A Guide to Pasar Malam in Singapore
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A Guide to Pasar Malam in Singapore: Pop Up Fun-fares

When the sun sets, don’t go home yet because things are about to get more exciting in Singapore. A pasar malam might pop out somewhere, and there, you can treat yourself to good food, unique trinkets, and a whole night of fun! 

Since the 1970s, pasar malams, or night markets, have been regulated by the government. You can attend one or two during your visit!

This article lays out everything you need to know about pasar malam in Singapore, including the best ones to check out. 


What is pasar malam?

What is pasar malam

Pasar malam is an Indonesian and Malaysian term that literally translates to “night market.” In Singapore, it refers to a street market that opens in the evenings and is usually held in a residential area. 

Pasar malams are usually held in a fixed location, but sometimes, this can change from year to year. Additionally, they’re only open for a few days, typically before holidays like Chinese New Year, Deepavali, and Hari Raya Puasa.

What is the history of pasar malam?

What is the history of pasar malam

The history of pasar malam can be traced back to the mid-1950s when it was first held. The first pasar malams were held near British military bases in the areas of Jalan Kayu, Sembawang, and Keppel Harbor. 

Hawkers organized the pasar malams weekly, usually on the day the workers at the military bases got paid, so that they could sell as many products as possible. Eventually, the number of pasar malams grew, and by the 1960s, they were everywhere.  

In particular, pasar malams were dominant in housing estates, which led to the rise of public complaints. The most common complaints against pasar malams were noise pollution, traffic congestion, and public health problems.

Eventually, in the 1970s, pasar malams were phased out due to the government requiring a license. However, the sellers in these night markets simply moved to hawker centers, and many of them are still there today.

What are the key features of pasar malam?

What are the key features of pasar malam

The key feature that you can expect to find in a pasar malam is a slew of brightly lit stalls. Street food, snacks, and desserts are most commonly sold, but you can also find other products, such as handmade crafts, produce, and more.

Sometimes, you can even find counterfeit goods in a pasar malam, such as fake branded items and pirated CDs, despite the government’s effort to ensure that stalls selling video products have a valid video license. 

All these products are sold at affordable rates, but you can definitely try haggling to get the prices even lower.

Aside from stalls selling goods, you can also expect to find a noisy environment due to the loud blaring music and sellers clamoring to get the attention of possible buyers. 

Some pasar malams even look like a fairground because there are games and rides like carousels and Ferris wheels set up. Fair snacks, like cotton candy and hot dogs, might also be available in this certain kind of pasar malam.

What are the rules and regulations for organizing a pasar malam in Singapore?

What are the rules and regulations for organizing a pasar malam in Singapore

Before an organizer can set up a pasar malam, they have to apply for a Temporary Fair permit from the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). They also have to pay a flat rate of S$60, no matter how big the pasar malam is and how long it will be open.

Additionally, individual stalls that sell food and beverages will have to apply for a Temporary Fair Stall License. They also have to take a basic Food Hygiene Course or the Food Safety Course Level 1, which costs around S$150.

Once they have their permit and have attended the course, all the stall owners need to remember is to comply with the following conditions for different kinds of foods sold. 

Type of Food Conditions
Milk-Based Drinks
  • Must be kept at 4ºC or below
  • Drink dispensers should have temperature control.
  • Fruit Juices (including sugar cane juice)
  • If prepared in advance, fruit juices should be stored in an enclosed container (bottles or cups with lids). They should also be stored in chillers.
  • Fruit juices shouldn’t be placed on the floor or in a bucket. This is to avoid contamination.
  • For sugar cane juice, only an enclosed sugar cane milling machine is allowed to be used.
  • Pre-Mixed Drinks
  • Sellers can only get pre-mixed drinks from approved sources.
  • Preparing drinks shouldn’t be done on the floor to keep things tidy.
  • There should be dispensers to dispense the drinks. Scooping of drinks from a tub or container is not allowed.
  • Made-to-Order Drinks
  • After use, the equipment to make these drinks (e.g., blenders and mixers) has to be washed.
  • Syrups and other liquid toppings must be stored in a pump dispenser, squirt bottle, and/or capped bottles.
  • Pre-Packed Ice
  • Only pre-packed food-grade ice from ice factories is allowed. The ice should also be clearly labeled.
  • Only ice cubes or tubes are allowed to be used in preparing food.
  • Shaved Ice Desserts
  • The stall must have an enclosed ice-shaving machine. Other methods of shaving ice (e.g. shaving an exposed ice block) are prohibited.
  • Magic Ice Cream/Traditional Rainbow Ice Stick
  • Sellers can only get pre-packed drinks from approved sources.
  • When making ice sticks, sellers aren’t allowed to mix syrups or use milk or milk-based products.
  • Sellers should also not make ice sticks on the floor to avoid spillage or contamination.
  • Ice Cream
  • If the ice cream is pre-packed, sellers have to get them from approved sources.
  • If the ice cream is to be made on-site, sellers have to make sure that the milk used is pasteurized and stored in a chiller at 4ºC or below.
  • Sellers have to dispose of any unused milk or milk-based ingredients at the end of each operation day.
  • Ice cream cones, wafers, and other toppings have to be stored in a container.
  • Cut Fruits
  • They have to be kept in a chiller with a temperature gauge.
  • Kebab
  • The kebab grilling counter has to be placed away from the main thoroughfare to avoid heat exposure for customers.
  • Pre-Packed Salads
  • Sellers should get pre-packed salads from licensed food processing establishments.
  • The stall must have the proper facilities with temperature control to store pre-packed salads.
  • Food stalls in a night market

    Aside from these conditions, pasar malam stalls must be aware that there are food and beverages that are not allowed. These are as follows:

    • Dishes that require extensive food preparation, especially preparation of raw food
    • Dishes that include ready-to-eat raw fish, seafood, or meat
    • Dishes that are prepared on-site and contain a mix of raw, ready-to-eat food items

    Long story short, food safety and handling are important when it comes to pasar malams. During the days when a pasar malam is open, the SFA and the NEA will conduct frequent checks to ensure that the stalls are following the rules. 

    The Best Pasar Malam in Singapore

    Tampines Pasar Malam

    — From: tlkevents

    Where: Tampines MRT Station, 20 Tampines Central 1, Singapore 529538

    When: TBA

    If you can only attend one pasar malam in Singapore, let it be the Tampines Pasar Malam. Located in East Singapore, the Tampines Pasar Malam is one of the biggest pasar malams; it usually features over 100 different stalls! 

    You can find popular street delicacies here, such as takoyaki and keropok lekor (fish crackers) with different toppings like salted egg and black pepper. For drinks, you might want to try an ice cream soda or a coconut shake. 

    But food isn’t the only thing offered in this night market. There are also many carnival games ready to entertain you; if you win, you just might be able to score a memorable prize (I, myself, once won a Pokémon plushie!). 

    Bukit Panjang Pasar Malam

    — From: gemokstakoyaki

    Where: Block 227, Pending Road, Singapore 670227

    When: TBA

    The Bukit Panjang Pasar Malam may seem small and modest at first glance, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it’s not worth checking out. This pasar malam has plenty of fun things to offer—from food stalls to exciting games!

    If you can, be sure to try the Dutch baby pancakes, which are so soft and fluffy. There are also stalls selling flamed cheese fries topped with BBQ bacon—the perfect fair food to indulge in!

    When you’re full, walk around and entertain yourself by playing with the claw machines. And if you’re into gardening or you just love plants, feel free to browse in stalls selling different kinds of house plants.

    Hillion Mall Food Fair

    — From: ajmirbriyani

    Where: Hillion Mall, 17 Petir Rd, Singapore 678278

    When: Occasional times throughout the year

    If you’re a foodie, then be sure to keep an eye out for Hillion Mall’s calendar of events because this shopping mall occasionally hosts food fairs throughout the year! Usually, the Hillion Mall Food Fair happens on holidays or just a few days or weeks before. 

    With this night food fair, you can treat yourself to a wide variety of local cuisine. I’m always on the lookout for biryani, but sometimes, I also seek out other snacks such as banana fritters, potato fries, and ayam percik (roasted spiced chicken). 

    West Mall Food Fair

    Where: 1 Bt Batok Central, Singapore 658713

    When: TBA

    Another mall that hosts a food fair every year is West Mall. This food fair will attract the foodies who love Thai cuisine in particular. 

    Treat yourself to the sweet indulgence of mango sticky rice, then wash everything down with Thai milk tea. If you prefer something savory, there are stalls offering ayam percik and different kinds of rendang (dry stew). 

    Sengkang Pasar Malam

    — From: singaporenightbazaar

    Where: Sengkang MRT Station, 5 Sengkang Square, Singapore 545062

    When: TBA

    Held at the bare field outside Compass One, Sengkang Pasar Malam is a haven for food lovers. This night market is host to over 40 food and drink stalls, so best believe that you’ll get your cravings satisfied here. 

    One of the favorite snacks I like to buy here is the taro cookie, which is the perfect combination of crispy, flaky, and sweet. It also has a bit of nutty flavor due to the layer of sesame seeds on the cookie.

    I also found a stall offering the iconic cheese coin pancake that you typically find in Osaka. Of course, cheese is the popular filling option, but I also tried the chocolate and Biscoff flavors; I loved them both! 

    Woodlands Square Night Market

    — From: singaporenightbazaar

    Where: 30 Woodlands Avenue 2, Singapore 738343

    When: TBA

    The Woodlands Square Night Market is one of the liveliest pasar malams in the country. It’s bright and filled with stalls selling both food and handmade crafts. 

    While walking around, you’ll be tempted to try all sorts of snacks, such as burgers, meat puffs, sweet potato balls, and fried fritters. When thirsty, don’t hesitate to buy a cup of Thai milk tea. 

    This pasar malam also offers unique handmade crafts and housewares. Because of this, it’s the perfect place to go if you’re looking for memorable souvenirs to bring home. 

    Night Bazaar in Clementi

    — From: weijjian and singaporenightbazaar

    Where: 448 Clementi Ave 3, Singapore 120448

    When: TBA

    The Night Bazaar in Clementi is the perfect example of a classic pasar malam. Here, you can find all the old-school night market treats, such as char kway teow, ayam percik, and takoyaki; it also has stalls offering clothes, accessories, and even plants. 

    The last time I visited here, I was able to score a pair of adorable pajamas. I also found vibrant bedsheets that liven up my room every time I use them; all sorts of hidden gems are available here!

    Chatuchak Night Market

    Where: The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Rd, Singapore 287994

    When: TBA

    The Chatuchak Night Market is named after the same night market in Thailand, and though the Singaporean version isn’t as expansive as the Thai one, it’s still quite charming and eclectic. 

    There are usually 100 stalls in this night market, and they all offer different kinds of goods. You can find the usual food stalls, but there are also places selling pet food and toys for children. 

    This night market is also one of the most visited, so if you don’t want to get stuck in the crowd, it’s best to avoid arriving later. It usually opens in the late afternoon, so you can arrive then instead of in the evening.