Arab Street is full of artistic influences and amazing Middle Eastern cuisine.
You’ve probably heard of Arab Street, a popular spot for anything to do with food, drinks and shopping. This bustling ‘hood has some of Singapore’s most eye-catching street art, whic gives this area its characteristic flair. Expect narrow alleys of hip cafes and intriguing bars, as well as quaint shops and boutiques.
Here is the ultimate guide to explore every corner of what Arab Street has to offer.
*Please note there will be further changes to the Covid-19 restrictions post the Phase 2 Heightened Alert on 21 June 2021. It goes without saying, the safety of everyone remains a top priority.
Things to do around Arab Street
1. Snap a pic with artsy wall murals
Get creative with your Instagram photos with the vibrant street art of Arab Street and Haji Lane. Almost every wall is plastered with these colourful and creative murals, so you’re spoilt for choice on which will become your backdrop. (Check out other spots to spy cool street art around SG.)
2. Masjid Sultan Mosque
Take in and appreciate culture and stunning architecture at the Masjid Sultan Mosque. In 1975, this mosque was named a national monument. It’s also the biggest mosque in Singapore! You can visit inside and learn more about its history and importance. The Sultan Mosque truly comes alive during the time of Ramadan, with food stalls and activities (when there wasn’t a pandemic).
Masjid Sultan Mosque
Address: 3 Muscat St., 19833
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Sat. to Thurs.); 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Fri.)
3. Malay Heritage Centre
Just down the street from the Sultan Mosque is the Malay Heritage Centre. Learn more about the history and community of Malays in Singapore and the development of the Kampong Glam area. Different exhibitions are displayed throughout the year with personal and artistic showcases too.
Malay Heritage Centre
Address: 85 Sultan Gate, 198501
Tel: 6391 0450
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Tues. to Sun.)
4. Amazing Chambers Singapura
Feeling adventurous? Check out this interactive escape room to solve mysteries and riddles around Singapore’s historical themes. For example, Princess Radin Mas Ayu escape room follows the story of a Javanese princess through love, deceit and betrayal. Or check out this 1600s historical escape room full of battle ships and naval games.
Amazing Chambers Singapura
Address: 73 Sultan Gate, 198497
Tel: 6906 3271
Opening hours: 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. (daily)
Admission: $34.90 (off-peak period), $38.90 (peak-period)
5. Vintage Camera Museum
Have an affinity for vintage cameras? This unique museum is situated a street over from Arab street, with an iconic camera-shaped façade. Explore over 7,000 vintage cameras and rare photographs that can date back as far as the 1800s. The best part? You can actually pick up the cameras and get a feel for it. It’s pretty much heaven for camera geeks.
Vintage Camera Museum
Address: No. 8C and 8D Jalan Kledek, 199263
Tel: 6291 2278
Opening hours: 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (daily)
Where to eat and drink around Arab Street
1. % Arabica
When % Arabica first arrived in Singapore from Japan, it attracted coffee enthusiasts and hip cafe lovers alike in a buzzed hype. But for good reason, as the coffee beans are sourced from all over the world depending on the season, ensuring richness and freshness. Try out the popular Spanish Latte ($9), a sweeter coffee made with condensed milk. Plus, the their white, minimalist interior provides the perfect relaxing backdrop.
Address: 56 Arab St., 199753
Tel: 6291 3887
Opening hours: 8 a.m. to 6p.m. (Sun. to Thurs.); 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Fri. to Sat.)
This Muslim-owned eatery serves a variety of halal Mediterranean-influenced rice bowls (very similar to Halal Guys in New York!). Its bowls (from $12.40) typically include yellow basmati rice, fresh pita, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes. Top it off with your choice of protein: Chicken, Falafel and Pulled Beef. And of course, drenched with signature creamy white sauce and spicy-hot red sauce.
Address: 48 Arab St., 199745
Tel: 8877 1827
Opening hours: 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Tues. to Sun.)
3. Beirut Grill
Step into authentic Lebanese and Middle Eastern ambiance with great food, right off Arab Street. Adorn yourself with the variety of dips from the Mezza Platter ($25) of hummus, baba ghanoush, moutabal, cheese rolls and falafels. The Chef’s Signature dish is the Lamb Chops ($33), marinated in Arabic spices and char-grilled to perfection. You’ll be feasting big at this cozy spot, so bring a friend or two!
Address: 72 Bussorah St., 199485
Tel: 9069 1925
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.); 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Sat. to Sun.)
Reserve on Chope here.
4. Ratu Lemper
This little snack shop specialises in lemper, an Indonesian favourite snack made of glutinous rice and meat floss and shredded meats. Its a fragrant, tasty and comforting little parcel of goodness. Flavours range from beef rendang to spicy tuna, as well as vegetarian options too ($20 for box of 10)! This shop is perhaps Arab Street’s best well-kept secret, you can’t miss out.
Address: 31 Arab St., 199730
Tel: 9813 2450
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Tues. to Thurs.); 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Fri. to Sun.)
5. House of Kebab
To add to Arab Street’s many delicious Middle Eastern eateries is House of Kebab, home to authentic Turkish and Lebanese dishes. Plus, this kebab spot is open till 2 a.m.! Making it the perfect place to end the night on. Start of with the Falafel Plate ($18.90) and the Hummus ($14.90), then sink your teeth into the juicy Lamb Kofta for two ($55.90).
House of Kebab
Address: 21 Arab St., 199844
Tel: 6396 5302
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (daily)
Reserve on Chope here.
6. Nasrin Turkish Restaurant
You’ll fall in love with Nasrin’s stunning Mediterranean inspired tiles, and the food to compliment it meets those standards. Check out signature Turkish dishes like Pide (from $16), a Turkish oven baked pizza that comes with cheese, and spinach or meat, or a hot plate of Roasted Lamb Leg ($28). Don’t forget the mouth-watering desserts like Baklava ($10) and Kunefe ($12), baked layers of stringy pastry served with cheese and heavy cream.
Nasirin Turkish Restaurant
Address: 58 Arab St., 199755
Tel: 6298 1685
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Sun. to Thurs.); 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. (Fri. to Sat.)
Reserve on Chope here.
7. All Things Delicious
This homey neighbourhood cafe has an all-day breakfast menu until 5 p.m.. Go for the hefty North-African Shakshouka ($18.90) or the Savoury Buttermilk Pancakes ($19.90) that contains sunny-side eggs, chicken sausage and chilli-infused honey. Whether it be these savoury dishes, or the delightful array of baked goods, all things are truly delicious at this little cafe.
All Things Delicious
Address: 34 Arab St., #01-01, 199733
Tel: 6291 4252
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Tues. to Weds.); 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Thurs.); 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Fri.); 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Sat.); 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sun.)
8. Fika Swedish Cafe and Bistro
This Arab Street gem gives IKEA’s Swedish meatballs a run for its money. Fika’s Swedish meatballs ($18) are tender and juicy, doused in the classic lingonberry jam and cream sauce. Explore Swedish cuisine through dishes like Korvstroganoff ($14), a chicken sausage stew with creamy tomato base, Herb-crusted Salmon ($26) in a lemon butter sauce.
Fika Swedish Cafe and Bistro
Address: 257 Beach Rd., 199539
Tel: 6396 9096
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Sun. to Thurs.); 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Fri. to Sat.)
Say hello to Milk, Singapore’s very first Muslim-owned bubble tea joint. Did you know not all pearls in bubble tea are halal? Milk offers Muslims in Singapore the comfort of indulging in their bubble tea craze with no worries. Try out the rich Match Mascarpone ($6.80) or go with local flavours like the Chendol Royale ($6.80). Plus, Milk now sells scrumptious waffles to pair with your sweet drink! (Want to DIY your own boba? Check out these easy bubble tea recipes!)
Address: 27 Arab St., 199726
Tel: 8111 0583
Opening hours: 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Mon. to Thurs.); 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. (Fri. to Sun.)
Crave more sweets? Reach into the cookie monster in you with Guilt’s chunky and gooey cookies. Expect out there flavours with funky names, such as the Walk of Shame ($4.50), a dark chocolate chip and caramel cookie topped with toasted marshmallows, or the sexy Fifty Shades of Grey ($5.50), an earl grey cookie with creamy white cocoa butter sprinkled with pistachios and honeycomb toffee. Vegan cookies are also available!
Address: 29 Arab St., 199728
Tel: 8343 1019
Opening hours: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Mon. and Weds. to Sat.); 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sun.)
Where to shop
1. Persian rug galore
Arab Street is the place to be to shop the most exquisite Persian rugs to your heart’s desire. While strolling down the street, Achakzai Trading’s vibrant pink walls and extensive gallery of Persian rugs will catch your eye. At Samad & Sons Carpets, you can find more affordable pieces to decorate your living room floor. Right off Arab Street you’ll find Alborz Carpets & Handicraft, decked out with colourful lamps, lush rugs and other crafts.
Address: 94 Arab St., 199790
Tel: 6732 8029
Samad & Sons Carpets
Address: 78 Arab St., 199775
Tel: 6293 8545
Alborz Carpets & Handicraft
Address: 45 Bussorah St., 199461
Tel: 9783 9905
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Sun. to Thurs.); 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Fri. to Sat.)
Turkish mosaic lamps are charming and intricate, giving a warm ambiance and romantic feel to your space. Check out Dwiz’s amazing collecting of Turkish lamps that range from every colour and shape (from $55). Collecting a few lamps to hang at your place can become art pieces in itself. Compliment these lamps with Dwiz’s traditional and delicately made ceramics (from $5).
Address: 53 Arab St., 199750
Tel: 6292 5854
3. Mahaco Impex Silk Shop
If you’re in the need for quality silk, Mahaco Impex is the place for you. Its products range from silks, cottons, shawls, pyjamas, bed spreads and more with the most beautiful traditional designs (from $25).
Mahaco Impex Silk Shop
Address: 51 Arab St., 199748
Tel: 6396 0696
Opening hours: 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (daily)
4. Sifr Aromatics Shop
Enter the world of intriguing scents encapsulated in this little indie shop. Peruse Sifr’s collection of in-house perfumes (from $45) and hand poured soy wax candles (from $35). The perfumes are extracted from natural ingredients such as Sage tea and Patchouli Rose. You can even book a deluxe personal perfume consultation ($250) to create your own elegant blend.
Sifr Aromatics Shop
Address: 42 Arab St., 199741
Tel: 6392 1966
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Wed. to Sat.); 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Sun.); Mon. & Tues. by appointment only
Around the corner at the end of Arab Street, you’ll find a quaint gallery shop that showcases special Japanese crafts and designs. Look around and appreciate the simple beauty of largely ceramic or porcelain pieces, or purchase something unique to add to your dish-ware collection. Maybe after a hot day around Arab Street, munch on some snacks and head over to Supermama to end the day in a relaxing gallery.
Address: 265 Beach Rd., 199544
Tel: 9615 7473
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (daily)
6. Wardah Books
Near Arab Street, you’ll find this cosy bookstore that specialises in Sufism, otherwise known as ‘Islamic mysticism’. They carry a broad spectrum of books from children’s books, historical books and Prophetic sirah to translations of the Qur’an. Wardah Books definitely curates unique and educational collections worth checking out.
Address: 58 Bussorah St., 199474
Tel: 6297 1232
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (daily)
Originally by Isabel Wibowo, June 2021