Monday, October 17, 2011

Arab Street in Singapore

Sultan Mosque

If you are travelling to Singapore, Arab Street is a wonderful place to visit, it's situated in Kampong Glam;  home to Sultan Mosque, a very prominent Muslim Landmark in Singapore. If you come on a Friday afternoon, you will see a huge crowd gathering for the Friday Prayer there and may even hear the Friday Sermon (if you understand Malay). There's a short introductory tour on Islam available at the Mosque but they will not let you in during the Friday Prayer, you will have to wait until 2.00pm. 

Sarongs @ Melor's Curios

Kebayas @ Melor's Curios

More sarongs at Arab Street
The Traditional Capal

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There are also some interesting shops selling unique items that you might want to bring back home as a souvenir. Among the notable shops are Melor Curios and Malay Art Gallery (Bussorah Street just in front of Sultan Mosque) selling kebayas, sarongs, traditional malay toys and even keris. If you are keen on silk there's rows and rows of textile shops lining the street. Looking for Islamic Art? Try "Khazanah" at Jalan Pisang. While headed there, why not check out OVA boutique as well? It maybe a Muslimah Store but who knows if there's something that you fancy? (OVA Trendy  has now shifted to a new location instead of being 2 stores away from Hajjah Maimunah at Jalan Pisang, it is now on the same stretch as Zam Zam Restaurant opposite Sultan Mosque-will do a separate post on them as soon as I get back to Singapore again :) )

The Malay Traditional Weapon - Keris @ Malay Art Gallery
Face Mask @ Malay Art Gallery
Traditional Toys
Halal restaurants also lined the place, predominantly the malay cuisine and the middle eastern cuisine. If you want to try the popular malay "Mixed Rice", you might want to avoid lunch hour as it gets really crowded. Though those that caters to the lunch crowd usually close by 6 or 7 pm. Among my favorite restaurants are Sabar Menanti at Kandahar Street and  Hajjah Maimunah at Jalan Pisang, I also love Rumah Makan Minang's Tahu Telor dish though I felt that the other dishes are slightly spicy, Rumah Makan Minang is also located at Kandahar Street and is just in front of Sultan Mosque. Best time to go will be around 11.30 am for an early lunch so that the food will be fresh.

Turkish Lanterns in Singapore?
Baskets, baskets and baskets
textiles of mind-boggling colors and designs

If you are in the mood for middle eastern cuisine, there are also a variety of restaurants to choose from Egyptian, Lebanese, Moroccan, Turkish, Persian and others. Cafe Le Caire is popular with the locals though personally I think there's not much to shout about, I think the crowd goes there more for the shisha. For myself, I am partial to Pyramid Restaurant, Amirah's Grill, Alaturka (all at Bussorah Street) Nabin's (at Sultan Gate) and Sufi Restaurant at Arab Street. The Lebanese Gulf Beach Restaurant looks inviting too but I have yet to give it a try as they only turned halal recently due to change of management.

Cafe Le Caire @ Arab Street

Halal Swedish Cafe @ end of Arab Street

Lebanese Gulf Beach Muslim Restaurant at Arab Street (opp Fika)

Pyramid Restaurant (left and easily missed)

Rumah Makan Minang in front of Sultan Mosque's Annex Building

Sabar Menanti near Malay Heritage Centre
Zam Zam Restaurant at the junction of  Golden Landmark Hotel and Arab Street
If you would like to try Prata or Murtabak, then Zam Zam Restaurant (across Sultan Mosque) is the place to go, if you would like to eat Briyani or Pilao Rice, then Islamic Restaurant (same stretch as Zam Zam but further down) is the place to head. In the mood for Thai? there's a nondescript Thai Restaurant just before Islamic, the exterior maybe nondescript but the food is above average with very affordable price. 

Take your time to explore Arab Street and it's surroundings, there is so much to discover and if you walk far enough till Hajjah Fatimah Mosque at 4001 Beach Road, you might just want to pop by Golden Mile Hawker Center nearby for the famous Singapore Sup Tulang! Be warned though that the bright red color might put you off if you are not used to your food being so colorful.

To get to Arab Street, do alight at Bugis MRT Station and it's just a short walk there. Below is the map to Arab Street.

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