There was a time when the thought of travelling to Sengkang brought me much pain, but here I am—now a resident of this neighbourhood. Ah, I reckon this is a hit of karma for whining so much about the long commute to my fiancé’s home, but now that I’ve settled here, the area has grown on me.
We last wrote about Sengkang when we hit the polls in July 2020, but le’s not be foolish to think that is all to this newly-helmed GRC. The food spots are a-plenty and as more F&B establishments stretch their empire and set roots here, Sengkang residents are getting luckier (and belly happier) by the day.
So, here it is, our 12 scrumdiddlyumptious spots in Sengkang that will convince you to hop on the NEL train and make your way over!
1. Zoey’s Diner
It’s an uncommon expectation to find an aesthetic-forward cosy cafe within a neighbourhood mall. Sengkang-dwellers are blessed with this gem that is Zoey’s Diner, a cafe that boasts a ‘Feel Good Comfort Food’ mantra in which they swap out traditional burger buns for baos.
One of their highlights is the non-use of MSG. Also, food is made fresh daily, and prepared sans preservatives. When they say ‘fresh’, they certainly mean it; everything is cooked from scratch, including their buns, pasta sauces, and even salad dressings.
Ranging from S$5.90 to S$10.90 for a la carte items, diners have the option to add on S$2.20 for a meal, which comes with a side and a drink. For those who enjoy buns that ooze buttery pleasure, there’s also the choice of brioche buns. However, we highly recommend you choose their fluffy steamed buns, as they make for great textural contrast against the protein.
If you haven’t already had a bite of Zoey’s Diner’s burgers, there’s no better time than now. They’ve recently revamped their menu to feature new burgers, pastas, salads, and sides, along with an in-store exclusive Ice Cream Baobae. Think succulent Beef & Cheese Baobae (S$9.90), a satisfyingly crunchy Buttermilk Fried Chicken Baobae (S$8.90), a familiar favourite in the form of Har Cheong Popcorn Chicken (S$5.90), or staff favourite, Charred Corn Soup (S$3.90), to complete your meal.
What’s so special about their Ice Cream Baobae (S$5.90) is their one-of-a-kind bao vanilla ice cream sandwich drizzled with golden salted egg yolk sauce. You’ll want to ensure you save room for that! To quench your thirst and pair something refreshing with your meal, their carefully selected beverages from Winnie’s will satisfy.
These drinks are invigorating hand-brewed teas made from premium tea leaves. You can simply upgrade to your favourite bubble tea with options such as Lychee Rose Nectar (S$5.20) and Classic Afternoon Milk Tea (S$4.40).
It’s high time that we had the convenience of access to gourmet burgers in the heartlands and Zoey’s Diner is here to serve. Offering comfort food with a gourmet touch, Zoey’s Diner has delighted the neighbourhood with its quality offerings at great value since opening 10 months ago. With its aesthetically pleasing decor and delicious menu, Zoey’s diner is not only here to whet your appetite, but to also warm the cockles of your heart.
King of Fried Rice opening in Sengkang caused many to flock to this famous fried-rice-with-pork-chop connoisseur. It’s been famously compared to Din Tai Fung’s version, and many have sworn by this humble stall’s iteration (heck, we even wrote a food showdown pitting both of them against the other).
There are four types of fried rice ranging from a regular Egg Fried Rice (S$4) to a fiery plate of Mala Fried Rice (S$5), alongside two proteins—Shrimp or Pork Cutlet—for you to add-on. The moment our writer got a hold of her Egg Fried Rice With Pork Cutlet (S$6.50), its fragrance hit her. Every grain of their egg fried rice was individual and glistened under the white lighting of the hawker centre. The short-grain pearls had a chewy texture with random hits of saltiness in between bites.
The pork was so tender that she could easily cut through it with my plastic spoon. As she chewed on the meat, she felt the layers of fat and lean meat breaking apart between her teeth.
Despite the hour-long wait, the verdict is that this simple fried rice dish is well worth the wait. The only question left is, when will you make time to come here?
King of Fried Rice (Sengkang Outlet): 10 Sengkang Square, Kopitiam Square, #01-48, Singapore 544829 | Tel: +65 8266 1638 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10pm (Daily) | Facebook
Yes, in a wondrous twist, not only is this beloved Sengkang haunt known for its oyster omelette, but Sengkang Square oyster omelette also happens to be one of the few in Singapore that’s halal. Given that its repute leans heavily on oyster omelette, I wanted to put it to a cheeky test of only trying that dish—and that alone.
Now, here they hawk Fried Oyster and Fried Oyster Omelette, with the former having potato starch added while the latter is scrambled with egg. I ordered the latter in the S$6 portion (they also serve an S$8 portion). It arrives tantalisingly fragrant, with enough smokiness to battle with the hawker centre’s already hazy atmosphere. At first glance, there is a modest amount of oysters glistening and plump for devouring.
As they say, if you’re going to name yourself after a dish, by golly, it better be darn good. And this was—and is.
Sengkang Square Oyster Omelette: 10 Sengkang Square, Kopitiam Square, #01-57 Singapore 544829 | Opening Hours: 24 hours
I’m sure in a group of friends, there’s at least one friend who stays the furthest away from everybody. That friend might stay in Sengkang, and if you’re looking for a hotpot place for your next gathering, Michin Korean BBQ & Hotpot will do the trick.
As the name implies, Michin Korean BBQ & Hotpot offers a buffet-style Korean barbecue (KBBQ) and hotpot (S$17.80/adult on Monday to Thursday, S$19.80/adult on Friday to Sunday, PH & Eve of PH). Although, now with safe-distancing measures in place, the staff will most likely serve your requested buffet items straight to your table.
There’s a wide range of marinated meats such as Black Pepper Chicken, Shoyu Pork Belly, Garlic Beef Slice, and Garlic Pork Collar to name a few. Apart from the displayed meats, you can also order the more premium meats from the counter at a separate charge. Choose between Australian Wagyu Shabu Shabu Slice (S$9.80/100g) and Spanish Iberico Pork Shabu Shabu Slice (S$6/100g).
They also have over 30 vegetables and sides which you can choose from for the hotpot. As for the hotpot broths, they have a total of six soup bases to pick from—Kimchi, Mala, Tom Yum, Ginseng, Seaweed and Collagen. Don’t stress if the broth runs low throughout your meal as it’s refillable.
One of the biggest advantages of this place is its location, which means you can pop down for dinner to satisfy your cravings anytime. There’s no need to worry about having to dress up and if you’re not heading down during their peak periods—especially on weekends—you won’t necessarily need to book in advance.
5. Nakhon Kitchen
Founded on the basis of serving delicious and authentic Thai food to diners at an affordable price, Nakhon Kitchen started off as a small eatery situated in along Hougang Street 21. Since then, the eatery has gained a cult of loyal followers and now has seven outlets in Singapore with its latest additions located at Compass One and VivoCity respectively.
Nakhon Kitchen offers a mixture of dishes with exotic flavours of Northeastern Thailand’s Issan Cuisine and Bangkok’s street food cooking. During your visit, indulge in common Thai dishes like Pandan Leaf Chicken (S$6), Thai Mango Salad (S$5) and Pineapple Fried Rice (S$6). And if you and up for something different, their Stir-fried Clams With Sweet Basil Leaves (S$10) and Deep-fried Prawn With Tamarind Sauce (S$12) will definitely be up your alley.
6. Tenderbest Makcik Tuckshop (Jalan Kayu)
It all started with Tenderbest Makcik Market at Bedok, before the North-Easties soon saw Tenderbest Makcik Tuckshop sprout in Jalan Kayu. The main selling point here is their ability to provide unique local fusion foods in a premium setting, but at prices you’d expect to see at a coffeeshop.
Their Indomie Loaded Fries (S$5.90), which uses the addictive seasoning mix that’s usually found in Indomie noodle packets is topped with a sunny-side-up and a housemade sweet sauce. Our writer appreciated how they managed to tone down the otherwise MSG-laden seasoning.
Tenderbest Makcik Tuckshop has no shortage of zany and unique prata offerings if you often step outside your comfort zone. Give their Cheeesy Meatloaf Prata (S$4.90) or Philadelphia Cheese Steak Prata (S$4.90) a shot too when you swing by. Otherwise, the Nasi Coco Supreme (S$12.90) is also an impressive option that you can enjoy alone or generously share with friends.
For unique, local-inspired dishes that are kind to your wallet, this is a spot that you’ll want to add to your list of makan haunts for the weekend.
Tenderbest Makcik Tuckshop, Jalan Kayu: 246 Jalan Kayu, Singapore 799470 | Tel: +65 9779 9477 | Opening Hours: 12pm – 11pm (Mon to Thu), 12pm – 12am (Fri), 11am – 12pm (Sat), 11am – 11pm (Sun) | Facebook | Instagram | Website
7. Boat Noodle Express
Boat Noodle Express is its third outlet, which just happens to be in quaint Rivervale Plaza. It is indeed related to Noodle Café at Golden Mile Complex, however, Boat Noodle Express has since gained independence and offers similar-yet-different dishes.
The highly-regarded Pork Special Boat Noodle ($4.80) comes as a bowl of soup piled with glass noodles and swimming with slices of pork, meat balls and beansprouts. The broth is addictively spicy, and if you want to add more oomph to your bowl, there’s always the option to throw in a sprinkling of sugar and/or chilli flakes.
One of the big pluses for this place is the ability to choose your noodle type, and of course, you can’t have a Thai meal without Signature Thai Ice Milk Tea ($2.50) to both quench and quell your thirst and the distinct heat from the dishes. I must say, the prices will make any meal here a steal, and if you happen to live nearby, that’s a double win.
Boat Noodle Express, Rivervale Plaza: 118 Rivervale Drive, Rivervale Plaza, #K1-26/27, Singapore 540118 | Tel: +65 90688060 | Opening Hours: 11am – 9.30pm (Daily) | Facebook
8. Souperstar (Compass One)
Having spent most of their childhood helping out at Fortune Food, sisters Wei Ting and Wei Ling have since witnessed the growth of their family-run business. Stepping into the increasingly competitive environment, instead of simply continuing the legacy passed on to them, they decided to venture out of the box, which led them to found Souperstar.
Their Modern Popiah Souper Combo (from S$13) is great for those who want a twist on a familiar favourite. The Seafood Wasabi Mayo (+S$1) and a bowl of Creamy Thai Tom Yum soup (+S$1.20) comes highly recommended by our writer. The Seafood Wasabi Mayo was a great combination of fresh prawns, tuna chunks, and crab sticks rolled together with sliced cucumbers, wakame seaweed, cherry tomatoes and mixed lettuce. Smeared with light wasabi mayonnaise, the entire wrap resembled a salad bowl densely packed into a roll.
Sometimes a satisfying meal doesn’t call for a smörgåsbord of everything from the land and sea; it just requires simple ingredients prepared right and that’s what Souperstar offers.
9. Teck Ee Seafood
A familiar name that is known amongst the residents of Compassvale and Sengkang East, Teck Ee Seafood is a neighbourhood zi char stall residing outside Buangkok MRT Station. Known for their Red Grouper Fish Head Steamboat (S$38) and Assam Fish Head (S$28), this eatery a fuss-free establishment for anyone who is looking for a conducive communal dining space.
Seafood lovers will surely enjoy their Assam Fish Head that features a fresh snapper fish head soaked in tangy and spicy tamarind gravy. In addition, their Cereal Prawn (S$24) also makes for an ideal dish for those who enjoy a blend of sweet-spicy flavours and the crunchy textures of buttery cereal.
Tech Ee Seafood: 277C Compassvale Link, #01-13, Singapore 543277 | Tel: +65 6481 1132 | Opening Hours: 6am – 11pm (Daily)
10. Armenian Street Char Kway Teow
Even after relocating from its previous location along the corner of Armenian and Loke Yew Street to Anchorvale within Sengkang GRC, Armenian Street Char Kway Teow remains a must-visit for char kway teow lovers. Started since 1949, Mr Tan took on his father’s business and till today continues to prepare fresh pork lard daily—the key to cooking up a good plate of stir-fried flat rice noodles.
Coated with sweet dark soy sauce, Mr Tan’s Char Kway Teow (S$3) has a slightly damp consistency and is loaded with ingredients such as fish cake, Chinese sausages, cockles and bean sprouts. Each mouthful is filled with the burnt scent of wok hei and together with random crunchy bits of pork lard, this plate of char kway teow is the epitome of sinful delight.
Armenian Street Char Kway Teow: Blk 303, Anchorvale Link, Singapore 540303 | Tel: +65 9851 3725 | Opening Hours: 11am – 8pm (Mon to Wed, Fri to Sun), Closed on Thu | Facebook
11. Lao Hero Kitchen
Craving for crab? There’s no need to venture to the big guys, when Lao Hero Kitchen is here to serve right in the heartlands. At the time of publishing this, they’re currently having a promotion of two crabs for just S$69.90nett.
To go with your crustacean course, they also serve other seafood delights such as Black Pepper Prawns (S$18), Cereal Sotong (S$14), as well as Grouper cooked in a variety of styles (from S$5 per 100g). We can’t forget the carbs, with Sambal Fried Rice (S$6.50), or the vegetables—my personal choice would be Sambal Kang Kong (S$8).
Just listing these dishes is making me really hungry; I might have to schedule a seafood feast some time soon. Luckily for me, I live in the same ‘hood, so let’s see if Lao Hero Kitchen lives up to its delicious images.
Lao Hero Kitchen: 267 Jalan Kayu, Singapore 799495 | Tel: +65 6483 0325 | Opening Hours: 10am – 11pm (Daily) | Facebook
12. Ramen Hitoyoshi
How can we not include a Japanese entry in our list? I mean, I would be doing my neighbourhood a disservice if I didn’t try to include as many cuisines as I possibly can in this non-exhaustive list. Ramen Hitoyoshi does have a few outlets around the island, but we, Sengkang-ians, are fortunate to have one right in Seletar Mall. Ramen Hitoyoshi is a partnership between two Singaporean chefs, Ray and Tan, both of whom previously worked for the famed Japanese ramen stall, Keisuke Tonkotsu King. As such, the ambience, service, and food here closely resemble an authentic Japanese hole-in-a-wall ramenya.
One thing that sets this ramen joint apart from so many others is that their tonkotsu broth is simmered for over eight hours but surprisingly, isn’t served there and then. Instead, it is served the next day after being chilled overnight in order to heighten its rich and gelatinous quality.
If you’re unsure of what to order, a safe bet would be Original Tonkotsu With All Toppings ($14.90), according to our writer. The broth was rich, creamy and very satisfying. The black fungus had infused the broth with a pleasantly faint aftertaste of mushrooms as well. Overall, a very good rendition of tonkotsu. Want to switch things up a bit? Then head straight for their Garlic Tonkotsu With All Toppings ($15.90). Using the same tonkotsu broth and toppings, the only difference was a dollop of garlic oil. But oh, what a difference it made!
Since we’re soon going into our annual monsoon season, I reckon this place will soon be more frequented than usual.
Ramen Hitoyoshi, Seletar Mall: 33 Sengkang West Ave, Seletar Mall, #02-K6, Singapore 797653 | Tel: +65 6282 7868 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.45pm & 5pm – 9.45pm (Mon to Fri), 11am – 9.45pm (Sat & Sun) | Facebook
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