Love ’em or hate ’em, the so-called hipster snacks now ubiquitous at Singapore’s Ramadan bazaars are here to stay. But that doesn’t mean the purists among you can’t have your nostalgic fun. There are still plenty of classic snacks to gorge on at the ever popular Ramadan Bazaar at Geylang Serai, open daily from 3pm-midnight, till Jul 6. Here are 15 of them to make a beeline for.
Made of evaporated milk, basil seeds, katira and malva nuts, this cold sweet beverage is available in many flavors, ranging from bandung (rose syrup) to sweet corn and blueberry to durian, but the original one is still the best. Grab a bottle from one of the many drink stations at the bazaar or pasar malams.
The Malay version of this crispy turnover, this one is more like a peanut pancake, stuffed generous amounts of crushed peanuts, corn, sugar and condensed milk.
Seasoned and marinated for hours before the chicken-on-a-stick is placed on the grill and splashed (hence, percik) with more marinade gravy, the end product is a juicy, glazed delight with a spicy and tangy flavor and a delicious crisp char.
The famous cup corn originally sold on pushcarts can be found almost everywhere, from local pasar malams and bazaars to movie theaters. Crunchy corn kernels are lightly buttered, salted and steamed in a huge pot ready to be scooped into a classic styrofoam cup for you to snack on.
These are heavenly pieces of thinly sliced meat—think Chinese bak kwa or beef jerky—marinated with sugar and spices, grilled and stuffed into a paper bag for you to nibble on as you weave through the bazaar. You can choose between beef (the more popular choice) and chicken, and either opt for the original version or take it up a notch with the chili-flavored alternative. Get them directly at the Dendeng House, 39 Geylang Serai. Open daily 12-9pm.
Epok-epok (curry puff)
These deep-fried Malay turnovers filled with diced curry potatos or sardines are still the go-to, one-handed snack for market browsers.
Fresh bananas dipped in thick batter and deep fried to a golden delicious crisp. Need we say more? Oh yes, we do: they even have sweet potato, chempedak and yam versions.
This traditional deep fried snack from Terengganu made from fish, sago flour, and seasoned with salt and sugar, makes for a crunchy finger food and is best dipped in chili sauce.
Kueh tu tu aka putu piring
Who doesn’t love these steamed rice flour cakes filled with palm sugar, served in layers and topped with grated coconut and some pandan leaves. Head over to Traditional Haig Road Putu Piring, Mr Teh Tarik Food Court for your fix. 970 Geylang Rd. Open daily 12-10.30pm.
For an explosion of sweetness in your mouth, load up on these pandan-flavored glutinous rice balls, with a center of liquid palm sugar and an exterior coated in shredded coconut. There are great ones at Ratu Lemper, 16 Baghdad St. Open Tue-Sun, 3pm onwards.
These spicy parcels of minced fish are wrapped in banana leaves and grilled–they’re best eaten while they’re hot. Get yours from a stall in the bazaar or check out the popular halal-certified Lee Wee Brothers, Tampines Mall, 4 Tampines Central, #B1-K6. Opens daily 8am-10pm.
Another deep-fried must have is this crispy and doughy fritter, usually topped with a shelled prawn. Tip: Take a bite of the vadai together with the green chili that’s been packed alongside it for a more savory experience. Get a bag of these from The Original Vadai‘s bazaar stall in front of Al Wadi Coffeeshop, 970 Geylang Road.
Who needs a ramly burger when you have this local sandwich. Sliced halves of a French loaf are fried with a topping of minced meat, chopped onions and egg, and later drizzled with standard condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise. Get it from Rosy & Nora, Haig Road Cooked Food Centre, 14 Haig Road. Opens daily, 2pm-10pm.
It’s hard to miss the stacked bottles of colorful Hari Raya kueh such as pineapple tarts and makmur lining the bazaar. There are a variety of snacks to choose from, so take your time to mix and match for a good deal.
The sight of this hunk of spiced meat rotating on its metal axis is enough to make us salivate. When it’s sliced off and packed into a pita bread and topped with veggies and sauces, we go over the edge.
If you’re planning to drop by the Geylang Serai Ramadan bazaar this weekend, here are 5 things you can look forward to.
Running out of ideas for iftar places? Check out these 45 delicious halal restaurants in Singapore.