Hari Raya bazaars packed on first weekend of Ramadan

The Hari Raya bazaar at Our Tampines Hub has stalls with products from Pakistan, India, Turkey, Morocco and Uzbekistan.
The Hari Raya bazaar at Our Tampines Hub has stalls with products from Pakistan, India, Turkey, Morocco and Uzbekistan.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Thousands visit stalls offering goods and food - old favourites, hipster, even foreign

Hari Raya bazaars opened to large crowds across the island on the first weekend of Ramadan, a month of fasting for Muslims.

In Tampines, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat launched a bazaar with 150 stalls last night at the integrated community and lifestyle centre, Our Tampines Hub .

Thousands visited stalls hawking wares such as handicraft, apparel and food throughout the day, while being entertained by live performances - including those by popular Malaysian singer Hafiz Suip.

Several stalls also had an international offering, boasting products from Pakistan, India, Turkey, Morocco and Uzbekistan.

Said Mr Heng: "I'm very glad that there is such enthusiasm for us to come together and understand the significance of Ramadan to our Muslim community, and also the effort that has been put into helping us understand one another better."

Also at the launch were Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli and other Tampines GRC MPs. The last day of the Tampines bazaar is June 13.

Such events were also an opportunity for government leaders to meet residents and hear their feedback on issues, said Mr Heng, who announced on Friday a series of conversations between fourth-generation ministers and different groups in society.

"As MPs, we have been doing a lot of (feedback gathering) work. What we are hoping to do (with this new conversation), is to do it in a much more organised way. Therefore, we will involve various leaders at different facets of our society."

He added: "We want to reach out through different channels and different platforms, and to make this one where we can include as many people as possible."

In Woodlands, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung and the other Sembawang GRC MPs launched a Ramadan bazaar next to Causeway Point shopping mall.

It features 80 stalls, selling delights such as street food and homemade Hari Raya goodies. The bazaar has drawn between 5,000 and 10,000 visitors daily since it opened last Monday. It will run until June 12.

To cater to a younger crowd, the bazaar features a significant selection of hipster dishes, including Dutch baby pancakes by dessert bar Cake Love, as well as churros, russet fries and Thai milk tea.

A new air-conditioned section was also opened for apparel and fashion stalls carrying brands like Ayu Apparels and Vintagewknd.

But traditional food stalls still make up the bulk of the bazaar's offerings, with the longest lines forming for crowd favourites like nasi padang and the Ramly burger.

"We're making changes... but at the same time, we've not forgotten traditional favourites," said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin, one of the Sembawang GRC MPs at the launch.

Said bazaar visitor Siti Namirah, 27, a student: "Hipster food is usually more expensive... The food from traditional stalls is cheaper and often nicer as well.

"I grew up coming to these bazaars and eating this food from a young age. So it's special to me."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 20, 2018, with the headline 'Hari Raya bazaars packed on first weekend of Ramadan'. Print Edition | Subscribe