WESTGATE (3 Gateway Drive)
Visit on busy weekends and you’ll hear smatterings of nihongo–it’s no surprise ’cause at last count, the mall housed about 18 Japanese F&B outlets which includes a supermarket. New cafes have also sprung up here since our last visit.
Nunsaram Korean Dessert Café (#04-37/K4)
Seems one can get a bingsu anywhere, even in Jurong. Nunsaram just opened its second outlet here in May. We shovel down its speciality sweet potato bingsu ($14.90) to beat the heat at this cafe which means snowman in Korean. Daily 11am-10pm
Chateraise (B2, inside Isetan)
This patisserie from Yamanashi prefecture prides itself on its cream+custard choux puffs ($1.90), made in collaboration with Japanese farmers for their fresh ingredients. Since its opening in April, some items have changed: hopefully they’ll bring back the moreish dango. Try the baked cheese tart ($3/slice) and the cutesy Happy Little Bunny ($4.70). Sun-Thu 10am-9.30pm, Sat & PH Eve 10am-10pm
Dulang Ambeng World, Hajjah Mariam Cafe (#B2-08) [Halal]
The star’s their nasi ambeng, which draws queues. Set A ($25, for 4 pax) is the standard portion with your choice of beef and/or chicken, while Set B ($34, for 4 pax) is the premium version with additional brinjal and cow lungs. Solo and duet sizes of this popular Javanese-Malay rice dish are also available. Daily 10am-9pm
J.AVENUE (Level 2 JCube, 2 Jurong East Central 1)
Launched on 6 Sep 2014, the Harajuku/Hongdae inspired shopping district’s packed with selfie opportunities and energetic concepts run by young entrepreneurs (like yourself!), thanks to its short-term leases. It’s even got a dedicated website listing events (recent: the Seoul Spicy Noodle Challenge), tenants and their wares (with online shopping), feature articles and J.Mix, an interactive creative platform. Highlights: Ned’s Crepe (#02-66), One Ice Cafe for (more) K-desserts (#02-67), The Chinese Wedding Shop (#02-83) for trendy tea ceremony sets and Economiss (#02-78) for grow-your-own plants and an anti-ants plate. www.javenue.sg
AROUND JURONG EAST
Joo Siah Bak Koot Teh (#01-1215, Blk 349 Jurong East Ave 1)
A year on, this humble familyrun stall has moved from its hawker centre home to a coffeeshop, just two blocks away (since 30 Apr 2015). Get your premium loin ribs soup fix (now $8 a bowl) at this cooler location. New opening hours: Tue-Sat 8am-7pm, Sun 8.30am-3.30pm
Aiman Cafe (235 Jurong East St 21) [Halal]
Find this halal coffeeshop diagonally opposite the mosque: we spotted cheery kuehs, a seafood/tze char stall, Western food, noodles and of course, nasi padang. But what led us there was Lina Satay Club, which offers a delivery service (from $39.90 for 50 sticks; Tel: 9004 8715). Our ayam satay ($0.70/pc), grilled-to-order over charcoal, emerged tender with adequate char.
The Carving Board (#01-107 Sam Yat Coffeeshop, Blk 252 Jurong East St 24)
This coffeeshop-by-day, Western-grill-by-night concept was “born on 13 Oct 2014”. Premium items include airflown Australian ribeye ($20/250g) and whole French spatchcock poussin ($16/500g). Each main’s served with garden greens, garlic bread, your pick of one side which includes cous cous salad and sauteed Lyonnaise potatoes, and choice of sauce (mmm, rosemary brown sauce). Spaghetti, bar bites and handmade burgers (Chef Gary’s curry pork burger, $9.50) also feature on the menu. Tue-Sun 5-10.30pm. Tel: 9789 8262
Beng Hiang Restaurant (#02-337, 135 Jurong Gateway Rd)
This traditional restaurant has newly-relocated (27 Jun) its Amoy Street shophouse digs to the west (former home of Boon Lay Raja Restaurant that was sold for $15 million to a businessman). They’ve lobster, abalone and all the works, but regulars go for the ngo hiang ($8), kong bak pau ($16), oyster omelette ($12) and black Hokkien mee ($8). Daily 11.30am-2.30pm, 6-9.30pm. Tel: 6221 6695/6221 6684
BIG BOX WAREHOUSE RETAIL MALL (1 Venture Avenue)
There’s a sheltered walkway connecting this one-stop concept to the MRT station and to the condo-esque Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. We made a beeline for Warehouse Mart to suss out its frozen seafood section–said to be the largest in Singapore. It’s about two tennis courts worth of pre-cut and ready-to-cook fish fillets, shellfish (Argentine red shrimp $38/pkt, U.P. $45), meat (short ribs $10.50) and more with cooler bags and aluminium trays within reach. There’s also a selection of wines from France, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Chile and New Zealand. For fast food, portions and prices at Uncle Sam-styled Big Burger by BIG BOX (Level 2) are modest: beef quarter pounder meal ($5.50), Thunder Fries ($1.90/3.50, mix of potato and sweet potato). Or check out the Food Street (Level 1) for 60-cent sushi, dim sum and other bites. www.bigbox.com.sg
TRADEHUB 21 (8 Boon Lay Way)
Where industrial meets hipster eats. Find new vegetarian option NatureCafe (#01-29) which dishes out konjac oatmeal ‘prawns’ and green curry ‘fish’ made of oatmeal (both $10 for small). Places to chill include Southwest Tavern (#01-33), known for its cowboy vibe, meaty menu (Suicide Wings, $22/6pcs) and its Spaghetti from Hell challenge; while OBar (#01-32) offers pool and darts at $2 per game, draught beer towers ($68 for Tiger) and Western comfort fare.
Did You Know?
Chinese Garden (1 Chinese Garden Rd)
By 2017, the Chinese and Japanese gardens will be combined with Jurong Lake Park, making it the largest in Singapore. Highlights at the 13.5-hectare attraction include a Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum ($5 admission) and daily feeding at the Koi Pond (1-1.30pm). Visit during the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival (27 Sep) for the garden’s vibrant best.