This stretch is known for its seafood stalls including Aroy Mak Mookata and Julaiha Muslim restaurant (538 Macpherson Road) for the usual prata cravings, as well as the famous KL offshoot Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee.
First called Jalan Klapa (coconut road), Macpherson Road was then christened after Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Macpherson, the first colonial secretary of the Straits Settlements in 1867 and builder of the present St. Andrew’s Cathedral. While others may associate this sleepy neighbourhood with industrial and residential pockets, we at BiTES have the privilege of calling it our office ’hood. Who better to tell you all about the hidden heartland finds in this HDB cluster, with its hipster vibes of cafes, affordable restaurants, stalwart hawkers and a spiffy furniture store selling antiques? Situated not far from Paya Lebar airbase, expect to see planes flying overhead too.
River South (Hoe Nam) Prawn Noodles
Dominating the corner coffee shop, this place is run by a brother and sister duo. Sis runs the middle stall in the morning, and bro takes over at the front stall in the evening till the wee hours. The rich robust soup stock of long simmered prawn shells and pork ribs come with various toppings like small/big prawns, pork ribs, pig’s tail, intestines and abalone clams ($4-15). We prefer the night version for its heartier oomph, but the queue runs into the late hours too.
River South (Hoe Nam) Prawn Noodles, 31 Tai Tong Crescent. Tel: 6281 9293. Open Daily 6.30-4am.
Truly Test Kitchen
A hidden gem within an industrial building, Truly Test Kitchen is managed by three young hawkerentrepreneurs with five food concepts namely Truly curry rice, handmade meatball porridge, homely noodles, Truly Western and the drinks stall. Their signature chicken and waffles with a heaping mound of crisp thin fries ($4.50), pork ball porridge ($3) and curry rice that’s slathered in that signature gravy (prices vary) are some of the popular items with the crowd here.
Truly Test Kitchen, #07-05, Junjie Industrial Building, 153 Kampong Ampat. Open Mon-Sat 7am-2pm.
Hock Siong & Co.
There are a few second-hand stores around and Hock Siong is probably the most famous of them all. A father-daughter business that started out from the karang guni trade has since shifted focus to sustainability and upcycling. They restore decommissioned and old homeware in a huge space that spans furniture, kitchenware, bedding, art and antiques. It’s a treasure trove of silver serving vessels and Singer sewing machines, to classic soda drinks still preserved in their glass bottles.
Hock Siong & Co., #01-03, Junjie Industrial Building, 153 Kampong Ampat. Tel: 6281 8338. Open Daily 9.30am-5.30pm.
Started as a special culinary centre in 2009 training youths with special needs, Joan Bowen has progressed far since then. Run mostly by special needs staff, they recommend dishes like the chilli crab pasta ($18), lemongrass char-grilled chicken ($14) and BBQ pork ribs ($20).
Joan Bowen, 9 Jalan Wangi. Tel: 6281 3629. Open Mon 11am-4pm; Tue 11.30am-4pm; Wed-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.30-9.30pm; Sat 1-9.30pm.
Keng Seng Restaurant Yong Tau Foo Stall
You’ll know you’ve got the right spot when you see a spunky 72-year-old hawker dishing up noodles and furiously saucing them up with sweet black sauce and chilli, while a long snaking queue of hungry customers wait patiently. Prices for the yong tau foo are also one of the lowest around ($0.30/piece, $2.50 for seven pieces with noodles).
79 Jalan Wangi. Open Daily 8am-2pm
Singapore Chee Chung Huay Free Clinic
The temple’s free clinic set up since 1971 has been supporting the community through their free medical consultations and medicine. This service is extended to all races too. 364D Macpherson Road
Ibis Styles Hotel
Situated at the crossroads of Macpherson and Aljunied Road, Ibis Styles Hotel (levels 4-9), rated three stars, sits atop Macpherson Mall, which is slated to open its doors this June with over 80 shops. A landmark development for the area, the mall–also known as Macpherson Square or M2—marks a new era for the corner that used to be Windsor Hotel, which was built in the 1980s and changed hands in 2013.
Ibis Styles Hotel, 401 Macpherson Road. Tel: 6622 6000.
Crabmeat Wanton Mee
Hot on the scene! The 28-year-old hawkerpreneur adds crabmeat in his wantons. Each plate comes with two or three crispy fried wantons and two or three boiled ones, coupled with slices of char siew and vegetables ($4/5).
Crabmeat Wanton Mee, 560 Macpherson Road. Tel: 9125 5748. Open Mon-Sat 7.30am-11.30pm.
Yi Jia South Village Seafood Restaurant
Adding to the seafood crab feast, Yi Jia dishes out a value-for-money crab promotion, $50 for two crabs, while stocks last. Get them done salted egg yolk style, or classic chilli or black pepper variants. Reservations required.
Yi Jia South Village Seafood Restaurant, 550-552 Macpherson Road. Tel: 6747 8263. Open Daily 11.30am-11.30pm.
Crab at Bay Seafood Restaurant
Their signature crab bee hoon, using top grade Sri Lankan crab and white rice vermicelli noodle, are reminiscent of the acclaimed version at the old Ming Kee Seafood including the leeks used. Well, now you know: the chefs from Ming Kee have decamped here, which is owned by one of the ex-partners of Ming Kee.
Crab at Bay Seafood Restaurant, 549 Macpherson Road. Tel: 6743 8366. Open Daily 11am-2.30pm and 5-10.30pm.
The crab feast never ends with New Taste’s signature crab porridge which feeds two to three persons (current promotion at $19.90, usual $39.90), served with a whole mud crab and immersed in a chicken and pumpkin broth. 26-year-old chef and co-owner Cao Yong, helms the restaurant and hold a world championship chef Shanghai team champion 2015 title.
New Taste, 476 Macpherson Road. Tel: 6848 5233. Open Daily 11.30am-3pm, 6-10pm.
Nose past the motor repair shops and industrial buildings to find this charming little green shop. Set up in 2012, Pure Pandan uses only real pandan juice painstaking extracted from the fragrant leaves to create their classic Pure Pandan chiffon ($1.70/slice). But what we particularly liked was the golden citrus variant, which was zesty and brightly flavoured with bits of lemon rind ($1.80/slice).
Pure Pandan, 468 Macpherson Road. Tel: 6745 0255. Open Mon-Fri 11am-5pm.
Masquerade Costume Rental
Deceptively small and unassuming, Masquerade is actually one of the oldest and largest rental stores around (over 20 years in the business now). You’ll find something for a themed dinner and dance, Halloween or even prom among their racks.
Masquerade Costume Rental, 524 Macpherson Road. Tel: 6292 4889 Open Mon-Fri 12-7pm, sat 12-4pm.
Kushi Japanese Dining Bar
Started in 2009, this Japanese buffet restaurant now boasts over 170 items to choose from including maguro tataki, cheese tempura and shabu shabu. A la carte buffet $39-$72.
Kushi Japanese Dining Bar, 526 Macpherson Road. Tel: 6285 6525. Open Daily 11.30am-3pm and 5.30-10.30pm.
Usually served by two sweet grandmas behind the pozzetto counter, it’s always a joy stepping into the store for fresh gelato made right next door in their laboratory. Their gelato storage methods ensures that the quality, taste and texture of gelato don’t get contaminated by air or light. Go-to flavours on warm days include bacio, a chocolate and hazelnut combination, and pistachio, with new flavours introduced every so often ($4.50-10, students get 15% off).
Alfero Gelato, #01-37, 81 Macpherson Lane. Tel: 6848 4269. Open Tue-Sun 12-9pm.
Check-in The Belgium Waffles
The newest spot in the estate serves Belgian waffles–score! Crisp and fluffy waffles are served fresh with a big scoop of gelato of your choice. At press time, these treats were going at $9.90 a set for iced strawberry tea with waffles and gelato, only available from Mon-Fri till further notice.
Check-in The Belgium Waffles, #01-261, 83 Macpherson Lane. Open Daily 11am-9pm.