It was a was warm Tuesday evening when us Zahara girls decided to take a venture to the Ramadan Bazaar by the Sultan Mosque at Arab Street. Previously, we were contemplating attending the famous Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar but we felt that especially with the heat we didn’t feel like joining the crowd under the humid tents at Geylang.
We decided to take an alternative route to Ramadan Bazaars and were happy with our decision when we arrived a the Ramadan Sultan Bazaar. Located just outside the gates of the famous Sultan Mosque, we were welcomed by the smell of aromatic rice, wonderfully skewered meats, and succulent treats.
Needless to say, we were salivating. It’s definitely a smaller area dedicated to the bazaar compared to the long stretch that you would be used to for the Geylang Serai market, but we were happy to be amongst the Ramadan spirit and everyone getting ready to Buka Puasa (break fast).
We begin at the start of the bazaar where the welcome banner sits. To the left, you will see a stall selling delicious and juicy meats. Once you pass this, the bazaar opens up to a larger space where this was packed with the after-work crowd looking to grab some dinner on the way back home. We were happy to be there to witness the Buka Puasa and also try out some delish Raya staples like kuihs and some interesting twists to already popular dishes.
The first thing we bought was kuih. We snapped up a couple of Kuih Lapis, a local favourite. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a multi-coloured layered ‘cake’ which is made out of sticky rice flour pudding. There were numerous other kuihs displayed on the table but this is definitely something I remember my parents would treat my sister and me with during Raya. So this was a nice walk down memory lane.
I then realised that I had made a rookie mistake as I forgot to withdraw some cash for the bazaar. So just as a warning, be sure to bring a good amount of cash with you as there were no stalls which had an electronic payment system. Sad with the realisation, I knew I had to be selective with the next item I bought. I decided to splash out on my next (and final, sad sad) purchase of the night which was a super delightful local spin on your typical Arab Mandy Rice.
I couldn’t fight off the cravings to have a meaty dish that night - thanks to the warm and welcoming aroma of the kebabs and other meaty dishes. The other Zahara girls had a bit more freedom with their choices and went for fun and familiar comfort dishes. All in all, the loot we purchased included Laska, a Ramly Burger, and another Mutton Mandy Rice.
Here is our verdict for the evening. We feel that out of all the dishes we bought, the standout was definitely the Mutton Mandy Rice. The rice was amazing. Definitely well seasoned, with different herbs and spices. I found a cinnamon stick in mine so you know that they are not stinging on these ingredients. The meat was well-cooked and the gravy was excellent. We paid SGD$ 6.50 for this dish and we think it’s definitely worth it especially for the portion of rice and meat that you get.
Another stand out dish was the Johor Laksa. The girls felt that it was flavourful and packs a good punch. The gravy was just the right consistency between liquid and fish. The best part was probably the spiciness as they had mixed a bit of sambal with it. Although it was a decent portion, we feel for $5 it was a bit steep in pricing and lacked some veggies. It’s still a definite try if you're curious for some Johor Laksa!
Not forgetting the Kuih Lapis! This was a fun treat to have after many years so I’m definitely not disappointed by the comfort it brought me. It’s not too sweet which is just the way I like it and its consistency is sticky but not to the point where it leaves behind a stickiness you can’t get rid of.
Finally, we come to the least impressive out of all our purchases… the Ramly burger. As some of us grew up in Malaysia, we are definitely spoilt for choice with the authentic Ramly burger stalls that set up on the side of the road which you can frequent even at the early hours of the night. The Ramly burger at the Ramadan Sultan Bazaar did not come with an essential ingredient we are used to in Malaysia - Cheese.
Overall, we were glad we attended the Ramadan Sultan Bazaar between us Zahara girls to learn more about the local Malay culture, food and each other.
Did you go the Ramadan Sultan Bazaar? What did we miss and should we go back again or would you like us to visit Geylang Serai?
Let us know what you think and if you enjoy blogs like these where we take work trips to these festive events around Singapore.
Until next time,
(Written by Luxmee Sabapathy)
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