Tanjong Pagar Railway Thai Flea Market: A Review
The termination of train services at Tanjong Pagar is never a marker for its vibrancy and energy. In fact, we pretty much see a more diverse demographic visiting the railway station as it takes on the identity of a multi-purpose, or shall I say, a multi-cultural venue.
For those who have been craving for Thai culture, do read on for a treat that was held on 12 September (aka Hari Raya Haji) last year, where Tanjong Pagar (TP) Railway was fashioned and modelled after the renowned Rot Fai Market in Thailand. No need for budget flights to Thailand or Phuket - an MRT or bus ride was all it took for you to get your hands on that cup of Thai Milk Tea you have been losing your sleep for!
Credit: 泰 Fantastic Thai Market Facebook event page
A little sneak at their histories
Interestingly, Tanjong Pagar and Talad Rot Fai in Bangkok bear quite a resemblance in terms of their origins! Talad Rot Fai was traditionally an abandoned railway station that has slowly gained popularity through small stores and vendors.
Similarly, termination of train services to and from Malaysia has resulted in an idle Tanjong Pagar train station (which was previously bustling with passengers). Hence, speaking of emulating that ambiance, none can do better than the TP railway station with its rustic clock tower and interiors.
Credit: Schristia (Flickr)
Fans of antique Volkswagen cars and scooters had a great time indulging in a parade of vintage vehicles which was found right smack at the front court of the train station. For those who were hunting for the perfect #ootd shots, the vintage lines made for splendid background, creating an instaworthy snapshot!
Credit: Tiffany Wong
The arrangements and set-up were rather intricately designed and crafted, so much so that it contained the ability to teleport one back in time with those old-school arcade machines up for plays at the ticketing hall. Passing through those, vendors and small booths were finally seen lining up on the train platform. Well, if there is one thing that strikes 100% similarity to Talad Rot Fai, I got to say it’s the unchanging presence of crowd on site.
Credit: Calvin Teo
Besides those stalls that sell Thai snacks and food, the rest of the platform were, unexpectedly, pretty much occupied by vendors touting accessories and handmade items – those you could spot in a typical Scape weekend flea. To be honest, the theme wasn’t pulled off too great due to the large number of booths that sells merchandises which have little relation to Thai.
Well, be that as it may, there were certain amazing stores that we managed to drop by, making the trip worth the hype!
What better way to relive the bygone summer than with slurping a cup of Thai milk tea (except it was not sold in a cup!).
Credit: Seth Lui
Thai milk tea by AROI was creatively served in a ziplock bag with a trademark sign that wrote ‘Aroi Nae Nae’ (meaning delicious for certain or confirm delicious).
A great alternative would be the Thai milk tea by Soi55 that has made a name for itself as one of the top 5 Thai milk tea in Singapore, as ranked by local food blogger DanielFoodDiary. Contrary to Talad in Bangkok, the few number of such stalls makes queuing an almost mandatory routine throughout the walk.
A great supplementary snack to those teas was the toast marshmallows from The Wicked Cream Co which specializes in quirky artisanal mix such as salted egg and toasted cheese and truffle.
Credit: Miss Tam Chiak
If adventurous eating is not for you, there was Fairy Floss’ candy floss on crepes and fairy puff ice cream if you were yearning for a sweet treat!
Credit: Goody Feed
Overall, the Thai flea market was a fantastic event to celebrate the Thai diversity and to inject cultural vibrancy into our routine mall tours. However, in general, food and merchandise were slightly overpriced due to the nature of the event, hence one has to be prepared to splurge more than you would like to. Nevertheless, such celebratory events definitely could be better organized if it weren’t that commercialized and if an involvement of the Thai community in Singapore was promoted.
Till then, sawadii kha!
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