ONEKM (11 Tanjong Katong Rd)
This mall’s where Lion City Hotel and the old Hollywood Theatre (you’ll find references to it in the food court) were once situated. Come here for your child’s enrichment lessons, grocery shopping and a family meal. A free weekday lunch shuttle (11.30am-2.30pm) serves Ubi, Jalan Afifi and Paya Lebar MR T (every 35 minutes). Above the retail space, you’ll find private residence Katong Regency.
Admire the interior, adorned with art pieces by Bangkok’s inspiring youth, while you wait for native Thai chef Meaw’s authentic dishes. Tuck into an individual portion of stir-fried poultry with hot basil leaves, served with rice and a sunnyside up ($11.90), or order spicy tom yum goong ($7.90/19.90) and steamed seabass with lime ($29.90) to share. Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun & PH 10.30am-10pm. Tel: 6702 2541
PappaRich (#01-60/61/62) [Halal]
Pappa knows best. What better place for a Father’s Day celebration over signature dishes like the Super Rich Combo ($16.90, nasi kuning with fried chicken drumstick, braised beef, sweet and spicy squid, potato, hard boiled egg, okra, papadum and sambal), curry laksa ($9.90), and Hainan steamed bread with butter and kaya ($3.90/2 slices). There are vegetarian options too. Sun-Thu 10am-12am, Fri-Sat 10am-1am. Tel: 6702 7666
Penyet Town (#01-65/66) [Halal]
Ooh, smashed fried chicken, we love you so. Especially when eaten together with a piquant, spicy chilli, fried tofu and tempeh ($6). You’ll also find goreng pisang with shredded cheese and chocolate rice here. Daily 11am-10pm
Happy Willow (#02-01/02)
This indoor playground’s decked out with slides, a wee flying fox, and a Doodle Spot (from $10 for unlimited play time on weekdays for kids between nine months and two years of age). Sup at the Willow Cafe while keeping an eagle eye on your kids and enjoy the free Wi-Fi. Did we mention it’s near the nursing room? Daily 10.30am-9pm. Tel: 6341 6468
GRAND LINK SQUARE (511 Guillemard Rd)
At this lesser-known mall cum condo near the Geylang Park Connector/Geylang River, you’ll find some entertainment options like family karaoke and cyber-gaming, as well as foodie haunts.
Little Vietnam Restaurant and Café (#01-25)
We visited on a quiet (and scorching) afternoon, but this place gets crowded on weekends (and is visited by celebs). Try the bun mam, or fermented thick vermicelli soup (from $6), drip coffee ($3) and cha goi, or fried rice paper rolls (from $5). Tue-Sun 4pm-1am. Tel: 6547 8587
With Luv (#01-52) [Halal]
Chillax and dig into churros waffles with homemade salted caramel sauce ($13.90) by #mrandmrswaffles Kader and Malikka. Flavours change weekly–when we visited they had Milo Mess, chocolate peanut butter and duo chocolate chips. Other unique creations include ondeh-ondeh waffles and wafflecakes ($4.90/slice). Sun-Mon & Wed-Thu 2-10pm, Fri-Sat 3pm-12am. Tel: 8161 9487
PAYA LEBAR SQUARE (60 Paya Lebar Rd)
New on the block, this shopping mall just steps from the MRT station is anything but square.
Cola Café (#B1-15/16)
A concept by homegrown brand Jack’s Place, Cola Café is a convivial space for customers to chill out with specially curated sundaes and coffee–they’ve collaborated with other #supportlocal names like Udders and Smitten Coffee. There’s also a retail area where you can pick up marinated steaks and pre-packed sauces, escargot platters, boutique wines and other food products. Daily 11am-10.30pm. Tel: 6341 6918
Go meat-free at this joint that initially surfaced four years ago in schools and constantly works with nutritionists to develop its menu. Bonus: all packaging is eco-friendly. Have a sesame rice bento (from $5.90), laksa with konnyaku ‘prawn’ ($5.90) or a mayo yoghurt soya burger ($6.90). We also like their vegan ice cream (from $4.50). Daily 11am-11pm. Tel: 6702 2221
O’nya Sayang (#B1-30/31)
O’nya Sayang, or ‘love of a Peranakan mother’, is run by third-generation Peranakan Zan Ho, who learnt his Nyonya mum’s recipes. Drop by during weekday lunch for comforting babi pongteh, lor bak and ayam buah keluak (from $10.90). There’s also chendol with coconut ice cream and kueh pie tee to be savoured. Daily 10am-10pm. Tel: 9101 5147
Tuckshop Express (#01-48) [Halal]
Have your fresh-toasted subs at this Halal eatery. The counter’s outside the mall, so it’s great for a quick takeaway. Try the rendang roll or the Arabilicious (both $6). You can add on salad, fibre, protein, cheese and dressing (from $0.50 to $3). Try also their traditional Malay kueh, nasi lemak and nasi sambal goreng.
HAIG ROAD FOOD CENTRE (14 Haig Rd)
Half of this hawker centre’s filled with yummy Halal eats.
Traditional Haig Road Putu Piring (#01-08) [Halal]
Oh YAAAAS to putu piring ($2/packet of 5pcs)–it’s a cake of rice flour, like kueh tutu, but filled with warm gula melaka and served with salted desiccated coconut. This famous stall’s version demands a queue, but rightly so: our snacks never got soggy, even when kept in the fridge overnight and eaten the next day. Mon-Tue & Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 10am-11pm
Afandi Hawa and Mona Mee Rebus (#01-21) [Halal]
Though there’s more to eat than just mee rebus (gado-gado, mee hoon soto, etc), we’ll opt for the signature ($3) every time. The aromatic gravy is thick, with a lovely hint of citrus to keep you chomping through the al dente yellow mee. More, please. Fri-Tue 10am-8pm
Sarawak Laksa/Kolo Mee (#01-33)
At the Chinese side, you’ll find this stall. There are only two items on the menu: laksa Sarawak ($6) and Sarawak kolo mee ($4/5). The latter must be eaten with belacan chilli (unlike in Sarawak though), and the former is even harder to find here. It’s the assam version–sour with tamarind and large prawns. Daily 9am-9pm
CITY PLAZA (810 Geylang Rd)
Fashion. Lots of it, some for the older women, some for men, and some trendy loot (think blogshops). It’s a wholesale mall, with a food court (on the loft) and one of the best fried chicken eateries in town.
Arnold’s Fried Chicken (#02-99/101) [Halal]
One of the pioneer Halal food places here, it’s been going strong for over 30 years. A two-piece meal ($6.60) comes with potato fries and coleslaw, but since you’re there, order for all your kawan lah: get a five-person combo meal ($59.80). Oh, and we’ll get a banana split, chendol and ice kacang with ice cream too (from $4.20). Daily 11am-9.45pm. Tel: 6746 2372
Poon Nah City Home Made Noodle (#05-02)
Ban mian enthusiasts will probably know this stall. Choose from a variety of noodles that soften yet stay QQ in the robust yet clear broth. Go for the usual minced meat, or change things up with abalone clams, fish maw, prawn or sliced fish (from $3.50). Pair your noodles with side dishes like wu xiang, popiah or crispy beancurd ($1.50 each). Mon-Sat 11am-8pm. Tel: 6842 4524