Ask any Singaporean about food and they would most likely point you towards something from the East – Katong, Joo Chiat and Geylang – or restaurant hotspots in the city centre.
Well, what you might not know is that the north is home to a variety of cuisines, and some of these places seen two or more generations of Singaporeans happily returning for more.
So sit tight while we take you through some of our beloved hawkers, cafes, bars and restaurants in Yishun, Sembawang, Seletar, and Admiralty.
Tucked away amongst the shophouses beside Sembawang Shopping Centre, 13 Miles is a humble Halal gem with a peaceful ambience. It has an extensive spread, with a good pick of Western fusion dishes.
Most returning customers rave about their Thai items, like the Tom Yum Mee ($6) and the Thai Seafood Bee Hoon ($12). Priced from $35 for two, their Shell-Out Sets are also a favourite, featuring seafood like crab, prawns, cockles, squid, and gong gong prepared in a variety of sauces.
13 Miles is located at 596b Sembawang Road, Singapore 758455, p. +65 6481 6616. Open 11.30am-11.30pm daily.
928 Yishun Laksa
Have you ever heard of people queueing up for over an hour for a bowl of laksa that costs between $2.80 – $3.50? This is a daily occurrence at the 928 Yishun Laksa.
Whether it’s worth an hour’s wait is subjective, but we’re certain this is a winning version of a local culinary icon with its thick, creamy gravy flavoured with shrimp paste, fresh ingredients, and that spicy homemade chilli for an extra kick.
928 Yishun Laksa is located at 928 Yishun Central 1, #01-155, Singapore 760928, p. +65 9731 9586. Open till 6pm daily.
If you’ve been missing snacks with a local touch like red bean buns, peanut biscuits, and coconut cake, check Munchi Delights. This new age min jiang kueh stall flavours their pancakes with charcoal and green tea, in addition to the original we know and love.
Fillings then range from classics like C oconut, Peanut, and Red Bean to fancy stuffing like Thai Milk Tea and Belgian Chocolate. Prices start from $1.30 per pancake.
Old World Bakuteh
Bak kut teh is soul food for many of us, and Old World Bak Ku Teh is the go-to in the north. In addition to the Pork Ribs Soup ($6) that typically sells out by noon, loyal customers return for the Pig’s Maw Soup ($4) and their robustly flavoured Fried Porridge (from $5) topped with ingredients like mixed pig’s organs and sliced fish.
Old World Bakuteh is located at 747 Yishun Street 72, Hiap Hoe Eating House, Singapore 760747, p. +65 9388 5288. Open Tue-Sun 10am-2.30pm, 5pm-8.30pm. Closed Mon.
Cafes and bars
Citrus By The Pool
One of the few Halal-certified cafes in Singapore’s north, Citrus By The Pool gets plenty of compliments for its incredible customer service and variety of Asian-Western fusion dishes.
The hearty, comfort food – think Sambal Goreng Pasta ($13.90), Fried Chicken ($15.90) and Waffle and the Baked Salmon ($16.90) – and long operating hours make it a popular supper spot too.
Citrus By The Pool is located at Woodlands Swimming Complex, 3 Woodlands Street 13, Singapore 738600, p. +65 6366 6581. Open 11.30am – 6am daily.
Tucked away in Seletar Aerospace, bistro Wheeler’s Estate strikes the balance between making you feel home and making you feel as though you have been transported to a vineyard overseas.
Quaint ambience aside, the weekend brunch menu boasts dishes like Short Rib Benedict (S$26) and Pork Jowl Tortilla ($24). At night, their pizza oven and grill get fired up with specialties such as MB4+ Grass-fed Striploin ($48) and Die Die Must Try ($28) pizza featuring grilled octopus and lup cheong.
Wheeler’s Estate is located at 2 Park Lane, Seletar Aerospace Park, Singapore 798386, p. +65 6262 0001. Open Tue-Fri 3pm-11pm, Sat-Sun 9am-11pm. Closed Mon.
Wildseed Cafe and Bar
For a pet-friendly, daytime drinking spot in the north, look to Wildseed Cafe, which has also drawn in many with their garden atmosphere.
Serving breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea, expect crowd-pleasing plates like Smashed Avocado and Bacon ($18), Soft Shell Chilli Crab Linguine ($26), and ‘Biscoff’ Waffles ($14) served with ice cream. Botanical inspired signature cocktails are priced at $17 each while wines go for $13 per 150ml glass.
Wildseed Cafe is located at 3 Park Lane, Seletar Aerospace Park, Singapore 798387, p. +65 8126 7524. Open daily 8.30am-5pm.
Situated on the northern coast of Singapore within the SAF Yacht Club, Ku-Kai Izakaya overlooks the straits.
Expect charcoal grilled kushiyaki, agemono (fried snacks) like kawa ebi (river shrimp) and mentaiko fries, as well as a selection of mains alongside a wide variety of alcohol. They also have al fresco seating for who want to feel the sea breeze.
Ku-Kai Izakaya is located at 43 Admiralty Road West, Singapore 759962, p. +65 6254 3208. Open on Mon-Fri 11.30am-2pm, 5.30pm – 10.30pm, Sat-Sun from 11.30am-10.30pm.
Thailand Street Food
Visiting Junction 9 in Yishun? Give Thailand Street Food a go for delicious, authentic Thai food at affordable prices. You’ll find familiar favourites like Thai Green Chicken Curry ($7) and Thai Handmade Fishcakes ($10, four pieces), as well as signatures such as Thai Pig Trotter ($12, half) and their Tom Yam Mama Hotpot ($12).
Thailand Street Food is located at 18 Yishun Ave 9, #01-03, Singapore 768897, p. +65 9699 5959. Open daily from 11am-3pm, 5pm – 10pm.
Rasa Istimewa Waterfront Restaurant
For a rustic zi char experience, Rasa Istimewa Waterfront Restaurant is located on the pier at the Woodlands Waterfront Park.
In addition to classics like Cereal Prawn ($30), Sambal Belacan Kangkong ($8), and Salt Pepper Squid ($16), the Halal restaurant also offers Satay ($8 for 10 sticks) and Fish Otah ($3). Spoilt for choice with the large menu? Look to their set menus for four starting from S$75.
Rasa Istimewa Waterfront Restaurant is located at 6A Admiralty Road West, Woodlands Waterfront Park Singapore, Singapore 757445, p. +65 6366 9339. Open 12pm-11.30pm.
Siam Square Mookata Woodlands
Singapore’s love for the Thai barbeque and steamboat combination has spread to all corners of our island.
The Woodlands branch of Siam Square Mookata offers an all-you-can-eat at $29, and a la carte dishes are priced between $2 to $2.80. The magic happens when juices from meats and seafood on the barbecue run into the broth for cooking veggies.
Siam Square Mookata is located at 11 Woodlands Close #01-46 Stall 3B, 737853, p. +65 8826 1919. Open daily from 3pm – 3am.
With roots in the original Sembawang White Bee Hoon, the humble eatery has rebranded themselves as White Restaurant and expanded to seven outlets across Singapore.
From our last experience, their seafood flavoured White Bee Hoon has upheld its standard. Other highlights include the Sambal Sweet Potato Leaves, Cereal Prawns, and Salted Egg Sotong.
White Restaurant is located at 22 Jln Tampang, Singapore 758966, p. +65 6257 2002. Open daily from 10am – 9.30pm.
This article was first published in City Nomads.