A Travellerspoint blog

The Arab Quarter


We decided to head down to the Arab Quarter last weekend, mainly in search of a rug for the living room. The was the second time we went to the area, after unsuccessfully finding what we were looking for the first time. We started off on Arab street, which is lined with carpet and textile shops. We first decided to stop off for lunch at Cafe Le Caire. We had read some reviews and heard it was pretty good. Once we arrived it was somewhat difficult to figure out where to go to actually eat, as it appeared to be somewhat split between multiple blocks along the street. Theresa finally asked one of the cashiers who instructed a waiter to actually seat us. We ordered the hummus to start off while Theresa ordered the Shish Kebab while I ordered the Meshawi. Our hummus arrived and then we waited around 30 minutes for Theresa's Kebabs to arrive, which were overcooked and not very tasty. About 10 - 15 minutes later, my Meshawi finally arrived. The Meshawi was generally pretty good, somewhere above average. However, I would have preferred it average if it would of meant I didn't have to wait 45 minutes for it. Once we finished up, it was another adventure trying to flag a waiter to actually pay our bill. As we now know, dining out is a minimum 1 hr. experience.


After lunch, it was off to look for rugs. We had been through this area before, so we knew nearly all of the carpet shops are owned and operated by the same family. We stopped off in one of the shops, and sure enough he took us to around 5 different shops down the street looking for rugs, who he claims were all owned by his "brothers." We went back and forth but just couldn't settle on a rug we like. We liked the handwoven craftsmanship of the Persian rugs, however the design was just too traditional compared to what we were looking for. Also, the Persian rugs have a special appeal since these are very hard to come by in the United States since the embargo on Iran. After a few hours of looking around, we decided to give up and move on empty handed. Although I would highly recommend this area if somebody is in the market for a nice handwoven rug from Iran, Afghanistan, or Turkey. The prices are generally reasonable compared to other areas of town as well.


Once we left Arab street, we strolled around the area, observing the Sultan Mosque along with some other shops in the area. We stopped off for a cup of coffee at Sultan Cafeteria on Bussorah Street. This is a really neat street that comes alive in the evenings, especial on a Saturday night with many restaurants and coffee shops in the area. After coffee we made our way down the street and stumbled upon an amazing art gallery called Khim's Collection. The place was truly amazing if you're into unique, contemporary, one of a kind artworks. All of the pieces are designed by local artists in Singapore and are completely unique. The gentleman working the store was beyond nice and accommodating, explaining what each piece represented and the history behind the design. Each piece was handcrafted and the attendant challenged us to find an identical piece. We could have spent all day and a lot of money in this shop, as this is the type of artwork we both very much enjoy. In the end we settled on a ceramic piece of artwork representing harmony that now sits nicely in our living room. I would definitely recommend this shop to anyone visiting Singapore for some unique pieces. It was nice to not leave empty handed after all.


Posted by DustinH 04:28 Tagged street le cafe caire_arab street_khim's collections_bussorah

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