Neighbourhood guide: Farrer Park

Where to go, what to eat, and what to do around Farrer Park

Get acquainted: Not to be confused with the uppity Farrer Road off Bukit Timah, Farrer Park is a sleepy but up and coming suburb located a stone’s throw from Little India. Assuming you are already well acquainted with this part of the city, the best way to explore the area is to veer northwest away from the hustle and bustle, and towards Cambridge Road.

Shop for bargains: Upon leaving Farrer Park MRT station, head towards Cambridge Road Market and Food Centre (41A Cambridge Rd), also known by regulars as Pek Kio. This is where many car-pooling mummy groups convene for $0.50 cups of kopi. Their spot of choice to discuss school politics: Xiang Xiang Coffee Stall (#01-19). After pumping up on caffeine and gossip, head to Healthy Vegetable (#01-70) for affordably priced Johor-farmed organic vegetables (ranging from chye sim, a fried vegetable dish, to lettuce), and yummy fishballs from store #01-12. A few steps away, at Le Café Confectionery (Blk 42, #01-02 Cambridge Rd) you’ll find the most scrumptious pineapple tarts selling all year for $7.80 (per jar of ten pieces).

Eat: Thaksin Shinawatra, the ex- Prime Minister of Thailand, allegedly made a food stop at Ng Ah Sio Pork Rib (208 Rangoon Rd) in early 2007, just four months after the military coup in 2006. Impressive. It must be for the highly addictive and peppery hot pork rib soup. Also worth a taste is Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles (#01-15, 41A Cambridge Rd), one of Singapore’s best prawn noodle soups. Its rich, unctuous, lardtopped broth is to die for – but brace yourself for the temperamental aunty taking your order. For the ultimate Teochew porridge, sniff your way to the corner coffee shop beneath Blk 42 for Teochew Porridge (Blk 42, Cambridge Rd off Beach Road); we hear Aun Koh (aka food blogger Chubby Hubby) comes here to get his porridge fix when not checking out glitzy restaurants.

Get fit: In the dim and distant past, Farrer Park is where Singapore’s first turf club (the Serangoon Road Race Course) was erected back in 1842. Today, it continues to be home to numerous sports complexes, including the Farrer Park Aquatic Centre (2 Rutland Rd), home to the Ang Peng Siong Swim School, and the Farrer Park Tennis Centre (1 Rutland Rd).

Take a walk: Why pay to exercise if you can take a leisurely walk along leafy Cambridge Road towards nearby kid-centric United Square Mall (101 Thomson Rd). The Cambridge Road residential enclave has a ramshackle charm to it and it’s here that a certain VIP recently planted his dream home. Juxtaposed among the dilapidated terrace houses, you can’t miss the New York-style brick stone house with an elevated peek-a- boo glass panel revealing designer lightings.

Get smart: This little-known area is also home to Chow Yun-Fat’s cheerful aunty-in-law, Mei Ho, who owns a decorative art studio Heartroom Gallery (Blk 44, #01-311 Owen Rd), where she dishes out therapeutic folkart lessons (including Russian decorative art) in a small, brightly lit studio. We hear her classes ($35 per session, excluding materials) are booked up, and her Monet-style fine-art paintings are popular with fine-art lovers.