Yup. Finally the first one-of-its-kind hop-on-hop-off Makan Bus tour has arrived in Singapore. Don’t dismiss this food tour as a tourist thingy yet. Otherwise, you are missing out on fun even locals can enjoy!
We all know Singapore is a food paradise, but the best local food are usually not near MRTs or in town.
It can be pretty hard to enjoy good food if you don’t have a car. With the launch of the Makan Bus on 26 August 2016, reaching out to these great local food is now so much more convenient for everyone.
Recently, I was fortunate to be invited for a free MakanBus tour. Getting on the tour meant I had the opportunity to taste some of the highly acclaimed local food along the 10 specially-curated stops.
What I did not know was it is more than a mere foodie bus bringing us from the central to northern heartlands in Singapore.
Our Makan Bus Journey
We received a warm welcome from the guide upon boarding the cheery yellow bus at Orchard Gateway. After an introduction, we set off!
Besides recommending good eats near each stop, he would share insights of noteworthy buildings throughout the journey too.
Interesting history that we never knew about our sunny island
We thought we knew Singapore so well since we grew up here.
But we did not know that the Burma Chinese settled in Singapore as early as the 19th century!
In fact, I highly recommend you to alight at the Sun Yat Sen Memorial stop, where the Sun Yat Sen Memorial and Burmese Buddhist Temple are.
In the main worship hall of the Maha Sasana Ramsi (Burmese Buddhist Temple) sits the majestic 11-foot marble Buddha statue. This religious landmark is the only Burmese Buddhist temple of its kind in Singapore.
The statue was carved from a 10-tonne slab of marble found in Burma’s Saygin Hill and transported here in 1925.
Bond with your family over nostalgic hawker food settings
The 10 stops on the tour will bring you through buzzing town areas to the old shophouses in Balestier and Thomson, and finally into the HDB heartlands.
This is a specially curated route to showcase the evolution and development of Singapore over the past 51 years.
Bring your whole family, including your parents onboard, so they can reminisce about the good old days.
They will certainly be able to resonate with traditional eateries such as Boon Tong Kee and Original Herbal Shop at Balestier, and Hua Nam Restaurant at Thomson.
It’s easier to strike conversations as you enjoy the food and nostalgic ambience with your family.
Who knows if these used to be their favourite haunts during their “paktor” days!
Discover yummy novel hawker food delights
While it’s obvious Makan Bus will bring you to yummy food places, you may be surprised at hidden gems within the heartlands.
Ang Mo Kio was the place I grew up in, and I thought I knew everything there. But I did not even know that there is a hawker stall selling sedap Mee Rebus Tarik for over 2 decades!
In case you are wondering, Mee Rebus Tarik is not prepared by simply “pulling” the noodles as the Malay word “tarik” implies.
Instead, the mee rebus is laden with satay gravy and served together with either chicken or mutton satay. Such an innovative twist to the signature mee rebus!
I have tasted different versions of our favourite Indian roti prata, with egg, cheese etc for enhanced flavour.
However, it was my first time trying out some Roti Tissue along Upper Thomson Road. The prata looked like an interesting thin piece of tissue (hence its name) as seen in the image above. This is a sweet crispy prata seasoned with sugar.
Hop on and off the bus whenever you wish, wherever you fancy
There is no limit to the number of times you can hop on and off the Makan Bus.
Your $28 ticket is valid throughout the day when the bus runs from 11am to 7.30pm.
Indeed, there were times when we were engaged in such interesting conversations with the guide that we missed alighting at the designated stop.
Just continue on the looped journey and alight where you wish to tuck into the good food in the desired area.
Furthermore, you do not need to alight if you don’t find anything you fancy. Unlike other expensive food tours where you don’t get to choose the food, this is a truly flexible tour!
Makan Bus definitely changes the way we can explore the hidden food joints and other untold stories of Singapore.
Bring your foreign friends on the Makan Bus tour and introduce them to life in the heartlands.
After all, this is a uniquely Singapore experience that they will not find at the usual tourist attractions. Besides, it is definitely more economical if you are travelling together in a group of 5 or more. Check out more details of this one-of-a-kind experience at Makan Bus!
(Featured image: Makan Bus)