Kallang River is the longest in Singapore at over 10km, stretching from Lower Peirce Reservoir to Kallang Basin. It’s named after the old Malay reference to the orang biduanda kallang, who were a seafaring people who lived around the Kallang and Singapore Rivers. Get a good workout visiting the myriad of food haunts, whether in old shophouses or shiny new malls, around the area.

Photography by Soh Kah Khee


KAMPONG BUGIS/KALLANG

RIVERSIDE PARK
This area contains some of the oldest structures in Singapore, including Kallang Gas Works and Sri Manmatha Karuneshvarar Temple, which was established in 1888, 26 years after Kallang Gas Works was built. Kallang Gas Works was demolished in 1998 when Senoko Gasworks was completed. Today, the place is an oft-overlooked park providing an oasis of calm just next to the bustling city area; home to a few print shops and hip foodie destination Kilo.

KILO (66 KAMPONG BUGIS, #02-01)
Located in an old storage warehouse along the river, this off-the-grid restaurant serves up fun, Asian inspired European dishes in a laid-back, open air setting. Expect plenty of Japanese and Thai influences like wasabi tuna tartare ($22) and crispy soft shell crab with compressed watermelon and red Thai curry ($20). Check out their inventive and punny named cocktails like Thyme Is Of The Essence ($24); made with thyme infused gin, orange and lemon sour. Mon-Sat 6pm-12mn. Tel: 6467 3987

CAMP KILO CHARCOAL CLUB (66 KAMPONG BUGIS, #01-01)
Just below the main restaurant is where Kilo does their spin on the backyard barbecue. A whole hog is slow-roasted on a spit over coals, then carved up and sold by weight. Get the ohso-sinful pork belly with crispy crackling ($10/100g) together with chipotle ribs ($15 half/$30 whole) and jerk chicken ($10 half, $18 whole). Accompaniments include deep-fried brussel sprouts ($14) and burnt carrots topped with plums and cottage cheese ($14). Fri 10.30am-11pm, Sat-Sun 11am-11pm. Tel: 9830 6252

Did You Know?

The Kallang Roar came about when the former chairman of the Football Association of Singapore N. Ganesan decided to move the Malaysia Cup home games from the 6,000-seater Jalan Besar stadium to the 60,000-seat National Stadium in Kallang, birthing a cheer 60,000 voices strong–the term has since become strongly associated with local football over the years.

 

Left: GOLDEN ROOSTER, Center: WHEAT BAKERY, Right: ONN VEGETARIAN

BLOCK 5 UPPER BOON KENG

Within a stone’s throw from Kallang MRT and bordering Boon Keng, this sleepy HDB estate is a stark contrast to the steel-clad majesty of the National Stadium dome and the nearby CBD areas.

GOLDEN ROOSTER (#01-22 STALL 1)
Part of fried chicken franchise Golden Rooster, each stall has its own spin on local western food; the one here does a Thai-style roasted chicken leg with rice ($5.50) and Swedish meatball pasta ($6.90) in addition to the usual fried chicken and meat chops.

WHEAT BAKERY (#01-22 STALL 3)
All of their bread (from $1.30) is freshly baked daily in the back of the tiny stall, where you can find perennial flavours like garlic, cheese, ham, blueberry and one-time fad-starters like coffee and meat floss buns. The stall doesn’t use pork or lard, advertised by a baby in a chicken costume.

ONN VEGETARIAN (#01-01 STALL 4)
Situated in an unassuming neighbourhood coffeeshop, this Chinese vegetarian stall stands out with its handwritten menu and high-quality meatless cuisine. The kitchen is helmed by chef Wai, who has 15 years of experience as a pastry chef at hotels like The Westin and Les Amis. The menu changes daily and most things are made from scratch including a very convincing mock popcorn chicken noodles ($6) and range of double-boiled soups (from $6). Daily 8am-2pm

 

SINGAPORE INDOOR STADIUM

Completed in 1987, the stadium has heard of dozens of concerts echo through its halls from Eric Clapton to Taylor Swift. The distinctive building designed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange has been used as a venue for sporting events in recent years. There are four F&B outlets here, each featuring different cuisines–Brewerkz, Myra’s, Thai Village and The Mushroom Pot–so you have plenty of options for a pre-show meal or tipple. Most of the restaurants have al fresco seating areas, so you can chill by the Geylang River. Just behind the Indoor Stadium is the Watersports Centre, where you can rent canoes and kayaks. The Watersports Centre also hosts Asian-Cajun seafood boil Crab In Da Bag.

KALLANG LEISURE PARK
Built in 1982, Kallang Leisure Park offers a twinge of nostalgia for many as it was the first mall in Singapore to feature entertainment options like a movie theatre, ice skating rink and bowling alley in addition to retail stores. Due to dwindling popularity, the mall closed in 2004 for redevelopment and re-opened in 2007, keeping all its entertainment venues.

KALLANG BOWL (#02-22)
Despite its old-school reputation, there’s still something exciting about freshly waxed lanes and that anticipation as your ball rolls (from $27/hr/lane). The cafe here offers freshly made hand-stretched pizzas ($19-$22) in addition to the usual assortment of deep-fried food. Sun-Thu 9am-1am, Fri-Sat 9am-3am. Tel: 6345 0545

TIONG BAHRU YONG TAU HU (#01-29)
This old favourite has scaled up from its small corner stall at Eng Hoon Road (which is still there). Like its original stall, the yong tau foo (from $5.50) ingredients are all pre-chosen for you and the fish paste is made daily using fresh fish, so you can enjoy the same taste in air-conditioned comfort. Daily 11am-9pm. Tel: 6241 6140

 

Left: JALAN SULTAN PRAWN MEE, Center:   IMAM BANANA LEAF, Right: MUTTON SOUP STEAMBOAT

JALAN AYER/LORONG 1 GEYLANG

Situated just after where Kallang Road splits into Geylang Road and Sims Avenue, this small nook is host to a slew of backpacker hostels and China-style steamboat places.

JALAN SULTAN PRAWN MEE (2 JALAN AYER)
The daily lunchtime crowd is testament to their rich, intense broth and fresh prawns. Other than the usual prawn mee with or without pork ribs ($5) and a version with king-sized prawns ($10), the shop also sells pig’s tail and pork rib soup ($5-$10) for the more adventurous eaters. Order some deep-fried ngoh hiang ($0.50-$1.50/pc) to complete your meal. Daily 8am-3.30pm, closed Tue. Tel: 6748 2488

IMAM BANANA LEAF RESTAURANT (10 GEYLANG LORONG 1)
Imam has a decidedly old-school feel; they still sell large triangle Indian-style curry puffs ($1) and are one of the few Indian-Muslim places with a rather conservative prata selection. A popular supper destination, the restaurant is known for their fragrant and rich mutton biryani ($6.50). The nasi briyani is available from 11am onwards until all portions are sold out, so come early. Daily 24-hour. Tel: 6744 8644

川羊記 MU TTON SOUP STEAMBOAT (2 GEYLANG LORONG 1)
While Sichuan cuisine is mostly known for its spicy-numbing hotpots, there’s also a version that uses clear mutton broth. The nourishing broth ($10/$15) is brewed for six hours with mutton, chicken and Chinese herbs, making it perfect for a cold, wet day. To cook in the soup is a wide array of mutton cuts and offal like mutton rib ($12-$15), tongue ($14) and kidney ($12). Daily 12am-11.30pm. Tel: 6333 5736

 

SINGAPORE SPORTS HUB

Opened in conjunction with the new National Stadium, the Sports Hub has under its wing Kallang Wave Mall, Singapore Indoor Stadium, the OCBC Aquatic centre and a Sports Information and Resource centre that consists of a library, museum and exhibition space.

 

NATIONAL STADIUM

The National Stadium officially re-opened on 30 June 2014 after a massive 7 year redevelopment, and this will be the first year the stadium will be hosting the National Day parade since it closed in 2007. It’s also the largest dome structure in the world with a 312m wide dome that also retracts, blocking out the rain and sunlight. Head to the second level to find a 900m jogging track and a scenic view of the Kallang Basin area. The building itself is also host to multiple sporting facilities; a skateboard park, the OCBC aquatics centre and the Splash-n-Surf, a water park with a lazy river (daily 8am-10pm, $2) and a Stingray wave pool (from $35). Just beside is also a kids’ pool with water slide for children 12 years old and below.

What’s better than having a munch during a show? The various snack stalls include burger joints Kampong Chickens ($12 for burger, fries and a drink) and Stack Burger Co. For something more local, check out Saffron Straits for Indian cuisine or Kallang Cafe for your fried noodles ($3.50) and curry puff fix ($2). Stalls only open on event days.

 

Left: CLIMB CENTRAL, Center: THE CHEESETAKE SHOP, Right: CAR-ROUSEL

KALLANG WAVE MALL

Named after the sinusoidal cheer action made synonymous with the old Kallang Stadium, the mall includes an indoor climbing venue as well as a range of unique F&B outlets to sate that appetite you built excercising.

CAR-ROUSEL (#02-12)
This vintage automobile themed cafe serves up homemade pastries both sweet and savoury. Enjoy a rich, dense Milo Dino fudge cake ($6.50) or chicken mushroom pie ($7.50) with hazelnut mocha ($6.50) while you park yourself in one of the car-shaped sofas beside a wall of vehicle parts. The cafe also serves baked pasta ($8.90-$9.90) for something more substantial. Mon-Thu 10am-9pm, Fri-Sat 9.30am-10pm, Sun 9.30am-9pm. Tel: 6384 6822

CLIMB CENTRAL (#B1-01)
Scale walls in relative comfort at Singapore’s largest climbing venue. Day passes are at $22 per adult, which grants you unlimited climbs for the entire day. For those less experienced, the place offers an introductory course ($42) and lessons ($50-$320) as well as yoga therapy sessions ($15). Mon-Fri 11am-11pm, Sat-Sun 9am-9pm. Tel: 6702 7972

THE CHEESESTEAK SHOP (#01-10)
This San Francisco-based franchise with almost 30 years of history serves up Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks ($8.90) with the option of either chicken or beef; thinly sliced grilled meat, onions, peppers and cheese on a soft Italian roll. There are plenty of options for trimmings, including a deluxe cheesesteak ($10.90) with pizza sauce and mushrooms, and a Western version ($11.50) with onion rings, BBQ sauce and ham. The fast food-style joint is certified halal and also offers vegetarian options. Daily 12pm-9pm. Tel: 9027 5626

YU NOMORI ONSEN & SPA (#02-17/18)
Soak your troubles away in their six different mineral-rich pools from a pressure jet bath to a fizzy soda-spa ($38). Thai spa treatments are also available, where you can have a soothing massage (from $38, onsen+massage packages from $68) after your soak. Round up your experience with a meal at their Japanese-style cafe which offers a hamburger steak plate ($17.80) and an Oden set ($14). Daily 10am-11pm. Tel: 6386 4126