Go There Eat What: Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre

·3-min read
Photos: (Clockwise from left) Facebook/@PakDinAyamBakar, Guo Jie (Geylang Serai Market exterior) and Facebook/@cendolgs

This series is inspired by the National Heritage Board's new digital photography project entitled "Our Hawker Culture: Built for Great Taste", in which four local photographers have captured oft-overlooked features of 12 hawker centres in Singapore. In each edition, we'll highlight one awesome hawker centre and the mouth-watering makan you can find there.

Photo: Guo Jie

First established in 1964 as Pasar Geylang Serai, the place was made up of a wet market, food centre and textile stalls under a single-storey zinc roof.

This famed spot underwent major reconstruction, opening in 2009 as Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre (1 Geylang Serai, Singapore 402001), with beautiful new features and increased accessibility.

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Photo: Guo Jie

The major reconstruction did wonders for this renowed spot - and the architectural details have been captured beautifully by photographer Khoo Guo Jie for the National Heritage Board's latest digital photography project, "Our Hawker Culture, Built For Great Taste".

Modelled after a Malay kampung house, the new façade allowed for natural ventilation and light to stream in, making it comfortable for patrons to enjoy their meals.

Photo: Guo Jie
Photo: Guo Jie

Incorporating traditional motifs, the tiered roof resembles that of a thatched house, with woven baskets lining the ceiling as décor. The ceiling was also raised to twice its original height for a naturally ventilated dining hall.

Photo: Guo Jie

The new seating arrangement easily seats small and large families and instils a sense of community. The amply spaced rows of stalls allow patrons an overview of the variety of food stalls available, and to assess the queues snaking out from them.

Photo: Guo Jie

Look at all that space and natural ventilation. It certainly helps with Singapore's heat and humidity!

Curious to know what the go-to stalls here are? Then feast your eyes on and read about their mouth-watering offerings:

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Azizah Briyani

If you're a briyani fan and unaware of this stall, then you're really missing out. With over 20 years of experience, the briyani here consists of healthier ingredients (like using yogurt instead of ghee) and has a lighter taste for this sinful meal. Their achar is also homemade, complementing the delish meat with its tartness.

Stall number: #02-127

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Pak Din Ayam Bakar

Ayam Bakar is an Indonesian and Malaysian dish, consisting of charcoal-grilled chicken. "Ayam bakar" literally means "roasted chicken" in Indonesian and Malay. And Pak Din's chicken is well-seasoned with turmeric, garlic, shallots and other spices, and grilled on charcoal. With a mouthful of turmeric rice, grilled chicken and spicy chilli, this dish is simply sedap!

Stall Number: #02-151

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Cendol Geylang Serai

It doesn't get more traditional than this: A traditional cendol of homemade rice noodles infused with pandan leaf juice, coconut milk, crushed ice, and gula melaka. This simple yet tasty dessert is perfect for Singapore's hot weather, and the spicy food you just devoured.

Stall Number: #02-107

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Rojak & Mee Siam (A.H. Food Corner)

Legendary queues form at this stall famous for their Indian rojak. They serve a wide variety of deep fried fritters, cuttlefish, fish cake, beef lung, fried tofu, tempeh etc., which are eaten with a thick, spicy, sweet sauce made with sweet potato puree. The fried fritters are also not overly greasy, leaving you smacking your lips with satisfaction.

Stall Number: #02-126

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