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Pasar Batu Tarakan, where Indonesians shop for Malaysian products

When visiting Indonesians want to buy souvenirs at Tarakan island in North Kalimantan, the place most people suggest is Pasar Batu Tarakan.

But for Malaysians, it might not be the most ideal place. This was because Pasar Batu Trakan sells mostly Malaysian products.

Most of these products were brought in from Tawau, Sabah which is a 40-minute plane ride or four-hour boat ride from Tarakan island.

Malaysian Milo, the most sought after item at Pasar Batu Tarakan

If you ever take a flight from Kuching to Pontianak, you might notice many Indonesians carrying Milo as their hand-carry items.

They found Malaysian Milo to be more delicious than the Indonesian-made one. Plus, it is thicker, less sweet but richer in cocoa flavour than theirs.

So Malaysians, do not be surprised if you can find Milo at every stall at Pasar Batu Tarakan.

They are sold in different weights as well as 3-in-1 versions, just as you would find them in Malaysian supermarkets.

Other Malaysian beverages sold at Pasar Batu Tarakan were Nespray milk, Old Town Coffee, Ovaltine, Quaker Oat and children’s milk Lactogen.

Speaking of oats, one of the hottest items at Pasar Bayu Tarakan is made-in-China Twinfish Oat Choco. However be careful, as this is supposedly the most counterfeited item in Malaysia. Its distributor Jie Cheng Hang Sdn Bhd claimed that there are over 16 brands of the similar product in Malaysia. And the one found at this souvenir market came from Malaysia.

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Apart from Twinfish Oat Choco, Indonesians also love Malaysian Apollo cakes. A Malaysian favourite childhood snack, the market also sold plenty variety of Apollo cakes there.

So what do Malaysians buy at Pasar Batu Tarakan?

Although Malaysian products made up 90% of the items being sold at Pasar Batu Tarakan, it does not mean Malaysians cannot buy anything interesting from there.

You can buy affordable crackers (kerupuk) made from locally caught fish like ikan tipis and ikan bulu ayam.

If you are a coffee lover, you must take one packet of Kopi Malinau Equato. It is one of North Kalimantan’s very own robusta available in dark and medium roasted variety.

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at or Twitter at @patriciahului.

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