Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Geylang/Paya Lebar Ramadan Bazaar 2012

I hope you enjoyed my article about the Muscat Street Ramadan Bazaar previously. For today's article, I will be giving you a virtual tour of the biggest Ramadan Bazaar in Singapore which is the Geylang/Paya Lebar Ramadan Bazaar and it's located in the heart of Geylang Serai and Paya Lebar. You can find stalls from Paya Lebar MRT Station all the way to the Geylang Serai Food Centre. There were also stalls found along Haig Road Food Centre and along Tanjong Katong Complex. Lots of people were there and the bazaar sold a wide variety of things ranging from food to clothes and so much more.

The bazaar also sold a variety of Hari Raya clothing that's much more affordable than the ones found in boutiques. They cater to everyone from children to men and women. There were also stalls selling a bunch of Malay cookies that were also significantly cheaper than the ones sold in shopping malls and bakeries.

What would a Ramadan Bazaar be without food stalls selling a wide variety of street food? I came across a stall selling a bunch of cakes like Brownies and Swiss Rolls. This is a great stall for those who love having delicious cakes and desserts. Of course, since I have the opportunity, I used it to buy a box of Chocolate Brownies for an inexpensive amount although I can't really remember the price of it.

Chocolate Brownie
This is how the Chocolate Brownie at the Geylang Bazaar stall looked like. It's huge, it has sliced peanuts at the top and it's full of chocolatey goodness. However, the taste seems to make me think that it's more of a cake than a brownie. When I took a bite of this brownie, it has that chocolate flavour but it doesn't have that moist and chewy feeling like a typical brownie. However, I do like the amount of chocolate that's been added and also the sliced nuts at the top. I think this should be called Brownie Cake rather than a Brownie because of it's taste being similar to a chocolate cake.

Here are some more pictures of the Ramadan Bazaar at Geylang. You can see how busy the place is with the huge amount of people walking in and out and around the bazaar. The stallholders were working hard to ensure that customers get their orders and walk away satisfied. When crossing along the traffic junction, huge crowds will walk towards you like as if a stampede was waiting to happen. Don't worry though, there were no stampedes and the traffic was strictly controlled by a traffic warden on duty.

What would a Ramadan Bazaar be without Ramly Burger. At the Geylang Bazaar, there were stalls selling Ramly Burgers at almost every corner. What's their difference? The way they prepared the burgers. Each stall has a unique way of making the burgers and a different way of packaging the burgers. Some were wrapped in wax paper while some were boxed in a styrofoam box. I got a delicious Ramly Burger at a random stall which was wrapped in paper with the Ramly Burger's signature logo on it. The burger that I got was the chicken version and ironically, the packaging said beef.

Ramly Burger (Chicken)
Anyway, the burger was delicious. It's made with a fried chicken patty that's cooked on the spot and smothered with some black sauce, mayonnaise and heaps of chili sauce. After that, the patty was wrapped in omelette and placed on two toasted and buttered buns. I can't fully remember if there was cheese in it but it was a great burger nonetheless. I could taste the egg, the sauces and the chicken meat all mixed together with the fluffy buns when I took a bite of it. I actually hate chili sauce but thanks to the black sauce and the mayonnaise, the flavours of the sauces were more powerful and it covered up the horrible tasting chili sauce. I could taste a little bit of spiciness that came from the chili sauce however. Overall, this is one of the best burgers I have tried that doesn't come from fast food restaurants and it's no wonder the Ramly Burger is a popular street food. Next time, I want to try the beef version.

Here's a stall that sold a wide variety of fried traditional Malay snacks. I can't fully remember what snacks were these though, unfortunately. Anyway, if you do know what they are, let me know.

Every November and December, Orchard Road will have the annual Christmas Light Up whereas during Ramadan, Geylang Road will have the annual Hari Raya Light Up. It's slightly different than the ones at Orchard Road plus it's targeted towards Hari Raya. I can't say which light up is better but I can say that both of these light ups are there to ignite the festive mood in everyone and it's too make people happy. Plus, it's a beautiful sight at night especially when you drive through these roads.

This is how the Hari Raya Light Up looks like in the year of 2011. It's completely different from this year's but what's common between the two is that both feature blue-coloured lights. On the left, you can see the stalls near the now-defunct Malay Village. Since the Malay Village has already closed, there were no stalls there anymore as of this year. However, stalls are still found near the Haig Road Food Centre as usual.

Apart from Ramly Burgers, there is also another popular snack that's always served at Ramadan bazaars. It's called Dendeng and it's basically barbequed skewered meat that's been marinated with delicious and sweet flavours. Dendeng comes in two kinds which are beef and chicken. Dendeng is similar to the Chinese Bak Kwa sold in places like Bee Cheng Hiang except that Bak Kwa is barbequed pieces of pork. Instead, Dendeng is made with Halal chicken or beef and it's appropriate for Muslims. Just like Ramly Burger stalls, Dendeng stalls were also found at almost every corner of the bazaar. Of course, I bought the pieces of Dendeng and I will tell you more about why it's a very popular street snack during Ramadan.

Beef Dendeng
Dendeng is simply a great snack. I got myself the Beef version of the Dendeng and for a few pieces, it can be quite expensive. The Dendeng was juicy and tender and I could taste the marinade that's inside the meat. The meat was also chewy and moist so it's certainly an enjoyable snack. It's also a little bit spicy so if you love a little kick in whatever you eat, the Dendeng is a snack you should consider getting. I applaud the creator of the Dendeng. However, I can only find Dendeng during the month of Ramadan and I wish I can buy it all year round. It can be expensive for a bag but since it's only available during Ramadan, it's money well spent. It's no wonder Muslims can't get enough of Dendeng whenever it's Ramadan.

Cheese Sausage
Other than Dendeng, another popular street snack that's commonly found during Ramadan is the Cheese Sausage. Cheese sausages are wonderful tubes of meat. Just like regular sausages, there are spices blended into the pink meat and unlike regular sausages, there's lots of cheese oozing out of the meat once you take a bite. All that salty cheesy goodness fills up your mouth and it's an enjoyable snack which will make you come back for more. Do take note that if you want to eat these sausages, make sure you get the steamed ones instead of deep fried ones. Steamed ones are slightly healthier plus, cheese sausages contain lots of calories. If you're a fan of these delicious sausages, they are also sold at various neighbourhood night markets at stalls that also sell Ramly Burgers.

Apam Balik
This next snack that I got at the Geylang Ramadan Bazaar is called Apam Balik. I don't really know the meaning of the name of this snack but I do know that's it's delicious. Basically, Apam Balik are pancakes with fillings like peanuts and sweet corn in it. The pancakes are not like those that you find at a fast food breakfast menu. Instead, it's fluffier and it reminds me a little bit like sweetened rice paste. I really love this pancake because it reminds me of my chidhood. The sweet corn and peanuts in the pancake complement each other well. Apam Balik is a great dessert for those who have a sweet tooth.

Red Bean Round Pancake
Here's another pancake worth mentioning. Actually, I didn't expect this pancake to show up at the Ramadan Bazaar but since it's cute and it looks delicious, I decided to give this a try. I don't know what the specific name is but I do know that it's a small round pancake with Red Bean paste in it. The pancake isn't that bad and the small cute size of this pancake made it fun to eat. The Red Bean filling inside of it was too sweet and too much. I wish they reduced the amount of filling and maybe make it less sweet like Mr Bean's round pancakes. Just like the Apam Balik, the round pancake itself reminds me of sweetened rice paste.

Potato Curry Puffs
Last but not least, another snack that's popular among the Malay community in Singapore are Potato Curry Puffs. Curry Puffs are basically deep fried pieces of pastry with fillings like curry and potatoes. Sometimes, sardines are used as filling. The curry puffs I got at the bazaar was different in taste than what I'm used to. The filling was quite little and only half of it was filled, unfortunately. However, I do like the crispiness of the puff but still, I do wish that there was enough potato and curry fillings in it. Bonus points if they include half pieces of boiled eggs. Thankfully, curry puffs are available all year round and can be found in a lot of Malay stalls across Singapore. You can get better ones if you know where to look.

The Ramadan Bazaar at Geylang and Paya Lebar is the biggest and it's the official Ramadan Bazaar in Singapore. So many great stalls selling a wide variety of things like snacks, Hari Raya cookies, clothes, accessories and so much more at affordable prices are available here. It's no wonder the bazaar here is mostly packed with a huge amount of people. By the time this post is published, the Geylang/Paya Lebar Bazaar is over BUT you can still look forward to it next year during Ramadan in the year 2013. Do check out my next two posts soon where I'll talk about more Ramadan Bazaars around Singapore.

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