Here’s The Main Reason Why Geylang Serai Bazaar Is Getting More Hipster & Expensive

The Geylang Serai Bazaar is one of the more popular Pasar Malams in Singapore, if not the most popular.

Every year, crowds will visit the bazaar, especially when Instagram-worthy photos of colourful food and drinks appear online.

Of course, this year, the Geylang Serai Bazaar has its fair share of good and bad media coverage. One of which includes the accusation that the Bazaar is getting too “hipster”.

Too much unicorn-food, totally not representative of the Malay-Muslim culture in Singapore. 

But why did the stallholders in the bazaar do that? Is it because they bo bian, or they want more business?

Well, it’s a combination of both. You’ll empathise with them once you hear about the Why.

Rental for a 9 by 9 FT stall can go as high as $17,000


Guys, we’re talking $17,000 dollars for a month. And it’s for a stall that measures about 2.7 by 2.7 metres. 

It was reported on Straits Times that this year, the rental for a stall at the bazaar can cost up to $17,000.

The owner of a stall that sells Thai milk tea and fried Oreos rented two stalls for $30,000 this year. That was up from $16,000 for two stalls last year, and $10,000 the previous year.

Another owner of a stall which sells vadai told the newspaper that they rented a stall for $17,000 this year, up from $15,000 last year and $10,000 the previous year. 

How many Ramly Burgers must you sell a day to break even?

Now, imagine if the owner is selling Ramly burgers, which typically goes for $2.50 per burger…and we’re talking about “typical pasar malam”. So,how many are they going to sell in a day in order to cover the cost?


I’ll do the maths for you.

The rental of the stall, assuming it’s $17,000, will cost the owner approximately $600 a day. Because the stall needs manpower, we’re going to assume there are two people working there, getting paid at $60 a day per person.

That adds up to an operating cost of $720 per day. And we’re not including the cost of ingredients and other overheads in the equation.

So how many Ramly burgers must you sell to break even? The answer is a whopping 288 burgers.

That’s before you start to earn from your business. Imagine that.

So why the high rental? Why isn’t the government doing anything?


Here’s why the rental has soared price high, and it’s because of a bidding war between two big players—Venture Trade Fair and Ability Trade Fair.

What happens is that every year, two tenders will be called by a working committee under Geylang Serai Citizens’ Consultative Committee, and vendors will be invited to bid for the project.

This year, Venture Trade Fair won one bid with $1.56 million while Ability won the other with a bid of $1.79 million.

In order to pay for the higher bid, both trade fairs have to increase the rental for the spaces within the bazaar. 

Eric Wong, the chairman of Geylang Serai CCC emphasised that the committee cannot meddle with the prices and the bids are based on supply and demand.

So the next time you see expensive food at the bazaar (or any place in Singapore, actually), take note that the money might not be going into the stall owner’s pockets but to rental instead.

Now you know why everything is getting so expensive in Singapore liao. #BetterEatAtHomeSua

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