The mention of Geylang Serai inadvertently brings to mind the one word which most Singaporeans, regardless of race language or religion, would know – Sedap! Geylang Serai has the reputation for being the Malay emporium of Singapore and Geylang Serai food is almost synonymous with good authentic Malay food. There may be no better place to find a wide variety of value-for-money delicious Malay food and snacks than Pasar Geylang Serai or Geylang Serai Market.
Geylang Serai Market, with its Malay Minangkabau roof design, is one of the key focal points for the Malay and Indian-Muslim communities of Singapore. A wide variety of household items, food and cooking ingredients can be found there.
The traditional wet market is on the ground floor. There are also goldsmiths, bakeries and provisions shops stocking the usual range of groceries as well as some rather exotic tonics and supplements. Even Tongkat Ali Ginseng Coffee is available.
On the second level is a bazaar selling clothes and fashion accessories. The Geylang Serai Food Centre is located on the second floor.
Geylang Serai Food
Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre offers a very wide variety of food and beverages – nasi rawon, dam briyani, kambing soup, mee soto, goreng pisang, bandung and even Hainanese coffee – and the list can go on and on. You can have breakfast and supper there as well as every other meal in between. The same item is usually sold at more than one stall. That is a good thing because it will not be unusual to go to Geylang Serai Market with something to eat in mind only to find a particular stall selling that item is not open. It is hard to tell what are the exact operating hours and rest days of the stalls. Even if they have stated opening hours, the stalls will close for the day when they finish selling what they have for that day.
No food guide as to what to eat or list of “must-try” can really do justice to the many stalls in Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre. It is a destination to be experienced. We share below photos of some good Geylang Serai food we have tried as well as a few stalls which seemed to be very popular.
Haig Road Putu Piring
On the ground level of Geylang Serai Market is a 24 hour food court run by Mr Teh Tarik. One of the stalls in the food court is a branch of the famous Haig Road Putu Piring. Their putu piring is mouth watering good. A packet of 5 pieces sells for $2. Having Haig Road Putu Piring alone is a good enough reason to make a trip to Geylang Serai.
Haig Road Putu Piring | 970 Geylang Road, #01-02 Mr Teh Tarik Food Court Tel: 94229017 | Opening hours: 9am-8pm, closed every Monday | Facebook Page
Alrahman Kitchen sells a variety of rice and noodles. It is one of the few places selling Roti Kirai (or Roti Jala, which literally means “net bread”) .
Their Gado Gado ($3.50) was very good. A thick, mildly spicy peanut sauce coated the ketupat, boiled potatoes and boiled vegetables. Topped with crackers, the dish had a good combination of textures and tastes.
Their Mee Rebus ($3) had a thick spicy gravy and came with a whole hard-boiled egg and lots of garnishing.
Alrahman Kitchen | 1 Geylang Serai, #02-139 Geylang Serai Food Centre
Hajjah Mona Nasi Padang
Hajjah Mona is a very popular nasi padang stall. There is almost always a long queue but the service is efficient; so the queue moves along quite quickly.
We tried their Nasi Padang with Beef Rendang, Sambal Quail Eggs, Egg Plant and Begedil ($6.10). The beef rendang was tender and delicious and the begedil was very good, with many ingredients. We liked their sambal chilli.
Hajjah Mona Nasi Padang | 1 Geylang Serai, #02-166 Geylang Serai Food Centre | Opening hours: 8am-7pm; Closed on Wednesday | Facebook Page
Rojak & Mee Siam by A.H. Food Corner
This Indian Rojak stall is also popular for its mee siam. The mee siam is usually sold out by lunch time. We tried a plate of the Indian rojak ($6.30) which included items like seafood cake, egg in dough fritter, bean curd and cuttlefish. It was served with quite a lot of vegetables and green chilli. The presentation of the end product looked quite good – almost like the salad bowl of trendy salad bars. The secret of the dish is their special sauce. You can ask for more sauce and you should.
Rojak & Mee Siam | 1 Geylang Serai, #02-126 Geylang Serai Food Centre | Opening hours: 8am-4pm
This Geylang Serai stall traced its history to the original satay vendor in the old Satay Club at the Esplanade. We ordered 5 sticks of chicken satay and 5 sticks of beef satay ($0.60 each). The Ketupat was $1 for 2. The chicken satay was good but we found the beef satay a bit tough and chewy. Alhambra’s satay sauce had lots of crunchy bits of peanuts and was delicious.
Alhambra Satay| 1 Geylang Serai, #02-145 Geylang Serai Food Centre| Tel: 8366 9604
G.S.Oli Thosei & Food Stall
Their breakfast items are very popular. Apom, Thosai and Masala Chicken will usually be all sold out by lunch time.
We tried their Apom ($2 for 2 pieces), a pancake with a soft, billowy bum in the centre and soft thin crispy edges. Depending on your imagination, it may look like an omelet or a flying saucer. The plain apom was served with grated coconut and red sugar. A simple satisfying breakfast. Their Putu Mayam ($2 for 2 pieces), steamed rice flour noodles with grated coconut and red sugar, was also enjoyable.
G.S.Oli Thosei & Food Stall | 1 Geylang Serai, #02-138 Geylang Serai Food Centre|
Cendol Geylang Serai
Their Chendol ($1.50) is served in the basic purest form – just the rice flour jelly in palm sugar and coconut milk. They announced with big and small signs to the uninitiated – “No Red Beans”; and no other ingredients for that matter – just a simple delicious traditional dessert.
Cendol Geylang Serai | 1 Geylang Serai, #02-107 Geylang Serai Food Centre| Tel: 94855845 | Opening hours: 9am-7pm | Facebook Page
Geylang Serai Chee Kong Cheng Tng
We learnt that Chee Kong is the Malay term for the Chinese dessert Cheng Tng. The Geylang Serai Cheng Tng has all the traditional ingredients, including lotus seed, gingko nut, sugared winter melon strips, dried longan, pang da hai (Boat Sterculia Seed ) and barley. They serve both the hot and cold versions. You can specify the sugar level you like for your cheng tng. At $2 per bowl, it is not cheap. Having tried both their hot and cold cheng tng, we thought it was well worth the price.
Geylang Serai Chee Kong Cheng Tng | 1 Geylang Serai, #02-149, Geylang Serai Food Centre
Kebab Tornado Kueh Talam Asli
They sell kebab but it is their trays of colourful kuehs that attracted us. Generally, the kuehs are sold at $0.80 per piece with discounts given when you buy more. The Talam Chendol was excellent.
Kebab Tornado Kueh Talam Asli | 1 Geylang Serai, #02-148 Geylang Serai Food Centre
Warong Keluarga sells a wide range of Malay kuehs and cookies. We tried the glutinuous rice served with grated coconut and gula melaka syrup. It was enjoyable. We asked the friendly Mak Cik what was the name of the kueh. She said “Lopes, as in, you know, Jennifer Lopez“. Now we will never forget that name. The Kueh Lopes was $1 a piece.
Warong Keluarga | 1 Geylang Serai, #02-112 Geylang Serai Food Centre |
There are so many other stalls in Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre that we have not yet patronised. We are sure that many of them have good food. With regard to Singapore hawker food, perhaps the only food guide that counts is the length of the queue at the stall. On that unscientific basis, we share below a few photos of food stalls at Geylang Serai Food Centre which had long queues during lunch time on the weekday we visited the place.
Iqbal Soup Kambing – #02-128
Gerai Nenek Obek – #02-136
Sinar Pagi Nasi Padang – #02-137
Ali’s Corner – #02-159
Hajjah Saiah Othman – #02-163
Pasar Geylang Serai or Geylang Serai Market is somewhere between the Paya Lebar MRT Station and the Eunos MRT Station. Buses from Paya Lebar MRT Station to Geylang Serai Market includes 24, 28, 154 & 155. Bus 154 goes to the Eunos Interchange. There is a multi-storey car park linked to the Pasar Geylang Serai. The entrances are at Geylang Serai Road and Jalan Turi.
Makan, Makan. Sedap Lah!
Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre
1 Geylang Serai,
Opening hours :
06:30 – 12.00 (Wet Market)
08:00 – 22:00 (Food Centre)