From where to eat durian, dim sum and frog porridge in Geylang, to Instagram spots and an adventure trail; this guide will fill you in
Geylang is one of the most peculiar neighbourhoods in the city. Juxtaposed against the red-light district are places of worship, conservation-status Peranakan shophouses and long standing restaurants and hawkers serving all kinds of grub from frog leg porridge, and pig organ soup to a mountain of biryani. Yes we love this iconic neighbourhood: head over and check out our top picks…
126 Dim Sum Wen Dao Shi
Dim sum needs no introduction – and there are more than a few of these bite-sized tasty treats in Geylang. But if we had to only choose one, our pick will be 126 Dim Sum Wen Dao Shi. Practically an institution in the neighbourhood, the 24-hour dim sum joint is a hot favourite with the young crowd (spot them in clubbing gear in the wee hours) and cabbies alike. Definitely one to add to your list of late-night restaurants.
126 Dim Sum Wen Dao Shi, 126 Sims Ave, Singapore 387449
Eminent Frog Porridge
The number of stalls serving frog legs in the neighbourhood is a testament to its popularity. Served in claypots, this well-known Michelin Bib Gourmand joint offers chunks of frog legs in two variations – the spicy version is cooked in dried chili and dark sweet soya sauce, while the sweet, mild version has ginger and spring onions. Order a bowl or two of piping hot porridge to go with the meat for a real treat.
Eminent Frog Porridge, 323 Geylang Rd, Singapore 389359
We like our pungent durians from Wonderful Durian – the seller was accommodating in our search for the perfect durian, and was very willing to share his expansive knowledge on the fruit. While prices are heftier here compared to other places, you can expect better service (take a selfie with the friendly durian seller!) and a generous seating space.
Wonderful Durian, 147 Sims Avenue Lorong 17, Singapore 387469
No Signboard Seafood
It’s been around since the late 1970s, so no surprise No Signboard Seafood Restaurant is now a household name among families. A must-order is their unique white pepper crab that’s stir-fried in white pepper sauce and garnished with spring onions.
No Signboard Seafood, 414 Geylang Road, Singapore 389392
Imam Banana Leaf Restaurant
Craving for some Indian food? Iman Banana Leaf Restaurant has amazing nasi kandar (a meal of steamed rice served with curries and side dishes), fish curry and biryani for you to satisfy those cravings. It gets crowded during lunch hours so go early. Oh, and if you’re feeling peckish at unearthly hours, you’ll be glad to know that it’s open around the clock.
Imam Banana Leaf Restaurant, 10 Lorong 1 Geylang Singapore 389119
Leong Kee (Klang) Bak Kut Teh
This Bak Kut Teh stall serves a Malaysian style broth so expect strong herbal flavours instead of the light, peppery soup from the Teochew style. Those who prefer the dry version will enjoy the sticky-sweet sauce packed with dried chillies. The array of dried beancurd, youtiao (Chinese savoury doughnuts) pig’s intestine, liver, and stomach plus pork ribs with slide-off-the-bone tender meat will keep you coming back for more.
Leong Kee (Klang) Bak Kut Teh, 251 Geylang Road, Singapore 389309
Mongkok Dim Sum
We’re suckers for a round of delish dim sum and mongkok offers just that. No-frills, no pretence. Just dishes of Hong Kong style dim sums and zhi char dishes. Classic dishes like char siew chee cheong fun, fried carrot cake squares and the signature Mongkok egg tarts are must-trys.
Mongkok Dim Sum, 214 Geylang Road, Singapore 389274
The Skewer Bar
It’s easy to order one too many yakitori sticks at The Skewer Bar when there’s a variety of tender meat sticks and seafood going as low as $1.25 per stick. But knock yourselves out, it’s worth the calories and meat sweats. The stingray, shisamo, bacon wrapped lychee, eggplant and snapper are some highlights. Bring the newbies here, this refreshing hole-in-the-wall concept is great for a unique street food experience.
The Skewer Bar, 489 Geylang Road, Lorong 27, Singapore 389448
Ah Hung D24 Sultan Durian
The king of fruits and the unofficial national fruit, the home of good durian is in a lorong (a street) in Geylang. The best way to enjoy durian is to buy the fruit, plop yourself on a plastic chair in the shop and start eating. Watch out for the spikes!
Ah Hung D24 Sultan Durian, 109 Sims Ave, Singapore 387433
Go on an Instagram spree and snap some pictures of Geylang’s gorgeous conservation-status shophouses, temples and old-school Peranakan architecture. All you need to do is explore beyond the main streets, take a gamble and shoot away. We wandered along the back alleys of Lorong 11, right around Leong Kee (Klang) Bak Kut Teh.
Embark on a Geylang adventures trail
Want some insider deets on this interesting neighbourhood? Embark on a Geylang adventures trail and go beyond the food and culture hood to discover issues like overcrowding from the influx of foreign workers and – the elephant in the room – the social stigma of prostitution. The 3-hour trail is led by the founder himself. Apart from holding trails, Geylang Adventures also does a swell job at aiding migrant workers and curbing homesickness through various projects.
Geylang Adventures, get in touch at [email protected]
Hit the Spa
A spa in Geylang may sound dodgy but not G Spa. Touted as an oasis of indulgence and relaxation, it’s perfect if you need a quick escape from your busy week – or spend the whole day if you really deserve it, the spa is open all day. Soak in the hot/cold pools before your treatment and complete it by having a sauna session followed by a meal in the nature-inspired dining area. The spa menu has a foot reflexology, body scrubs and massage packages as well as mani/pedi, threading and eyebrow curling services. Enjoy!
G Spa, #02-02, 102 Guillemard Road, Singapore 399719
Geylang Serai Market
Singapore has its fair share of great wet markets, and if you live in the East, the one in Geylang Serai Wet Market is well worth a gander. Geylang Serai gets its name from the location, which was formerly a lemongrass (serai) field. Situated in the Malay Heritage District near Paya Lebar MRT, the Geylang Serai market is best known amongst locals as a one-stop shop for wet and dry sundries, clothes, traditional medicine, and of course, the annual Geylang Bazaar.
Geylang Serai Market, 1 Geylang Serai, Singapore 402001
With a brand new moniker (it was formerly known as OneKM), there’s just so much to do at Kinex Mall – compared to an ordinary heartland mall. For starters, make a beeline to The Green Collective, the eco-friendly store that curates the best of local brands and ethically produced and handmade pieces. After working up an appetite from all that shopping, head straight to Fat Burger for massive burgers, hot dogs and milkshakes (a great alternative if you’d rather skip the queue at Shake Shack). The plant-based Impossible Burger also makes an appearance here.
Kinex Mall, 11 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437157
Sure, Geylang’s a great place for all things cultural, but there’s also some space for retail therapy here. Refash at City Plaza is a thrift store where you can browse through second-hand clothes, shoes and bags. Everything is priced between $5-$15, and if you have unused stuff to off-load as well, bring them along!
Refash, 810 Geylang Road, #03-130, Singapore 409286
A well-kept secret amongst teenagers, this old mall holds a treasure trove of high-fashion knock-offs and blogshop apparels. In fact, a handful of blogshops get their supplies from here. You’ll probably get a discount if you buy more than one piece. There are many salons that do good hair and eyelash extensions and too; you no longer need to travel for Far East Plaza for fake locks!
City Plaza, 810 Geylang Road, Singapore 409286