We are very sure that most of you have had the chance to visit the many bazaars spread throughout the island, during the month of Ramadhan. With the newly-hyped issues that has plagued the Geylang Serai Bazaar this year, we have been optimistic enough to venture into the heartlands for alternative feast sites.
And despite a certain MP commented on the dire need to be “inclusive” on different aspects of our cultural dietary, we certainly braved through and immersed ourself in the Ramadhan spirit.
Thus, we will not be reviewing our taste buds in this article, due to the need to be inclusive and feel the abstinence that our Muslim brothers and sisters endured while being in a place cluttered with spiced aromas and quenching banners of hippie drinks.
(Yes! We fasted, queued and bought food at about 5pm, and only through sheer perseverance, we consumed them around 7:10pm. So, fair enough. No Michelin-esque review.) 👍
We’ve chosen Woodlands Bazaar for this write-up, as it seemed more bazaar-appropriate than an upscaled flea-market (T-Hub, OneKM & Jurong East BigBox) / pasar malam (Punggol)/ void deck carousels (Jurong West & Tampines).
Mind you, we reached the bazaar at 3pm on a weekday, and the place was already packed like sardine.
Causeway Point and Woodlands Civic Centre are just a sneeze away and offers much more convenience with the airconditioning and wide mainstream varieties. Yet, the queue and atmosphere over at the bazaar was something you can only experience in Geylang Serai, considering the day and time we visited.
There was a dazzling array of traditional food as well as the trendy ones there. Not forgetting, it seemed like a melting pot for established names from all the other popular eateries in Singapore.
Namely, Al-Azhar Briyani & Tulang, Boon Lay Power Nasi Lemak, Nasi Ambeng Asli Jurong West, Geylang Serai Chendol and some others. They all had a huge following, seeing how their queue ‘snaked’ and intersects one another.
We even saw raw fish on display with a concept of “You choose the fish, choose the gravy and they cook it while you shopped elsewhere”.
Now, where can you get that in a bazaar setting? Weird but definitely eye-catching, we thought.
Inching our way through the fasting crowd was probably a terrible idea with all the sweats (and our dry throats), but had we not done that, we would not have stumbled upon a small little stall tucked in the centre of all the chaos, mended by a group of young kids. And by that, we meant really young adolescent kids.
“Great balls of fire”, Taufik Batisah sang. And these kids lived it up with their entrepreneurial skills.
So basically, they do flour balls with different fillings. You can mix them up at an affordable price. We simply could NOT resist purchase from them, even though the balls were, erm just simple.
The fact that they are kids doing what some adults struggled to do, was an absolute pull factor for us to plunge in. We bought all the flavours available. (Inside story: Theirs was the only item that we finished before anything else that we bought that day).
We continued squeezing our mere bodies into the sea of crowd and found quite a wave of hybrid “east-meets-west” products. Such as Murtabak pancakes, Durian Mochis, Banana & Cheese Apam Balik (We know right! Confused flavours). Haha. It would have tasted better if we had ate it on the spot, though.
Oh well, and of course our dear hipster brands sprouting like mushooms in bazaars everywhere.
There is not much we can say about them. Every other blog has been reviewing them. Their presence, however, gave a sense of assurance that inclusivity still is in existence in heartland bazaars. No pun intended. =P
The bazaar is not only limited to consumables. It also spaced out to another section where there are carpet vendors, baju kurung vendors like JAKEL and even allocated a small stage where, probably for local/regional celebs to endorse an event or something.
Which concludes that Woodlands bazaar is the closest you can get to, in comparison to our Geylang Serai bazaar.
Let’s all hope that Geylang Serai bazaar would not be diminished off from its own essence and sentiments of our Malay friends/community in Singapore.
On a lighter note, go and check out Woodlands Bazaar while it is still on show until 22nd June 2017, or you would have to salivate the cravings till Ramadhan 2018.
Location: Next to Woodlands MRT and Causeway Shopping Centre.
Let us know what you think of your experience(s) at Woodlands Bazaar from the past years and now.
p/s: TheLocalMakan wishes all our Muslim friends a blessed Ramadhan and Eid Mubarak 2017!