Has it been a year already? The Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar is back from 3rd May (Fri) to 5th June (Wed) 2019.
And I am very glad to say this year’s rendition is very much better organised, with more space, and cooler.
Last year, food items such as Satay Meatball buckets, Ondeh Ondeh Pancakes, “Crispy Rendang” (remember the MasterChef incident?), Durian Churros, Raclette Cheese and Grilled Beef Cubes were some of most popular, with customers queuing at these stalls for up to an hour.
Based on feedback from the previous years – that food is too “hipster” and rental is high, there were some changes implemented.
I took about 10 to 15 minutes to get my hands on some of the more popular food items.
There are about 60% of the food stalls offering “traditional Malay food”, while the other 40% sell “contemporary” or “hipster” options.
Also, these stalls are required to be certified Halal by MUIS, fulfill a set of Halal criteria, or need to be Muslim owned. Vendors need to be responsible for ensuring that food products are Halal.
Organised by cultural heritage hub Wisma Geylang Serai, a cap has been put on rental costs at $14.000.
This is in contrast with vendors who paid up to $15,000 in 2017, and $20,000 in 2018.
There are less stalls this year, at 500 compared to 800 in 2018.
While price of food items are more or less the same as last year, there is visibly more space for visitors to walk around, with places for families and friends to sit down and mingle proper.
It is interesting to see how stalls get creative enough to incorporate traditional aspects into food that can appeal to younger customer base.
I thought last year’s Satay Meatballs and Ondeh Ondeh Pancakes were great examples.
London Lobster Roll
BURP Live Station Catering – Wisma Geylang Serai Booth G259
The one stall we can look forward to is BURP Live Station Catering which will be offering Lobster Rolls ($19) using Maine lobsters. (Okay, so this is part of the 40% hipster food.)
The Lobster Rolls come in 2 different flavours – London Lobster Roll with coating of melted lemon butter, and Laksa Lobster Roll with a local Singapore twist.
The rolls are served with a side of Cassava Chips. Unfortunately, there has been quite a number of online reviews with feedback on the stingy portion. Oh well.
Also available is White Rabbit bucket drink that could bring back childhood and old school memories, and provide a refreshing respite from a hot weather.
Yakuza Takoyaki – Wisma Geylang Serai Booth G350
This Abang Burger ($4 for 1, $10 for 3) seems like the Ramly Burger, and I was curious enough to give it a try due to the long line.
The differentiating factor seems to be the amount of sauces added (loads!) and cheese sauce. Slurp.
Boba Pancake Stack
The Alley: Wisma Geylang Serai Booth 360
The Alley (not to be confused with bubble tea brand The Alley) is serving up drinks from Brown Sugar Fresh Milk, Brown Sugar Coca Latte, Brown Sugar Crème Brulee, to Brown Sugar Milk Tea ($3.90 to $6.30).
The one item to look out for is the Boba Pancake Stack ($9.90) of tea infused pancake stack with cream and boba toppings.
Brown Sugar Boba Softserve
Take A Bite
Other than Brown Sugar Soft Serve ($6.90), the one popular item is the White Rabbit Softserve – which gets sold out quick.
Ryokucha Matcha Adzuki Beans Waffles
This relatively new-comer serves up Waffles on Stick with interesting flavours such as White Canvas (Greek yoghurt, fruity pebbles, pearl sugar), Mudrep (Belgium dark chocolate, cocoa balls, pearl sugar), and Ryokucha (matcha, adzuki red beans, golden cornflakes).
Priced at $4.90 for one, $9.00 for a set with Iced Choco drink.
Rainbow Abang Hensem Burger
WORD. Café – Engku Aman Booth 341, Tanjong Katong Complex Booth 42, Haig Road Booth 122
Remember those Rainbow bagels and Rainbow Angus Beef Burger? This year, they came up with an “Abang Hensem Burger” ($10) with rainbow bagel, turkey bacon, angus beef, egg wrap and cheese.
Other interesting burger choices include Satay Burger ($8) and Ayam Belado Burger ($8), all served with fries.
Assam Laksa in a Bucket / Satay Meatballs in a Bucket
Sofnade – Wisma Geylang Serai Booth 326, 333, Tanjong Katong Complex Booth 3, Haig Road Booth 130, 131
Last year’s Ramandan’s Special Edition was the Satay Meatballs in a Bucket ($10), 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.
This year, Sofnade has come up with Assam Laska in a Bucket, and Chicken Bites ($6) in a Bucket with sambal belachan or metaiko sauce.
Their large drinks ($6 for bucket, $3.50 for cup) such as Classic Milk Tea, Milk Milk Tea, Honey Milk Tea, Thai Milk Tea and Chendol Milk Tea continue to be available.
There was no queue when I visited (compared to an hour last year). Maybe I went at the right timing?
Beef Cubes with Mala
Beef Bro – Wisma Geylang Serai Booth 297
The beef cube stall is enjoying a long line, not only due to the tender grilled beef pieces, but also its handsome boss – actor Danial Ashriq who was last seen in Police And Thief.
This year’s special is the Mala Beef Cubes ($14.90). I thought that the mala was not that pronounced, and would recommend some samabal chilli to go along.
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.
By Fooditude and Hirzi– Wisma Geylang Serai Booth G259
Seems like actors, footballers, influencers are opening up stalls at Geylang Serai. Hirzi Zulkiflie joins in with this “hipster” offering of Praffles, which is a cross between Prata and Waffles.
For the sweet tooth, the Rainbow Praffles ($8.90) should delight with molten chocolate with hazelnut crisp stuffed Praffles; or get the Truffle Cheese Praffles ($10.90) stuffed with Mozzarella fillings, chicken sausages, popcorn chicken and turkey bacon.
Black Sugar Milk Tea and Latte
Shang Thè – Wisma Geylang Serai Booth 297
This is the year of the “brown sugar” and “boba”. This Local bubble tea seller Black Sugar Milk or Black Sugar Latte at $3.00 – considered inexpensive at this bazaar.
Also available are Earl Grey Milk Tea, Boba Milk Tea, Taro Latte, and Red Bean Latte – all at $3 or $4.
Black Chocolate Egglet with Ice Cream
Rainbow Works – Engku Aman Road Booth 343
Seems like Rainbow Works is gunning for black this year, with offerings of Skydancer of Black Milk Chocolate Milkshake ($9.90) and Black Egglet ($7.90) with ice cream.
For first timer visitors, remember to wear casual clothes, hydrate yourselves, bring enough wet tissue, cash and coins, and just immerse in the celebrations. Have fun!
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
Additional photos by Nicholas Tan @stormscape.