Referred to as “District 23” by property agents as well as those familiar with this area/region in Singapore, the housing estates in Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Panjang and Bukit Batok are very much more known for their lush greenery as well as for being the quieter, out-of-town housing districts.
For many who reside in this region, they may only know of the place as their bedroom for returning home for sleep after a long day of work or social gatherings at the business districts. It is without a doubt that even residents of Singapore’s west side may not even be aware of certain good food places which exist in this district 23.
Sure there’s still Bukit Timah for great restaurants, but how about something closer to home?
With help from Singapore westies who have struggled to find the best eats, the following are my picks for good eats in Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Panjang and Bukit Batok area.
Located within the premises of Foodfare at the farther north area of Choa Chu Kang area, the char siew wanton noodle ($3.00) at this stall is an interesting mix of roasted char siew served with both fried wanton and steamed wanton soup. Sounds like a rich blend of variety, doesn’t it?
Compared to wanton noodles elsewhere, the sauce for this dish is very fragrant. It makes use of roasted sauce instead of black sauce, which is unlike the traditional wanton noodle. The char siew was roasted to a degree of good cook, with the meat being firm but chewy.
Xiang Ji Roasted Delights: Blk 673B Choa Chu Kang Crescent, Singapore 682673
Also located within the premises of Foodfare at Blk 673B Choa Chu Kang Crescent, the signature mushroom minced meat noodle ($4.00/$5.00) at this stall is a dish worth trying. The noodles is of a surprisingly thin and fine texture, enabling it to absorb the sauce to the maximum, and the chilli is of a very delighting spicy flavour.
The minced meat is very succulent, emitting a sweet and pleasant taste while the finely-cut mushroom slices are of a silky smooth texture. The latter was juicy upon bite, and was able to release the fragrance of the sauce. Definitely a dish which I will come back again for.
Fishball Noodles: Blk 673B Choa Chu Kang Crescent, Foodfare (Yew Tee), Singapore 682673
Touted by many foodies as the best Chicken Rice in the West of Singapore, Ah Boy Chicken Rice truly lives up to its name. For just $3, you can enjoy excellent chicken meat that has soft, gelatinous skin with fragrant chicken stock-infused rice. Even local celebrity Chef Eric Teo has raved about this place.
The chili sauce is a bit on the watery side though, a more robust thicker sauce would have suited my taste more.
Ah Boy Chicken Rice: V6 Food Court, Blk 678A Choa Chu Kang Crescent, Singapore 681678
Just in the region we are now talking about, BBQ Express holds two branches within District 23 — one at Lot One Shopper’s Mall and one at Bukit Panjang Plaza. Established since 1986, this local, barbecued snacks franchise was established to meet customers’ demands of affordable and slightly healthier barbecued ribs and chicken, and at the same time, keeping it to restaurant quality.
Tried the bacon pork sausage ($2.30 per stick) which was made up of crispy bacon wrapped around thick pieces of pork sausages. The bacon was not flabby, yet crispy upon the first bite.
The oil oozes out nicely in between the layers of bacon and pork sausage. The entire delicacy is of a desirable degree of cook, a refreshing level of crisp arising from something that is not charred nor burnt at all.
BBQ Express: Lot One Shopper’s Mall, 21 Choa Chu Kang Ave 4, #B1-K33, Singapore 689812
Most of us are aware of Ah Huat, a grandfather mascot of a Malaysian brand of White Coffee. From sachets of white coffee, Ah Huat has taken a bold step ventured into opening cafes as part of their business.
Being my first visit here, I decided to try out something that is local and close to heart, so as to have a gauge of the standard of local food this relatively new franchise offers. The sweet and sour chicken rice bowl ($7.50) was a dish that is considered quite overpriced. Nonetheless, the portion was indeed generous and had a favourable quality of taste.
Seems like a good hangout place for local Chinese meals and delicacies.
Ah Huat Cafe: Home Team NS, 2 Bukit Batok West Avenue 7, Singapore 659003
Situated within the premise of a small and cosy food court opposite Bukit Batok Bus Interchange, the ban mian ($3.30) at this stall is one of the best concoction of this famous local Chinese noodles which I have eaten.
The texture of the noodles is slightly thinner and is much less powdery compared to ban mian I have tasted from other places. The egg cracked into the soup was of a favourable degree of cook, it was not hard and did not taste raw, a surprisingly delighting taste to the dish.
Ban Mian: Blk 632 Bukit Batok Central, VariNice Eating House, Singapore 650632
An ingenious and different way of eating Chee Cheong Fun, the curry chee cheong fun available here at Bukit Batok does bring about a refreshing new taste. With the gravy being of the right level of thickness, i.e. not too spicy nor too watery, the combination of the Chee Cheong Fun strips and the curry flavour was one that was tangy and inviting.
This is indeed an interesting item of good eat in District 23.
Curry Chee Cheong Fun: Food @Happy Hawker, Blk 632 Bukit Batok Central, Singapore 650632
Fatty Weng is famous for their Sliced Fish Soup ($4/$5/$6), which although simple and plain-looking, is packed with flavour. The salted vegetable added gives that slightly savoury tartness which normal salt can’t achieve.
They also serve other local delights like carrot cake, orh luak and char kway teow which are all quite well-received. Wait can get pretty long during lunch timings, so get there early if you want to enjoy delicious fish soup.
Fatty Weng: Yong Xing Coffee Shop, Blk 155, Bukit Batok Street 11, #01-324, Singapore 650155
Located within walking distance from Bukit Gombak MRT station, the Western food stall here offers a wide array of food which one would not think is available at a coffeeshop. Supposing that it was a rare find, I decided to try the beef steak ($9.80), though I had in mind beforehand not have too high expectations for it.
The part that was served seems to be a New York Strip, of which there is some fat marbling throughout one edge of the steak. Hence it had a texture that was hard on the whole. Nonetheless, the meat was juicy and the sauce was good. Customers have the choice of black pepper sauce with an addition of $0.80.
I should say that the stall serves good quality Western dishes within the vicinity of this neighbourhood.
Sunny Point BBQ Western Food: Blk 359 Bukit Batok St. 31, Meng Soon Huat Food Centre, Singapore 650359
Although Karu’s address is technically at Upper Bukit Timah, its really more in the area of Bukit Panjang and one of the best Indian foods in Singapore. Free flow briyani rice and papadum, the curry robust curry fish head ($28) here is a must try for authentic Indian cuisine in Singapore. Everything is served on real banana leafs as well, testament to their commitment of tradition.
Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant: 808 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, Singapore 678144
Located at the same coffeeshop near Bukit Gombak MRT station, this zhi char stall is bustling at dinnertime. Which was what attracted me to try something from this stall. I had decided to try out their hor fun ($4.00), a common, popular zhi char dish which most people call for.
I was much delighted by the small and thinly sliced strips of rice noodles which were light and savoury. It felt as if the pieces of noodles were dancing at the top of my tongue. The dish was rounded off well with thick and succulent pieces of pork meat as well as well-cooked prawns.
I highly recommend this place as a hearty hangout place with both family and friends. A good place for appetising and satiating meals, for the benefits of nourishment of the appetite as well as fellowship with company of people.
Meng Kee Seafood: Blk 359 Bukit Batok St. 31, Meng Soon Huat Food Centre, Singapore 650359
Instead of going for the usual, common sliced fish bee hoon, I decided to try something which I felt was unique and worth trying. Hence, I chose upon the tom yam sliced fish soup ($4.50).
To my delight, the dish was a good blend of flavours upon tucking into it. The fish slices were very fresh and thick, with no tinge of fishy stench at all, and the serving for it was generous.
Contrary to my pre-conceived notion of Tom Yam soup resembling that of the Thai-style tom yam goong, I felt that the soup for this dish was not thick enough. Nonetheless, I could taste the tom yam flavour, just that the soup could have had a richer effect if it had a thicker texture.
Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre: 259 Bukit Panjang Ring Rd, Singapore 671259
One of the branches of this known braised duck local hawker chain, it is to my pleasure to see this stall available at this new hawker dining place. Yu Kee here at Bukit Panjang has a wide variety of dishes for customers to choose from, ranging from noodles to rice, as well as roasted delights including kway chap.
Since the latter is a dish not available at all of its branches, I decided to give the kway chap set ($3.50) here a go. Upon trying the dish, I would say that the kway chap here offers a taste that is different, largely pertains to the saltiness of the braised sauce for the the kway chap ingredients served.
The salty-based pork innards and ingredients do go well with the flat noodles which were sweet in terms of taste, and smooth in terms of texture. The dish was nonetheless, an overall good complementation of taste between the ingredients and the noodles.
Yu Kee: Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre, 259 Bukit Panjang Ring Rd, Singapore 671259
Residents of the matured Bukit Panjang estate will be very much familiar with the variety of good food available at Kim Sam Leng Food Centre, located at Bangkit Rd to be exact. As usual, I love to opt for dishes which are out of the ordinary. Managed to spot the meatball noodle ($3.00) on the signboard of the stall, and decided to go for it.
It is to my satisfaction that the dish was made up of a generous serving of meatballs — five chewy meatballs which were really rich in taste. This much pertains to the excellent blend of Chilli and sweet sauce as the base flavour for the mee pok noodles which I requested for.
The spicy aftertaste does linger and gives a revitalising effect to the taste buds. I specially love the texture of the meatballs — chewy with the absence of any hard bits.
The absence of any third party ingredient e.g. vegetables for this dish actually brings out the flavours of the meatball and the mee pok noodles. I really love the taste of this dish.
Kim Sam Leng Food Centre: 259 Bukit Panjang Ring Rd, Singapore 670259
A large and prominent zhi char stall, Lian Soon Huat Live Seafood is a stall that is hard to miss when one visits Kim Sam Leng Food Centre. Apart from the commonly zhi char dishes such as hor fun, mui fan and ee mee, Lian Soon Huat offers a menu made up of a variation of seafood good cooks.
Stumbled upon the prawn ball beancurd ($15.00). Despite it being quite overpriced as a dish from a coffeeshop, I felt that it was a good dish to try, as the dish tasted delectable, considering it coming from an uncommonly found seafood zhi char stall.
The prawns served were large in size, crunchy and succulent upon bite. At the same time, the egg toufu which had a soft and silky texture upon bite.
The broccoli served together with them was appropriate in neutralising the slight saltiness of the sauce, while the ginger slices provided a fresh aroma of taste to the entire dish. I will make a choice to opt for this dish when I happen to patron this coffeeshop again.
Kim Sam Leng Food Centre: 259 Bukit Panjang Ring Rd, Singapore 670259
Another new cafe for the westies, Beans & Cream aims to make quality artisan ice cream using natural, wholesome ingredients rather than the typical mass produced varieties.
It’s heartland location keeps costs low and thus affordable. Other than the selection of interesting flavours like Matcha, Thai Milk Tea and Earl Grey, the Waffles and Ice cream ($6.50) is a good buy, considering how many other cafes are charging more than $10 for this. Oh, you get a free scoop of Ais-gem biscuits too when you dine-in.
Beans & Cream: 347 Bukit Batok Street 34, Singapore 650347
The pork belly ban mian ($4.50) at this stall is a dish worth trying when one visits the newly opened Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre. This is a dish is made up of ingredients which are different from the commonly found ban mian from most hawker centres and foodcourts in Singapore.
The pork belly slices were thin, crispy and chewy upon bite. I especially love the minced meat for the Ban Mian here.
It has a peppery flavour to it, which was pleasant to my taste buds. Unlike the minced meat from other Ban Mian places, the one at this stall is soft and easy on bite, and does not contain any hard bits at all.
Digging into the bowl, I discovered they had actually cooked the egg thoroughly prior to adding it into the soup. I suppose this is another element of cook that sets the Ban Mian at this stall apart from those at other places. The soup is sweet in taste, clear and not too oily. It gives the entire dish a warm refreshing taste.
Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre: 259 Bukit Panjang Ring Rd, Singapore 671259
Hidden within Bukit Batok Community Centre’s coffeeshop, Zheng Zhong Xiang Gang is a secret even not many westies know about. The roast meats 烧辣 are a highlight here: Char Siew, Roast Duck, Roast Pork. The Wanton Noodles ($4) is great value for money, and it won’t cost that much more even if you add different types of meat.
The meats tend to be heavier on the char, which gives a crispy finish but might be a bit bitter to some and you might think its burnt. Trust me, it’s intentionally done this way.
A local franchise which marries the traditions of original Thai cuisine with the colourful settings of a modern day restaurant, the bona-fide chefs at Siam Kitchen are skilled to conjure the familiar favourites of Thai food.
Within District 23 alone, Siam Kitchen has two outlets, one at Lot One Shopper’s Mall and another at Bukit Panjang Plaza.
Tried the Tom Yum Noodles with River Prawns ($13.50), with the proper, traditional Thai name Sen Lek Tom Yum Goong. I loved the taste and found the dish delectable indeed. Both the rice noodles and the tom yum gravy differed from what is usually served at the common Thai food places in Singapore, in that the rice noodles were very silky and smooth, and the tom yum gravy had an extra tinge of spiciness. The entire dish seems really light yet flavourful.
Siam Kitchen: Lot 1 Shoppers’ Mall, 21 Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4, #02-25, Singapore 689812
Quite a different take on Singapore dry prawn noodles, Chin Choon’s dry prawn noodles are tossed in sweet dark soy sauce, and also served with pork innards along with the shelled prawns. Soup is fragrantly sweet with the aroma of prawn shells, pairing really well with the noodles.
One of the best prawn noodles in Singapore you won’t want to miss if you stay in the west area of Bukit Panjang. Although the address reads Upper Bukit Timah Road, it’s really only 5 minutes away from the Bukit Panjang LRT.
Chin Choon Prawn Noodle: Chun Sheng Yuan Eating House, 826 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 678154
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