Two sides of Geylang
While I was living in Singapore, one of the places that I was often told to visit was Geylang. Geylang is the area of Singapore’s red-light district and has arguably the best food in Singapore. I know some of you are wondering “how could this be?” but according to the locals, it’s true. The first day, that I arrived in Singapore I was told to visit the area. Me being from the states, as soon as I heard that it was also a red light district, I immediately thought of prostitutes and to stay away.
Over the next few weeks I pushed away any thought of dining in that district. I remember one night we were taking the cab ride back home to Simei and the cab driver asked us if we wanted to take a detour and drive through the Geylang district. With some hesitation, we agreed and off went. The driver was born and raised in Singapore so he was very knowledgeable of the area. He showed us one side of Geylang which was the food district and the other part which is the red light district with brothel houses and hotels looking for customers. Looking through the cab window it wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be. Please keep in mind that prostitution is legal in Singapore. There are all sorts of rules and guidelines that these employees and employers have to maintain to get their business going. Because it was part of their culture in Singapore, the people weren’t as bothered by it as I was. In the United States, for the most part prostitution is legal with some exceptions. So for me it was strange seeing this live in person. I did not part take in any of the activities. But being in the presence of these workers was definitely out of my comfort zone.
A few months later I was invited out to dinner by some friends that I made in Singapore. They wanted to meet in Geylang and have frog meat. I’ve never had frog meat before. It was delicious and tastes just like chicken. Another popular dish in the area, which I did not eat/drink, was turtle soup. The area is filled with Hawker centers and restaurants. After we were done eating, we walked around and looked at some of the local shops. The food district at the time didn’t have a lot of street walkers walking around; I don’t know if that’s changed since I last visited. If you ever visit Singapore, I suggest you visit the area because it is so unique and it’s part of the culture.