Paya Lebar is synonymous with the Geylang Serai district and will soon be home to the annual Ramadhan Bazaar. We pick out six Halal places to nom at.
OneKM (11 Tanjong Katong Rd)
This mall’s where Lion City Hotel and the old Hollywood Theatre (you’ll find references to it in the food court) were once situated. Come here for your child’s enrichment lessons, grocery shopping and a family meal. A free weekday lunch shuttle (11.30am-2.30pm) serves Ubi, Jalan Afifi and Paya Lebar MRT (every 35 minutes). Above the retail space, you’ll find private residence Katong Regency.
Pappa knows best. What better place for a Father’s Day celebration over signature dishes like the Super Rich Combo ($16.90, nasi kuning with fried chicken drumstick, braised beef, sweet and spicy squid, potato, hard boiled egg, okra, papadum and sambal), curry laksa ($9.90), and Hainan steamed bread with butter and kaya ($3.90/2 slices). There are vegetarian options too. Sun-Thu 10am-12am, Fri-Sat 10am-1am. Tel: 6702 7666
Penyet Town (#01-65/66)
Ooh, smashed fried chicken, we love you so. Especially when eaten together with a piquant, spicy chilli, fried tofu and tempeh ($6). You’ll also find goreng pisang with shredded cheese and chocolate rice here. Daily 11am-10pm
Grand Link Square (511 Guillemard Rd)
At this lesser-known mall cum condo near the Geylang Park Connector/Geylang River, you’ll find some entertainment options like family karaoke and cyber-gaming, as well as foodie haunts.
With Luv (#01-52)
Chillax and dig into churros waffles with homemade salted caramel sauce ($13.90) by #mrandmrswaffles Kader and Malikka. Flavours change weekly–when we visited they had Milo Mess, chocolate peanut butter and duo chocolate chips. Other unique creations include ondeh-ondeh waffles and wafflecakes ($4.90/slice). Sun-Mon & Wed-Thu 2-10pm, Fri-Sat 3pm-12am. Tel: 8161 9487
Paya Lebar Square (60 Paya Lebar Rd)
New on the block, this shopping mall just steps from the MRT station is anything but square.
Tuckshop Express (#01-48)
Have your fresh-toasted subs at this Halal eatery. The counter’s outside the mall, so it’s great for a quick takeaway. Try the rendang roll or the Arabilicious (both $6). You can add on salad, fibre, protein, cheese and dressing (from $0.50 to $3). Try also their traditional Malay kueh, nasi lemak and nasi sambal goreng.
Haig Road Food Centre (14 Haig Rd)
Half of this hawker centre’s filled with yummy Halal eats.
Traditional Haig Road Putu Piring (#01-08)
Oh YAAAAS to putu piring ($2/packet of 5pcs)–it’s a cake of rice flour, like kueh tutu, but filled with warm gula melaka and served with salted desiccated coconut. This famous stall’s version demands a queue, but rightly so: our snacks never got soggy, even when kept in the fridge overnight and eaten the next day. Mon-Tue & Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 10am-11pm
Afandi Hawa and Mona Mee Rebus (#01-21)
Though there’s more to eat than just mee rebus (gado-gado, mee hoon soto, etc), we’ll opt for the signature ($3) every time. The aromatic gravy is thick, with a lovely hint of citrus to keep you chomping through the al dente yellow mee. More, please. Fri-Tue 10am-8pm
City Plaza (810 Geylang Rd)
Fashion. Lots of it, some for the older women, some for men, and some trendy loot (think blogshops). It’s a wholesale mall, with a food court (on the loft) and one of the best fried chicken eateries in town.
Arnold’s Fried Chicken (#02-99/101)
One of the pioneer Halal food places here, it’s been going strong for over 30 years. A two-piece meal ($6.60) comes with potato fries and coleslaw, but since you’re there, order for all your kawan lah: get a five-person combo meal ($59.80). Oh, and we’ll get a banana split, chendol and ice kacang with ice cream too (from $4.20). Daily 11am-9.45pm. Tel: 6746 2372
BONUS: RAMADHAN BAZAAR
During the fasting month (2015: 18 Jun to 17 Jul), Geylang Serai comes alive in the evenings with a sprawling night market. It spans the area in front of the Singapore Post Centre, to the open field along Sims Avenue and extends down to Haig Road.
It’s bustling with people: vendors selling carpets, baju (clothes), trinkets, snacks, dendeng (Halal beef/chicken jerky), ayam percik (coconut spiced chicken), tauhu telor and the ubiquitous Ramly Burger. In recent years, you’ll find also stalls selling churros, Thai coconut ice cream and refreshing mocktails.
Arrive with an empty stomach and leave stuffed, yet wanting more.