So after 11 months living in this condo with a private Jacuzzi, we’ll be moving back to Toa Payoh, soon.
Here are some lessons learnt about the interesting places around here. That’s “Singlish” for “Let me tell you about the food lobangs here!”
British Hainan Hainanese style Western Food.
At junction of Crane and Carpmael Road.
Open only for Dinner. Lunch only on Fri and Sat only.
Try their specials. We liked the Truffle Fries, and the thin crust pizza with cherry tomatoes which we had tried. But what they are good for are authentic Hainanese take on Western staples, like crispy pork chop. But it is a little out of the way. I like the ambience, the environs, the service, and the old-school charm. I like the place. The food is great but it’s been a while.
Mr & Mrs Mohgan’s Prata (Haven’t tried)
At Crane & Onan (opposite from British Hainan. Opens only for breakfast to lunch. Also out of the way.
Christmas Shop – Henry Christmas Wholesaler. From late October onwards, you can see the shop lighting up the junction of Guillemard and Geylang Road.
[Nov 22nd update. Shopped at Christmas shop. No photography inside, so here are pictures of what I got (above).]
One KM (Mall). (At Junction of Tanjong Katong, and Geylang Road, between Tanjong Katong and Haig Road.)
– Streats – Hong Kong Cafe on level two has crispy noodles in seafood, black pepper beef and beef brisket. I like the brisket (tender). Also must try their ChongQing Chicken in a Basket! It’s just a little spicy (for our seasoned tastebuds), but I’m a little addicted to it now.
– NeNe Chicken (L2), has very spicy chicken wings, which I understand is Korean Fried Chicken. They have a very spicy sauce (they provide disposable gloves for your protection – always use protection!) If you like a spicy challenge, go for it! Pro-tip for men: if you do not use the gloves when eating the very spicy chicken, do not go pee after that without thoroughly washing your hands… Or if you use the gloves, remember to remove gloves before handling delicate/sensitive body parts.
– Saigon Baguette (L2), does have baguettes, Vietnamese-style and sandwiches. But they also have Pho. Pretty good. If you have a craving for authentic Pho. Could be MORE authentic, but considering the price, fair value.
– 320 Below – nitrogen frozen ice-cream. I think one of their signature ice cream is Horlicks Ice Cream. Haven’t Tried.
– There is also Papparich, Old Town White Coffee, and other eateries.
City Plaza (Opposite Grandlink Square from Guillemard Road.)
– Darpur Penyet. I still prefer Ayam Penyet Ria, but this one is a pretty decent alternative when I need my penyet fix.
– Arnolds – The BEST Fried Chicken in Geylang, and maybe the whole of Singapore! Maybe. Haven’t tried because every time we go it is freaking crowded! With long queues. For takeaway.
[Guide: What to do at City Plaza
I didn’t even know it had a food court! Or a level 5!
If you ask those who are more familiar with City Plaza about the mall, the response that you’ll typically get is, “oh the one with the very nice ban mian ah?” Located in the food court on level 5, Poon Nah City Home Made Noodle has garnered rave reviews over the years. Featuring a variety of noodles like Fish Maw Gong Zai Mee ($3-$5) and Abalone Clams Home Made Yu Mee ($4-$6), this stall will make you rethink what ban mian should taste like.]
[Nov 22 Update: I don’t recall seeing a level 5. From the outside, the retail section looked like a 3 storey building. Four if there were some hidden section from the main road.
So I was quite sceptical of finding a 5th level, but for my information, I needed to find out for sure. And… there is a level 5!
It’s not easy to find though. This plaza seems to have an aversion to straightforward approach to escalator placement. We initially went up two storeys (to level 3) then walked around a bit, cos there was no other escalator or stairs going up and there did not seem to have any other floors.
Then we FOUND another escalator! So we made it up to the 4th level. There did not seem to be another level from that escalator. but we walked around… And found one more escalator leading to the level 5 food court.
Mission accomplished. But we were too full to have lunch. We will come back again. The food should be pretty good. The food court was out of the way, a lot of the stalls on the 3rd and 4th floor were shuttered and vacant. There were no signs indicating that there was a food court, let alone a 5th level. But the food court was reasonably full. Not crowded. But not deserted either. So people must have made it a point to eat there. That says something about the food.]
Onya Sayang at Paya Lebar Square, B1
Nonya food. What we liked: The Sambal Kangkong, and the Otah are must haves. Bring lots of people so you can order more food.
Char. (393, Guillemard Road)
Cantonese Restaurant. But the Char Siu is unique and good. So unique, that I am not sure if it is Char Siu. Long queues, so reservations a must.
[Nov 10 Update: Just saw sign on Char: moving to 363 Jalan Besar in early Dec 2015.]
Little Vietnam (Grandlink Square)
Haven’t tried. But this place is always crowded, with a queue. Walkable from my condo, or just two bus stops away.
Lai Huat Sambal Belachan Fish Tze Char (Guillemard Rd Junction Lor 34)
Their approach to Sambal Belachan Fish is quite unique. Tried it once or twice. Pretty good, but not sure that I like my fish THAT well done. But they have other items on the menu. Just that with 2 person, not much we can eat.
Kwong’s Satay – Lorong 29, Sing Lian Eating House
They came out tops in a contest. Then the queues got ridiculous. But maybe the queues have subsided. Should try again. But if while you are there they are closed or sold out, the char kway teow, fishball noodles and the hokkien mee stalls are also pretty decent and can hold their own.
Old Airport Road Hawker Centre (51 Old Airport Road)
– Dong Ji Char Kway Teow. The famous char kway teow stall at this hawker centre is Lao Fu Zi. I’ve tried it but I can’t say that it made me crave it. Dong Ji was rated 4th best so I want to try it. Haven’t tried it.
[Dec 8 update: Finally got to try it one morning when I was on leave. When I saw the grumpy middle-aged man in the stall, I remembered that I had tried this before. I ordered a plate for breakfast, and it was ok. The “wok hei” that the reviewer said was present, was… the thing is, nobody can properly describe “wok hei”. If it meant that the kway teow was infused with the heat from the wok, then yes it was. It was not bad. I’m just not sure that it qualifies as the 4th best Char Kway Teow. But that is why food reviewers are in business – because taste is subjective.]
– 132 Claypot Rice. If you like claypot rice, this one makes it from scratch or almost from scratch. They also have a soup of the day, which makes a good complement to your claypot rice.
– Roast Paradise Char Siu Hakka Noodles. Tried this, liked it. Wanna try more. upsize and upgrade your order. Prices start at $3.50, but the portion is rather small. Add a dollar for more char siu. Or more noodles. Or both!
[Dec 8 Update: Tried it again, with “upsized” options. Still rather small portions for the char siu. Noodles good though.]
– Curry puffs – really spicy curry puffs made on site. It’s along the same row of stalls that has the Char Siu Hakka Noodles. That row of stalls is now my favourite at this hawker centre, cos there is claypot rice, curry chicken, dessert stall (Ice Kachang), Dong Ji (haven’t tried yet though), and a FroYo stall. The curry puffs may be scaldingly hot, fresh from the fryer, so be careful. But even when cooled down, it still packs heat.
– Mutton Soup – The stall sends out aromatic temptations – if you like herbal mutton soup. Haven’t tried, though. On my wish list.
Fatt Choy Mui Tze Char at Blk 54 Cassia Crescent (but the coffee house is closer to Pine Lane.) We tried this place after a planned meeting here was scuppered because it was closed on Tuesday. We liked their signature tofu with chai po and garlic I believe. And are slowly working our way through their menu. The Marmite pork ribs were ok. Good even. But our standards are rather high. Need to go there and try more.
[Nov 22 update: Tried a few more. Must try more. Liking this place. Good food, good value for money. The sambal kangkong has pork lard (my m-i-l loved it), there is a crispy fried pork which is very nice (boneless). We ordered it the same day we tried their prawn-paste fried chicken which is also good, but compared to the crispy fried pork, it seemed… ordinary. Our standard order now is Signature Toufu, Crispy Pork, and Sambal Kangkong. Then we try something else.]
Haig Road Food Centre
Famous for their Indian and Malay food – mee siam, mee rebus, mee goreng, nasi goreng, soto ayam, etc. I go there to get a break from my cooking – Maggi Goreng, Kway Teow goreng, and Nasi Goreng are my usuals. There is also a Royal Ayam Penyet which has won a few commendations. But I think their standards aren’t very consistent.
Lorong 9 Beef Kway Teow.
I tried this years ago. It’s still there. But I do not know if the standard is still high. But I am sure the queues are long and the crowds are thick. Opens for dinner til late.
The nearest Circle Line Station is Dakota Station (10 min walk, about 800 m). From that station, Stadium station is only two stops away, and there is Kallang Leisure Park Mall, and Kallang Wave and the sports hub.
What to do at the sports hub?
There is Climb Central, an indoor climbing wall, and a water park for kids.
But back to the real reason for this blog piece – Food!
We have eaten at Issho Izakaya and we like the place (It is our current fave nap restaurant), but it is often fully booked. So then we head to Poulet, a French Restaurant famous for their “poulet” – rotisserie Chicken. I like the half chicken with mushroom and chardonnay sauce. I also tried the smoked duck “pizza” French style – Pissaladiere. But the menu is rather limited. Or the items on the menu that appealed to me.
There are lots of restaurants there: My Biryani House (not tried), Curry Times, etc.
There is an NTUC hypermarket, and Daiso $2 store which we often shop at.