Surviving Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar 2018

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It is an annual affair where Geylang Serai is filled with tons of retail and food stalls during Ramadan. Coming alive from 4.30pm onwards, this pasar malam (night market) is definitely one that attracts everyone – and mainly for the food! This year’s bazaar will run from now till 14 June and is spread out across quite a few streets.

I love bazaars and I especially love the night markets of my youth where there were stalls offering street food that aren’t normally sold in hawker centres, such as cup corn, candy floss, steamed cakes with lots of orange coloured sugar; as well as playing all sorts of games to win stuffed toys.

Thus, I was a little sceptical of the latest edition of the Geylang Serai Bazaar because last year saw a lot of unicorn/rainbow foods that were really overpriced. However, I decided to be a bit more adventurous this year and just go to eat some yummy food. Interestingly, some of the stalls at this bazaar are also at Artbox Singapore (25-27 May; 1-3 June)

There still were some Unicorns around, if you’re interested. I went for the Aligot (cheese!!!) with beef meatballs (S$8) which was really sinful if you think about it. Cheese + mashed potatoes + fried beef balls…hurhurhur…shhh…don’t tell my PT and nutrition coach!

My Aligot with Beef Balls!

I also bought a Virgin Mango Mojito (S$6) which was served in a glass mason jar mug that I could bring home, so although it was pricey, I took it that I was paying for both the drink and the mug. I noticed a theme – lots of fried foods in buckets or on a stick. I did buy fried Indian Spiced chicken hearts (S$2 per stick) but I was hungry and ate them before remembering to take a photo of them.

I survived about 2 hours into the bazaar and here’s a short ‘survival guide’ for those brave enough to venture.

Go early. Be prepared to jostle

It will be CROWDED. The lanes are relatively narrow compared to those at Artbox 2018 so be prepared to jostle and squeeze. Going against foot traffic will prove to be quite difficult but if you need to do so, just be polite about it. Be careful where you’re walking too as the ground is made of wooden boards that aren’t level. 

Stay cool

With the tents offering no ventilation, a lot of heat is trapped under due to the cooking (there were A LOT of kebab roasting machines too!) and also due to the sheer number of humans. Thus, remember to:
  • bring a portable fan
  • wear T-shirt and shorts or anything with good wicking effect
  • wear comfortable shoes 
  • bring lots of tissue (for both wiping off perspiration and your mouth after eating)
  • hair tie for those with long hair
  • bring some wet wipes to just refresh yourself when you’re ready to leave
The queues for some of the more popular foods will be long, which is why the shoes are going to be really important. My friend and I queued for at least 30 minutes just for Meatballs in a Bucket (S$9) which I saw in Artbox and had been thinking about it for a few days. It was $1 cheaper here at Geylang Serai Bazaar but the queue was snaking across the aisle and back. Was it worth it? Mmm…I think I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more if I wasn’t so tired from queuing in the heat. That also explains the lack of photos. Mel was too tired to be in a snap photo mood.

Prepare sufficient cash

With a lot of the foods priced from $6 and above, you will need to bring along enough cash. The drinks aren’t so pricey, with Thai milk tea going at S$3 onwards (S$4 for 1 litre). There were bottled drinks going at S$2 too.

Go with a small group of friends

I reckon going in twos or threes is a good idea because you can share the foods as some of them come in relatively large servings but the smaller bites are also good to share so that you get variety. Especially when there are SO MANY stalls to choose from!
You will end up smelling like barbecue but just have fun!
Getting there: 
MRT: Paya Lebar Station
Bus: 2, 7, 13, 21, 24, 26, 28, 30, 51, 67, 76, 154 and 155

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