Memories of the Vibrant Bazar Bulat Still Linger

By: Aida Aziz
Photo source: Social media/contributed by readers.

IPOH: Many still reminisce about the existence of Bazar Bulat or Round Market, which stood in the town of Ipoh for over 40 years, despite its demolition in 2001.

Interestingly, a new building called The Octagon now stands in the place of the market, with its name paying tribute to the unique octagonal design of Bazar Bulat.

If you ask long-time residents of this city, they will undoubtedly refer to that area as Bazar Bulat, which played a significant role in the past, contributing to the local economy.

According to sources from Abdur-Razzaq Lubis & Khoo Salma Nasution’s books “Ipoh The City That Tin Built” and “Ipoh, Perak State Government, 1999,” Yau Tet Shin was awarded the tender to construct 300 shop houses and a market on the right bank of the Kinta River in 1905.

Subsequently, the area became known as Pekan Baru Ipoh.

Previously, the market was named after Yau Tet Shin. Unfortunately, during that time, it could not compete with the bustling Pasar Besar Ipoh (Ipoh Main Market).

According to historical researcher Nor Hisham Zulkiflee, to revitalize and rename the market, in 1961, the Ipoh Municipal Council invited architects from across Malaya and Singapore to redesign the building.

“In the early stages of the market’s construction in 1905, we were unaware of its original design. Bazar Bulat was built in 1961 because the old market building did not receive much attention.

“The new design for this commercial centre or bazaar was won by Architect Booty & Partners, with a construction cost of $500,000.

“It served as the Yau Tet Shin Market and shopping centre, and since then, the building became a landmark of Ipoh known as Bazar Bulat.

“After its reconstruction, it became a market selling various goods, similar to a shopping complex, and received favourable responses from both traders and the public.

“Just as there is Pasar Rabu in Kedah, here in Ipoh, we have Bazar Bulat,” he said when approached.

Nor Hisham also mentioned that the uniqueness of this building was depicted in the book “Town Boy” by Datuk Lat.

“To this day, there are still a few businesses or restaurants that operated in the old Bazar Bulat, such as Nasi Ayam Fuziah, which are still in operation and remain popular among Ipoh residents,” he added.

Nor Hisham further explained that in 2001, the building was deemed unsafe for use and was demolished for safety reasons.

Subsequently, a hotel named Octagon was constructed on the same site.

Meanwhile, for the people of Ipoh, Mior Khairudin Mohd Idris, 54, described Bazar Bulat as a nostalgic place that evokes memories.

“In the past, it was bustling with food stalls, clothing vendors, and more. The most popular stall back then was undoubtedly Nasi Ayam Fuziah, which has stood the test of time.

“Many people from Ipoh and other districts would come here to buy clothes with their families, and some would gather here with friends. Even now, we still refer to the place as Bazar Bulat,” said Mior Khairudin, who resides in Station 18.

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