Bishan – a breeding ground for great food
Adapted from source: @l.in.x.in
With a good 10 schools in the neighbourhood, Bishan is habitually crowded by hangry students. I would know. After all, I spent 2 years here, a glassy-eyed student in the morning and a ravenous zombie by the afternoon.
For this foodie, discoveries were endless. All the places featured here – some well-known, some more ulu – were gems I found while on one of my hunger rampages. From eateries easy on the wallet to slightly more atas ones, there are choices for everyone.
1. Grin Affair
We’ve all experienced that panic: forgetting a friend’s birthday and having to rush out a last minute birthday present. On such days, Grin Affair was my life saver.
With their cakes in a jar, you won’t have to worry about lugging around a burdensome cake box, or fear the accidental cake smash on a crowded MRT. The Honey Lavender mousse cake ($6) has never failed to help me bring a smile to a birthday girl’s or boy’s face – with a burst of flavour from real lavender flowers and fresh blueberries.
The fluffy waffles ($9-$10.50) have always been my solution for a post-school sugar fix. Topped with a sizable scoop of Earl Grey gelato, cookie crumbs and maple syrup, this is pure bliss.
Address: Block 505 #01-408, 505 Bishan Street 11, Singapore 570505
Opening Hours: 12pm – 8pm (Mon to Sat), 1.30pm – 6pm (Sun)
Telephone: 8222 2678
2. Ming Kee Chicken Rice
Smooth, slippery chicken flesh served cold – now that’s one of a kind. At Ming Kee Chicken Rice, freshly-boiled chicken meat is immersed in ice cold water until serving time. The result is tender meat with a layer of gelatin under the skin that slides exquisitely across your taste buds.
Each plate is priced at a very enticing $3.50, but sharing a bigger portion among family and friends is always a good idea. I recommend coming slightly after lunch-hour from 2pm to avoid the half hour-long queues, so ain’t nobody will get in the way of your chicken rice dose.
Address: Kim San Leng Food Centre #01-522, 511 Bishan Street 13, Singapore 570511
Opening Hours: 10pm – 9pm
3. Mata Thai Restaurant
A tze char-style menu at Mata Thai makes it an ideal place for group sharing. My go-to order is the large sized Tom Yum Seafood Soup ($16) – served in a claypot, this tom yum comes with a generous medley of fresh seafood. Be sure to also grab some lemongrass juice for an extra zing.
Give their set lunches a miss though. I’ve tried their Seafood Fried Rice ($8.80), but was left disappointed by a lacklustre plate of yangchow fried rice with a paltry seafood-to-rice ratio.
Address: 508 Bishan Street 11 #01-390, Singapore 570508
Opening Hours: 7am – 10pm
Telephone: 9276 2629
4. Wowffle Burger
If you’ve ever had to choose between waffles and a burger, this hole-in-the-wall burger joint housed in a humble coffee shop solves that dilemma. Instead of the usual burger buns, expect crispy charcoal waffles sandwiching the juicy patties at Wowffle Burger. Choose from a range of wacky flavours: Soy Garlic Chicken ($6.80), The Satay Burger ($12.80), and The Agaricus ($12.80).
My personal favourite is the Salted Egg Fried Chicken ($13.80), featuring a generous piece of fried chicken topped with a smooth and thick salted egg yolk sauce.
Fun fact: Wowffle’s salted egg yolk sauce is entirely homemade by way of a 5 hour-long process! Talk about dedication.
Address: 38 Jalan Pemimpin #01-04 M38, Singapore 577178
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 9.30pm
5. 284 Kway Chap
Turning on their stall lights from 8.30pm all the way into the early mornings, 284 Kway Chap’s fare makes for a great supper – it sure did for me during my late night study sessions.
Eat away the insomnia with a combination of sliced pig intestines, tau pok and tea eggs, all braised to perfection. All innards are impeccably cleaned, so you won’t get any of that gamey pork stench. And at less than $5 per person, this won’t burn a hole through your pocket.
Address: 284 Bishan Street 22, Singapore 570284
Opening Hours: 8.30pm – 4am (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sundays.
6. Meld Grilled Kitchen
Housed in the same District-20 coffee shop as Wowffle Burger, the Japanese-Western Meld Grilled Kitchen is often overlooked. But for my peers and I, this has become a place for repeat visits.
My favourite is the Smoked Duck Aglio Olio ($9.90), a perfect balance of chunky duck slices, bacon slabs and lightly spiced pasta. Seafood lovers will love the Mentaiko Pasta ($10.90). Packed with fried oysters, fried prawns and splattered with mentaiko, this is a dish that’ll make your heart melt.
Meld also gives you an extra reason to be decked out in your school garb – students get 10% off all items.
Address: 38 Jalan Pemimpin #01-04 M38, Singapore 577178
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10.30pm, Closed on Wednesdays.
Telephone: 9337 8600
7. Jai Thai Restaurant
2 Thai places in 1 article may seem excessive, but this is a Bishan student staple. With authentic, honest Thai food below $10, this is the ultimate bang for your buck.
The Pineapple Rice Set ($8.80) is my top pick for set lunch, with its melange of green curry, fried fish and spring roll.
The Tom Yam Seafood Noodles ($5) is also a crowd favourite for its generous serving of seafood and mushrooms, but if you’re not a fan of seafood, there’s also the chicken option. Upon ordering, you’ll be given the option of either clear or thick soup – the latter has a stronger chilli flavour.
The groups of students in the restaurant may put you off a bit, but hey, there’s gotta be a reason behind its popularity.
Address: 7 Clover Way, Singapore 579080
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 9pm (Mon to Thu), 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm (Fri – Sun)
Telephone: 6258 0228
8. Hup Seng Duck Rice
Hup Seng Duck Rice is a little off the central Bishan area, but worth those extra bus stops. Thick, juicy braised duck slices soaked in gravy are the main draw here. The meat is extremely tender – you won’t need any toothpicks for annoying bits stuck between your teeth.
Hup Seng’s salted duck vegetable soup, or Kiam Chye Arh, is a good choice to warm the tummy, especially on rainy days. The light sour tang of the soup balances the saltiness of the duck sauce. A standard plate of duck rice is priced at $3.50, while a set of braised duck and pork for 2, complete with a bowl of salted duck veg soup, costs around $15 in all.
Address: Block 22 Sin Ming Road #01-258, Singapore 570022
Opening Hours: 9am – 2.30pm (Mon to Fri), 9am – 1.30pm (Sat & Sun), Closed on Thursdays.
Telephone: 6454 3810
Located in the heart of Bishan Park, Grub is my favourite for a post-run reward. Indoors, brick-panelled walls and wooden tables make for a cosy, earthy setting reminiscent of a cabin in the forest.
Grub is best known for its hearty burgers, and that comes as no surprise. Reminiscent of a Hawaiian pizza – in burger form – is the Maple Bacon Burger ($14), with a thick wad of perfectly grilled bacon and a pineapple ring.
If you’re a sweet tooth like me, the Churros ($8) will be fried sugar heaven for you. Try it with the special yuzu white chocolate dip that comes on the side for a delicious cross between sugary sweet and tangy.
Address: 510 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, Singapore 569983
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 10.30pm (Tue to Fri), 9am – 4pm, 5.30pm – 10.30pm (Sat, Sun PH), Closed on Mondays.
Telephone: 6459 5743
10. Tuk Tuk Cha
Tuk Tuk Cha may have already become a household name. But few know of the easter egg in their Junction 8 outlet – the $1.90 mini bowls.
This is the ultimate snack hack – mini versions of their regular tom yam and beef bowls at one-quarter the price.
Be sure to also quench your thirst with their Thai Milk Tea ($3). Choose your sugar level bubble tea-style, and voila, you can enjoy your Thai thirst-quencher without feeling too guilty about that sugar intake! Finish it off with Matcha and Red Velvet Waffles ($9.80) topped off with complimentary Thai Milk Tea ice cream!
Address: Junction 8 Shopping Centre #02-20A/21, 9 Bishan Place, Singapore 579837
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm
11. Canopy Garden Dining
This al fresco dining spot is great for atas indulgences. With its glass-windowed exterior resembling a greenhouse, Canopy Garden Dining is all about kicking back and quiet time. And of course, lots of natural lighting for the gram.
One of my favorite comfort foods is their Crabmeat Aglio Olio ($19). Garnished with coriander and chilli, this dish makes for a well-deserved treat after a long day of work or school. When paired with a glass of red wine and an overhead sunset, this is one dinner experience you won’t forget.
My dog owner friends also love this place for their pet-friendly policy. So if you’d love a quiet evening with just you and your bae – the furry one – you know where to go.
Address: 1382 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, Bishan Park 2, Singapore 569931
Opening Hours: 8am – 10.30pm (Sun), 9am – 10.30pm (Mon to Thu), 9am – 11pm (Fri), 8am – 11pm (Sat)
Telephone: 9113 4666
Bishan ain’t just a former burial ground
Bishan may have been known as a burial ground back in the day, but now, it’s a densely populated heartland hotspot with some of the best eats in central Singapore. Even though I’ve recently graduated and am no longer bound to the neighbourhood, I still find myself venturing to this part of the island for the food I find so much familiar comfort in.
If you’ve got more Bishan must-tries on your list, let us know in the comments!