Monday, 23 February 2009

Pasar Kutu & Homemade Soaps

Pasar kutu??? Yes, pasar kutu, I have literally translated from English......flea market. 

Well, actually, a flea market is called pasar lambak in Malay (at least, I think so), but I really think it's more fun to call it pasar kutu, as in, a market of fleas. hahahaha!!!

Anyway.....yesterday, hubby and I popped by the flea market at Amcorp Mall. The flea market operates from 10am to 6pm, Saturdays & Sundays. A table rental is RM30 on Saturdays, and RM50 on Sundays. 

Although the flea market has been around for years, this is only our second visit there. Most of the vendors are retired people selling antiques, stamp collections, old black & white photos, collectibles like coal irons, records, record players and even magazines dating from 1960. And some items that are so antique that I couldn't quite figure out what. 

There was a table that sold homemade soaps, which the vendor claimed he made them himself. Now, that really got me interested, as I love homemade soaps made from natural ingredients. 

But at the same time, I was puzzled, as from what I understood, lye, a basic ingredient in soaps, is not available to the individual. Only large organisations like Palmolive could buy it as lye falls under the poison or hazardous category. So, how did the vendor make his soap? Did he import lye from Indonesia?

His answer was no. In fact, he had never heard of lye, even after I spelled it out for him. He said he did not use lye, and does not know what lye is. So, how? To satisfy my curiosity, we bought a scrub bar that he claims is what people use to make their skin fair. Hubby wanted to look as fair as me, so he was sold immediately. :))

This is the soap we bought. It's RM5, and the vendor said it could last 3 weeks, used on a daily basis. The ingredients are: curcuma aromatica extract, rhinacantus nasutus extract, palm kenelate, perfume (essential oil), glycerin & water. lye. The ingredients don't mean a thing to me. Hope my cousin, the soap-making expert, could help me understand the ingredients better.

I also bought a pot of plant for my mum. Blackie my cat & master had chewed my mum's precious plant until it is all gone, and my mum had been moaning the fact that it's not available anywhere in KL, not even in the nurseries in Sungai Buloh. She was beginning to think she would have to make a trip to Penang to procure this plant.

It costs only RM5, and the vendor said he grew it himself in his own garden. It is an indoor plant and must not come into contact with sunlight. Hope Blackie will leave this plant alone. So far, he hasn't noticed it yet. :))


celena said...

Naughty Blackie! hahahaha...potong from his pocket money ;-)

Cazzy said...

wahh, another plant for Blackie?? Hehehe, i takut takut d as my kids had broken many many pots and killed all the indoor plants!!! Hehehehe.... I'm also interested in the soap lah, i also want to be as fair as you!! :P

ms kay poh said...

if there's no lye in the ingredient list, that means it is a syndet bar. syndet is short form for synthetic detergent. to make them, you buy the base, melt it down, add color and fragrance and other supplements if desired, and then pour into your moulds. that's the best alternative if you can't get lye. think of it as making soya bean drink from a mix vs making it from scratch.

ms kay poh said...

p.s. the 1st 2 ingredients are herbal extracts and what is likely to make the bar scrubby (since it is scrub bar). i think the 1st one may be from the turmeric or cumin family. the palm kernelate is the cleansing agent. glycerin is to make it more moisturizing; in soap made with lye this would be a natural byproduct but in a syndet bar you would need to add it.

Blackie Bond said...

That means, no more salmon treats for Blackie wor, haha. Hope your invisible Tom doesn't munch on your plants invisibly. :))

Ooooiii, dear! The plant is not for Blackie lah, hahaha. It's for my mum & she decided to put it on an even higher shelf so hopefully Blackie can't get to it. He's too fat to jump too high. LOLs!!

Hey, you're very fair yourself, any fairer & you'll be a hantu. :P

ms kay poh,
Thanks so much for explaining. Yup, the vendor did mention about Indian girls using tumeric on their face to make themselves fairer, but that means, hubby will be YELLOW fair!!! Eeeek!!!!

Hmm....if the vendor used a base (like a soya drink mix instead of making from scratch), shouldn't he list that base in the ingregients, too? And is such a base available for sale in M'sia to an individual? And what would the base be called? That would be interesting to find out, I think.

ms kay poh said...

blackie ah, since i don't live in m'sia, i do not know if such a base would be available for sale to an individual. normally it is called "melt and pour soap base" but then the shop/pemborong might call it by something else. as for whether the seller should have listed all the ingredients, again i do not know the laws in m'sia, whether sellers are required to list everything. as it appears, the ingredient list doesn't look correct, since normally an ingredient list would show the items by predominance in descending order. the supplements should not be listed first, otherwise if there are more supplements than cleansing agent, the soap may not have much lather. it would be like a pandan cake whose ingredient listing is: pandan essence, flour, etc.

thefluffies said...

I think malay call flea market is Pasar Karat! I donno anything about soap, but hope ur hubby will be as fair as u..

And if i were u, yes i will cut Blackie's pocket money ;D

lupie said...

Hehehehe... so, your hubby turned "yellow" yet?

Blackie Bond said...

ms kay poh,
So far, I've noticed that the ingredients list for things made in M'sia, like ice cream, Lux soap, shampoo, etc., do adhere to the predominance rule. I just don't know if this home-made soap vendor does the same.

But he did tell me one thing: that his soaps are exactly like those long yellow bars in our grandmothers' days, those long yellow homemade bars that they have to cut up before they can use. He said it is exactly like those soaps, very firm, and lasting. Those soaps don't have much lather.

So, maybe there isn't much cleansing agent there. ?????? Hmmm....hubby might end up the same as before he showered, hahaha!!!

the fluffies,
I think you may be right. Pasar Karat sounds nicer than Pasar Lambak.....I found this word in an English-Malay dictionary. :))

Hubby is the colour of your Beckham Boy, muahahahhaha!!!!