Hidden Gems In Popular Hoods: Balestier
Located in central Singapore just outside the city area, Balestier is one neighbourhood you shouldn’t miss. Named after Singapore’s first American consul, this unique town is home to a number of delicious and scenic surprises waiting to be discovered.
Balestier is one of those few places in progressive Singapore that still retains old-world charm, as ornately painted and carefully refurbished shophouses stand shoulder to shoulder with modern public housing developments and shopping malls.
Both vibrant and laid back at the same time, the town is a great place to refuel and rejuvenate after a long day of shopping at Orchard Road. Simply hop on a bus or taxi heading for Balestier, and get away from the crowds!
Founder Bak Kut Teh
Bak Kut Teh (literally ‘meat bone tea’) is a flavourful broth of spices, herbs and meaty pork ribs that originated in the 19th century as a supplement to the diet of coolies, which was often low in nutrition. Today, all three variants of this dish are celebrated by everyone, from locals of all walks of life to foreign dignitaries. Those who prefer a stronger, more herbal flavour would embrace the Cantonese-style bak kut teh, while lovers of the savoury and peppery versions would flock respectively towards stores that serve the Hokkien and Teochew renditions.
As one of the best Teochew-style bak kut teh places around, Founder is perfect if you like your soup with that touch of spice!
Where it’s at: 347 Balestier Road
Opening hours: Wed – Mon 12 pm – 2 pm; 6pm – 2:30 am
Discover modern Chinese architecture in a garden landscape setting at this public park, which was built in commemoration of Dr Sun Yat Sen, the first president and founding father of the Republic of China.
Apart from the mall, office tower and two hotels here, there is also a memorial hall dedicated to him that’s open to visitors. You can also stretch out under the shade of the lush banyan trees, or check out the Burmese Buddhist Temple right beside the memorial if you’re culturally inclined.
Where it’s at: 20 Ah Hood Road
Opening hours: Daily 10 am – 10 pm
Just next to Balestier is Oasia Hotel Singapore, where you can retreat to for a good night’s rest and some well-deserved pampering. From the furnishings and facilities, to the service and ambience, everything has been thoughtfully designed for the weary seeking a break from the trappings of modern life. Find out more here .
Boon Tong Kee Chicken Rice
As a dish, chicken rice needs little introduction. You can’t go wrong with Boon Tong Kee, which started as a tiny Chinatown stall in the 70s and has since expanded to a chain of restaurants all across Singapore. This outlet in Balestier is its flagship, and it offers a wide range of stir-fried dishes to complement your chicken rice.
Order its best-selling Golden Tofu and Poached Chinese Spinach with Assorted Eggs for a most satisfying meal!
Where it’s at: 399/401/403 Balestier Road
Opening hours: Mon – Sat 11 am – 4:30am; Sun 11 am – 3 am
If your idea of a lazy afternoon is in a breezy café by the pool, you’ve come to the right place. With an industrial chic décor that features paint cans, metal pipes and bicycle wheels as part of its design, you get the sense that the folks behind FIX are big on DIY culture – which turns out to be the case as even their food is handmade with quality ingredients.
Choose from the Beef & Kimchi or Chicken Tikka naanwiches, followed by the Butterscotch Arabica Choux for a sweet finish.
Where it’s at: 31 Ah Hood Road, HomeTeamNS-JOM Clubhouse
Opening hours: Daily 11 am – 10:30 pm (except the last Tuesday of the month)
(This cafe is permanently closed)