In the past couple of days, much has been said about this year’s Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar.
Some have pointed out that around 50% of the food served at the bazaar are not certified halal, some have called it Artbox 2.0, and others have said the food there is not worth the price or the queue.
The DiscoverSG team headed down to taste-test the food ourselves, to distinguish those that are worth the money (and the queue) from those that are not. Full disclosure: we picked many of these items based on their insta-worthiness and novelty.
Our conclusion? Some of the most photogenic foods actually tasted the worst.
These are some of the things we liked.
1. Katoshka (Muslim owned)
One of our favourite stalls at the bazaar–by far– was Katoshka, which serves up russet fries drenched in sauce. Here, you don’t have to worry about running out of sauce for your fries. Not your average cup of cheese fries, this snack packed a punch without being too overwhelming.
We tried the Sambal Cheese ($5.90) and loved how the crispy fries mixed with the spicy cheese. While the serving size is quite small, we think it’s worth every dollar
We also tried the Asam Boi Special ($3.90), a sour plum drink. The drink was on the sweet side, with just the right amount of sourness from the Asam.
2. Banana Cheese Fritters
Another sweet treat we tried is the Banana Cheese Fritters ($6)–the humble pisang goreng with a twist. There was barely a queue or a wait when we were there. We went with a classic chocolate flavour from a list of options including chocolate rice and oreos. Served warm, these were the perfect balance of sweet and salty–great for those who want a sweet treat that isn’t too cloying.
The melted cheese brought a very subtle flavour to the fritters. If you’re looking for a stronger cheese flavour, we suggest asking for an extra helping of cheese.
And now, on to the stuff we didn’t like.
Not Worth It
1. Milk Bites (Non-halal)
The Singaporean wisdom of ‘if there’s a queue, join it‘ led us to Fried Milk. An interesting concept, these bite-sized squares of fried milk pudding come in 3 different flavours: Original, Pandan and Thai Milk Tea.
We tried the platter ($9), which came with 4 milk bites of each flavour. Freshly fried, these desserts were crunchy on the outside and oozy on the inside. The consistency of the cream was a bit chunky for our liking and the flavour was quite overwhelming. Suffice to say, we weren’t fans of these.
2. WORD (Muslim owned)
WORD is no stranger when it comes to cooking up a storm. Their outlet at Upper Thomson Road serves up delicious Western fare alongside crafted sodas and mocktails.
At their pop up stall, we tried the Minah ($8), a bucket of soda dressed to the nines. We were in for a bit of a wait despite the short queue due to a shortage of staff. When we did get our drink creation, we were pretty disappointed. Crafted from Fanta Orange, Ice Cream Soda and two scoops of ice cream, this tasted like diluted Fanta and felt like it could easily have been made at home.
While we appreciate the size of the drink, hauling it around was also a bit of a struggle, especially given the crowd.
3. Loco Loco
Loco Loco made a splash at last year’s Geylang Bazaar for offering up flavoured churros. This year, they have 3 outlets spread out over the entirety of the bazaar. We picked up the Chilli Crab Churros ($6) and Beef Scotch Eggs ($6).
The Chilli Crab Churros were warm and the chilli sauce topping tasted like the real-deal, minus the spiciness. Sadly, these Churros were unexpectedly dense. Without the sauce, this snack would have ranked low on our score scale.
The Beef Scotch Eggs were served warm and with a serving of keropok. We waited about 10 – 15 minutes for the Scotch Eggs, so pick this up only if you’re willing to wait around for this dish. While the eggs were nicely done, the beef was pretty plain.
At least they’re photogenic?
4. SOFNADE (Muslim owned)
SOFNADE is one spot you might want to check out for a sweet treat. Serving up Cendol Soft Serve, Galaxy Milkshakes and Donut Balls, it’s no wonder this dessert stall is a favourite among sweet tooths.
We managed to grab a Galaxy Milkshake ($6.50) while the line was short and watched as the stall attendant poured the coloured liquids into the cup, layer by layer. A gorgeous work of food art topped with rainbow sprinkles, its flavour was unfortunately, a let down. The milkshake tastes like a vanilla milkshake, except a lot sweeter. We’re sweet tooths ourselves, but this was way too sweet for us.
Unfortunately, many of the pretty and novel foods we tried at the Geylang Bazaar were sub-par in the taste department.
That said, we also bought ourselves some more “traditional” pasar malam eats like Takoyaki Balls, Vadai and Dengdeng, and we must admit, at the end of the day, these were our top picks.
While this year’s Geylang Bazaar may have more of an Artbox vibe compared to the past years, we were still glad we made the trip down. One piece of advice we do have though, is that if the food looks good, it probably won’t taste great.