Central Market Kuala Lumpur is located at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock (Foch Avenue) and the pedestrian-only section of Jalan Hang Kasturi (Rodger Street), a few minutes away from Petaling Street. It was founded in 1888 and originally used as a wet market, while the current Art Deco style building was completed in 1937. It has been classified as a Heritage Site by the Malaysian Heritage Society and it is now a landmark for Malaysian culture and heritage.
The original building was built in 1888 by the British in colonial British Malaya. It was used as wet market for Kuala Lumpur citizens and tin miners. The Wet Market was very convenient to the early city dwellers because it was within the vicinity of Klang bus stand, the hub of feeder bus service for Kuala Lumpur and the train station.
Further expansions were made in 1889, 1895, 1920 and 1921. By 1933, the expansions to the warehouse made the market now in its present size, and cost around $167,000.
As Kuala Lumpur experienced its own development at a rapid pace in the 1970s, there were plans to demolish the site. The intervention of the Malaysian Heritage Society proved timely as they successfully petitioned against its deconstruction and the site was declared as a ‘Heritage Site’.
During construction of Dayabumi near Klang River banks in 1981, the market was saved from demolition. In 1985, the market was renovated into a vibrant and colourful new style, and has been officially known as Pasar Budaya since April 1986.
The Central Market Annexe, located at the back of main building, formerly housed a cineplex and was opened in 2006. The Annexe houses a variety of eclectic art galleries. It is one of the major art spaces in Kuala Lumpur and is a hub of activity all year long which features artworks by local artists.
Located alongside the main building is the newly transformed, pedestrianized and covered walkway, Kasturi Walk. Opened in 2011, Kasturi Walk boasts an al fresco ambiance featuring an exciting variety of stalls selling tantalizing local snacks and exquisite souvenirs.The street is noted for housing street musicians or “buskers”.