The opening of Singapore’s newest MRT line makes a trail of gritty eateries, tucked-away restaurants and bustling hawker centers easy to access. Here are the stops and stalls worth checking out.
Come 2017, this sleepy neighborhood will be transformed into a busy integrated transport hub with new F&B and retail developments, so drop by these must-try eateries before the crowds rush in.
1. Hai Xian Zhu Zhou (163 Gangsa Rd.) is the place to go for late-night supper cravings. The coffee shop stall opens from 2:30am-2pm and its Koka noodles, which come in steaming pork and seafood varieties, are extremely popular.
Further down the road, 2. Buckaroo BBQ & Grill (921 Upper Bukit Timah Rd., 6754-2621) is an American-style diner with delicious bar bites like spicy buffalo wings and hand-breaded onion rings served with house-made mustard sauce. 3. Chin Choon Prawn Noodle (826 Upper Bukit Timah Rd.) is usually teeming with a hungry lunch crowd and with good reason—it specializes in prawn noodles served with pork intestines, liver, kidney or tail served in black sauce or in soup.
For zi char, 4. Hup Choon Eating House (794 Upper Bukit Timah Rd.) serves up a mean curry fish head and other dishes like frog steamed with chicken essence and baked salted crab.
Karu’s Banana Leaf Singapore
Briyani served on banana leaves are what you should get at 5. Karu’s Banana Leaf Singapore (808 Upper Bukit Timah Rd., 6762-7284). The Indian restaurant has an affordable menu of mains like chicken Mysore and fish curry that come with generous sides like vegetables cooked lontong-style.
It’s not a hawker gem, but the beloved 6. Joyden Canton Kitchen (#02-21 4 Hillview Rise, 6465-9988) is finally more accessible for those who have yet to make their way down to this much raved-about restaurant. Located at HillV2 Shopping Centre, this Cantonese restaurant has signatures like fish maw and prawns with glass noodles in XO sauce, Hakka salt poached chicken and homemade bean curd coin with baby cabbage. Go early, or you might not snag a seat as reservations are only for groups of eight or more.
This foodie enclave offers plenty of local hawker staples and unpretentious home-style eateries for a simple after-work dinner.
7. Beauty World Centre (144 Upper Bukit Timah Rd.) has always been an institution in the area. There, popular places to eat include Dulukala Pernankan Restaurant (#04-04, 6465-2036), which has special signatures like ayam pongteh, assam fish head and ngoh hiang; You Peng Fresh Mian Jiao Zi Guan (#04-23), known for their Shanghainese xiao long bao; Top One Home Made Noodle (#04-44) for sliced fish noodles; and confectionary shop Niang Re Gao (#04-54), which has traditional snacks like kueh lapis and ang ku kueh that sell out after lunch.
Just on the opposite side of the road, 8. Al Azhar Eating Restaurant (11 Cheong Chin Nam Rd., 6466-5052) has plenty of hearty supper staples like prata, murtabak, satay and briyani. Also along the same stretch is 9. Sinma Live Bull Frog Claypot Porridge (5 Cheong Chin Nam Rd.), another popular choice for a late-night bite. Then there’s the 10. Bukit Timah Market and Food Centre (116 Upper Bukit Timah Rd.), which has popular stalls like Sin Chew Satay Beehoon (#02-162), Chwee Kueh (#02-142) and He Zhong Carrot Cake (#02-185).
You may be most familiar with 11. The Grandstand (200 Turf Club Rd., 6463-4610), which houses Pasarbella, Omakase Burger and Dancing Crab, but 12. Song Huat Bak Kut Teh (Good Good Eating House, 24 Sixth Ave.) is worth checking out too. The chain’s bak kut teh dish, which comes with a peppery herbal broth, is best accompanied with side dishes like salted vegetables and braised tau kee, or bean curd sheets.
Located near Little India, Jalan Besar and Bugis, there are a couple of overlooked coffee shops and eateries hidden in this little precinct.
13. Hiap Chiang Eating House (215 Selegie Rd.) draws a following for its Teochew porridge, which come with an array dishes like steamed pomfret, braised duck and stir-fried cockles to choose from. Nearby, 14. Nasi Lemak Kukus (299 Selegie Rd., 8222-9517) whips up drool-inducing plates like beef rendang, sambal and fried fish with steamed coconut rice.
Venture to Prinsep Street, and you’ll discover 15. MacKenzie Rex Restaurant (66 Prinsep St., 6336-1702), a Halal diner that’s been around for years—their chicken rice set and zi char dishes like chili crab and sotong you char kway are just some must-tries.