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Ang Mo Kio
Illustration by Ha Le Ngo

Neighbourhood guide: Ang Mo Kio

Hawker haunts and alfresco eats make this densely populated ’hood one worth visiting. By Charlene Fang

By Time Out Singapore editors

With a name that directly translates to “red-haired man’s bridge” (Google the name John Turnball Thomson for the backstory), Ang Mo Kio was once an area covered in secondary forest and rubber plantations. It’s since been transformed into one of Singapore’s most densely-packed heartlands. While the nerve centre gravitates around the bustling Ang Mo Kio Hub, a few of its hidden gems are found closer to its other treasure – the sprawling 62-hectare Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

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Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club

This is a sight you won’t see often in Singapore. Located at Block 159 near Ang Mo Kio Town Garden, Kebun Baru is where bird-singing hobbyists gather their songbirds for ad-hoc performances. Showcased in unique cages hoisted on poles, the songbirds’ melodies help make for a relaxing stroll around the area.


Restaurants Cafés Bishan

This family-friendly restaurant has a few things going for it: it’s affordable, has a killer view of the park and a has a decent selection of craft brews like Heart of Darkness (USA) and Monteith’s Summer Ale (New Zealand) at pocket-friendly prices. While the grub is pretty standard, items like the har cheong gai burger ($14.80), mentaiko fries ($9.50) and kimchi pancakes ($16.90) don’t disappoint.

Bishan-Ang Mo Kio park
Photo: PUB

Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park

Things to do Bishan

While the west has Bukit Timah and the Botanic Gardens, the north has the equally picturesque Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. With a three-kilometre-long river running through it, the urban park is a welcome green lung to the otherwise concentrated HDB ’hood. With massive ponds, a dedicated dog run and an adventure play space, the park also has a handicap-friendly area complete with a wheelchair swing, allowing kids of all abilities to have fun. Keep an eye out for numerous classes and activities like yoga, in-line skating and the occasional free zumba and tai chi sessions too.

Double Scoops

Double Scoops

The name says it clearly enough, you won’t just have a single helping (from $3.20) of gelato at this joint. Handmade from scratch, the creamy scoops favoured here are the Sea Salt Gula Melaka, made with palm sugar from Malacca and the Thai Milk Tea. Variety is one of its big draws: flavours include everything from pistachio and orh nee to mao shan wang and an After Eight-inspired scoop with sizable chocolate bits.

Mellben Seafood

Mellben Seafood

You no longer need to travel to Pasir Ris for a taste of Mellben Seafood’s speciality crab dishes – although you have to for its Laksa Crab Beehoon as it’s only available there – thanks to its numerous locations including one at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3. Pro tip: arrive before 5.30pm (or make a reservation) to beat the queue for Mellben’s umami-packed claypot crab bee hoon, creamy butter crab and famous chilli crab with fried mantou.

Belinda's traditional pancake

Belinda's Traditional Pancakes

Min chiang kueh (Chinese pancake) may be readily available, but a good, old-fashioned version that’s dense, moist but still crisp to the bite is worth travelling a bit further for. Plan to go early (it opens from 6am) as the pancakes usually sell out before lunchtime. There are two choices, traditional ($0.90), filled with either peanut, shredded coconut or red bean paste, or the crispy cone ($1.20), which comes in peanut, coconut, chocolate or cheese. And while you’re there, make space for some putu mayam ($1.60), the rice flour cakes with gula merah and grated coconut flesh are exceptional.

Dragon Playground

Ang Mo Kio Dragon Playground

Built in 1978 and designed by Khor Ean Ghee, this terrazzo tile dragon with its spine made of steel rails and metal ladders is just as kid (and Instagram-friendly) as its more famous sister in Toa Payoh Lorong 1. Plus, instead of sand surrounding the dragon, it has rubberised mats that are a less messy alternative for the kids to muck around in.

Aramsa Garden Spa

Health and beauty Bishan

What we love about this garden spa is that it actually is one. Each of the 17 treatment rooms comes with an individual garden courtyard or an outdoor shower or bath area shrouded with plenty of foilage. With a wide range of treatments, including a few specialised ones like the Huna Huna Massage, silicone cupping therapy and Elemis body and face treatments, Aramsa has your wellness needs covered. Plus, there’s the in-house Yoga Seeds Green Room, making a half-day yoga and spa retreat totally doable.

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