Meaning 'night market' in Malay, these mobile bazaars roam all corners in Singapore. Made up of a collection of stalls runned by constantly changing stallholders, they are highly popular locally for its cheap food, wares and games. Pasar Malams can be found outside malls and MRT stations, along road pavements and occasionally in town.
Pasar Malam Hot
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I love those bright lights and colourful tents set up randomly along the streets or empty fields. I love the irresistible fragrance of the glorious deep-fried delicacies coupled with the shouts for customers.
The sight of Pasar Malams never fails to excite me a little in my heart - because these means not only a feast of my favourite snacks but also the promise of the best deals in Singapore! Ranging from phone covers to bags, shoes and even fashion accessories, Pasar Malam is the ideal place you can clinch the most worthy deals.
In addition, they are surprisingly one of the best places for family bonding! Going for a change from those high-rung, air-filtered domains in high-class shopping centre and experience something more bustling makes Pasar Malam the best choice. It's a low-budget family/friends outing, where people connect and enjoy a sense of unity with an experience so uniquely Singapore.
Sadly, it's become less frequent and seen around in our local heartlands. I can't wait for the next one!
No longer popular
I can still remember how hyped up I would be when I saw a Pasar Malam setting up at my estate. One of the reasons would be because I would be able to play the Uncle Ringo games with my neighbours.
Apart from that, what kept me thrilled was its food! I have always loved its Fish Maw soup and the tapioca cake that comes in 3 pieces in a bag. Before I headed home, my Dad would always get me a packet of candy floss.
However, as I grow up, I start to feel less interested whenever I see a Pasar Malam going on near my housing estate. One reason is probably because I have learnt about the unhealthy and unhygienic ways of cooking the food and thus, I am rather disgusted when I see all the food placed on the tables, waiting to be sold. Secondly, I am no longer the kid who was so keen in playing the games that were suitable for ages 3 to 9.
The only thing that I will still purchase from Pasar Malam is perhaps a small coin purse or some cheap school hairpins that I really needed to buy. Otherwise, I can head home empty handed even if I have spent some time walking around the once-so-famous Pasar Malam...
Tasty food but you'd better have a strong stomach!
The food at Pasar Malams taste SO good but it usually comes with a hefty price- one of spending hours in the toilet. Yes that always happens to me -because I think the food might not be clean- but I eat them anyway. Hahaha!
Fried food and local snacks like Tu Tu Kueh and Dumplings can often be seen here. Though the more popular snack choice in this night market would be the Ramly Burger. Beef/Chicken patty served in fluffy buns with egg and their special sauces. You can often see the queue from afar.
This weekly set-up sells cheap apparels for like $10 apiece and also really affordable accessories and trendy beauty tools.
A great place for cheap buys!
Night life in the suburbs
These places are always bustling with activity: from the hot lights from the food stalls to the stall owners touting customers with their loud voices to the large range of wares being spread out, I never know where to start.
This place is a truly Singaporean version of a flea market - it offers more than just peddlers selling their wares but also a chance of bargaining and interaction with the Singaporean sellers. Bargaining used to be more common in the past but with the growing affluence and inflation in the country, the ability to bargain has rapidly decreased.
Over the years, although some things may have changed, the roadside feeling of the stalls has never changed. The food is still as oily and salty as ever, as nice smelling and tasting as we've, and the people as experienced and friendly as ever.
I love this culture in Singapore - the moving characteristic of the Pasar Malam always makes the excitement more when it moves to my vicinity.
A great time to eat and play!
I always feel excited when overnight, a pasar malam sprung up in the open field and pavements opposite my house. For honestly, its not very often one moves into your area. It was always a signal to first visit the ATM and get some money out for fun, games, clothes, the odd collectible item or 2 and of course, goody goody food!
I always liked the tapioca cake and the muah chee, and I felt that it was one of the best types of food that the pasar malam has to offer. The Ramli burger too, in my opinion, tastes heavenly. Homemade and instantly microwaved, I've managed to make my stocks last till 3 days after I bought it.
The pasar malam is also wonderful for all its cheap wares, It was often the time to get those flashily designed T-shirts and shorts for a really low price (Max $10)! Moreover, I often get DVDs, collectible items like bracelets and keychains and even a 'Rita' bag. I had really fond memories with the bag, which I bought for $5 but lasted almost 7 years, one of the best buys of my life! However, I do not recommend buying of 'branded' products. Honestly, do you think an authentic Puma bag costs less than $10?!
I love the games too! I remember childhood days when me and my brother used to compete in bumper cars, seeing who gets thrown out first. Thinking back, it was a really senseless, foolhardy mentality, but hey, kids got to have fun right? There were other games such as dart, shooting plastic toys or rubber ducks floating around in a small pool (often based in a large tub) and throwing hoola hoops. I never did won anything and my $1 coins got gobbled up really quickly, but I enjoyed myself tremendously then.
If you ever see a pasar malam pass by your place, be sure to drop by!
A different type of a Singaporean shopping experience.
Pasar Malams are no longer popping up as often as they are nowadays compared to several years back, perhaps due to dwindling business. At its peak, I recall seeing cars being parked and being sold at a Pasar Malam near my home, as if it was a car showroom.
Personally, I really enjoy going to Pasar Malams whenever they pop up, mainly because of the food. Every time I see high tentages being erected over a large area, I know that a Pasar Malam is going to be set up soon and I would go visit once the Pasar Malam is in full swing. Often, I will always have a bowl of imitation shark's fin with some cheap takoyaki balls and tea leaf eggs, and in recent years more variation of food are making an appearance at Pasar Malams. I have spotted new types of food such as 'twisty potato' and smelly beancurd at recent Pasar Malams. Of course, every Pasar Malam's mainstay would be the Ramly Burger stall and a stall that often spans over a long stretch with their transparent food showcases, displaying deep-fried goodies.
Sadly, over the years, these are being held less often at a smaller magnitude. They have been part of many people's memories while growing up, and this is one part of the Singaporean culture that should be preserved.
Pasar Malams used to be a common sight where I lived, but ever since I moved house, its appearance has dwindled. I always enjoyed pasar malams greatly, there was vibrancy, hubbub, and a good array of stalls lined up each time. Sometimes if I was lucky, I would get to go to the pasar malam that even had rides in its premises.
My best memory of the pasar malam would be the ever-famous Ramly burger. Absolutely mouth watering and delicious. I would beg my parents to buy it for me, and I would stand there and watch in awe as the burger guy prepared the patties right opposite me.
I think the pasar malam is an important part of Singapore's nightlife and if it ever disappeared for good, that would be a real pity. Everyone has good impressions and memories of the pasar malam and if given the chance and time, I sure wouldn't mind visiting one again.