Who says there is nothing to eat in the north? Surely there must be something out there otherwise we north-dwellers would have starved…
Many good eateries can be found in the north too, and since the area is so big, my humble list will cover areas in Yishun and Sembawang as for now. Hola!
So to bring the best out of this, my Kaki and I took one Saturday off to hop around the the northern part of the island. We had several stops and spent less than $25 per person! It was a long day of cutting through grass patches, trekking pass the Sembawang park, drenching our shirt in sweat and figuring out our way in the night just to bring you this list.
Our first stop is at Yishun MRT station where we had desserts as our breakfast cum lunch, followed by bowls and plates of savoury food and more sweet treats. We went from there to areas around Sembawang Shopping Centre, walked over half an hour for another dose of ice cream before a long walk back to Chong Pang.
There we visited an old-school bakery and explored several places nearby as well before resting our tired feet but satisfied bellies in a dessert shop.
While there are several potential eateries we have passed by, do pardon our expanding waistlines that is threatening to leave our bodies should we eat any further. To compensate that, I have included some references for places that looks promising. Of course, I welcome any suggestions on good food in Yishun and Sembawang should you have any!
Our journey starts here.
Laksa ($2.80 small, $3.30 large)
North-dwellers will surely be familiar with this place. Rated as one of the must-try laksa in Singapore, be prepared for long queues at any time of the day. Who says laksa must be eaten during lunch and dinner!
We arrived at 3pm on a weekend afternoon to find a snaking queue of more than 20 people in line. Roughly a 40-minute wait guaranteed us a pipping bowl of laksa served in a striking red bowl.
The bowl is chocked full of ingredients with chopped bee hoon, tau pok, crabsticks, bean sprouts, cockles and a half boiled egg. Try ordering an extra portion of cockles (known as Hum in dialect) that goes really well with the laksa.
One thing that was noteworthy is the soup — the taste of the coconut milk is strong while the soup remains flavourful and slightly sweeter. It is not that spicy for a laksa, but milky and lighter on the palate. I have been eating this since I was a kid!
All you need is just a spoon to scoop the bee hoon, which is already chopped into tiny pieces, then slurp them all. Super shiok and satisfying!
928 Yishun Laksa: Blk 928 Yishun Central 1, #01-155 Singapore 760928 | Opening Hours: Tue to Sun: 1100 – 1900; Closed on Mon | Tel: +65 9731 9586
Yishun 925 Chicken Rice Stall has been diligently serving the masses for more than 20 years. Its signature dish, the boneless chicken, is comfort food amongst the residents. Juicy and tender meats over a layer of soy sauce, you are bound to be in for a very chicky (cheeky) meal.
Half Chicken ($13)
Not many places are able to cook their steam chicken to perfection. But here is one, walk-able distance from Yishun MRT, a great dish to be shared among the old and young alike.
Yishun 925 Hainanese Chicken Rice:Blk 925 Yishun central 1 #01-249, Singapore 760925 | Opening Hours: Fri to Wed 11AM-10PM, Closed on Thu | Tel: 9481 0208 | Website
After a hot bowl of laksa (mentioned above), I would recommend having some desserts at Lit Lit Sin Dessert stall. Be it hot, cold, sweet, sour, you name it, and they’ll have it. The queue can get long as customers will often get their dessert-fix here after their meals.
One of its popular desserts is the chendol. It is served in a plastic container with ice, coconut milk and a whole load of ingredient like attap seed, green jelly, grass jelly and red beans, topped off with condensed milk.
On hot days, the ice may melt a bit faster. But the Singaporean way is to still down every drop of it, like slurping on a drink. There are also many other desserts available such as the Tau Suan, Soursop Jelly, Ice Kacang, and so on.
Lit Lit Sin Dessert: 928 Yishun Central 1, #01-157, Singapore 760928| Opening Hours: 10AM-7:30PM, Closed Tue.
You definitely would not want to give this a miss given that the 928 Laksa and Lit Lit Sin Desserts are located in the same coffeeshop too. Opened for just three months, Mei Dian Popiah has replaced the previous Lit Lit Sin Popiah stall.
The popiah has a thin but firm skin that holds the ingredient together. Each bite is packed with the crunchiness and juices from the chopped turnip. Those who love their foods spicy can ask for more chilli in their popiah. Of course, any moment of spice-intolerance, there is always the dessert stall to turn to.
Mei Dian Popiah: 928 Yishun Central 1, #01-157, Singapore 760928| Opening Hours: 10AM-6PM, Closed Tue.
An underrated soy bean ice cream tucked away in the temporary Yishun bus interchange. Using only top grade non-GMO soya beans with no added fats nor artificial ingredient, this is truly one healthy snack to devour any time without the guilt.
The first mouthful had me intrigued with the smooth, almost pudding-like texture, interjected with the crunches of various toppings. I was even more surprised to find a layer of soy pudding at the base with such soft consistency.
You get to customise your own ice cream with your desired toppings at:
Dofu: 20A Yishun Central #01-05 Yishun Bus Interchange, Singapore 768830 | Opening hours: Daily 11AM – 8:30PM | Website
Fancy some old-school bakery?
Just situated across block 928 is this bakery selling breads, butter cakes and muffins that will bring back fond memories of our childhood. I used to frequent this stall for their banana cake, which is moist and soft with the aromas of banana filling up my nostrils as I bite through the edges.
Banana Cake ($1)
Now with many bakeries offering breads with more premium ingredients and unusual fillings for marketing purposes, it is only in a neighbourhood area that you can truly find traditional and authentic old-school breads.
Hao Bang General Wholesale Trading: Blk 925 Yishun Central 1 #01-241, Singapore 760928 | Tel: 6755 1673
Opened by bikers, for bikers – this motorcycle-themed restaurant is located at the far north of Singapore, with the nearest Sembawang MRT at 2.7km away. Don’t let its location deters you as you definitely do not want to miss checking this place out with the cool-looking bicycles as part of an everyday decor.
Steak and eggs ($32)
Order the signature Spicy Cocaine Wings ($12) that has varying spiciness, or be bold and daring to opt for the Sudden Death Wing ($16).For bigger eaters, try the Slap Yo Momma Pork Chop ($24) that is a humongous portion priced affordably.
Handle Bar: 57 Jalan Menpurong, Singapore 759057 | Opening hours: Tue to Thu: 5pm – 1am, Fri 5Pm-2Am, Sat 3Pm-2AM, Sun 3PM-1AM, Closed: Mon| Tel: 6475 9571| Website
We chanced upon this unassuming cake baking studio in Sembawang that offers classes for students with a baking interest.
Upon entering, we were greeted by an array of tall beautiful cake behind a glass display. The Ondeh Ondeh cake was one which caught our eyes with its twist on our local snack.
Ondeh Ondeh Cake ($7.50)
The moist pandan sponge cake is well endowed with bits of grated coconut, gula melaka and smooth layers of coconut swiss meringue buttercream. It felt like eating an actual oneh oneh in an overly amplified version.
Baker’s Brew Studio: 6 Jalan Tampang, Singapore 758950 | Opening hours: For retails: Thu to Sun: 11PM-10PM, Closed on Mon-Wed | Tel: 9069 5096 | Website
Right beside Baker’s Brew Studio is a restaurant specialising in claypot rice. There is a list of bee hoon dishes worth trying, which include the San Lou Bee Hoon and Lala Bee Hoon at a affordable price of $4.80 for small and $8.80 for large portion.
Can’t decide to have which one to have? The Claypot Seafood Da Lu Mian ($8.80 small, $13.80 large) is a marriage of both dishes in a sizzling pot of seafood, runny egg and noodle to satisfy your cravings.
Claypot Rice ($8.80 small, $13.80 medium, $19.80 large)
Filled with chicken, mushroom and chinese sausages, the traditional claypot rice is its signature dish. Drizzle and mix well with some black soy sauce and a little bit of oil, you will get to taste the fragrance of the sauce seeping through the ingredients, bringing out the flavours of the dish.
Traditional Claypot Rice: 4 Jalan Tampang, Singapore 758948 | Opening hours: Daily 11AM-10PM | Tel: +65 6757 7144 | Website
Probably, coined as the king of Sembawang, the White Restaurant known for their white bee hoon, is no stranger to many. A $5 plate comes in a portion for two with an abundance of prawns, squids and vegetables.
While it may look deceivingly bland, the bee hoon has an aromatic wok hei smell and taste to it. I particularly enjoyed the gravy that was soaked up between each strand of noodle, making it easy to slurp down.
Seafood White Bee Hoon ($5 small)
Go during non-peak hours, otherwise you’ll be caught in a queue that will last over an hour during during meal hours. That is how popular White Restaurant is to the heartlanders who would return for the comforting plate of white bee hoon over and over again.
Traditional Claypot Rice: 4 Jalan Tampang, Singapore 758948 | Opening hours: Daily 11AM-10PM | Tel: +65 6757 7144 | Website
We purposefully walked close to 40 minutes for this from Sembawang Shopping Centre, enjoying the sights and sound of the neighbourhood along the way too. Despite the amount of food we had, desserts are our best friends, and we’ll always have room for it.
Holy Cow Creamery offers a wide range of ice cream and sorbet. The ice cream tasted smooth and doesn’t melt too fast. The best part is the waffles that has a crisp edges and fluffy on the inside. It is one of the best ones I have without the sogginess nor starchy texture.
Holy Cow Creamery: 292 Yishun street 22 #01-291 Singapore 760292| Opening hours: Tue to Thu, Sun 11:30AM-10PM, Fri to Sat 11:30AM-11PM, Closed on Mon| Website
You may wonder why am I putting down Fragrance in this list.
Indeed, Fragrance has many outlets in Singapore, except this one that so happens to be in Chong Pang, selling a wide range of dried plums and fruits, biscuits, chips, sweets and bak kwa. Prices varies according to the number of grams.
Upon entry, you will see rows of red-lid containers lining up one side of the stall, whereas the other side is neatly stashed with the rest of the above-mentioned items. It is a place close to heart where they are still selling traditional biscuits and cookies right in your neighbourhood.
This is another white bee hoon stall worth trying. You could choose to have seafood in your bee hoon, which has more flavours as compared to the regular ones. The noodles are firm to the bite, fortunately not flaccid from the broth.
Lala Prawn White Bee Hoon ($6, Small)
Even the chilli is a good complement to the dish, offering a tangy spiciness to the overall taste. Surely, Chong Pang market and food centre has more to offer, such as the Chwee Kueh and duck rice stalls which are my two favourites since young. You will never get tired of Chong Pang with its vast amount of food options.
Blessing Seafood White Bee Hoon: Blk 104, Yishun Ring Road, #01-139, Chong Pang Market & Food Centre, Singapore 760104 | Opening Hours: Tues to Sun, Closed on Mon: 10AM-10PM
A zi char place that sells thai-chinese cuisine is always seen packed with customers and long queues. My personal recommendations for the dishes is the Bei Sheng Oats Prawn ($12 small), Thai Deep Fried Fish Delight ($14 small), Tom Yum Soup ($4 small), and the crowd’s favourite Pineapple Rice ($3 small).
The prices for the food are really affordable and the quality of the food has always been consistent over the years. Explaining the snaking queue it sees!
Bei Sheng Taste of Thailand: Blk 701A Yishun Ave 5 #01-01, Singapore 761701| Opening hours: Daily 11:30AM-2PM, 5:30PM-10PM | Tel: +65 6756 4883 | Website
Hungry for food at night? Chong Pang Nasi Lemak is the go-to place to satisfy your ravenous belly. I would easily return for the crispy wings and chilli sauce that not many places can rival. The rice has a nice fragrance to it, and on a night like this, it all goes down well.
Located just by the roadside with little spaces for parking, this popular nasi lemak joint may not be the most accessible place. That said, continue walking down the road and you’ll find more eateries to unearth.
Chong Pang Nasi Lemak: 447 Sembawang Road, Singapore 758404 | Opening hours: Daily 5PM-7AM | Tel: +65 6756 0048 | Website
Korean food in the north of Singapore is honestly a rare find. Famous fried chicken restaurants are mostly situated in the town area and Tanjong Pagar. Imagine spicy fried chicken, soy sauce fried chicken, cheesy chicken, boneless chicken… and now they are offering delivery!
Seoul Chicken: 435 Sembawang road, Singapore | Opening hours: Daily 10AM-10:30PM | Tel: +656483 0818 | Website
A good place to chill, The Daily Scoop is packed full of diners with many either just dropping by to get ice cream or to sit in the cafe for heartier items like waffles. The huge display of ice cream flavours available simply hints for several revisits to try out all their flavours.
You can find classic flavours, premium ones, fruity types and seasonal specials.
Single Scoop ($3.80), Double Scoop ($6.80)
The Daily Scoop: 369 Sembawang Road #01-05 Sembawang Cottage, Singapore 758382 | Opening hours: Mon to Thu 11AM-10PM, Fri to Sat 11AM-10:30PM, Sun 2PM-10PM | Tel: +65 6754 1233 | Website
Related Guide: Little India Food Guide