I have grown to like Kampong Glam. I find it a fairly idyllic place with an interesting heritage. I love the looks of the shophouses there. I think my liking for the area had started when I went for The Original Singapore Walks, Sultans of Spice, by Journeys Pte Ltd (you can read my post on the walk here).
Subsequently, I have also visited it on a few other occasions:
- To view the Singapore Biennale 2006 site at Sultan Mosque
- To attend Cultural Clubbing at the Malay Heritage Centre
- Dinner with Emily
I think Kampong Glam is a place deserving of a visit. However, Kampong Glam seems comparatively less well-known to my peers as compared to places such as Orchard Road and Suntec City. As such, where circumstances permit, I shall do my part to introduce Kampong Glam to my friends.
On the afternoon of 21 April, I met up with one of my friends, XS. It has been more than four years since I have last met and kept in touch with XS. I felt that I was meeting a long-lost friend.
I suggested to have lunch at Alaturka, located in Kampong Glam. XS was kind to go along with my suggestion. I personally think that Alaturka has a nice ambience, fairly good food and thoughtful service. At least the waitresses were nice to allow me to take photographs of the restaurant when I asked for permission.
At the restaurant, XS shared her observations of one of the ornaments found in the restaurant. I later found out from sources on the internet that this ornament is known as Nazar Boncuk. It looks like a blue glass piece, and is known to have the powers to protect one from the "Evil Eye".
Back to lunch. We ordered Dolma (Grape leaves with spices rice), Lavash (Lavash), Mutton Musakka (special Mediterranean eggplant with mutton). For beverage, I ordered the Turkish Apple Tea while XS ordered the Turkish Coffee.
XS told me that the Turkish coffee had a "thicker texture" in terms of its smell. I did not drink the coffee but it looked rather rich from where I was sitting. She also shared with me some information about dolma. That day was the very first time in our lives that we have eaten dolma.
Having tried the Chicken Musakka, I think Mutton Musakka smells nicer and tasted better than the Chicken version. Nevertheless, Musakka is good.
Other than enjoying the lunch, we caught up with one another. I felt glad that we have the chance to catch up with one another. Certain things in life cannot be taken for granted.
To end the lunch, both of us ordered the Spangile which was basically chocolate mousse. I think it tasted good. The texture of it was smooth. At the very least, my heart could sense that there is sincerity in making this dessert.
I personally think that Alaturka has charming deco and nice food. Alaturka deserves more patronage, so do consider checking it out if you should visit Kampong Glam, Singapore.
Here's its address and contact details:
Turkish & Mediterranean Restaurant
16 Bussorah Street Singapore 199437
After the lunch, we headed for and visited Sultan Mosque. Do read my post, The Kampong Glam Walk, to find out more about Sultan Mosque. It was mentioned in G.Byrne Bracken's A Walking Tour: Singapore that the base of Sultan Mosque's glided dome is decorated with bottles. If you don't believe, look closer at the dark-green-colour base of the dome. If you were to read Singapore: The Encyclopedia, you would learn that these glass bottles were donations from the poor. In short, one could say that Sultan Mosque has been made possible with the contributions from everyone in the community: young and old, rich and poor.
Afterwhich, we headed for the Malay Heritage Centre (also known by many as the Istana Kampong Glam). XS generously sponsored the visit to the museum, and we caught sights of works of Turkish art. I was intrigued by the art of ebru (the Turkish art of marbling) especially. I am aware of a YouTube video on this art form. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgg0GIfbszg.
The Islamic art of calligraphy also captivated my attention. I think it would be perfect if the organiser could put video recordings to show masters at work on the ebru and Islamic calligraphy.
I see that Malay Heritage Centre has the potential to become a must-see museum in Singapore. Basically, the site of the Malay Heritage Centre has a rich background of history and heritage. The landscaped garden of the Malay Heritage Centre offers beautiful sights for its visitors. Hopefully it can get much more support from the community so that it has the funds to work on enhancing its collections and to fund more in-depth research on the Kampong Glam community in Singapore.
By the way, on 1 May 2007, you may wish to join Singapore Idols Taufik and Hady at a fund-raising event held at the Malay Heritage Centre.
Soon it was time to say farewell, a temporary one, I hope. Meantime, wishing XS best wishes in her endeavours. I shall hope for her that she will find what she truly desires in life.
- G.Byrne Bracken's (2004) A Walking Tour: Singapore. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Private Limited.
- Singapore: The Encyclopedia.