Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My field trip to Kampong Glam

16 May 2015

AWESOME EVENING!! My parents and I went on an exciting journey to Kampong Glam. We managed to take a look at how people from different cultures can still come together in harmony. There, we visited 3 attractions
  • Arab street
  • Haji Lane
  • I am... Café
Before I start telling you more about our experiences at Kampong Glam, let me give you a little background information and history of this district...

What is Kampong Glam?

In Malay, the word "Kampung" means "village or settlement" and "Glam" is the name of a particular tree, which grew in abundance in the area in early Singapore. Kampong Glam was a fishing village situated at the mouth of Rochor River. 

In nineteen century, Kampong Glam remains an ethnic district with a strong Malay-Arab influence. It was a place where businesses traded for their Arab-Muslim traditional foodstuff and merchandise.

What we see today in Kampong Glam is a variety of rich heritage passed down from generation to generation. Some of these long enduring traditions are in the form of monuments, trades, cultures and practices. Conservation of places of worship, for example the sultan mosque, old schools, old dwellings, some of which are still in their original form while others have been refurbished.

What I found interesting about Kampong Glam was the rich remains that gave a hint of the architecture and life style of the early days. Such diverse rich heritage can only come about through a sense of tolerance, sharing and bonding, all found in the Kampong Glam spirit.

It is located north of the Singapore River, in the urban planning areas of Kallang and Rochor.

Discover Kampong Glam's rich history, living traditions, excellent eateries and trendy shops in this vibrant neighbourhood.
First Stop : ~ Arab Street ~

As I walked down Arab street, I noticed that most shops sold carpets, fabrics, perfumes and muslim appeals. At the same time paying close attention to the various shop owners, who were either Muslims to Arabians. Which reminded me of the different cultures living harmoniously in Singapore and makes Arab street unique. The street was rather quite when I was there. This could be  due to the most famous mosque called "Sultan mosque" that is undergoing some renovations.

Besides all the uniqueness about the street, I did not like how it was very quite. There wasn't a welcoming atmosphere compared to Chinatown and Haji Lane, where you could here the crowds. one should come visit this street if they are into unique muslim clothing and Arabian ratten products or carpets. 
Oriental carpets
Showing the different varieties that this shop offer. Ranging from carpets, handmade cushion covers to even beautiful lamps.

Quite a number of fabric shops can also be found along the streets. They sell fabrics such as

Thai silk, Chinese silk, organza silk and even Indian saris.


Muslim Apparels

Muslim apparels ( baju kurung, baju kebaya, jubah, hijab, songkok, tudung etc) of both simple and extravagant designs are sold at many fashion boutiques here.

Second stop : ~ Haji Lane ~

Haji Lane has long been the hipster street housed with indie boutiques and shady stores in the darker alleys, filled with a fruity scent floating in the air at night. It was slowly losing its appeal as the newness dwindled away, till the recent 6 months, when the hype started building again. All thanks to the new cafes that have popped up all around the area, also known as Kampong Glam, with one cafe in almost every street.
I personally liked the environment at Haji Lane. There were paintings on the walls, cafes, bars, pubs, retail shops and even hair salons. As I walked past various bars and cafes, I could hear different genres of music. For example pop and classical, which lighten up the environment at Haji Lane. Making one feel relaxed and delightful as they walk down the lane. Below is an example of Merdandy Bar & Café.

The retail outlets were also carefully decorated in a very interesting and unique way. As I walked into the shops, I felt like I was in a different country because some retail shops looked like it was back in the 60s, where the in-trend was "Retro". Some were filled with colourful and exclusive retail items. While others just had the theme "simplicity". Just like the bicycle shop below.

Haji Lane also never fails to fill the lane with vibrant colours all around. This included the paintings on the walls. With the help of these colours, it personally made me feel as if I was on cloud nine walking down the lane. An example of such walls would be this painting of a girl. You will be able to see it while one is entering into Haji lane.

Last stop : ~ I Am... Café ~

I love Haji lane. This pre-war shophouses have their charm with a unique mix of tenants in the alley. One of them is I AM cafe. Located at the junction of North Bridge Road and Haji Lane, this cafe is inspired by the city of Amsterdam (as you can see from the bike). This café is halal- certified, owned by 3 muslim friends and all preparation and ingredients are done in accordance to the Islamic way of guidance.

This open space cafe serves hearty sandwiches, burgers, pastas, pizzas and fish and chips. We ordered Seafood pasta ($15.90), served with mussels, prawns and calamari, which turned out to be pretty tasty because the prawns were fresh and juicy. My parents ordered Charcoal-grilled "Big Bear" beef burger ($15.90) - which was also great! The beef that was in the burger was so rich in flavour that I would head back to try it again.

To compliment the food, we ordered Iced Caramel Macchiato ($6) and Ice lemon Tea ($3.50). I was satisfied with the taste of the Iced Caramel Macchiato because the taste of caramel was strong, which I liked a lot. As for Ice lemon Tea, it did not satisfy my
expectation because it was very blend, though they provided a bottle of syrup. There was no GST when you dine in this cafe and the service provided was genuine. I would definitely recommend this cafe to my friends and come back to try other dishes again.

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