The Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar, one of the biggest and the most anticipated pasar malam in Singapore, is back from 12 May (Sat) to 14 June (Thurs).
The bazaar is spread out in a few areas, with most of the food stalls along Haig Road and the Malay Village area (12 May to 14 June) and in front of Tanjong Katong Complex (16 May to 14 June).
(Click PLAY for highlights of Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar 2018.)
With a theme of “Celebrating our kampung spirit”, the annual Hari Raya Light Up features 2.25km of light installations that incorporate icons symbolic of Malay tradition and history. You can also expect weekly performances for visitors to immerse in the Malay culture.
There are over 800 stalls, selling traditional Hari Raya goodies like kuih tart, kuih bangkit, and instagrammable food such as durian churros, rainbow cheese toast, crispy rendang chicken (yes, thank you Masterchef), edible helium balloons, and many-things-in-buckets.
However, the bazaar was not without its fair share of controversies last year, namely the increased rents to a record-high reported to be $17,000 for a single 9ft by 9ft space; and over-selling of hipster food with less emphasis on more traditional goodies.
While last year’s bazaar was all about Thai Iced Milk Tea, Unicorn-anything, and watermelon desserts, food stalls are churning out more innovative food items to attract the young crowd.
I actually found it better than the previous year, as in there seems to be more “real food”. There is also a bigger seating area for more comfortable communal meals, with easier-to-find bins around.
Here are some you can expect:
Crispy Chicken Rendang
Hyde & Co – Outside Tanjong Katong Complex, Booth 51 & 54
The Crispy Chicken Rendang ($7) was inspired by the MasterChef UK controversy.
The chicken was said to be fried to crisp before coated in a Rendang sauce created from Head Chef Nazlie’s family traditional Javanese recipe. Served on a bed of Ketupat topped with Emping Belinjo.
Other festival offerings include Hyde’s signature Chili Crab Pasta ($9), Twister Fries with melted cheese ($7) and newly launched Handcrafted Swedish Meatballs ($9).
My favourite item of the lot was the Swedish Meatballs with smooth mash, and berry jam adding some sweetness. Of course it reminded all of us of the furniture shop’s version, so we wished the balls would hold better and stay firmer on the exterior.
Twister Fries were a safe, safe choice. “Won’t go wrong.”, my friend remarked.
As for the Crispy Chicken, judge Gregg Wallace would have said, “Not crispy.”. Sorry. Meatballs okay.
Pandan Churros with Durian
Loco Loco – Tanjong Katong Complex, Booth number 11 & 12
Loco Loco specializes in churros with a local twist. Items offered include Churros Platter ($16), D24 Durian with Original Churros ($6), D24 Durian with Pandan Churros ($6), Local Fusion Chicken Meatballs served with either Salted Egg or Chilli Crab sauce ($6) and Crispy Fish N’ Chips ($6).
Gangster Ribs Cup
WORD. Café – Tanjong Katong Complex Booth 32
Remember those Rainbow bagels and Rainbow Angus Beef Burger?
WORD. Cafe has moved along with the tides, and shifted focus to more “real food”, with offerings of Lamb or Beef Ribs with briyani rice ($12, $25, $40).
Other items included Popcorn Chicken Gangster ($8), Grilled Cheeseburger ($8) and Chilli Beef Fries ($6).
When you compare to all other things, I thought that the Gangster Ribs was decent and I didn’t mind it as a meal on its own.
My friends didn’t fancy it very much due to the multiple pieces of hard-to-chew tendon, and the dry rice was in need of some kind of sauce.
Satay Meatballs In A Bucket
Sofnade – Tanjong Katong Complex (facing SIMS Avenue), booths 4 and 5
The Ramandan’s Special Edition is Satay Meatballs in a Bucket ($9), with Chicken or Beef Meatballs slowed cooked in satay gravy, served with a base of Ketupat (rice cake), onions and cucumbers and topped with satay sauce.
We queued 55 minutes for this. (Of course I could have gone up to introduce myself… Hey, I featured you in my blog, but we went to queue for 55 minutes in that heat. To get into the experience.)
The satay sauce left us divided – some of us liked the pineapple-like-tinged sweetness while others thought it was just very average. I am sure if this was a grab-and-go without the queue, we would have given it a thumbs-up.
Also offered is the standard Meatball buckets with brown or cheese sauce with cranberry.
Sofnade’s has also introduced Bucket Drinks Series, with Classic Bubble Milk Teas in a bucket, Okinawa Milk Tea, 100% Freshly Squeezed Watermelon Lemonade, and Blue Pea Longan Tea. Smart move.
Beef Cubes with Mentaiko
Beef Bro – Booth 70, opposite OneKM mall
This beef cube stall is enjoying a long line, also due to its handsome boss – actor Danial Ashriq who was last seen in Police And Thief (Hey, I love that name).
You get juicy Australian rump steak cubes fired up with garlic and torched. Available options include Regular Beef ($12), and Mentaiko Beef ($16) with a fish roe mayonnaise sauce.
Raclette Cheese on Rosti
Stall GS221. Beside Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore
Molten Raclette cheese blanketing over hearty Rosti and chicken cocktail sausages ($12).
Raclette Cheese was the IN-food last year, this year the focus has shifted to many other stalls.
The owner uses Halal-certified Raclette cheese from President Cheese. And Rosti was a better choice than the more forgettable potatoes the previous year.
Markozar – Haig Road Booth 202 in front of Darul Arqam, Tanjong Katong Complex TK10
Their Martabak Manis ($6.50) is the Indonesian sweet pancakes similar with the Apam Balik, or the Chinese call it “Mian Jian Guo”.
Available are the Original, Nutella Falls, Good Ol’ Peanut and Choco Rush. I enjoyed the chocolate, especially when some of them melted into the soft dough.
Recommended to share because it can get quite sweet.
Mini Ondeh Ondeh Pancakes
Cake Love – WGS 37, Next To Engku Aman Road
Thanks to “Food King Good” who gave them 3 stars, this stall is now enjoying a relatively long line.
The mini Dutch pancakes (10 for $5 or $6 depending on flavours), serves up flavours of Nutella, cookies and cream, banana split, ondeh-ondeh, s’mores, and red velvet.
We ordered up a couple of flavours to share, and agree that the Ondeh-Ondeh was possibly the most impressionable. Did expect the pancakes to be slightly bigger and fluffier though.
Edible Helium Balloons
Rainbow Works – Onan Road Booth 229
This is the fun booth to go to, the sort when you have to come with a group of friends and video you eating a helium-filled Edible Balloon ($8.90).
I saw some videos online, thought it was silly, walked past the stall, decided to let my hair loose and went ahead to try anyway. (Don’t need to be so uptight, right?)
You suck it, you sing a song, and laugh over it.
Also available is a Flaming Unicorn ($9.90) of purple soft serve ice cream set on fire. I know.
Ice Cream Rollies Rainbow Taco
Happy Rollies – Booth 212
4 new items (priced $4 – 6.90) introduced this year will be Rainbow Shaved Ice, Rainbow Taco Ice Cream Roll, Chocolate Marshmellow Drink and Watermelon Soft Serve.
Thai Iced Tea In 1L Cup
Broti – Booths 206 & 86
Broti is a local beverage pop-up shop selling teas — Thai Iced Tea, Green Milk Tea, Charcoal Matcha and Earl Grey Milk Tea, and flavoured sodas in signature 1L cups.
Russet Potato Fries with Special Cheese and Chilli Beef Sauces
Katoshka – Onan Rd Booth 247
Katoshka specialises in double fried russets that are coupled with an array of handcrafted sauces. The russet potatoes used are freshly cut, double fried and seasoned well with a mix of herbs and spices.
The varying sauces are made daily from scratch to ensure its quality and freshness.
Meanwhile, Artbox Singapore will return from 25 to 27 May and 1 to 3 June, with its location at Bayfront Event Space, Marina Bay.
Some competition may just go on between the two venues. I personally hope for food stalls at both spaces, to offer more than Unicorn-anything.
For first timer visitors, wear casual clothes, hydrate yourselves, bring enough cash and coins, and just immerse in the celebrations. Have fun!
(Also check out @stormscape’s video on the Geylang Serai Market. It’s in Mandarin but there are subtitles. I made a rare cameo. LOL.)
How to get to Geylang Serai Market
MRT: Paya Lebar Station
Bus: 2, 7, 13, 21, 24, 26, 28, 30, 51, 67, 76, 154 and 155