Artbox Singapore: A Short Review

Artbox Singapore took our sunny shores by storm over the past two weekends! If you didn’t go, or you went but are still wondering what all the hype was for, here’s the lowdown. Okay, not so much a lowdown as my honest opinion on the flea market, but you get the picture.

Firstly, I had to miss the first weekend as I was busy vacationing in Malacca. That’s obviously a different blog post. The Artbox Singapore was hyped for months by the various food news outlets in Singapore, all boasting differing lengths of the knowledge they actually had about the Artbox, which made me think that the press material for this event wasn’t so great. While I was not around for the first weekend, I heard plenty of great (awful, as well) things about this glorified-pasar-malam, so I had to go check it out myself last week.

I went on Friday, very early (like 4pm, when they had just opened and were rising from the sleepy depths towards glory evening as we do in flea markets), and I found that many stalls were empty. I did go towards stalls that were less popular, as is my style, to discover that many tended to avoid food stalls that had a health factor (such as toasted granola or coconut flavoured nuts). There was Thai Milk Tea everywhere, for varying prices, such as $3, $4… $15… yes, I know.

There were plenty of gimmicky food items that are really attractive to the eye as well, as the one that used plenty of liquid nitrogen and dry-ice in drinks, and the Talad drinks which came in coloured layers. Seth Lui did an awesome article on the Talad drinks and where you can find them in Singapore, has anyone tried them out yet?

There were only 2 food rows, at each end of the grounds. One was more popular and buzz worthy than the other, though both sold pretty much the same items. I found that many of dishes, clothes, accessories could have been found in Chaktuchak Weekend Market or Asiatique Night Market in Bangkok, its just that since these items are here in Singapore, we pay Singapore prices. Which, if you think about, you’ll be spending on flight and taxes anyways, so its works out to be about the same.

Overcrowding was a real thing – my videographer Colin was at the Artbox during the Good Friday Weekend, and he had two words to describe the madness: Crowded and Hot. I could see what he was talking about, although I wasn’t personally there when the Artbox had throngs of people in every aisle. I don’t think the organisers anticipated the number of people who would turn up for this thing, and winged it with the space between the stalls – there was not enough space to line up, and at some point people were just standing in line-ups without knowing what they were lining up for.

In totality, the event was a total success; there was plenty of social media buzz and tags associated with both weekends, and the stalls all thad they equal shares of good business and complaints. Would I personally head out to another Artbox Singapore? Maybe if it doesn’t fall on another long weekend where I am trapped in a long bus ride to Malacca. Otherwise, I’d like to get on planning my next trip to Bangkok with my trusty Expedia.

What’s your two cents on the Artbox? Tell me!

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