Central Market Kuala Lumpur (Pasar Seni)
The Centre for Malaysian Culture, Heritage, Arts & Craft
Then & Now...Through the Years
A history of Central Market Kuala Lumpur
When the wet market was relocated in the 1980s, the Malaysian Heritage Society successfully petitioned against the demolition of the building. Through an allocation of RM9million granted by the Federal Government, the building underwent another facelift and was transformed into a centre for Malaysian culture, arts and handicraft. The façade has remained unaltered to retain the charm of yesteryears.
On 15th April 1986, Melewar Leisure Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Kumpulan Melewar Berhad took ownership of the building to promote Malaysian culture through the sales of local art and craft products.
In 2004, the Kha Seng Group acquired this iconic building. Under the company Central Market Sdn Bhd, the building and its accompanying Annexe was transformed into an award-winning tourist attraction and shopping destination, without compromising their enduring significance as the centre of the nation’s culture, art and heritage.
Central Market Sdn Bhd invested RM10million in extensive upgrading work whilst making a conscious decision to maintain the market’s unique charm and character. Many positive changes were introduced including the initiation of zoned shopping areas and the upgrading of stalls and kiosks, thereby creating a net lettable area estimated at over 70,000 square feet of retail space.
Over the last 20 years, the tenants of Central Market have unreservedly contributed to the tourism industry by selling and promoting Malaysian arts and handicrafts and souvenirs to both the foreign tourists as well as local visitors. Hence Central Market has not only been promoting the Malaysian Culture, but has also created business opportunities for many deserving entrepreneurs.
Malaysia is well known for her multi-racial culture where people of different races live in peace and harmony. To reflect our colourful culture, Central Market Kuala Lumpur features zones with shops, stalls and kiosks that highlight the 3 main races found in Malaysia. These zones are Lorong Melayu, Lorong Cina and Lorong India and serve the purpose of giving visitors an insight into the cultural variety in Malaysia. Another zone known as Lorong Kelapa, is a charming lane where an amazing variety of traditional Malay snacks can be found, from all kinds of keropok (crackers) and kuih (cakes) to sweets and fried goodies like Kuih Bijan, Kuih Loyang, Epok-Epok (mini curry puffs) and many more.
Malacca Jonker Street is a lane featuring single and double-storey Baba-Nyonya-inspired architecture. Here, you will find The Blue Mansion filled with beautiful Malaysian antiques, a Batik Emporium which houses batik prints sewn into clothes, shoes, bags and various home finishing accessories. Rumah Melayu also showcases the uniqueness of a Malay kampung (village) house.
Local interest in Central Market is rejuvenated by marketing it as a comprehensive shopping centre for Malaysian handicrafts, art, kebaya, songket, batik and the wide variety of Malaysian food. Central Market is home to well-known F&B outlets such as Secret Recipe, Old Town White Coffee, Precious Old China Restaurant, Ginger Restaurant and Central Market Food Court.
The colourful Malaysian culture is also regularly showcased at the Central Market Kuala Lumpur’s Outdoor Stage. Whether it is to celebrate a festival or just to liven up the surroundings, cultural performances and shows play a big role here in opening the eyes of visitors to our shared culture.