YAS! I didn’t do the best food to try at bazaar because literally, everyone else done it already. So, I didn’t bother hor. What I’m gonna do instead is to just talk about the whole bazaar culture, hipster epidemic and all that gud shit.
I love Bazaar. I love love love bazaar. For those of you who don’t know what’s bazaar. It’s an annual food fair that happens during the fasting month, aka Ramadan. It features predominately traditional Malay fair food such as Goreng Pisang (fried banana fritters) and Burger Ramly ( a burger with a meat patty dusted with turmeric covered in egg with BBQ, chili and mayo). There is also a bunch of food from other cultures such as Takoyaki and Vadai. On top of all the traditional “classics”, there is also a rise in non-traditional “hipster” food such as the Rollie ice cream, Thai milk tea and watermelon volcano. There is an abundance of food. There are also tons of stalls selling traditional Malay clothing as well. There is even a stall selling cars! So weird.
I love Bazaar soo very much. There is so much food and I love being spoiled with choices. Going to the Bazaar is an event on its own. It’s a family affair. We would literally spend hours, just walking around, shopping and munching. There this one lane that sells curtains. As a young child, I would run around pretending I’m in a Bollywood movie then I’ll bang into a wall because I didn’t see the wall behind the curtain. I remember when I was younger also, got this baby snake. EVERYONE LOST THEIR SHIT. You can literally feel the excitement in the air when it’s nearly breaking fast there. There’s always my middle eastern brother selling kebab. My Turkish brother selling ice cream. My Indian fam selling vadai. It’s funny how unfamiliar faces feels like home.
The reason I love Bazaar so much is that it’s one of the few embodiment of kampong spirit. It’s a place where families and friends come together to have fun and bond. It’s a place where memories are made. I have tons of fond memories of going to the bazaar. From stupid antics of us as little kids to the occasional squabble that would break out to the absolutely downright delicious foods, it’s these things that I hold on to. It’s a place where my family would forget their troubles and enjoy themselves. Bazaar has a very special place in my heart.
Bazaar this year has faced a lot of criticism regarding the rise of hipster food. Many felt like that it wasn’t in line with the spirit of Bazaar, saying there is a “culture overhaul” and there is an “over-saturation of hipster food”. Many also complained about the price point of a lot of the products such as raclette cheese ($12) and the handsome burger ($8), which is essentially a burger with a rainbow bagel as buns. Is it expensive for a food fair store at Geylang? Yes. I can buy a burger, a drink and 2 snacks with $12. Is there much more hipster food this time round? Yes. Is there an over-saturation of hipster food? Yes. Is there a culture overhaul? Debatable. Is this all bad? No, and here’s why.
Over-saturation of hipster food benefits the classic foods way way more. Just think the sheer cost of rent, expenses, wages and utilities as well as the total net revenue. If there are 30 stores selling the same things, Revenue per store would be significantly lower as to compare to having 10 stores selling the same stuff. Then let’s think about expenses. Rent is said to be around $17 000. Add expenses, wages, utilities etc, it would be around $30 000 – $50 000. I’m not sure about the actual cost but these are estimates. They would need to make $1500 each day to just break even. Keep in mind as well the food they sell are usually around $2-$5. What about the food that isn’t sold? Then let’s consider the net revenue. Nobody wants to work all day, under heat and pressure, to have $1000 in net revenue.By having hipster foods, it increases demand for these classics and their net revenue would be higher because now the market isn’t as saturated with the same food. It makes fiscal sense when the sheer cost of renting and running a bazaar store is so bloody expensive.
I agree, some of the hipster food prices is too high but getting rid of them completely isn’t the answer. Most of them are young people so they need time to understand how this food fair field works. I say, give them a chance. They’ll definitely receive the
backlash feedback from the public and maybe they’ll seek out ways to lower their price point. I also agree that some are just in to make a buck and trust me, if there is no demand, there’ll no supply. So let’s just pray that those people won’t make a return next year.
The reason why I love the hipster food of bazaar is that it freshens up and give bazaar a breath of excitement and life. I still patronize the classic foods but now there are new things to try. That is exciting. I love variety. Young entrepreneurs are coming here to try something new and I love that. Yes, I agree that there is too much repetition such as the thai milk tea and the unicorn drink. That needs to be dealt with but completely getting rid of all of them isn’t the answer. The rise of hipster food also reels youngsters in. People of different races are coming to the bazaar. That is amazing as well. If bazaar was started by young Malay entrepreneurs, why aren’t we supporting the new generation of young Malay entrepreneurs? With that said, I support all the young people coming in to try. Obviously, there need to improve their products and be more creative to provide a diversity of food. However, we need to support them instead of getting rid them permanently.
However, it is not to say that hipster food is all good. From what I’ve seen, a lot of the things I’ve seen are always aesthetic first, taste second. Some stalls like the Katoshka and the ganster drink buckets manages to taste really good AND look good so I need to give where credit is due. Most however, like the unicorn drinks and the raclette cheese, focused on the instagrammity of it instead of the delectability of it. Honestly disappointed with those stores. I just wished more hipster stores focus more on the quality of the food instead of the aesthetic of it. If your food is good, you’ll attract repeating customers instead of one time consumers. Most stalls failed to do that and I hope they’ll feel the sting and try something next year. Maybe other people can learn from this year’s bazaar and do better next year.
We should embrace change instead of resisting it because that’s the only way to move forward. We can love the old without shitting on the new. I don’t care what race you are, as long you bring good food to the scene, you’ll be embraced by the Malay community. We love food ohkay ESPECIALLY good food. Remember, how it looks may bring them in but how it taste is what will bring them back
Bazaar is about coming together.It’s about celebrating entrepreneurship. It’s about creating memories. It’s a food haven. I hope next year bazaar will have a nice balance of good classic and hipster foods. I’m excited to see what will bazaar 2018 looks but till then, I’ll end off by saying that the hipster food needs to step up their game, people need to calm their tits down and bazaar 2017 was a nice just like any other year.
That’s all I have for y’all today. Sorry for not posting over a month but IM BACK! This post is very long but I hope it’s entertaining. Till the next post! BYES!