Uncover Historical Stories Behind Iconic Spots (Including Halal Eateries!) On The New Geylang Serai Walking Trail


Qistina Bumidin •  Dec 13, 2021

On Sunday (Dec 12), the Geylang Serai Trails was launched in conjunction with Wisma Geylang Serai to help Singaporeans learn about the history behind these iconic places that still stand strong throughout the years. There are five stores for you to visit in this audio-led walking trail. Simply scan your QR at each of the five stops and listen to the corresponding radio plays for an enriching and immersive experience! If you’re a history buff, or you just can’t wait to savour some delicious foods, we’ll give you a little tour of what you can expect! ?

What To Do In Newly Launched Geylang Serai Trails

P.S. If you’re looking for Muslim-friendly activities around Katong and Joo Chiat, check out our guide here!

1. Indian Muslim Bakery & Confectionary

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Perk up your day with super shiok curry buns and puffs for breakfast from Indian Muslim Bakery & Confectionary on Onan Road. Built in 1942, this is the oldest surviving halal bakery in Singapore, so you’re definitely set for the taste of traditional curry puffs. Their curry buns are the signature snack here. Break the smooth golden-brown buns and you’ll be greeted by generous amounts of steaming curried potato fillings. A fiery mix of spices hits you right at the spot as you take a bite in, and immediately you’ll find yourself gobbling it up because it’s that irresistible ?.

If you think their curry buns are amazing, wait till you try their triangular curry puffs. Its crispy, flaky, buttery coating reveals perfectly spicy, aromatic fillings of your choice. From the usual chicken, mutton, beef and potato, they also make unique flavours such as Black Pepper Beef, Beef Rendang, and Chilli Padi Beef. 

Halal Status: Halal-certified

Opening Hours: 8:30am – 6:45pm (Mon – Sat), 9am – 5pm (Sun)

Address: 124 Onan Rd, Singapore 424536

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2. Haji Hashim Enterprise

Credit: @hajihashimbookstore for Instagram

With a full belly now, head on to Haji Hashim Enterprise at Joo Chiat Complex. Opened in 1922 by Haji Hashim Hj Abdullah, Haji Hashim Enterprise is known as Singapore’s oldest bookstore. The store has been through many turbulent times from war to unrest of pre-independence and financial difficulties. However, the bookstore, which is now sustained by his grandchildren, still stands strong and continues being a haven of knowledge for the Malay community. 

Choose from a wide variety of Islamic and Malay-language books for you to read. Take a break from the stresses of daily life and hide yourself among the peace and tranquility of this homely bookstore.

P.S. If you scan the QR code at their store, you will hear a heartfelt play about a father and son facing the possibility of their store being closed down. We’re not crying, you are ?

Opening hours: 9.30am-8.30pm daily

Address: 1 Joo Chiat Rd, #01-1051 Joo Chiat Complex, Singapore 420001

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3. Kway Guan Huat Joo Chiat Popiah

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Next up, cross the street and walk on to Kway Guan Huat Joo Chiat Popiah in Joo Chiat Road. The puffs were filling, but it’s all burned out with the walking and reading at the bookstores, so it’s time for a full meal! Their secret family recipes have been passed down generations after generations, and have been kept that way since; it almost feels like you’re taking a trip back through time (the store has been there since before World War 2!). They specialise in popiah and kueh pie tie, but their speciality lies in their authentic handmade popiah skins. 

Their handmade Nyonya-style popiah is an absolute must-try! The popiah skin is paper-thin yet strong enough to hold all of the fillings in which includes a combination of turnips, carrots, bean curd, minced scallop and crab meat cooked in a seafood gravy! The black sauce drizzled over the popiah filling adds a little sweetness to the popiah, giving it an overall perfect balance of sweet and savoury. Their Kueh Pie Tie also has a satisfying crunch that will keep you munching on them non-stop ?.

P.S. Stop by the shop between 8.30AM-11AM on Saturday and Sunday mornings to see the popiah skin being made live in front of you!

Credit: @kennethng20 for Instagram

You can also head to their restaurant next door for some classic halal Chinese dishes such as Fried Rice and Herbal Chicken. We hope you won’t be too full to continue the walking trail though …?

P.P.S. You can check out more about this iconic popiah shop here!

Halal status: Halal-certified

Opening hours:

Popiah Shop - Open daily; 9AM - 2PM

Restaurant - Tues-Sun; 11.30AM-3PM, 6PM-9.30PM (Closed on Mondays)

Address: 95 Joo Chiat Rd #01-01/02, Singapore 427389


4. Fotohi Carpet Gallery

Credit: Fotohi Carpet Gallery for Facebook

Walk off your meal to the Fotohi Carpet Gallery at Tanjong Katong Complex. Founded in 1994, Fotohi Carpet Gallery is a retailer and wholesaler of carpets in Singapore. They carry an outstanding and extensive selection of carpets, from hand-knotted tribal prints to modern designs, which can add comfort to your feet and joy to your eyes. These carpets are of the highest quality, and they are even guaranteed with a Certificate of Authenticity, which specifies origin, materials, age and a brief history of the region, so you’ll definitely be assured of its quality (also perfect for a statement piece in your home ?) Shop for new rugs for Hari Raya (it’s never too early to start preparing!), or prayer mats, or just a new rug to refurbish your home. They also offer other services such as carpet restoration, wall-to-wall carpeting, and carpet customisation, so if you are looking for some rescuing for your dull-looking carpet, or would just want to own a one-of-a-kind design, look no further! 

Opening hours: 11am-8pm (daily)

Address: 845 Geylang Rd, #02-05/14 Tanjong Katong Complex, Singapore 400845


5. Geylang Serai Chee Kong

Credit: @foodieuncle for Instagram

End off your trail on a sweet note with some comforting desserts from Geylang Serai Chee Kong at the Geylang Serai Food and Market Centre. Chee Kong comes from a Malay translation of the Chinese dessert Cheng Tng, and it is the only Chinese stall in Geylang Serai Food and Market Centre. The first-generation owner started selling desserts on a tricycle in Onan Road in the 1950s before moving into its currency location. The first-generation owner of the stall, Mr Lee, used to sell chen on a tricycle in Onan Road in the 1950s before eventually moving into its current location. Now it is run by the second-generation owners Mdm Lee (daughter of Mr Lee), her brother and sister in law.

You have to try their signature Cheng Tng. You’ll feel instant relief as you sip this cooling soup; a much-needed thirst-quencher from all the walking under the heat. It’s filled with various ingredients such as sweet potato, gingko nuts, barley, sugared winter-melon sticks, lotus seeds and white fungus, adding on different types of textures and flavours dancing on your tastebuds. It is also not overly sweet, which is perfect for those looking to cut down their sugar, or simply not waste all that effort walking around Geylang Serai. At only $2.50 a bowl, it’s just too good to be missed ?.

P.S. Try to order and sip a bowl of Cheng Tng while listening to an audio play of the dish's ingredients "talking" to one another. It’s incredibly adorable! 

Halal status: Halal-certified

Opening hours: 10:00am - 4:00pm (Closed on Mondays)

Address: 1 Geylang Serai, #02-149 Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre, Singapore 402001

With the borders closed, this is a good time to reconnect with all the places we’ve grown up with and rediscover them through a different lens. We hope this breakdown will help you navigate the trails better! Share with us what you think of the trail and have fun! ?