Arab Street is believed to be named after a noble Arab merchant, Syed Ali bin Mohamed Al Junied, and was a residential kampong for Muslims of Arab, Malay, Indian, Bugis, Javanese and Boyanese descents.
Arabs were among the first to arrive in Singapore to trade, bringing with them the Islamic religion and converting many indigenous Malays to their belief. Today the old section of the city around Arab Street provides an intriguing glimpse into the Muslim way of life.
Alas, the area was not resistant to fire, and many businessmen saw their shops go up in flames more than once. Nevertheless, the businessmen picked up where they left and preserved the bustling trading essence of the place – a feat that still exists today.
Travel:MRT: East-West (Bugis, EW12)
Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Visit this link for cheap hotel accomodations near Arab street where even the 5 Star hotels are at an affordable price:
Tourists who like to haggle can do so in the old shops that sell textiles, perfume, and other things. Along with traditional Muslim food, some Western places have moved into the area, making it a mix of cultures, as Singapore is known for. Make sure to stop at the Sultan Mosque in the Kampong Glam Malay Heritage District. It is the biggest mosque on the island and a well-known feature there.
Arab Street: Things to do
Arab Street is a popular place for people to visit in Singapore because it has so many shops, cafes, and sights.
But there are things to see and do here that aren’t just for tourists. Arab Street has a restaurant that serves Middle Eastern izakaya, a pendulum art workshop, and even a cat cafe, all of which are unique, even for us Singaporeans who have lived here for a long time. Here are 10 things that you can do on Arab Street.
1. At Motion Art Space, you can let out your inner Picasso.
Something about splattering and dripping paint all over a blank surface is satisfying. Motion Art Space gives you the tools to make your own pendulum art for $69, so you can have this kind of satisfaction.
2. Visit Meomi Cat Cafe to play with cats.
People who love cats probably go to cat cafes more than anywhere else. At the Meomi Cat Cafe, you can have a cup of tea with some cute pet cats. For $13 an hour ($7 for children), you can also get a free drink, like Earl Grey tea or orange juice.
3. At Sifr Aromatics, you can make your own scents.
Sifr Aromatics sells perfumes (starting at $55) and candles (starting at $40) that smell like many different things. It’s a great place to stop on your way to do some shopping, especially if you want to update your living space or find a personalized gift for someone.
4. At Dwiz Pte Ltd, you can buy beautiful lamps from Turkey to decorate your home.
On Arab Street, you’ll see a lot of Turkish lamps. They have beautiful mosaic designs that are unique to each one. You won’t have to go to places like Istanbul to get them because Dwiz Pte Ltd has a large selection of decorative lamps, candle holders, and ceramic plates.
5. Shop at Function Five Thrift Shop until you drop.
Visit the 2-story Function Five Thrift Shop, which sells used clothes, to keep your style fresh and eco-friendly. Most of what they sell is for guys, like sweatshirts, vests, hoodies, jackets, and polo shirts. But if you look through the racks carefully, you might find hidden treasures like old Nike windbreakers and batik shirts.
6. Get some Machi Machi Bubble Tea to quench your thirst.
If you didn’t already know, Jay Chou’s favorite place for bubble tea is Machi Machi. It’s easy to see why. Not only does their BBT come in cute Machi Machi cups, but their $5.50 Cream Cheese Series has a layer of milk and cheese foam on top of ice cold tea.
7. At Fika Swedish Cafe, you can get real halal Swedish food.
You can get Swedish food at places other than Ikea in Singapore. The Fika Swedish Cafe and Bistro is right at the corner of Arab Street and Beach Road. It serves halal-certified traditional Swedish food.
8. Overrice has halal rice bowls that you can enjoy.
There’s no need to fly all the way to New York City for The Halal Guys when we have our own Overrice right here in Singapore. The idea is the same: rice bowls in the style of the Mediterranean, with a well-seasoned grilled chicken on a bed of basmati rice. This is then topped with fresh vegetables and a special white sauce.
9. Gorge on fusion izakaya at Habibi-San!
The name Habibi-San! is a mix of an endearing Arabic word and a respectful Japanese word. They focus on Middle Eastern izakaya, which is a unique combination that makes you want to check out their Instagram feed.
10. Look at how the Sultan Mosque was built.
On Arab Street, you can’t miss the Singapore Sultan Mosque, which is a well-known building. Even though it was built as a place of worship, it is now known for its competitions for reciting the Quran and its guided walks.
There’s more to Bugis than just Haji Lane. Arab Street is where you can find the best places to eat, shop, and more…
When it comes to seeing the Bugis neighborhood, our list of things to do is pretty full. Before taking pictures of street art for Instagram, we start by shopping at small, independent shops in the narrow streets of Haji Lane. Finish off the day with a cup of coffee at a hipster cafe to refuel. Arab Street is a colorful stretch of shops, bars, and cafes in Kampong Glam that is part of the busy neighborhood. Expect to see a lot of bright colors, fun patterns, and tasty food in the area.
Arab Street guide: Best bars and restaurants
A bar that’s nice to Muslims? We know what’s going on. At Yakoolzuna, you can get slushies and other drinks made with Yakult. The OG is a drink that tastes good and is made with lemon and lime. There are also unique drinks made with spirits that have 0% ABV. Try a cocktail made with apple cider or a drink made with gin, cucumber, and wasabi. Want to keep things simple? You can ask for a glass of whiskey, vodka, or gin mixed with ice. Of course, without the booze.
Yakoolzuna, 23 Arab Street, Singapore 199722
2. Ninety-Nine Grill
Want a filling meal while you’re walking around the neighborhood? Western food that will fill you up is served at Grill Ninety Nine. Start with a bowl of homemade mushroom soup and some newly baked focaccia. You can order a variety of starters, but we like to start with the main dishes. You can choose from beef, fish, and duck, among other types of meat. Or eat a plate of pasta to fill up on carbs.
Grill Ninety Nine is in Singapore at 142 Arab Street.
This ice cream shop will make you want to scream. The treats come with everything you need, like marshmallows, cookie crumbs, and even bits of cake. The menu changes every week, so you’ll always have something new to try. But if you like to stick with the tried-and-true, the Overrun Chendol is a signature dish that will always be on the menu. You can also buy pints if you want to take something with you.
Overrun.Sg, 29 Arab Street, Singapore 199728
If you don’t feel like bubble tea, would you be interested in teh tarik? People say that Tarik has one of the best meals in town. Enjoy well-brewed tea with the rich, creamy taste of milk that has been mixed until it is perfectly bubbly. It’s cheap and comes in a lot of different flavors, like spicy tea, ginger tea, and even iced Milo if you don’t like tea that much.
Tarik, 92 Arab Street, Singapore 199788
5. Msquare Acai
We love acai. It tastes good and is good for you because it is full of vitamins and fiber. With fresh fruit on top, it’s a treat you can feel good about eating. You can’t miss out on home-made oats, no matter what. The crunchiness is a great taste that goes well with the smooth acai. It’s very addicting!
Msquare Acai, 118 Arab Street, Singapore 199813
6. Fika, a Swedish restaurant and cafe
Want some Swedish meatballs? Skip Ikea and go to the end of Arab Street for Fika instead. Here, you can order Swedish classics like Plankstek, Pytt i Panna, and Smorgasbord from a small menu that gets the job done. The cozy cafe is a breath of fresh air among the many Mediterranean restaurants in the area. It has whitewashed walls and a lot of light inside. Don’t leave until you’ve had a Swedish pancake with ice cream and fresh berries on top.
Fika Swedish Cafe and Bistro is located at 257 Beach Road in Singapore.
7. Kebab House
This kebab place serves real Turkish and Lebanese food. There’s nothing like a hearty shawarma to make you feel great. We know what we’re talking about, of course. Also, don’t leave out the hummus. It’s a good way to start the meal because it has protein in it.
Singapore, 21 Arab Street, House of Kebab, 199844
Arabica comes from the Land of the Rising Sun. People wait in a long line to get into this famous coffee shop in the heritage enclave. The beans come from places like Ethiopia, Brazil, and Japan, among others, based on the time of year. A popular choice? The Spaniard’s Coffee. When mixed with condensed milk, it adds a mild sweetness that rounds out the acidity. Oh, and the magic happens in the back of the cafe, so feel free to take a look at the cooking process before you buy a bag of beans to take home.
% Arabia, 56 Arab Street, Singapore 199753
9. All the Good Things
As the name suggests, this cute bakery-cafe makes delicious baked goods. Even though they aren’t round like most scones, the soft, triangle ones from Scotland are just as tasty. You can get them with sweet toppings like gula melaka and orange cranberry that beg for lots of salted butter. They also serve filling breakfast plates, bowls of pasta and rice. All of which taste great!
Singapore 199733, All Things Delicious, 34 Arab Street
10. Tabbouleh Lebanese Restaurant and Cafe
The Lebanese diner has a cute and cozy feel thanks to the mosaic lamps and red tablecloths. Its menu is full of dishes from both the Middle East and the West. Think chicken kofta with hummus, a halloumi cheese wrap, charcoal-grilled meats, and more. Get a mezze plate with hummus, babaganoush, labneh, and fattoush salad for everyone to share.
Tabbouleh Lebanese Cafe and Restaurant is at 54 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199470.
11. Ratu Lemper
Before you walk around the busy streets of Kampong Glam, get something to eat at this snack shop. It specializes in different kinds of lemper, an Indonesian food made with glutinous rice and meat floss. There are flavors like beef rendang and mutton satay, as well as tuna and spicy chicken. For vegans, there is also a version made from plants. Malay treats like ondeh ondeh are great for people who love sweets.
Ratu Lemper, 31 Arab Street, Singapore 177930
12. Aromatics Sifr
If you walk by this small independent studio, your nose will lead you inside. The niche perfumery explores the world of scents by making small amounts of refreshing fragrances and custom aromatics. Take your time to look through the carefully chosen range of house perfumes, wooden soy candles, and infused balms.
Sifr Aromatics is located at 42 Arab Street in Singapore.
13. Kin Soon
Kin Soon, a distributor, is known for its wide selection of ribbons in many different colors and textures, such as satin, grosgrain, organza, velvet, paper, and wired. In the shop, you can also buy things like buttons, appliques, tissue paper, and floral wrappers that can be used for DIY projects. Ideal for those who like to make things!
Kin Soon, 36 Arab Street, Singapore, SG 199735
14. Turkish lamps
How pretty are those lamps from Turkey? Get one (or two) for your home at DWiz, which is known for its amazing ceramic works and handmade mosaic lamps inspired by the different cultures of Anatolia. Many places that sell carpets also sell these lamps and other things for the home. Just go to Sarvan’s Carpets and look at the beautiful show! We just couldn’t help but take a shot.
DWiz, 53 Arab Street, Singapore 199750; Sarvan’s Carpets, 49 Arab Street, Singapore 199746
This cute street full of history and culture is the best place to buy fabrics. Achakzai Trading is a Persian carpet shop that you can’t miss. Its bright pink walls will catch your eye. Royal Fabrics, on the other hand, is a one-stop shop for traditional Asian fabrics like silk, linen, and cotton in a range of colors and designs that are inspired by the Middle East and South Asia. If you want to learn more about silk materials, go to Mahaco Impex and talk to the experts there. Teng Joo Textiles is just down the road and has more Asian fabrics, textiles, and sewing tools.
Achakzai Trading is at 94 Arab Street, Singapore 199790; Mahaco Impex is at 51 Arab Street, Singapore 199748; Royal Fabrics is at 84 Arab Street, Singapore 199780; and Teng Joo Textiles is at 102 Arab Street, Singapore 199798.
Arab Street is full of culture.
With just a quick look around, you can see that Arab Street is full of bars, shops, and things to do that will keep you busy all day. Because it’s easy to get to, it’s a great place to hang out with friends or go on a fun date.