Artbox Singapore: Must-sees and a survival guide
If you're planning to spend part of your precious weekend at Artbox Singapore, here's a fair warning - it's BUSY.
It's a unique experience, with lots of astounding food concepts and interesting stalls.
You will also experience large crowds.
If there's anything that we learned from day one of the highly-anticipated Thai-style night market yesterday, it's that mental preparation and a tactical plan is key.
SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR PERSONAL SPACE
From the moment you arrive at Bayfront MRT station, you immediately become part of the excited herd made up of hundreds - possibly thousands - of others raring to check out the event.
Think Geylang Bazaar on Hari Raya Eve and up that tenfold.
According to Artbox Asia co-founder Lee Haoming, 29, prior to the event, about 55,000 visitors were expected to visit daily.
Yet he estimates yesterday may have seen 100,000 people go through the Bayfront event space venue.
Add to that, the Singapore Modest Fashion Weekend event happening just next door at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre might have also led to the surge in the number of visitors.
If you're going with friends, make sure you stay tight. One mistimed wander and you could be split up for the rest of the evening - something we experienced.
Also, navigating the lanes on Artbox grounds means standing so close to the person behind, beside and in front of you that you often find yourself plastered against their sweat-drenched shirts.
So it may as well be someone you don't mind being plastered to.
Human traffic can come to a complete standstill, so do count your blessings when you eventually shove your way through to that Thai ice cream soft serve or burger stall.
HYDRATE & STAY COOL
And speaking of perspiration, handheld fans - and a bottle of water - are your best friends at this market, modelled after the famous creative market in Bangkok.
That, and foldable umbrellas or ponchos as rain is expected over the next few days.
KEEP IT LIGHT
We cannot stress this enough but do leave bulky items at home.
Big bags, camera tripods and even, floppy wide-brimmed hats are not helpful.
Neither are selfie-sticks. Don't be blocking the thoroughfare just to get your group shots.
My heart went out to the three people I saw whose feet were mercilessly ran over by strollers.
Yes, this was surprisingly free of hipsters but very full of families.
Thankfully, Artbox Singapore continues next weekend (April 21-23) so that might prove to be a better time to check out the market.
But with the patience of a saint and willpower of steel, it's not entirely impossible to battle the crowd and still enjoy the experience if you still choose to visit it this weekend.
With over 500 food, fashion and lifestyle vendors over the two weekends (each weekend will have a different line-up) as well as live music beneath fairy lights, shoppers will be spoilt for choice.
On the turnout last night, Mr Lee said: "This surpassed my expectations. Over the next few days, we will be working on getting even more manpower including technicians and electricians to make sure the event runs smoothly.
"We are looking at making this an annual affair but we would have to increase the size of the venue. Right now it is slightly more than 50,000 square feet so we might double the size in future."
UNIQUE STALLS TO LOOK OUT FOR
1 Edible Terrarium
What's better than assembling your own terrarium? Making one that you can eat.
Using gummy worms, matcha crumble, chocolate rocks, Milo cereal, M&Ms and chocolate sprinkles, you can try your hand at making one to show off to all your pals and to share the calories.
2 Choco Kebab
Typically, slices of meat for kebabs are cut from a giant slab skewered on a rotating vertical spit.
But here, the giant slab of meat is instead replaced by chocolate. A huge chunk of it.
Thin rolls of chocolate are scraped from it and placed in a chocolate pita bread together with whipped cream, a scoop of ice cream as well as a fruit and topping of your choice.
If you're a chocolate lover, the choco kebab, priced at $6, is a must-try.
3 Galaxy ice kacang
This one is out of this world. From the good folks at Sinseh: The Grocery, galaxy ice kacang is a hip upgrade from the well-loved dessert and is made up of shaved ice drizzled with blackcurrant syrup, condensed milk, bubblegum ice cream, yogurt pearls, candy floss strips and edible glitter.
Magic in your mouth for a price of $8.
If you want to try their other galaxy-themed offerings, choose between galaxy macarons (chocolate earl grey macarons, $3), galaxy mille crepe (crepe with fresh vanilla cream and icing sugar, $8), galaxy juice (dragonfruit, honeydew, orange and blue pea flower, $6), galaxy donut ($3) and cosmic potion (glittery lemonade with konnyaku tadpoles, $5).
4 Threads for your pooch or cats
Who says pets can't be trendy? Love Around from Thailand offers 'clothes', collars, bibs and more for your furry friends, with prices starting from $5. If you spend above $50, you get to have your pet's names embroidered for free.
5 Dragon's breath
Follow the crowd that's breathing 'smoke' from their noses and you will find Coyoro, the stall that sells this innovative dessert. The cup dessert comprises cereal puff balls and meringue and is doused in liquid nitrogen to give the effect. Prices start from $6.
WHAT: Artbox Singapore
WHEN: Today, tomorrow and next weekend, 3-11pm
WHERE: Bayfront event space. Admission is free