There are plenty of things to eat at Ang Mo Kio, a homey heartland neighbourhood that’s a juxtaposition of modern restaurants frequented by youths to traditional stalls with a loyal following by the older generations.
The seventh housing estate developed by HDB in the 1970s received its name from a colloquial slang. ’Ang mo kio’ translates literally to ’red-haired man’s bridge’, referring to Caucasians as ang mohs because of their red hair. The bridge, long demolished, is thought to refer to John Turnbull’s bridge over Kallang River near what is now the junction of Upper Thomson Road and Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1. BiTES goes in search of hawker finds, unexpected contemporary cafes, and colourful HDB housing blocks–where you can find almost everything you need.
Ying Yi Kway Chap and Braised Duck (#01-145)
The kway ($4.50) was smooth and the soup was neither too salty nor sweet–just how we like it. The intestines were perfectly braised to achieve a good chew. Dip the tau kwa in the tangy chilli for best effect.
Chun Bao Dessert Stall (#01-136)
This long-running dessert stall offers the most nostalgic ice-cold chng tng bowl ($1.50) chockfull of dried longan, white fungus and favourite sago pearls.
Fu Hua Soya Bean (#01-108)
Soya drinks are relatively common–but not when they are infused with quirky and modernised flavours like peppermint and gula melaka. Try the fresh pearl bandung soya milk ($1.60) and bean curd with grass jelly as a healthier dessert option ($1.60).
Curry House (#01-119)
The pocket-friendly meal satisfies traditionalists with its sweet spicy curried offerings, Hainanese ’scissors’ style. The signatures include the curry chicken set ($3.10) and pork chop set ($3.30), though you can also pick out your preferred ingredients.
Ann Hoo Cooked Food (#01-126)
We spotted the snaking queues from afar and joined in, of course. Known as one of the best Teochew porridge in Singapore, Ann Hoo serves up favourite fresh steamed pomfret, sliced pork with ginger and a bowl of porridge for less than $10.
Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, Workbench Bistro (Blk 332, #01-1881)
This cozy space is good for its bestselling moist beef burger ($14) that was served with paprika fries. We don’t recommend the coffee, but try the crab meat linguine ($16), truffle fries ($9) and buffalo wings ($10). For your sweet tooth, opt for gelato and sorbet in flavours such as rocky road and matcha. www.facebook.com/workbenchbistro/
Double Scoops (Blk 226A, #01-627)
A firm believer of made-from-scratch ice cream, their top sellers are homemade charcoal waffles ($5.50) with single scoop ($3.20) and ice cream shake in cotton candy flavour ($6)–plus the mini marshmallows on top! www.doublescoops.com.sg
Café Mojito (Blk 338, #01-1647)
No, they don’t serve mojito here. Instead, nosh on affordable brunch, mains and stunning spread of pretty cakes and desserts ($2.80-$5.80). www.facebook.com/mojitocafesg
GRUB (Blk 510)
Opened by chef Mervyn Phan of Cookyn Inc back in 2013, this was one of the first idyllic cafes in the area. The inspired, light-filled space offers delicious lunch and brunch dishes (from $5-$18) while you dine among the greenery. www.grub.com.sg
Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, Murphy’s (Blk 532, #01-2495)
Murphy’s signature fish and chips ($16) was first established in award-winning Hitchin United Kingdom at Queen Street. We gulped down the earl grey lavender iced tea ($5/pot, extra $1 for ice) for a perfect hot afternoon perk-me-up in the #interiorgoals café. www.facebook.com/sgmurphys/
Rainbow Cottage Café (Blk 452, #01-1777)
The homey café is famous for its rich and bright paddlepop cheesecake ($7.50), with simple ice cream, pizza and pasta rounding out the typical menu. www.facebook.com/rainbowcottagecafe
The famous crab with smooth, silky bee hoon that started it all flourished from a single kopitiam stall before taking over the entire kopitiam. The chilli crab ($38/kg) will take your love for seafood to another level, and put other chilli crabs to shame. We love the egg-y and slightly sweet sauce for dipping with the favourite crispy mantou. #01-1222, Blk 232 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3. Tel: 6285 6762
Kian Seng Seafood Restaurant
Little did we know that behind its canteen faÃƒ §ade of feeding hungry workers during lunch, is a new-age tze char serving lip-smacking dishes. Curry fish head ($22/$24), Indonesian style prawn ($20/$30/$40), golden cereal prawns ($20/$30/$40) and golden suckling pig ($190)–the chef boasts a unique paste that’s tweaked to suit local tastes. #01-450, Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 1. Tel: 6458 2552
Hang Jiang Fish Soup
Using a slightly pricier batang fish than snakehead, the fish soup ($4/$5/$6) is a medley of sweetness and mild saltiness. #01-15 Teck Ghee Square, Blk 409 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10
Ang Mo Kio Hub, 53 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
Back-by-popular-demand, Dough Culture’s (#B2-31) crispy youtiao chips with mayo and cheese ($2) is the perfect light mid-day snack. Seaweed fans can opt for the seaweed you tiao chips.
Ang Mo Kio Town Park Garden West, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6
Built on a hillock with lush greeneries, it is a haven for fitness enthusiasts and nature lovers. Regular runners looking for more challenging paths can opt for the footpaths meandering through the forest and flowing over hillier terrains. Tip: Climb the 120-step staircase to the plaza for a refreshing bird eye’s view.
Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Along Bishan Road and Ang Mo Kio Ave 1
This family park with its special waterways is one of the largest urban parks in central Singapore. Featuring lush greeneries, pond gardens and river plains, it is a weekend hotspot for family bonding sessions. Under the PUB’s Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters (ABC) Programme, the old canal has been naturalised into a 3km meandering river with banks of beautiful wildflowers.
SPECIAL FEATURE: BLK 529 ANG MO KIO 10
The nondescript-looking block, five bus stops from the MRT station, certainly has its charm. Residents will attest that it’s one of the most happening blocks that hasn’t lost its homey appeal.
Pine’s Garden Cake (#01-2453)
We couldn’t stop reaching out for the pulut hitam ($2.80/slice) cake despite the queues along the humble stretch. Another must-try: toasted marshmallow cake ($29/0.5kg). Our verdict: light chiffon, not too sweet, smooth texture–as expected of this old school bakery with over 30 years of history.
Next Door Deli (#01-2369)
“Next door to the favourite bakery in AMK” –the tagline couldn’t be more accurate for its sister outlet. We spotted families enjoying their western lunch in an outdoor seating with synthetic grass flooring. The wide range of menu includes the new item fresh mussels white wine pasta ($12.50), cheese fries ($3.80) and special house burger ($7.80).
Twenty Grammes (#01-2353)
This cosily designed supper haunt will satisfy all your latenight waffle cravings. Choose from TG waffles ($6) and charcoal waffle with salted egg sauce ($8.50) for a night perk-me-up. If you can’t decide, opt for the specialty blockcoloured looking Yuan Yang Waffle, in both classic Belgian and charcoal waffle, topped with a twirl of homemade milk softserve and drizzled with chocolate hazelnut sauce. Go for the recommended flavour, Triple C (chocolate, caramel, chunks; $3.90/scoop). Other unique flavours include gingerbread and Famous Amos. Opens till 1am Fri-Sat.
Nakhon Kitchen (#01-2371)
The carb-heavy creations are reasonably priced from $6 while seafood dishes ranges from $10-$12. From fragrant pandan chicken to stir-fried minced pork with basil, the family-friendly eatery is the go-to place for dinner. Beware of the after-work queue though.
Haji Karim Prata Palace
Strategically located at the bend of the block, the 24-hour prata place never lacks diners. They serve mushroom cheese and cheese egg prata, chocolate tissue prata, nasi goreng chilli padi and nasi goreng pattaya. Try the nasi goreng with options from chicken, beef, cuttlefish and prawn ($3.50-$5.50), mixed tom yam soup ($6) and tumeric chicken with white rice ($4.50).