Take your pick from old-school favourites and hipster grub.
The annual Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar is back until June 5 hawking Halal snacks and drinks, Malay cultural outfits, home decorations and more. With its bright fairy lights and bustling, festive atmosphere, it’s the mother of all Pasar Malams (night markets) and the prime spot to head to this month. Although the bazaar has drawn attention in recent years for its stall-owners’ innovative takes on Singapore favourites and traditional dishes (think rainbow-coloured dishes and quirky flavours), this year, organisers promise that 60 per cent of the 150 food stalls will sell traditional Malay dishes.
Whether you’re into homely, comforting old-school Malay fare or you’re looking for something a tad more creative and experimental for the ‘gram, the stalls in the bazaar will tick all the right boxes. There are just way too many to highlight, but here are 10 of our favourite picks from the Geylang Serai Bazaar 2019.
From one of the more popular stalls at the bazaar (that means expect a queue!), this dish takes on the popular Japanese snack, but with a Singaporean twist. It combines the sweet and spicy flavours of the well-loved chilli crab dish with the soft texture of the Japanese takoyaki ball. The takoyaki flour mix is wrapped around a slice of sausage, accompanied by the pre-made chilli crab sauce and finished with seaweed and fish flakes on top. While it might seem like an unlikely mix, the neutrality of the takoyaki ball balances the strong flavours of the sauce, and despite the overwhelming richness of it, the fish flakes and seaweed perfectly absorb the sauce’s essence.
Just as its name suggests, this bucket contains meatballs. But that’s not all. The clever dish plays on our weaknesses for comfort foods. Buried beneath the fragrant mix of meatballs are seasoned twister fries and a delicious scoop of mashed potato. The whole thing is then topped with cheese and cranberry sauce, delivering a decadent and indulgent fusion of sweet and savoury flavours that pack a punch. If you are looking for something to share with a friend, this might be the one you are looking for. You can never go wrong with meatballs and any kind of potato. And for $10? It’s a steal.
If you are one for cheese and seafood, you might like the Aburi Scallops by Sunthai. Priced at three for $12 or six for $20, these Aburi Scallops are flamed upon order. While it might taste ordinary at first, you’d discover that the real gem of the dish is beyond its slightly crusty cheesy exterior — we’re talking about the warm and gooey cheese within that is light and buttery. Couple that with the slightly chewy, soft flesh of the Aburi Scallop and the smoky, charred aftertaste, you get a winning combination.
3 for $12
We all fondly remember that childhood candy that has an edible transparent rice paper wrapped around a milky and chewy sweet. Now imagine that addictive goodness, but in a form of a beverage instead. Take a Bite, which also offers twist potato sticks and fried oreos, offers an interesting take on the favourite White Rabbit Candy, conceiving a Milk Tea drink out of its sugary flavours. It is made with fresh milk, White Rabbit Candy sauce and condensed milk, and mixed with chewy pearls. If you prefer ice cream instead, the stall also offers a White Rabbit soft serve, in which White Rabbit sauce is drizzled over vanilla-flavoured ice cream and topped with the candy. Saccharine goodness.
Offering a plethora of scrumptious ingredients, The Mala Stop features a unique Salted Egg Yolk Mala. With three levels of spiciness to choose from, each Mala bowl also comes with a free drink, which is real convenient considering how spicy mala can get. Created just for this bazaar, the salted egg yolk sauce is an interesting take on the mala dish, combining the rich opulent taste of the salted yolk with the sour, spicy and numbing sensation of mala. The ingredients are well-cooked and compliment the sauce well, and if you are indecisive with which ingredients to go with — there’s chicken or beef slices, squid, prawns and fish cake, to name a few — the all-in option solves all dilemmas, giving you the best of all worlds.
Another hot favourite at the bazaar, Lobster Bro serves flaming hot lobsters seared with a flavour of your choice. There’s the Mentaiko Lobster for a salty, creamy tang, or the Garlic Butter Lobster for a lighter, savoury mouthfeel. There are also reliable options with its black pepper and cheese flavours. Nonetheless, the main star of the stall is its Lobster Nasi Lemak, which took the beloved and simple Nasi Lemak dish to new heights by pairing green coconut rice, ikan billis and a side of sambal belacan with generous chunks of flame-grilled lobster. Talk about giving traditional dishes an innovative twist.
Another stall jumping onto the mala bandwagon is Beef Bro, which is known for its sizzling blow-torched meat and seafood cubes. Catching on the waves of the mala craze, Beef Bro’s Mala Beef Cubes combines the tangy, spicy, numbing sauce with savoury tender beef cubes that have been cooked on a flaming wok. For those who fear they might not be able to stomach mala’s notorious spiciness, don’t fret. These beef cubes are not as deadly as one would expect. The spice level is calibrated with a balanced hand, so the mala flavours, while delivering a piquant punch, do not overpower its star meat.
What’s a “praffle”, you ask? Well, it’s a cross between a waffle and a prata, of course. This innovative combination is “the love story of the year”, according to its makers. It looks like a waffle, but has a prata-like texture. Praffles sells this strange but intriguing hybrid by pairing it with a wide range of flavours, both sweet and salty, depending on what you fancy. The Curry Chicken Praffle is served with a fried chicken cutlet. Tender and juicy, the taste of the chicken and praffle is then tied together with the Japanese curry sauce that is layered on top of it. Specially made with the bazaar in mind, the Praffle is a collaboration between caterer Fooditude and actor-singer Hirzi Zulkiflie. Starting at $8.90 per piece, other flavours include the Truffle Cheese Praffle and sweeter treats such as the Rainbow Praffle.
One of the more interesting drinks at the bazaar, the Starlite Bubblegum Milkshake is, as its name suggests, a milkshake made with bubblegum as its main ingredient. This confectionary delight might also take the crown for its Insta-worthiness, as it is a bright pink beverage with a pink straw, topped with a dollop of whipped cream decorated with rainbow coloured candy and fruity pebbles and finished with a balloon and cardboard unicorn. If you are looking for a drink that might impress your social media followers, this might be it. Taste wise? It’ll send you on a sugar rush, for sure.
Joining the ranks as one of the most innovative foods at the bazaar is this Chicken Floss You Tiao, which we feel is one of the more exciting flavours offered by Charkoi. Charkoi is a stall that adds interesting ingredients to the traditional you tiao (Chinese dough sticks). We love the Chicken Floss flavour in particular because of the heavenly marriage between sweet and savoury, which is given an additional salty kick due to a cheese base. Starting at $4 each, other unique flavours offered include the Beef Rendang you tiao — adding a spicy, heady texture to the crispy dough sticks — and the Nutella Rainbow you tiao — which sees the dough sticks generously coated with Nutella and topped with rainbow sprinkles.
Did you know there’s more to the Ramadan Bazaar? Browse the variety of homeware goods available – from carpets and vases to table runners and mugs (and even traditional clothing!), you’ll be surprised at what you can find. Plus, it’s the perfect activity to do while you feast on the top 10 most delicious eats. Find out what you can expect with the Home and Decor Singapore team in their video below. Happy shopping!
By Lauren Ong, May 2019 / Images: Lauren Ong
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