Not only can you find authentic Malay and Indian cuisine in this remodelled building based on the old Malay kampong houses, the Geylang Serai Food Centre also possesses a rich cultural quality that makes it an attraction itself. Located in the Geylang Serai Market, the food centre is on the second floor, with a thriving wet market on the first.
Geylang Serai Food Centre Hot
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User rating summary from: 6 user(s)
I used to find this particular food centre rather messy or unorganized. There were always the myriad of both people and animals scattered at the vicinity. Birds were pecking on abandoned plates. Cats were prowling randomly like it was Mandai Zoo. There human population there were so nucleated I could barely read or make out what each store was serving. I had the urge to unravel some sort of superpower to sweep aside the tidal surge of human beings there or clang my spoon on an amplified cup like what Anne Hathaway did in Princess Diaries to conquer the winding queues and read the menus.
However, I discovered that my friend’s mother had a stall there. She told me the secret recipes of how to conquer the queues without resorting to surrealistic violence or royalty mannerisms. Of course, it wouldn’t be a secret if I typed what they were here. Hence, I shall skip it.
Ignoring the constant hustle bustle and symphony of meows and chirps, the ambiance there was actually intriguingly tranquil. It was probably due to the menus offered there and it’s architecture that’s held some cultural elements. The food was tasty. It offered a sneak peek for tourists into the Kampung era seeing as to how the food palette here contained a similar essence and weren’t as modernized as the ones one would find at the malls.
A mix of good food.
I don't really go to this place really often. However, if my memory serves me well, I was spoilt for choice. With the huge amount of stores selling Malay food (my favourite), I remember being caught in dilemma choosing the choice of food. However, I remember that I finally decided on Roti Prata which was fried golden and crispy. While the outer was crispy, the inner was soft and warm.
However, it seemed that my happiness was short lived when I tried the other food that my parents had ordered. The other food somehow paled in comparison to the delicious Prata that I was enjoying.
Just like every hawker centre, not every stall is good - I guess it just takes time to find out which stalls are the ones that provide the best food.
Smelly? What smell?
I don't miss the old food centre, though I must say that it had its "charm" back then. I remember the cockroaches, the mixture of smells coming from the wet market next door and open drains. Pretty potent combination, and yet people ate there!
This new one has none of that potent olfactory assault, but also gone is that charm those familiar with the old one would remember. You would, however, appreciate the greater levels of hygiene here.
I would always end up going to a stall Hajah Mona, that sells Nasi Padang. I love the Rawon and sambal kerang there. If you are lucky, you might find fish roe lemak being sold that day. After that, I would usually buy a large mug of homemade longan drink and also a bowl of the famous Chng Tng from the old market. After more than 28 years since my first bowl of chng tng there, I still don't know the name of the stall! But do ask where the chng tng stall is, any of the stall holders would be able to guide you there.
I have only eaten here once before with my ex-colleagues from Sing Post. It was located pretty far from my workplace and a hassle to get to as well. It’s big though, with a market at the lower floor and a hawker at the top. Thing is, I feel culture shock since there are very few Chinese there. I am not racist, just not used to feeling the odd one out. Sorry if I offend anyone.
I ordered Lontong from a stall recommended by my colleagues and the food was really good. The place is not very dirty either.
Synonomous with the Malays
Geylang Serai is mainly associated with the Malays, but in the food centre (which is in the uppermost second level), you'll find more than just Malay food. The market itself has a wide range of products and foodstuffs.
Usually the food centre is crowded, especially on weekends (and very much so during the fasting month around evening time), but I guess it just adds to the ambience because it'll probably not be the same if there was little people around, and your eating experience might be a bit.. awkward. Anyway, since there are so many different choices of food available, you'll be spoiled for choice. In general, the food is nothing spectacular, but they're delicious enough and very affordable. Most of the hawkers are also generally very friendly, but when there's many people around, I find that they tend to get a bit impatient and service is slow.
Anyway, for me personally, I rarely go and eat here.. at most about two or three times a year. Mainly because I could get much yummier food somewhere else, and because mostly I can't stand the crowds. But do try to eat here at least once (for the experience) if you have not!
Crowded and Nauseating, GOOD FOOD nonetheless
Take a trip down to Geylang Serai and you will find a newly renovated Hawker centre cum Market place, not so much of a good idea in my opinion. I have to repeat this, it is newly renovated. Despite this fact, i find the place too much of a hustle and bustle despite the amazingly cheap vegetables and mouth watering food.
Dont get mistaken here folks, this hawker centre is NOT the one that killed 3 people and an unborn baby. The stall that operates the deadly indian rojak is closer to Haig Road. It is already quite nauseating to get to to the hawker centre(which is on the second floor) at any time of the day, yet i dont quite understand how much further the layout of this hawker centre can be improved, for the simple fact that there are too many stalls!
To sum everything up, I would not recommend coming here in the morning, but the marketplace is definitely worthwhile if you are cost savvy and the food is relatively cheap and really tasty. Put aside the downsides for these positives.