Pictured above: Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Little India. Don’t worry, I have no idea how to pronounce it either.
My new neighborhood in Singapore (I will share all about it in a later post) is only 2 MRT stops away from Little India. I was very intimidated to explore it at first, being very unfamiliar with Indian food and Indian culture in general, but it’s quickly become my favorite area. In fact, this was the first place I went (aside from work) after landing back in Singapore. The whole neighborhood is buzzing, and there’s no shortage of things to see and taste. Peppered with spice shops, jewelry stores, flower vendors and several markets, it’s a slice of India right here in Singapore.
The colorful lights lining Serangoon Road make the whole neighborhood feel so vibrant.
There are dozens of electronic stores like this one, selling gadgets for just a few USD.
The Tekka Center, comprising of a wet market, food center, and shops, is a highlight of the area.
The wet market reminds me of a really big farmer’s market, with many stalls selling freshly-butchered meat and seafood.
I frequently stop in to the hawker center after work for cheap and authentic Indian food. The first time I came, I wandered the stalls, trying to figure out what all the food items were. I think these are some kind of Indian donuts, but who really knows?
Eventually, I decided to order something called “murtabak” because I was too hungry to wander any further and the picture on the stall made it seem like a fairly non-polarizing item. Murtabak, it turns out, is a really thin, pan-fried flat bread that is filled with a ground meat of your choice (usually chicken or lamb), onions, egg, and a curry-like sauce. Wikipedia says this dish is commonly found in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand.
While many hawker stalls have the food already prepared, they will make the murtabak fresh in front of you. First they stretch the dough out until it’s paper thin…
Then they fill it with the meat mixture of your choice (this one is chicken but I think lamb is better)…
Then the whole thing is folded up and pan-fried ’til it’s golden brown.
The end result looks kind of like a quesadilla. The multiple layers of dough (from the folding) make it crispy and flaky on the outside, yet fluffy and chewy on the inside. It’s typically served with a curry sauce for dipping.
The best part is these things are so dang big, that I can eat half and save the other half for snacking. They’re even delicious cold, and the small squares make it easy to eat them while tackling other tasks, like blogging 😉
Another unique stop in the area is the Mustafa Center, a 24-hour shopping mall known for selling every item imaginable. It’s 5 stories tall and has a ton of merchandise crammed inside into really tight aisles.
Some of the items seem very random, like these vinyl records of current albums…
Or this wall of almonds…
Or how about every variety of name-brand and generic Pringles ever made?
I really wanted to find the crazy shoe section that I saw pictures of on TripAdvisor, but after wandering the Mustafa Center for what felt like an eternity, my feet started aching so I gave up my search. I guess I’ll have to save that for the next visit. Ironically, had I found the sneaker section I would have had the arch support to keep going.
Thanks for tuning in! My sister-in-law, Tabi, is coming into town tomorrow night, so expect lots of fun posts ahead, including photos and details of our upcoming trip to Thailand!