A lil’ something for everyone
Mention Serangoon Gardens and you will most likely be greeted by an excited chorus of “Chomp Chomp!”. Yet, this quaint precinct which has seen my growing years offers so much more than just good food; from pop-up bars to free movie-screenings, the Serangoon Gardens of 2016 has something for everyone.
Affectionately known by fans of the neighbourhood as simply “Gardens”, what repeatedly draws one to the place - of course, other than its food - is its homely charm that seems to transport you to an oasis of peace and quiet seclusion. It’s a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
So here they are, 10 reasons why Serangoon Gardens is the best part of Northeast Singapore!
1. Visit these underrated hawker stalls that have been featured in newspapers...
I have a confession: I don't think Chomp Chomp is the best hawker centre in Singapore. In fact, it's not even the best hawker centre in Serangoon!
While I agree that Chomp Chomp offers good food, it is difficult to be wow-ed when one is constantly surrounded by other amazing food options. Case in point, Serangoon Garden Market & Food Centre.
Most people walk past this food centre on the way to Chomp Chomp without a second glance because it looks like any old hawker centre from the outside. However, in this one hawker centre alone, there are at least 5 stalls which have amassed countless fans and have been featured in the papers!
Notable mentions include the Garden Street Kway Chap,and Ah Seng Braised Duck Rice.
Ah Seng Braised Duck Rice (Stall 44), is located near the entrance of the Food Centre closest to the neighbourhood police station, which sells tender sliced duck coated in the heady herbal sauce characteristic of an authentic braised duck rice. Another perennial favorite is the tau pok which soaks in all the herbal sauce, offering a spurt of goodness with every bite.
Garden Street Kway Chap originated from Blanco Court, and despite their change in location, has retained their customer base. With smooth translucent kway, well-braised sides, and a clear chap (gravy) that accentuates the silkiness of the kway, it’s not hard to see why.
The stall is located at #01-21!
Most of these stalls have huge followings and usually have loooong queues - but that’s a small price to pay for good food! And I'm sure we all know how well-versed Singaporeans are in the art of queuing for food.
For hawker food in the day, you can go Serangoon Garden Market; for hawker food at night, you can go to Chomp Chomp! Best of both worlds, can I get an awww yeaahhh.
2. …and a traditional bakery that makes its own bread!
Fastest fingers win for this one, because the old-school buns at Serangoon Garden Bakery and Confectionery often sell out by 12pm daily!
From as early as 4am in the morning, dough is lovingly kneaded and prepared, folded and baked. The end product is light and fluffy bread that is simple but oh-so-good; baked from recipes perfected over a 32 year heritage.
What sets this store apart from modern bakeries is its extensive use of manual labour, which creates a personal connection compared to the commercial bread churned out from factories. There are few bakeries in Singapore relying on trusted methods of the past, and even fewer who keep their standards so consistently high.
The bakery may not have fancy flavours or killer aesthetics, but there’s a certain beauty and integrity in its simplicity. Furthermore, the entire process of producing the buns is extremely labour and skills intensive, which is exactly why this traditional bakery is such a gem. After all, it is easy for heritage to slip slowly through our fingers and into the forgotten past.
Some hot favorites include their Butter Sugar Bun ($0.90) and Hamburger Bun ($0.90) , which strangely isn’t a hamburger but a luncheon meat bun. What’s more, most of the buns go for under a dollar each. Talk about an absolute steal!
For deeper insight into the amount of hard work involved in making these bread, you can read this.
3. Attend FREE movie screenings at one of Singapore's most gorgeous rooftops!
With dark wood flooring and strategically-placed greens, the myVillage rooftop is currently one of the best-kept secrets of Serangoon Gardens. Tranquil and beautiful, it is the perfect place to chill out with friends or to paktor with your significant other.
This is not known to many, but every once in a while, there are cool gigs and events held at the myVillage rooftop. Past events include FREE movie screenings of Big Hero 6 and Frozen, and a rooftop concert that featured global Youtube sensations ‘Us the Duo’ and our homegrown talents Shigga Shay and Gentle Bones.
4. Drink craft beers that aren't available anywhere else in Singapore
Serangoon Gardens is home to Thirsty Craft Beer Shop, one of Singapore's largest craft beer retailers which offers the biggest selection of imported beers in Singapore. Some of their products come from as far as Belgium, with many brands being exclusively available at Thirsty.
With some super exclusive beers - we’re talking brewed-once-only kind of limited - this place is a haven for beer junkies!
So instead of jostling with the crowds in a noisy bar, get one of their affordable premium beers and head to the beautiful myVillage rooftop to lepak. Even better, pair it with Korean Fried Chicken from the basement’s Yogiyo Chicken for a complete lip-smacking meal!
Address: myVillage 1 Maju Ave #01-04 Singapore 556679
Opening Hours: Daily 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Tel: +65 9823 0282
5.Access Wimbly Lu’s waffles easily without Google Maps
Wimbly Lu burst into the dessert scene and captured the hearts of Singaporeans a few years ago with their stellar waffles, terrific chocolate truffles, and decadent Root Beer Cake. However, the location of their original outlet at Jalan Riang is still a challenge for many to locate.
For those who typically have trouble looking for their original outlet, you will be glad to know there’s a Little Wimbly Lu at Serangoon Garden’s convenient neighbourhood mall, myVillage! As its name suggests, Little Wimbly Lu features a smaller menu of the bigger sized outlet.
While the parent outlet sells full waffles, Little Wimbly Lu sells half waffles. Not to worry though, the quality of the golden quadrants are not compromised in the least bit! Each bite of it is still wondrously crispy and light.
Aside from the downsized portions for their crepes, pancakes, and waffles, Little Wimbly Lu offers its other cakes and tarts in the same size as the original outlet - So you can be sure to leave with your belly filled, and soul satisfied.
As they always say, ‘stressed’ spelled backwards is ‘desserts’, so come on down to de-stress - your body will thank you.
Address: myVillage 1 Maju Avenue, #01-09/10 Singapore 556679
Opening Hours: Sun - Thu: 11am – 11pm | Fri - Sat: 11am – 12am
6. Sing karaoke here at $10 nett for 6 hours
Don’t let its seemingly rundown exterior scare you away; K-Garden Family KTV houses one of the cheapest karaokes in town.
From Mondays to Fridays 2pm-8pm, a minimum of two other friends and you can engage in 6h of singing at $10 nett per head. That’s right, $10 for 6h worth of singing - you can sing to your heart’s content!
It may not be the snazziest place, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find another karaoke hangout with these prices. Furthermore, go with good company and you’ll still be sure to have a whale of a time.
Watch out Teo Heng, seems like you have a competitor!
Address: 18 Maju Ave, Singapore 556693
Opening Hours: 2pm - 1am (Mon to Thu & Sun), 2pm - 3am (Fri & Sat)
Tel: +65 6287 7256
7. Get inspired at an art jamming session
If you fancy yourself as having an inner Picasso, this one's for you.
Every Tuesday-Sunday 11am to 6pm, Art Speaks Studio is open for 3h art jamming sessions. For a fee of $60, you'll be given painting essentials and a blank canvas on which you can paint whatever you wish. Plus, you get a complimentary cup of coffee to fuel your artistry!
If you can't think of anything to paint, look out of the huge glass window and into the streets to get your creative juices flowing. Get inspired and come down to create your own masterpiece!
Address: 87A Serangoon Garden Way, Serangoon Garden Estate Singapore 555983
Opening Hours: Tues - Fri: 10am – 6.30pm | Sat - Sun: 10am – 5pm | Closed on Monday & Public Holidays
Tel:+65 6383 1261
8. Declare your love for milo-peng with a 3-litre tower
I always feel that one cup of milo is not enough, so if you’re anything like me, the milo tower at RK Eating House is a godsend. For the price of $12, you can get 3 whole litres worth of milo!
It’s not only the size of the drink that is impressive, its taste is on point too. The milo is chocolatey, creamy, and malty - exactly how a good ole’ cup of milo should taste.
Other favorites include their Mee Goreng and Plain Prata that is crispy on the outside, but soft and doughy on the inside. So gather some friends to take up the challenge of chugging down this milo monstrosity, and tuck into delicious Indian fare at the same time.
And if you are a supper-holic, you will be glad to know that RK is open 24h to fulfill all your midnight prata cravings.
Address: 1 Kensington Park Rd, Singapore 557253
Tel:+65 6289 5379
9. Give your pets a treat at this furkid paradise
Bring your dog for a decadent day out at Serangoon Gardens as we have all the amenities and outlets that are sure to make your dog woof in ecstasy. With a pet-friendly cafe and a pet salon in the vicinity, this will be your dog’s next favorite spot.
Animal Arts Academy
At Animal Arts Academy, you can treat your furkid to various spas such as mud baths, aromatherapy, and even a microbubble bath! Talk about doggy extravagance.
If you would like to learn how to groom your pet yourself at home, this place also provides pet owner grooming courses which will equip you with basic grooming skills.
With an academy, pet daycare, pet grooming, and spa all rolled into one shop, Animal Arts Academy is a one-stop shop for all your furkid's pampering needs.
Address: 9 Kensington Park Road, Singapore 557261
Opening Hours: Daily 10.00am to 7.00pm
Tel:+65 6282 1341
Happy Daze Cafe
Or if you're feeling peckish, at Happy Daze Cafe, you can have a good meal along with your dog! While many other pet-friendly cafes offer mediocre food for the pet owners’ consumption, Happy Daze Cafe pride themselves in providing honest homely food for both the dogs and the owners.
Upon arrival, your dogs will be immediately given a water bowl - royal treatment befitting of a loyal dog.
Their fur kid menu includes options like Beef Meatballs ($8.90 for five pieces) and Doggie Banana and Carrot Muffin ($3.90). I’m not sure about our lil’ canine friends, but I think even humans will be happy to be served meals of this sort.
If you are a sports-enthusiast, you will be glad to know you can even watch live broadcasts of sports games - such as those from the EPL - on large projector screens.
Address: 11 Maju Avenue
Opening Hours: Sun - Thurs: 3:00 pm to 1:00 am | Fri: 3:00 pm to 2:00 am
Tel:+65 6285 2885
10. Treat yourself to great steaks under $20!
iSteaks started off as a small but popular hawker stall selling hearty Western grub from a kopitiam opposite myVillage before it closed its shutters, shattering the hearts of its hordes of fans.
What not many are aware of is that within a few months, iSteaks reappeared in restaurant form at myVillage, still offering no-frills Western food - except now in an air-conditioned and comfortable environment.
With selections of poultry and fish mostly not exceeding $10, and 100-day grassfed ribeye steaks at only $19.50, you'll satisfy your Western cravings here without breaking your piggy bank. What’s more, for it’s price, iSteaks offers pretty darn good food.
If you’re in the mood to indulge in some deep-fried sides, their Calamari Rings ($5.50) are worth your calories. Arriving as a generous portion of juicy squid enveloped in golden batter, the unexpectedly huge bowl makes for an ultra worth-it sharing dish for your table!
Do note that for the most part, this is a self-service sort of restaurant, which is probably how they keep their prices to a minimum.
Wonders in the Garden
This list has but a fraction of the wonder that is Serangoon Gardens. So the next time you are bored out of your mind while waiting for Chomp Chomp to open, have no fear - there are tons of other places for you to check out.
Serangoon Gardens used to be inaccessible, but now it's a mere 10 minutes by bus from Serangoon MRT! Take a trip down and be transported to a whole new world - trust me, it’s worth it. I mean, there must be a reason it’s known as the next Holland Village!
This post was brought to you by myVillage at Serangoon Garden.