.

  • Traditional Chinese clothes and accessories for Chinese Lunar New Year

Pasar Rame is also ideal if you are looking for some traditional Chinese clothings, delicacies, and handmade Chinese accessories (both for religious occassions and souvenirs). It’s best to avoid buying them here when it is closer to the Lunar New Year since the price would be skyrocketting due to the high demands.

Location and operational hours:

Location: Jalan Thamrin, next to Thamrin Plaza

Operational hours: Morning (06.00 or 07.00 am) – Afternoon (05.00 or 06.00 pm)

Direction: From the Central Train Station, it takes only around 8 minutes by taxis or bikes.