KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 — While it is a Malay-majority area, Kampung Datuk Keramat in Kuala Lumpur has an Oriental as well as an Indian past. The village which was once a site for mining tin was once known as Kampung Tangga Cina or village of the Chinese stairs.
It was named after a staircase made of stone which led to the resting place of Kapitan Cina Yap Ah Loy (an important figure in the growth and development of Kuala Lumpur) in nearby Bukit Setiawangsa.
Apparently, the name was given by Indian labourers of that time who were known as “Tanggaci”.
It became a village inhabited by mostly Malay of Javanese, Minangkabau, Boyan and Bugis descent in the early 1920s and experienced a name change from Kampung Tangga Cina to Kampung Datuk Keramat when the Kuala Lumpur Municipality (KLM) became the Local Council of Kuala Lumpur pre-independence.
The name Kampung Datuk Keramat is said to have come about when the grave of an unknown person in the area became the site of prayers and offerings by people who believed that the tomb was sacred (keramat in Malay) and mystical.
Today, what’s magical about the place which is simply known as Keramat by locals is its kampung allure.
Many of the homes here are made of wood and some residents still get around within the vicinity by bicycle or motorcycle.
It is also a place where you can find some of the best traditional Malay dishes which are unique to states such as Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, Melaka, Negri Sembilan and Johor.
These include laksa Kedah, mee rebus Johor, laksam (from the east coast states of Kelantan and Terengganu), asam pedas (from Melaka), akok (a sweet treat from Terengganu) and masak lemak cili padi (synonymous with Negri Sembilan).
Scattered all around the area, these simple, fuss-free eateries offer the most palatable of prices. A hearty bowl of laksa costs RM5.
The affordability aspect is another key appeal of Keramat and Pasar Datuk Keramat is a popular market for those looking to buy reasonably-priced food, fruits and more.
For instance, 1kg of fish balls cost RM2.50, 500g of mangosteen is priced at RM3 and 500g of freshly-squeezed coconut milk is tagged at RM3.50.
Here, you can also find a vast array of sweet as well as savoury traditional Malay delights like tepung pelita (double-layered rice flour dessert), cucur badak (sweet potato with spicy coconut filling), kuih lapis (steamed layer cake), deep fried sesame seed balls, pulut inti (glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaf and topped with sweet, grated coconut), cara berlauk (Malay-style minced beef dumpling) and more.
Tempted already? What’s even more irresistible is that most of these mouth-watering delicacies are sold at RM2 for five!
Better still, the market where you can find these goodies is located right across the Dato’ Keramat LRT station.
The elevated station is served by the Kelana Jaya Line and from here, there are Rapid KL buses that goes to Desa Pandan, Ampang Point, Leboh Ampang, Jalan Jelatek, Jalan Padang Tembak, Kompleks Pertama and many other places.
You can get more information on the bus numbers and their routes from friendly staff members at the station or the signboards available at the bus stop below.
For commuters’ convenience, there is a myNEWS.com general store which opens daily from 6.30am to 11pm as well as Coolblog, a dessert and beverage kiosk at the station.