In the past, there were plenty of stalls selling handmade songkok and traditional baju kurung. I’ll always remember the pakcik with his white towel draped over his shoulders as he grilled his satay and dendeng all night long. Not forgetting that really loud makcik who would shove her kuih in your face to sample.
But stalls selling traditional fare that once lined Geylang Serai in the lead-up to Hari Raya Puasa are dwindling or have vanished altogether.
The Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar used to be one of the most exciting “pasar malam” I’d look forward to every year when I was younger but I honestly don’t know what to feel of what it has become. The sanctity that is the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar has been threatened and it’s worrying.
From unicorn everything to edible flavoured balloons, these are the things that my 5 year old nephew would get excited over.
Is paying $8.90 for edible air really worth the hype?
So, instead of spending all of our money to find the latest hype this year, we challenged the team to spend only $30 at Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar to find food and drinks that are actually worth the money.
Make Geylang Serai Bazaar Great Again
Many of the stalls are run by young entrepreneurs who have given our traditional food a modern twist, or offer creations that I could only ever dream of.
Upon reaching the bazaar, we first decided that we needed a drink. A huge one. I was dying from the heat and a small canned drink was not going to suffice.
I came across Broti, a famous stall selling teas in their signature 1 litre cups for only $4. You know how most vendors would fill your cup halfway with ice and the remaining half with water? Well, Broti is truly a bro because they don’t play you dirty like that. Best part, their teas aren’t overly sweet at all.
We ordered their Thai Iced Tea ($4) and went on our merry way. Thank god for their 1 litre drinks because there is no way I could survive the crowd and heat without staying hydrated.
Balance Amount: $26
We moved on and decided that we needed something to munch on. There were plenty of fried snacks we could have ordered such as the keropok lekor and goreng pisang. I did my quick maths and realised that they weren’t cheap too. I could have easily splurged $5-6 on finger food as well.
That’s when we came across Katoshka. They go by a very simple concept: good ol’ fries served in cups laden in different sauces, from special cheese, sour ranch, chilli beef and sambal cheese.
This stall in particular stood out to me because it wasn’t trying too hard to please the crowd.
We got their Fries with Special Cheese ($5.90) which was honestly one of my favourite food of the night. It was classic and hearty and definitely worth the $5.90. Do note that Katoshka is a pretty popular stall so you might have to wait in a long queue before getting your hands on their fries.
But I must say, Katoshka’s fries are worth the hype.
Balance Amount: $20.10
With the classic staples scattered sparsely around, lost among an explosion of rainbow coloured food and unicorn drinks, it’s safe to say that the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar has been properly gentrified. It’s truly unfortunate that the bazaar has come to this.
When: 12 May 2018 to 14 June 2018
Nearest MRT Station: Paya Lebar Station