Kampong Glam is a melting pot of Arabian culture.
The heritage trail weaves through alleys amid vibrant surroundings in Singapore that endear locals and tourists.
Visitors will soak in its warm and lively atmosphere; smells of aroma that drift out of the many eateries there, feast on colourful wall murals and shop at attractive souvenir outlets in the area.
The place draws visitors with a penchant for historic pre-war shop houses bordering Bussorah Street (the main avenue), Bagdad Street, Arab Streets and Haji Lane. The name of Bussorah Street takes after a place in Iraq.
The food selection is wide with many F&B outlets serving Middle Eastern cuisine to tantalize your palate. Be sure to check out the Derwish Turkish Mediterranean Restaurant whose tables are decked out in oriental carpet.
It serves traditional halal food like ‘Baba Ganoush’ (roasted eggplant dip) and ‘Baklava’ (sweet desert pastry). This place also has shisha, or known as hookah, a smoking pipe for vaporizing flavoured tobacco to relax.
Another outlet, Deli Moroccan, is known for its lamb apricot tagine, couscous dishes and Moroccan iced tea. Seats fill up fast on weekends.
Next up is Istanbul Grills & Café, This Turkish restaurant has a huge menu filled with plenty of photos of the dishes served. Another eatery, Dubai Escapade, offers Turkish and Italian food with a selection of beer and wine.
Visit the pavement-side chiller to get a look at the desserts – a selection of pastries is on display to entice you to pull up a seat.
Located at Muscat Street on one side and North Bridge Road within the Kampung Glam precinct, the Sultan Mosque is a prominent landmark for Singapore’s Muslim community and it was gazetted as a national monument in 1975.
The scenery, both historic and modern, may deceive you to think you are visiting Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries in one-go.
Lebanese cuisine is a diversion not to be missed. Lebanese food is more aromatic and flavourful compared to Turkish counterpart whose cuisine uses a more diverse range of vegetables in its servings.
Interconnecting alleyways within Kampong Glam are abuzz with activities and are fun to browse while checking out these places.
Among the items displayed outside souvenir shops are attractive bamboo handicrafts.
Be dazzled by the street art comprising murals on the back alleys at Haji Lane, many of them courtesy of local and overseas artists, such as Lithuanian Ernest Zacharevic.
With its larger-than-life street art, quirky fashion shops housed in pre-war buildings and buzzing shisha bars, this street has developed an atmosphere all of its own; a fun place to experience Singapore’s local art and culture.
Truly an eye-opener – this sums up my sojourn in Kampung Glam, a befitting name for the glamorous locale that underlines Singapore’s overall billing as the must-visit city for everyone.
In 1989, Kampong Glam was gazetted as a conservation area by Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority and Bussorah Street was later turned into a pedestrian mall in 1993.