By Lim Yian Lu
SINGAPORE â€” Following the pop-up of Bangkokâ€™s Artbox and Taipeiâ€™s Shilin Night Market, our little red dot finally welcomes the arrival of one of Bangkokâ€™s most famous and must-go markets â€” Chatuchak Market. Whatâ€™s different from the previous two is that instead of a brief pop-up which usually spans over a few days, Chatuchak Night Market Singapore will be here for three months, from now till 3 May!
Moreover, in contrast with the Chatuchak Market in Bangkok which only opens on weekend, the Singapore version is open every day except Monday, from 4:30pm to 10:30pm. This means the crowd will be more spread out across the days, weeks and months, or so we hope.
The market is located at a spacious area at The Grandstand south carpark. Drivers rejoice, because there is all-day free parking at The Grandstand main carpark. For the rest of us who take public transport, the nearest MRT station is Sixth Avenue, which is about a 15-minute walk away. (Think of it as exercise before gobbling down the goodies, and a workout after sinfully eating so much!) There are also free shuttle buses from the Botanic Gardens, Clementi and Toa Payoh MRT stations. You can find out the details here.
While we cannot expect Chatuchak Night Market here to have as wide a variety of stalls as its Bangkok counterpart, there are still as many as 272 stalls spread over 40,000 sq ft! More than 400 Thai and Singaporean vendors will be featured in the market, with the vendors from Chatuchak Market in Bangkok flying in on a rotational basis. It is disappointing though, that the Singaporean vendors outnumbered the Thai vendors. You could say that Chatuchak Night Market Singapore is a giant pasar malam with local vendors that also features vendors from Bangkokâ€™s Chatuchak market.
Typical of markets like this, you can expect stalls that sell Thai delicacies like pad thai, roast pork, sticky rice and, of course, Thai milk tea, clothes, bags and handicrafts. There are even two areas dedicated to claw machines for those who want to try their luck (or skill) at catching plushies!
Thankfully, there are three seating areas (around 400 seats) where you can rest, soak in the atmosphere and enjoy the food and some Chang beer.
Below are some recommendations that you might want to check out!
In essence, it is like Freitag but from Thailand. By recycling and reusing materials, the eco-friendly Sackitem produces what they call an upcycled bag.
2. Temporary tattoos
For those who want to get something â€œcoolâ€ on their skin minus the pain, there is also airbrush body paint which lasts for a week.
The Thai artist draws movie-inspired art and turns them into merchandise including clothing and bags â€” do you see Joker and Lalaland?
4. Khon Wanna Roti & Milk Tea
If anything, this is one of the most fanciful stalls around with the batik-wearing vendors serving up fragrant, sweet prata and dancing while making frothy Thai milk tea. It is also one of the stalls with the longest queue, but it is well worth the wait.
The most commonly ordered item here is the banana roti, drizzled with condensed milk ($5).
Watch the vendor in action with their awesome â€œteh tarik pullingâ€ skills and check out how foamy their Thai milk tea ($4) is!
5. Crying Tiger
Nope, this stall is not selling tiger meat but juicy and tender flame-grilled beef steak! It costs a whopping $13 but it might even be tastier than some restaurantsâ€™. The sweet and sour and slightly spicy sauce goes well with the beef! Just note that they serve their steaks medium rare so if you prefer it more well done, be sure to let them know in advance.
The stall plays some upbeat music that matches the raging flames so it is hard to miss it.
Now that we have seen sweet and savoury foods, how about some vegetarian? Tomoko, who won Food Tech in Thailandâ€™s Startup Battleground Hackathon 2018, sells healthy sweet potato cakes ($5) with an assortment of fillings like red bean, black sesame and even durian ($10). It is claimed to contain no eggs, dairy product, transfat or cooking oil.
It is surprisingly soft and has a mochi-like taste.
Chatuchak Night Market Singapore opens from now till 3 May at The Grandstand south carpark, Tuesdays to Sundays, 4:30pm to 10:30pm.