Every year during the month of Ramadhan, bazaars pop up everywhere from the heritage spots to the heartlands. However, there’s one particular giant of a Hari Raya market that almost warrants a mandatory visit yearly, and that’s the Geylang Serai Bazaar on the East Coast near Joo Chiat. If you haven’t been here all your life as a true blue Singaporean – where have you been? And if you’re a first-time visitor during this period, then you’re in luck mama!
What you can expect from this massive Hari Raya market in Geylang Serai? Well, delicious food in abundance and traditional festive goodies to celebrate the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri, of course! Because the bazaar lasts an entire month every day of the week, you can definitely find time in your busy schedule to pop by. We must say though that the most optimal time to head there would be from 5pm onwards – that’s when all the stalls are fully open. A nighttime visit in particular will delight kiddos as they’ll be amazed by all the lights, the tantalising smells, and the music in the air.
Just like every other year, this year’s bazaar is totally awesome (we promise!). Here are some of our faves that you should look out for:
What’s a bazaar without food, right? Throngs of people flock here just to get their yearly fix of delicacies so make sure you go on an empty stomach and load up here!
This year, Churros mania has hit the market and there’s at least four stalls serving up batches of this delish treat with many different types of dips. Definitely a must try in 2015!
Known as Turnover Pancake in English, this fluffy piece of awesome stuffed with corn, sugar, peanuts and condensed milk is my ultimate personal favourite! The batter is cooked on a thick round frying pan and the fillings are sprinkled upon the pancake. You can choose to have just one content for our filling but I love a combination! The chocolate sprinkle combo with cheese is also equally yummy!
An Indian fritter snack that came from South India, vadai is usually either doughnut or disc-shaped. Here, you have to to eat it with some green chilli. Take a bite of of the piece of chilli and another bite of the Vadai and just eat them together! If you’re not a fan of spicy stuff then eating the fritter on its own is just as good.
Very similar to bak kwa or beef jerky, the dendeng is a thinly sliced piece of meat (usually beef) that’s preserved through a mixture of sugar and spices. There’s usually a huge demand for the Dendeng during the fasting month because people can keep it for days and eat it for Sahur and Iftar (find out more about what Sahur and Iftar means in our Ramadhan FAQs).
During the Hari Raya season, families love to be in matching outfits and for those who would rather leave their festivity shopping till the last minute, they can do so here at the bazaar. The baju kurung is a traditional Malay costume for men, women and children that’s usually worn during Hari Raya, weddings and cultural ceremonies. Although the concept of the baju kurung has been around for a long time, the outfit will always be a classic go-to for special occasions amongst the Malay community.
So you’ve already gotten your outfit for Hari Raya. You’ll definitely need some earrings, bracelets and other jewellery to complete your look! The best part of all? You can definitely style these accessories with your daily outfits too. And if we were you, we won’t worry too much about the cost because they rarely cost more than $20.
Yes, you can get cool pretty furnishings for your humble abode here! There’s a huge variety of Persian rugs and mats flown in specially for the Hari Raya celebrations annually. There’s even artificial flowers, beautiful vases and even bright fairy lights in an assortment of shapes and sizes for you to put up inside or outside your homes. My Dad has a really long running light that’s in the shape of a cute little ketupats and we’ve had it for years now!
Now that you see and know the allure of the Geylang Serai Hari Raya market, can you see why people flock to the East from all over the island? The food, the shopping, the lights and the atmosphere is just simply too exciting! Pro-tip: It gets really hot and stuffy on most days so dress light. For first-timers, refer to this guide when you get there and remember to try out all the food items on our list – see you there, mamas!
All the details!
When: Now till 16 July 2015
Where: Along the stretch of Changi Road between Joo Chiat Road and Paya Lebar Road
Time: 5pm till late
How to get there: Alight at Paya Lebar MRT and just follow the lights and commotion!