Coming from Bangkok, “The City that Never Sleeps”, it’s difficult to imagine a metropolis in which the rush of human activity falls away at a time of the night. In Singapore, I watched in awe as streets settled into an organized slumber after 9PM (it didn’t help that I lived in the residential area) and street life all but disappeared, which made me feel all the more foreign. Thus when my father’s friend took me to have dinner on Arab street (with a visit to the famous hidden Haji lane), it was like rediscovering a piece of home.
Followers of my Singapore Foodie Finds, Hua Hin Night Market Finds and Street Food posts know I enjoy good food no matter where it is to be found, and the freshly made chapatis at Azmi Restaurant - a foodie institution on Norris road around Arab street that’s been around since 1944 - are a local gem. A symphony of flour and flapping Chapatis orchestrated by a not altogether cheerful old man on the grill make a gratifying sight as the food comes together before your eyes, a testament to days past when assembly lines were reserved for cars and not cakes.
Walk a few streets down to find the most flavourful Teh Tarik Halia (an intense, delicious pulled ginger tea which is a staple drink for the Indian community in Singapore) on Kandahar street. Perhaps there is a foodie elitist in me, but the fact that the tiny shop has no sign and fulfills all the “hole in the wall” criteria is as warming as the Teh is to my soul.
Even if you can’t (be bothered to) find these two Redefiningfood Foodie Finds, take a trip to Singapore’s Arab Street for the rare spectacle of unorganized happiness on the streets of Singapore. You may not be able to chew gum in this city, but if you know where to look, there’s more to Singapore than meets the eye, or the government-issued brochure expectations.