Kampong Gelam (sometimes spelt as “Kampong Glam”) is where you go for diverse variety of food with rich culture.
Fun fact: Kampong means “village”, and do you know that the name “Gelam” is derived from the Gelam trees (Melaleuca cajuputi) which grew in the area?
For first time visitors, I would recommend you starting your tour with the landmark Sultan Mosque to explore the colourful streets and sights.
Then move on to find vibrant shops, restaurants and indie cafes along Haji Lane, Arab Street, Baghdad Street and Bussorah Street, and these have become favourite places for people to take their #ootd Instagram shots.
In terms of food, you can find local delicacies such as Nasi Padang (such as the Michelin-recommended Hjh Maimunah Restaurant and Catering), Nasi Lemak (SoulFood Catering), Malay kueh and coffeeshops for a fragrant cup of teh tarik.
(Discover the Flavours of Kampong Gelam. Click video above for the wide variety of halal food in Kampong Gelam.)
There is also a wide variety of Halal international food, from Swedish cuisine (Fika Swedish Cafe and Bistro), Japanese (The Ramen Stall, Waku Waku) to Mexican fare (Afterwit Mexican Taqueria).
Here are the 10 restaurants that can be found at Kampong Gelam, as featured in the video above:
Fika Swedish Cafe and Bistro
257 Beach Road, Singapore 199539
Tel: +65 6396 9096
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
For Swedish Food, Pastries and Those Delicious Meatballs
Established for over 10 years in Singapore, Fika is one of the few places which offers Halal and hearty Scandinavian fare and desserts in a relaxed bright environment.
“My meatballs are the best Halal ones you will find in Singapore”, co-owner Tasneem Noor could be right.
She opened this Nordic-inspired café as an extension of her love for Scandinavian things, and it is a great place for a gathering with friends and family.
I enjoyed the all-beef Swedish Meatballs ($19) of home-made beef meatballs with baby potatoes, served with lingonberry jam drizzled with creamy homemade sauce.
If you have room for more, do try the Korvstroganoff ($15) which is a creamy tomato-based chicken sausage stew service with sautéed seasonal vegetables and rice; Pytt i Panna ($19.90) which is Swedish Hash made of potatoes with sautéed diced black angus beef cubes; and Toast Skagen ($18) – a cold salmon roe and fresh water shrimp open-faced sandwich on toasted artisan bread.
Alaturka Mediterranean & Turkish Restaurant
15 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199436
Tel: +65 6294 0304
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Authentic Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine in Kampong Gelam
Located right in the heart of historic Kampong Glam, Alaturka Mediterranean & Turkish Restaurant has been serving classic Turkish dishes along with new interpretations for 15 years.
Its quality was also met with approval, when it was once listed in the Michelin Guide Singapore with a “Bib Gourmand”.
Some of the dishes you can look forward to include the Tas Kebab ($27.80) which is an oven-baked beef stew with mashed potatoes; Makarna, a Turkish-style pasta covered with vegetable sauce, mozzarella cheese and topping of your choice.
One of the highlights is the Karisik Kebab, a feast platter of succulent beef, lamb and chicken kebabs ideal for sharing, served with butter rice and a generous portion of vegetable salad.
Don’t forget to end with sweet treats of Kunefe made of thin vermicelli pastry baked in soft cheese and sweet syrup, and of course the Baklava filled with chopped pistachios in light filo layers.
The Ramen Stall
787 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198755
Tel: +65 6655 0800
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 11pm (Mon – Thurs), 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 2am (Fri), 11am – 2am (Sat), 11am – 11pm (Sun)
Halal Japanese Spread To Satisfy Late-Night Cravings
While the outlet at North Bridge Road is called The Ramen Stall, the offerings are a lot more than just noodles, with a wide range of appetizers, sushi, sashimi, kushiyaki, gohan and desserts.
The Japanese dishes served are generally adapted to the local palate.
The chicken-based soup is prepared much lighter and milder, still cooked under high heat for 20 hours to achieve the milky-texture and flavours.
No artificial flavouring, no MSG, no salt, no sugar added. The slight saltiness comes from the meat and kombu dashi, while the sweetness is due to the addition of corn and vegetables.
You can also go for the Dry Ramen, available in spicy or non-spicy versions. This is like a cross between the Japanese Ramen, Indonesian Bakmi and local minced meat noodles.
Mix up with the shoyu marinated chicken cha shu, braised egg, and the cucumber strips and spring onions would add some crunch on every bite.
Tipo Pasta Bar
785 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 198753
Tel: +65 8768 0785
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Handmade Italian Pasta with a Twist Of Flavours
The name Tipo came about from “Tipo 00”, a type of smooth wheat flour also known as “doppio zero” or “granero tero” which originates from Italy.
The pasta-café serves up hand-crafted pasta with various permutations such as Dill & Lemon Fettuccine and Saffron Fusilli, all at a rather affordable price of $13.90 to $15.90 for their recommended combinations.
Diners can also customise pasta dishes from $9.90 (100g) and $12.90 (150g) onwards.
If making pasta choices seem too hair-splitting for you, then go for the standard choices of Royal Ragu ($15.90), Creamy Chicken & Mushroom ($14.90), Prawn Aglio ($15.90), Seafood Slam Pomodoro ($19.90) or Full Vegan ($13.90).
The well-lived choice is the Crazy Carbonara ($15.90), toped with smoked duck and sous vide egg for a creamy finish.
13 Pahang Street, Singapore 198614
Opening Hours: 12pm – 9pm (Tues – Thurs), 12pm – 10pm (Fri – Sat)
Aussie-Style BBQ Meets Traditional Malay Nasi Lemak
Soulfood Catering is a family-run Aussie BBQ Nasi Lemak food stall in a coffee shop, and it is located in the fringe of Kampong Gelam at Pahang Street.
From Paprika & Herbs Chicken Wing Nasi Lemak, Bangers & Hash Nasi Lemak, Eggs Benny Nasi Lemak, BBQ Prawns Nasi Lemak, to Steak Nasi Lemak, you know you can expect original combinations that cannot be found elsewhere here.
Its makcik-approved Surf & Turf Nasi Lemak ($21.90) is the most popular, a filling plate of BBQ ribeye steak, scallops and prawns, with homemade creamy garlic sauce drizzled on fragrant rice.
This is also available in a family-platter size meant for 2 to 4 pax, included with ribeye steak, BBQ chicken fillet or 1/4 chicken, BBQ prawns, scallops, lemon garlic prawn skewers with Nasi Lemak and that sauce tantalising sauce.
Afterwit Mexican Taqueria
778 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198746
Tel: +65 8816 9481
(Closed temporary till August 2020)
Hearty Mexican Dishes With Artisanal Coffee
This is not your typical Mexican food place, as you can find hearty items such as Butter Chicken Burrito, Cajun Spiced Chicken Tacos, and Tom Yum Shrimp Quesadillas on its menu.
Afterwit Mexican Taqueria offers Mexican dishes such as Pulled Beef Tacos and Muchos Nachos more, but diners also come here for something more exciting on the palate.
The Chipotle Chicken Burrito is one of the recommended items, with spiced chicken and Mexican tomato rice drizzled with spicy chipotle salsa accompanied by fresh slaw, black beans, guacamole and pico de gallo (a type of salsa fresca).
They are undergoing renovations now, and is likely to return in August with a brand-new look and interior. Stay tuned.
Rumah Makan Minang
18 & 18A Kandahar Street, Singapore 198884
Tel: +65 6977 7064
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm (Mon – Sun)
Halal Indonesian Eatery Serving Minangkabau Cuisine
Founded way back in 1954, this Halal Indonesian restaurant specialises in reasonably priced Minangkabau cuisine, namely Nasi Padang and Beef Rendang.
Their flagship outlet is located at Kandahar Street near Sultan Mosque.
Many diners head to the restaurant for a hearty plate of Nasi Padang – steamed rice served with various choices of cooked dishes.
Most would add a dish of Beef Rendang of succulent beef cooked over slow charcoal fire; or Ayam Belado Hijau – tender chicken in signature green chilli marinate.
The Sotong Masak Hitam – fresh marinated squid in a tangy dark soy gravy; Ikan Belado Hijau – fried mackerel in signature green chilli marinate; and Sayur Lodeh of mixed vegetables boiled soft, spiced and flavoured will also add fiery kicks to your meal.
If you have space, do order the Indonesian Tahu Telur, a dish of large fried tofu mixed with eggs, grated peanuts with addictive dark sweet soy sauce. Sedap lah.
Sabar Menanti II
737 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198715
Tel: +65 6291 0109
Opening Hours: 6am – 4:30pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Well-Loved Malay Restaurant Serving Minangkabau Dishes
This restaurant at North Bridge Road is named “Sabar Menanti” which really means “wait patiently”.
That is because people do need to queue and wait to try some of its authentic Minangkabau dishes which originated from West Sumatra, Indonesia.
The family-run business has been around for more than 50 years, and now managed by the founder’s children.
For breakfast, people head for the comforting items of Nasi Lemak, Mee Siam, Mee Rebus and Lontong with sayor lodeh, tahu and signature sambal tumis.
Also popular are its Nasi Padang which you can add ingredients such as beef rendang, bagedil, ikan bilis kacang and egg omelette; and Nasi Ambeng with fluffy white rice.
M.A Deen Biasa
95/97 Jalan Sultan, Singapore 198998
Tel: +65 6392 2712
Opening Hours: 24 Hours
House of Soup Tulang
Perhaps you never had Soup Tulang (or Sup Tulung) before, and Kampong Gelam is THE place to find eateries and hawker stalls serving this dish.
Soup Tulang consists of meaty mutton bones in a spicy and vibrant red gravy, which you can soak up with slices of bread.
But the main star are those bone marrows contained within the bone, which you can suck up using straws or by ‘knocking’ them the plate to get it out.
M.A Deen Biasa is one of the popular places to get it as it is opened 24/7, with various portions priced at $10, $20, $30 and $50 for the large.
There are also hearty Muslim dishes such as Nasi Goreng Ikan Billis, Maggi Goreng Chicken, Mutton or Chicken Briyani, Murtabak, and other wok-fried items such as Butter Prawns and Cashew Chicken for sharing here.
FatPapas Burgers and Shakes
17 Bali Lane, Singapore 189853
Tel: +65 6291 8028
Opening Hours: 12pm – 9:30pm (Mon – Thurs), 11am – 9:30pm (Fri – Sun)
American-style Burgers, Ribs, Shakes And More
Fatpapas is a family diner where you can find your favourite burgers, BBQ Beef Ribs, and Salmon on Greens – for those who want something healthier.
Set up by celebrity Sheikh Haikel and the creators of Fatboys’, FatPapas is that same unforgettable taste but made halal.
The Country Fried Steak ($19.90) is one of the hot favourites and it is also because of this very dish, FatPapas was born (As Sheikh Haikel was determined to make his favourite dish from Fatboys’ Halal.)
What you get is tender cube steak coated in herbed seasoning, cooking till crisp, and topped with cheesy bechamel sauce.
For burger lovers, you can go for the Wimpy ($15.00) with a choice of housemade Australian chunk tender beef (or lamb), turkey bacon, melted aged cheddar, and fried egg with BBQ sauce smothered over.
From the colourful Haji Lane to Bussorah Street, foodies and shopaholics can also check out hipster cafes (%Arabica Coffee, All Things Delicious, Julie Bakes), multi-label stores, fashionable boutiques as well as souvenir shops.
Don’t forget to hashtag #VisitKampongGelam and #KampongGelamUnited in your instagram posts.
* This post is brought to you by Fyreflyz, and supported by Visit Singapore: Passion Made Possible and One Kampong Gelam (OKG).