[Singapore] Indian-Muslim street eats at Zam Zam, North Bridge Road

Eatablished in 1908, Zam Zam is the oldest Indian-Muslim restaurant in Singapore. Located under the shadow of the Arabesque Sultan Mosque in Singapore’s Kampung Glam Muslim district, it was founded by Haji Mahmud, a Keralan-Indian who sailed from the Malabar Coast to Singapore, together with a childhood friend, Abdul Raheman, who opened his own eatery, Victory, right next door to Zam Zam in 1910.

Therein lies one of the oldest food rivalries in Singapore’s history. One of the most serious incidents happened as recently as 2016: Zackeer Abbass Khan (then-owner of Zam Zam) hired a mobster to attack Victory Restaurant supervisor, Liakath Ali Ibrahim, slashing the latter in the face.

The victim ended up with a permanent scar on his lip and cheek. Both Zackeer Abbass Khan, and the hired thug, were sentenced to 6 years imprisonment and 6 strokes of the cane.

Rivalry aside, both restaurants have been feeding generations of Singaporeans roti prata (Indian-Muslim flatbreads) and murtabak (meat-filled flatbreads) for over a century.

It’s been a while since I was here, so last Tuesday, I decided to stop by for a roti prata breakfast.

No prata breakfast is complete without a mug of frothy, sweetened milk tea - the teh tarik.

One thing I realised ever since I moved to Malaysia (first to Kuala Lumpur in 2011, then to Penang in 2017), Singapore’s roti prata tend to be denser, heavier and chewier than its close Malaysian cousin, the roti canai.

The mutton-vegetable dhal was very tasty, although I nearly ate this large piece of mutton fat which I’d thought was a piece of aubergine.

I didn’t want to have anything else, as I was meeting a friend to explore other eateries in the neighbourhood later.
It was a good feeling to be back at a favourite childhood eatery.

Zam Zam Restaurant
697-699 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 198675
Tel: +65 6298 6320
Operating hours: 7am to 11pm daily