Located in the northeast part of Singapore, Serangoon offers a mix of cafes, restaurants, green spaces, cultural sites and shopping malls like Nex that are jam-packed with amenities – all of which make it a favourite among families, especially those with young children.
The settlement was first established in the early 19th century by traders from India who worked in the area’s brick kilns and cattle industries. More families moved in as the brick and cattle industries declined, and Serangoon New Town and Serangoon Central – major public housing estates in the neighbourhood –were developed from 1982 and 1984 respectively.
While Serangoon’s vibe may be more low-key than other neighbourhoods, there is still plenty to explore here. You can make your way down Serangoon Road into Little India; catch a movie and do some serious retail therapy at one of the malls in the neighbourhood; make the short trip to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park or the Serangoon Park Connector to revel in the tranquility of nature; or spend an evening exploring the plethora of lively restaurants and bars at Serangoon Gardens.
Dizzying lunch and shopping options at myVillage in Serangoon Gardens
The heart of the action in Serangoon Gardens is myVillage, a cosy community mall packed not just with useful services for residents – banks, laundry, a well-stocked FairPrice Finest, nail salon and more – but a great clutch of eateries and local boutiques, all spread out over three levels. Drop in for a brunch spread at Maison Kayser; indulge in a mouth-watering bowl of tonkatsu at Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen; delight in a spicy Thai lunch at Kor Kai or a Wagyu Bowl at Monzen Gardens; and stay for a spot of shopping. While away an afternoon browsing the gifts and décor items at Hyggerium, the jewellery at U-Design, coffee paraphernalia at 101 Caffé and lots more.
myvillage.sg; +65 6634 2288
A green break at Serangoon Community Park
Serangoon has many playgrounds and green spaces scattered throughout its housing estates. While on the smaller end, they provide enough space for the kids to have a run around, for you to engage in a workout routine or for anyone to simply take a seat and admire the lush greenery. One of these green lungs is Serangoon Community Park, located along Serangoon Avenue 4. The park has a playground and recreation area, outdoor gym, series of sheltered benches and plenty of open space. Grab some food from a nearby restaurant or hawker stall and enjoy it in nature, or head here in the evening for a stroll. Also in the neighbourhood are Tavistock Avenue Park and Serangoon Sunshine Park, both of which are also worth a visit.
Adventurous sweet treats at Dessert Bowl
Tucked away on the second floor of a shophouse near Chomp Chomp Food Centre, Dessert Bowl has been a neighbourhood institution since 2008. It’s easy to see why it fills its tables every day – the space is a mad wizard’s workshop, with old photos and cheeky signs on the walls and a menu full of local and Western-style options, many given innovative spins. Purists can go for the chocolate lava cake or the mango desserts, but you’d be missing out if you didn’t try the array of quirky durian items such as the mini durian tartlet, durian-spiked tiramisu, the seasonal mao shan wang mochi and Dessert Bowl’s signature durian mousse.
facebook.com/dessertbowl2008; +65 6285 1278
Fun, healthy refuels at Fruce
Dessert beverage shops are a dime a dozen, but Fruce aims to offer something special, with a focus on affordable, Singapore-inspired dessert concoctions. After launching its first outlet at Wisma Atria on Orchard, it has expanded northeast, with a second outpost at Serangoon’s Nex mall. For a refuel during your neighbourhood exploration, the avocado series offers some mouth-watering choices, one of which is the hearty, healthy and flavour-packed Avocado Coconut. For something lighter with a touch of local flavours, try the Pandan Coconut or the signature Coconut Fruce. You can also choose from a wide variety of unique toppings such as the Coconut Capellini or Kanten Kyoto for a perfectly customised drink.
facebook.com/fruce.sg; +65 6610 6216
Scrumptious food at Chomp Chomp Food Centre in Serangoon Gardens
Ask any resident where to get the best hawker fare in the area and they’ll likely to point you in the direction of Chomp Chomp Food Centre. Located in the Serangoon Gardens estate, the sprawling, open-air food centre has been operational since the 1960s (it was initially located across the road from where it now stands, before moving to its current location in 1972). The hawker centre’s maze of food and drink stalls offers a plethora of good eats to try, and is at its most buzzing in the evening. Tuck into a delicious serving of Hokkien mee; nosh on black and white carrot cake; sample chicken wings that have been barbecued to perfection; and finish off your meal with a refreshing bowl of traditional cheng tng.
Impeccable Italian at Casa Manini
Just a short walk from Chomp Chomp you’ll find Casa Manini, a charming Italian restaurant run by Chef Fulvio Manini and his wife, Fiona. On the menu, you’ll find affordable and authentic Northern Italian dishes along with a familiar range of pastas and pizza. Standout items here include the linguine al granchio, a tomato based pasta with crab meat, garlic and bird’s eye chilli; and the lobster and crab ravioli in a delicate pink sauce. You’ll also find quintessential Italian desserts like tiramisu, affogato and panna cotta. Complementing the rustic cuisine is the restaurant’s inviting décor which features an abundance of plants, Roman statuettes and a dazzling array of wine bottles.
Late-night Indian food at Suriya Curry House
Serangoon is packed with international food options, but fans of local food experiences will find plenty to love in this neighbourhood. Established in 2003, Suriya Curry House has built its reputation on its catering business, but it’s 24-hour corner kopitiam on Upper Serangoon Road is the perfect spot for satisfying a late-night craving for comforting Indian food. In addition to its dizzying prata, murtabak and roti john options, Suriya also does an array of thosai, appam and uthappam, and North Indian fare such as butter chicken and channa masala. Whatever you order, be sure to wash it down with a delicious mango lassi.
facebook.com/SuriyaCurryHouseSingapore; +65 6285 6442
Learn about Catholic traditions at Church of St Francis Xavier
If you fancy learning more about Catholic culture and history in Singapore, you can drop by the Church of St Francis Xavier along Chartwell Drive. One of the largest Catholic churches (by congregation) in the country, it was founded way back in 1957 by an archbishop who purchased the five-acre plot of land on which the church sits today. Whether or not you wish to attend a mass service (you can check the schedule on the church’s website), it’s worth a visit to check out the building’s religious architecture and design. The entire site it was recently renovated in 2000, with revamped interior spaces and additional landscaped gardens.
A muscle tune-up at Dr.stretch
Whether you’re an athlete, a desk-bound executive or a young parent carrying around a toddler, everyone experiences muscular pains from time to time. Also at Nex, check out the second of six Singapore branches of Dr.stretch, which has outlets in Taiwan, Japan, Shanghai and Beijing. The body maintenance specialist offers professional stretching sessions by therapists who are trained to address postural issues, lower back pain and even injury prevention. You don’t even need to bring a change of clothes, as you’ll be provided with one. Purchase a half-session, a full-session or a whole package – first-timers also have the option of a free 10-minute trial.
drstretch.com; +65 6509 6882
TCM spa treatments at Joyre TCMedi Spa
If you’re all about the luxury and pampering spa experience, one of Joyre TCMedi Spa’s 19 branches is also located at Nex. Launched in 1998, this popular spa chain combines TCM practices such as acupuncture, tuina massage and moxibustion with a modern spa format. Joyre also prides itself on being the first spa in Singapore to offer a line of signature herbal baths, which can be customised to address digestive issues, postpartum recovery, insomnia and many other ailments. You can also book a personal consultation with the certified Chinese medicine physicians on staff, as well as purchase from Joyre’s own range of health and beauty products.
joyretcmedispa.com; +65 6636 5010
With thanks to our advertisers, Suriya Curry House, Fruce, myVillage, Dessert Bowl, Dr.stretch Singapore and Joyre TCMedi Spa.