It is like ‘ kid in candy shop experience’, to spot that red tented tarpaulin of pop-up stores from a mile away. These unassuming looks masking over rustic funfair games and carnival bites are the very essence of most of our childhoods, a strong contender for one of the top local things to do in Singapore.
Unfortunately, most of the time, these night bazaars appear almost-magically overnight. With no concrete way of knowing when and where the next of these pop-up night markets will appear, one can only wish upon the Pasar Malam gods to bestow your neighbourhood with your very own.
Thanks to the diversified cultural appreciation in Singapore, there’s a night market for almost every festivity happening and many more! Here’s the unorthodox Pasar Malams Singapore 2018 guide you’ve been searching for.
1. Bugis Street Market
If you needed to visit just one spot for the cheapest food and (not necessarily cutting edge) fashion, this would be it.
From little trinkets, keychains and cheap grubs to a pair of jeans for S$15, Bugis Street Market’s got it all. It takes less than 10 minutes to walk from one end to another for the street market, but do not underestimate the plethora of things you can find in this dainty looking street.
A modest looking entrance to the alleyway, entering the dimly lighted alleyway right across Bugis Junction is like entering a secret wardrobe of food heaven and cheap deals – as affirmed by vendors with their flashy signboards. More than just your plain-vanilla night market, whatever you can find outside, chances are they have it at a fraction of the price.
- Where: Opposite Bugis Junction
2. Singapore Night Festival (Coming Soon in Q3)
While this isn’t just a night market per se, whatever you go to a night market for can be found at the annual Singapore Night Festival. As the name suggests, it’s more like a Singapore night market cum festival that stretches along the Bras Basah – Bugis stretch, attracting art appreciators and the general public alike with its whimsically alluring night lights and performances.
Due to happen every 3rd quarter of the year (usually August), it’s trademarked itself with light projections on the various monuments around the district, and the wide array of stores selling festival bites nestled just outside Singapore Management University (SMU). Apart from the bedazzlement of the artworks, its actually one of the few local night bazaars that extend till midnight.
Keep a tab on their official page as it’s still in the pilot for this year’s rendition, be the first to let your friends know about it!
- Where: Bras Basah – Bugis stretch, Singapore Management University
3. Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar (forecasted: 15 May 2018 – 14 June 2018)
This is arguably the night market that ends all other night markets in terms of food variety and the harmony of races. Though this bazaar aligns with Ramadan and takes place in the very heart of the Malay community in Singapore, it is no news that Singaporeans of all races have since flocked to the biggest bazaar in Singapore to ride the hype wave.
In the 2017 rendition, the bazaar saw more than 900 stalls selling a variety of food items, textiles, and various other products. If you’re a fan of the hustle and bustle of a bazaar, you’ll not be disappointed.
Foodies alert: the bazaar has evolved over the past couple of years – now a famous spot for new food creations to make their appearance on top of the already known traditional Malay food.
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While some sulk over the degenerate of traditional Malay food stalls in the bazaar, we can all bask in the glory of this gastronomical innovation that has brought about eyegasm food items like the already mentioned Rainbow Burger from ‘Word’ and the Raclette Cheese craze that took over the internet in 2017 (please, no more salted egg everything). The Geylang Serai bazaar operating hours wholly varies from vendor to vendor but towards the end of the month, many stalls remain open till late at night!
What’s more to come this 2018? We’ll be sure to see it later this year at this night market!
- Where: Geylang Serai
4. Chinatown Street Market
For a truly oriental experience, how does one simply leave out the iconic Chinatown Street Market? You might have even been there yourself from the recent Chinese New Year shopping! I remember being towered by the horde of people as a kid, whilst echoes of cheap deals deafened the very street. This day, the street remains a sensory overload for tourists and locals alike, especially in the midst of the festivities.
Not known to most, the street is actually opened on a daily basis, running from 10am to 10pm. You can find authentic Chinese cuisines and various antique sales, especially on Sundays!
The bustle and hustle of this street resembles a Singapore food market and oftentimes only goes full bloom in the evening, truly a night market in its own rights. Helming the signature red-roofed storefronts, the street is peppered with stores that are permanent merchants accompanied with occasional pop-up stores, a switch up from the typical Pasar Malam.
Bonus point: Just a stone throw away from this market is Smith Street, where the cheapest Michelin Star dish in the world is located: the famous Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Chicken Rice Noodle, literally within minutes of walk away from the main stretch itself makes a perfect lunch or dinner after a stroll down this market.
Pasar Malam food we never forget
No matter how we’ve aged, or how Pasar Malam has evolved in the prior years, the child-like innocence in us would always find resolution in the $1 street bites and the long-forgotten Ramly burger. Long live the night market!
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