Hari Raya, known in the West as Ramadan, began 3 weeks ago in Singapore. This Friday will be Hari Raya Puasa & will end the holiday. One of the things I love about Singapore is that so many religions & religious holidays are respectfully celebrated here. During Hari Raya, Muslims fast, not consuming food or liquids, until the sun sets. To break fast for the day, it’s traditional to eat dates. Throughout the country, shops & restaurants have been giving away dates & water to Muslims at the end of the day. I know it’s partly for the sake of marketing & attracting customers, but I think it’s a beautiful thing. It’s an act of kindness & respect for people who have shown true devotion to their beliefs all day in this hot, hot heat.
Annually in Singapore, there is the Hari Raya Bazaar. This festival happens everyday & night for four weeks. It’s been a non-stop party. The tents & vendors cover several blocks between the Paya Lebar MRT & my neighborhood, Joo Chiat.
Since it’s only a few blocks from our house & on my way home from work, Mr. FGK & I have been out there feasting a few nights a week. This is the final week to enjoy it so we intend to get out there at least a few more times. If you’re in Singapore & haven’t been yet, stop by this week before it’s all over. I can’t recommend it enough and it all ends Friday, July 17th.
There are plenty of food vendors selling everything from kebabs to biryani to churros. There are tents upon tents just for selling pillows, or curtains or rugs. There are even tents to sell furniture & cars. Basically, if there is something you are wanting to buy, someone out there is selling it. And the vendors have elaborately decorated their tent space with the items they’re selling. So it’s fun to just look, too.
My favorite part, of course, has been the dessert stalls. Zulos Churros sucked me in immediately & I got the Nutella Red Velvet Milkshake. The next time I stopped by their stall, I got the Caramel-O Churros. Both are to die for. I also recommend the fried oreos in the next tent over. Is it obvious that I can’t control myself? I really love sweets.
I’ve also loved the Turkish Tombik/Pita Pockets. The guys just a few stalls from Zulos Churros are making the pita buns fresh & have beef or chicken for only $5 SGD. I’ve gotten one every time I’ve been to the Bazaar, which is more times than I’ll admit.
We checked out lots of other foods, mostly things we had never heard of before. I can’t remember them all but I do remember this beautiful pink drink. Isn’t that the most gorgeous color? It’s called Bandung & it’s a popular drink in Singapore & Malaysia. It’s evaporated milk & rose syrup. While it’s beautiful to look at, it tastes like actual roses aka old lady perfume. It was fun to try it, though.
On Friday, families will be worshiping, celebrating & wearing traditional matching outfits. Each family chooses a color & they all wear clothes in that same color. I get the day off work, so I will probably be by the pool. But I wish anyone celebrating a very, very Selamat Hari Raya!