Car repair workshops, huge logistic companies, tech buildings, and flatted factories… would you think about heading to such places to look for food?
If you had asked me 10 years ago, the answer would have been a straight ‘Never!’ In truth, a surprisingly large number of cafes and hawker stalls have popped up in business parks and industrial coffee shops over recent years, remaining ‘hidden’ because of their remoteness.
It makes good business sense to set up a cafe or stall there— staff and workers from the surrounding buildings will head over to whatever is nearby by default. However, more F&B businesses in these industrial estates are taking pride in what they do and offering much better fare than you’d expect.
There’s also the novelty factor of travelling to an ulu industrial area for a meal that entices people.
Whatever your reason may be, I’ve curated a list of 11 hidden eateries to check out within Singapore’s industrial estates— you’ll be surprised at the delights you’ll discover in these concrete jungles (if you look closely enough).
1. Mr Yakiniku
Mr Yakiniku is an affordable yakiniku restaurant located in the Ubi industrial district, where you’ll find many car servicing centres and showrooms.
With Japanese-style decor and soothing music, this al fresco place gives off a chilled ambience while you take your time grilling food with your family and friends.
Their lunch menu features an assortment of donburi bowls, and you can choose your protein like Pork Belly (S$8.90), Karubi (S$8.90) or Saikyo Miso Tai (Snapper) (S$10.90) together with a base of Japanese rice, dry ramen or salad.
During dinner service, yakiniku set menus (1 rice, 1 soup and 1 salad) come into play with selections like Pork & Chicken (S$14.80 for 150g, S$21.80 for 250g) and Seafood (S$16.80 for 180g, S$23.80 for 280g).
All their sauces and dips are homemade. This includes their iconic Mr Yakiniku Sauce (a combination of yakiniku sauce and pineapple puree), Togarashi Salt (a blend of chilli and seasalt), Ponzu Sauce (great for seafood), and Citrus Salt (made with dehydrated citrus fruit skins blended with salt).
2. Hangar66 Cafe
Hangar66 Cafe is the only authentic aviation-themed bistro in Singapore which is situated within a private aircraft hangar at the Seletar Aerospace Park district.
This cafe allows you to be really up close to see what goes on inside the hangar. There’s even an auto-gyrocopter located on the cafe grounds for you to learn about and dine side-by-side. Over here, you’ll even get cute robot waiters serving you.
Indulge in light bites such as Hangar66 Wings (S$8.66) and Crispy Calamari (S$10.66), or go for something heavier like the Unagi Rice Bowl Donburi (S$18.66) or Pan Seared Sea Bass Fillet (S$19.66) (which comes with your choice of two sides).
Look out for exclusive deals on specific days, such as free flow of french fries every Thursday or S$0.99 chicken wings every Monday!
While Five Star Hong Kong Style Handmade Dimsum has a handful of outlets in Singapore, it’s the one located inside Shun Li Industrial Complex at Aljunied that’s won the hearts and bellies of netizens for its old-school charm and freshly made dimsum.
It’s a 15-minute walk away from Aljunied MRT. There aren’t many bus stops around, so if you’re not driving, be prepared to walk a little.
While you’re dining here, give the HK Salted Egg Custard Buns (S$3.50 for 3 pieces) a go. The fluffy bun oozes golden, lava-like salted egg custard upon sinking your teeth into them.
For a little satisfaction in your mouth, the HK Fried Taro Dumplings (S$4.50 for 3 pieces) are crispy and flaky on the outside while having a piping hot filling which contains curry that complements the soft yam.
To prevent your dim sum feast from getting too overwhelming, order the Ting Zai Congee (艇仔粥) (S$4.50), which includes thick, triangular chunks of century egg, sliced fish, medium-sized prawns, pork meat and cuttlefish.
705 Sims Drive, Shun Li Industrial Complex, #07-01, Singapore 387384
+65 8168 1818
Daily: 8am – 8.30pm
Situated at Chin Bee Avenue within the Jurong industrial estate, Suzuki Cafe and Roastery has the feel of a peaceful Japanese tea house. Next to it lies one of Singapore’s oldest coffee roastery, Suzuki Gourmet Coffee, which has been operational since 1979.
Patrons can take their time chilling within the relaxing atmosphere of the cafe located on the second floor. Their quality cups of coffee utilises freshly roasted coffee beans from their very own Suzuki Roasting Factory next door, together with high-quality Hokkaido milk.
Enjoy their range of artisanal filter coffees like the double medium roasted Uganda Bugisu (Pea Berry) (S$7.50) or the double light roasted Costa Rica Arabica (S$7.50). They also cater to non-caffeine drinkers— beverages like the iced Murasaki Kyoto Latte (S$10) or hot Kyoto Uji Matcha (S$8) are not ones to be missed.
Suzuki Cafe and Roastery also serves two kinds of authentic Japanese desserts to pair with your aromatic cups of joe: Hokkaido Anpan (S$9) and Tsukisamu Anpan (S$9).
Currently, they’re having a special promotion till the end of December. You’ll be able to enjoy any hot coffee beverage together with a Tsukisamu Anpan at only S$12.
5. Portuguese Grill
Located at a coffeeshop inside Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2, Portuguese Grill serves a variety of grilled seafood. Unlike other BBQ places that use sambal paste, the Malaysian owners use Portuguese paste which is not commonly found in Singapore, and goes very well with rice.
They wanted to bring the best flavours from Malaysia over to Singapore as they miss the tastes back in their hometown.
The recommended dishes to get are the Portuguese Grill Stingray + Rice (S$7) and Portuguese Grill Lala Prawn + Rice (S$5.90).
You can also get a healthier version and load up your vegetable intake at the same time with the Portuguese Grill Vege + Rice (S$5). It consists of ladies finger, cauliflower, petai and long beans, all doused in their yummy Portuguese sauce.
38 Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2, Singapore 569511
+65 8753 1850
Mon to Sat: 11am – 8.30pm
Closed on Sun
Mikuriya also resides within Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2 at a hawker stall serving the nearby office crowd and occasional walk-ins from the public.
Their menu focuses on Japanese donburi bowls and offers options ranging from chicken, pork, beef and fish. Get ready to be spoiled for choice with delicious Chicken Mentai Donburi (S$6.80), Teriyaki Chicken Donburi (S$5.80), Yakiniku Donburi (S$6.80) and Saba Shio Set (S$7.80).
All of their donburi comes with complimentary soup and salad.
They also have yummy side dishes like Takoyaki (S$4.80), Tamago Mentai (S$4.80) and Gyoza (S$4.80) to complement your main meal.
With any order of donburi, you’ll be able to get Chicken Karaage at just S$2 which normally sells at S$4.80.
5036 Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2, Yi Jia Food Centre, Singapore 569539
Mon to Sat: 11am – 9pm
Closed on Sun
7. Da Sheng Bak Chor Mee
Wouldn’t it be awesome if we found a good hawker stall which sells delicious noodles after we had sent our cars for servicing? Da Sheng Bak Chor Mee at Kampong Ubi Industrial Estate is one such place.
It sells great tasting bowls of bak chor mee, and only serves the breakfast and lunch crowds.
Previously, the owner had been selling bowls of bak chor mee together with his dad at Plaza Singapura’s food court, for 15 years, before moving on to Bedok Reservoir for a further 6 years. Their current Ubi stall is their third move.
Be sure to savour the signature Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle (S$6) and Fried Chicken Chop Noodle (S$6). The noodles are perfectly cooked with just the right amount of seasoning. The taste has a slight vinegar touch to it, and the ingredients are generous too!
They also have Fresh Prawn Dumpling Soup (S$6 for 3 dumplings) and Fried Prawn Dumplings at S$2 per piece.
Ubi Road 1, Blk 3014 Kampong Ubi Industrial Estate, Singapore 408702
+65 9150 6877
Mon to Fri: 6.30am – 2.40pm
Sat: 6.30am – 2pm
Closed on Sun
8. Che Kitchen
Che Kitchen was established by Chef Che, a roasted meats specialist chef who resides from Hong Kong and has over 50 years of experience. First started at Casuarina Road, the original outlet has been operating for more than 30 years.
Its current home (which is their second outlet) within the Toa Payoh North industrial estate has been around for 3 years, just a stone’s throw away from Singapore Press Holdings and the Braddell residential district.
At this restaurant, you’ll find an extensive variety of zi char dishes which are suitable for small family gatherings and company get-togethers.
If you’re dining in a big group, you can order the Signature Champagne Pork (S$10) and Superior Spinach Soup (S$10) to share and even indulge in a Red Grouper Steamboat (S$36 – S$98).
If you’re looking for something less elaborate, they also have wallet-friendly alternatives like Wanton Noodle (S$4), Chicken Feet Hor Fun (S$4.50) and Roast Duck Rice (S$4.50)— there’s something for everyone here!
9. Lai Fa Ba Wanton Mee
Located within an unassuming industrial building at Bukit Batok, Lai Fa Ba Wanton Mee is an air-conditioned eatery which specialises in noodles. The recipes have been recreated to mimic the taste of the chef’s grandmother, Madam Yong Soy Fan, who was peddling as a street hawker back in the 1970s.
Their wantons and dumplings are handmade using fresh pork which is minced daily in-house— that takes tons of effort!
The LFB’s Signature (S$9.90) consists of a choice of rice or dry-tossed noodles in 3rd-gen secret sauce (+S$1) or noodles in scallop & pork bone collagen broth (+S$1), served with char siew, lava egg, poached wantons, fried wantons, and comes with a small soup.
They also have side dishes like Taupok Meat Pockets (S$9.90), Fried Wantons (S$6.90) and Seasonal Vegetables (S$6.90).
10. SG Umami
Opened by local celebrity Ben Yeo, SG Umami is an industrial bistro located at a canteen in the Kallang industrial estate, directly next to the Kallang river. This place serves donburi and Japanese prawn noodles by day, and transitions into an izakaya with Japanese sides and pizzas by night.
I went over for dinner and they had some small bites like Mentaiko Tamago (S$3.90), Oyster Furai (S$8.90), Tako Salad (S$3.90) and Sake Clam (S$10.90) which pairs nicely with beer.
For their range of 10-inch pizzas which are hand tossed and stretched, they have 8 savoury flavours and 1 dessert pizza. Most of their selections are Japanese-inspired, like the Teriyaki Samurai (S$18) which has a tomato base, teriyaki chicken, umami sauce, bonito flakes and mayonnaise.
I tried the Hawaiian (Ham) (S$12.90) pizza and it was delightfully yummy and light, with mayonnaise drizzled on top.
To end things off on a sweet note, give the Choco-Banana (S$12.90) dessert pizza a go.
11. Alchemist The Mill Cafe
Started out in May 2016, Alchemist has branched out to several locations around Singapore and are committed to deliver a simple and no-frills coffee experience at all their outlets.
Alchemist The Mill Cafe in particular is located at a cool-looking gothic building at Jalan Kilang, an industrial area in Bukit Merah.
Let your hair down and relax in their cafe with the array of pastries like Pistachio Raspberry Danish (S$5.50), Chicken Ham And Cheese Danish (S$6) and Pain Au Chocolat (S$4.50).
For espresso-based drinks, they have two bean options: the house blend (Dark Matter) and single origin options which changes up every now and then. The former is bold with chocolatey nutty notes while the latter is more floral and fruity.
They also have over 5 single origin filter coffee selections on their menu. Caffeine lovers can enjoy a cup of Black (S$5), White (S$5.50) or Mocha (S$6), with an additional S$1 for iced options.
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