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The ultimate guide to Kallang

There’s more to Kallang than being home to the longest river in Singapore and sports

Singapore Sports Hub
Photo: Singapore Sports Hub
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Ever wondered where the Kallang wave originated from? If you guessed anything but Kallang, you need to get your head checked. The name ‘Kallang’ derives from an old Malay reference to a certain group of sea nomads who lived by the Kallang River. It was also home to Singapore’s first civil airport and the old National Stadium. 

Now, a trailblazer, it features the mega Singapore Sports Hub which is easily spotted by its iconic dome. If that’s not enough, Sport Singapore (SportSG) has plans to develop the precinct within the next six years with the inclusion of the Youth Hub which includes an indoor cycling track and spaces for non-traditional sports like speed-climbing and parkour, as well as Kallang Football Hub, Singapore Tennis Centre, Benaan Kapal Green, Alive Gateway and Loop. The Kallang Theatre and its adjoining areas are also set to be an integrated sport, entertainment and lifestyle centre. Other plans include a multi-purpose arena for e-sports events, a themed hotel, and an international sports medicine centre. Can we get Kallang cheer, please?

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Eat

Restaurants, Barbecue

Camp Kilo Charcoal Club

Kallang

Getting messy with a saucy slab of barbecued pork ribs is best done outside, the sun in your face and grass under your feet. And you’ll have the whole hog at this out-of-the-way American BBQ joint along the Kallang River. We mean that literally: Camp Kilo Charcoal Club is famed for its whole roasted pig and boneless lechon, as well as chipotle pork ribs and roast chicken that come fresh off the grill.

Restaurants

Café Melba

Marine Parade

At some point, you have to take your kids out for a meal, so why not order comforting treats at this Aussie-inspired restaurant located at Goodman Arts Centre? The young ’uns can dig into stacks of pancakes with fresh berries and maple syrup, or French toast with honey at this cosy nook. Kids eat free with every main course ordered on Mondays. But first: let them jump around the bouncy castle from 3pm, or let their creative juices flow at the arts and crafts corner from 5pm to 8pm.

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5 Little Monkeys Café
Photo: 5 Little Monkeys Café
Restaurants

5 Little Monkeys Café

Kallang

Swing by this rooftop café that comes complete with an outdoor garden. Soak up the panoramic view of Kallang as you satisfy your appetite for light bites like salads, sandwiches and wraps, comfort food à la pizzas and burgers, or even traditional Peranakan dishes. Tickle your tastebuds with its signature assam fish head curry that's served piping hot, along with steamed rice and homemade achar. This tantalising dish is massive in portion, so it's best shared by a table of four. 

Banchong Cafe
Photo: Banchong Cafe
Restaurants

Banchong Café

Raffles Place

For starters, Banchong is "a gathering call for the neighbourhood." So gather the gang and start the day with some good ol' breakfast – freshly made kaya toasts, soft-boiled eggs and hot kopi or teh. And if it's past the brekkie hour, satiate your hunger with local dishes like mee siam, laksa and curry chicken which comes with either prata or French loaf. What sets this apart from your regular kopitiam, however, is its modern, minimalist setting.  

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dim sum
Photo: Unsplash
Restaurants

Mongkok Dim Sum

Geylang

When that late-night craving for fried dim sum hits, Mongkok Dim Sum has got you covered. Open 24 hours every day, this popular dim sum joint makes an ace supper spot. Order up favourites like its signature prawn dumpling, the custard bun, and the Shanghai pork dumpling – all for less than $5. Add on the three-yolk crab porridge which makes an excellent choice to share among your four buds.

Restaurants, Chinese

G7 Live Seafood

Kallang

Dreaming of frog leg porridge? Get those midnight cravings sorted at this restaurant in Geylang. From $8, you can choose between the dry chilli bullfrog or the ginger spring onion bullfrog. If you're not keen on the frog, opt for other seafood dishes such as fried prawns with salted egg and cereal, black pepper and butter crab.

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Restaurants, Hawker

Old Airport Road Food Centre

Geylang

If it's any indication, the countless snaking lines at the stalls will tell you that this is possibly the most renowned hawker centre on the island. Good food can be had even if you hate standing in queues. Start with the soft, smooth handmade rice rolls from Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun or chewy pork-stuffed fishballs at Meng Kee Minced Meat Noodle & Foo Chow Fish Ball’s. Be sure to save space for Toa Payoh Rojak, Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee and Mattar Road Seafood Barbecue too.

Do

Things to do

Kallang River

Rochor

Fun fact: the Kallang River is the longest river in Singapore. It stretches for 10 kilometres from the Lower Pierce Reservoir to the Kallang Basin. Before making a name for itself as the top spot for water sports, it used to be home to the sea nomads who lived on boats in the  Kallang Basin. Today, you'll find canoes and dragon-boats instead. And if you prefer being on foot, jog or walk down the running tracks by the river. Check out the Kolam Ayer Waterfront and its unmissable bridge bathed in vibrant hues which makes a perfect 'ram moment.

Sport and fitness

Singapore Sports Hub

Kallang

This massive enclosure has hosted a myriad of sporting events including the HSBC Rugby Sevens and the International Champions Cup at its 55,000 seat National Stadium. It also features an adjoining three-storey mall complete with a rooftop water park and even a vertical playground for climbing enthusiasts called Kallang Wave – named after the classic crowd gesture seen at football matches during Singapore’s footballing heydays. There's also the Indoor Stadium utilised for concerts and indoor sports as well as the OCBC Arena, the OCBC Aquatic Centre, the Kallang Water Sports Centre, and a sports library.

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Shopping, Lifestyle

Decathlon Singapore Lab

Kallang

Decathlon Singapore Lab is the biggest one yet. At 5,000 square metres, the sporting goods store packs more than just equipment, gear and everything you need to be living your best active life. It's also open 24 hours if you ever need a wholesome place to practise archery, skating or shooting some hoops. The best part of this sprawling store are the active stations located around the store allow visitors to try the products out themselves (and squeeze in some fun and exercise) before making the purchase.

Things to do

Leisure Park Kallang

Kallang

For all things leisure and entertaining, look no further than Leisure Park Kallang. Right by the Stadium MRT station, this mall offers everything you need for a good time under one roof, from bowling alleys, cinemas and ice-skating rings, to restaurants and shops for some retail therapy.

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Sport and fitness, Stadiums

The Cage

Kallang

Deemed as Singapore's "first indoor football stadium", The Cage allows football enthusiasts to bend it like Beckham on six 5-a-side pitches – rain or shine. The space is perfect for small practices, friendly matches, free-flow footies, and simply to show off those fancy footwork you've been working on for some time now. Open on a regular, the venue has energetic music pumping through its speakers to keep the ball rolling.  

Things to do

Goodman Arts Centre

Marine Parade

This former grounds of LASALLE College of the Arts is now a  cultural centre of sorts with a Black Box theatre, art spaces, rehearsal studios and rooms for hire. Located within a charming ground surrounded by old school buildings and lush greenery, the art space makes a great setting for you to get those creative juices flowing.

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Old Kallang Airport
Photo: Terence Ong
Things to do

Old Kallang Airport

Kallang

The first civil airport built in Singapore back in 1937, the now de-commissioned space is now a recreational area for events – and perhaps a cool, mini-photoshoot for the 'gram. Today, you can still find the Terminal Building, Hangar and entranceway gates on-site, giving you major throwback vibes and excellent backdrops. It's definitely a must to check out if you're within the area. In her second attempt to fly around the world, Amelia Earhart landed at Old Kallang Airport – her 24th pitstop – and called it the “aviation miracle of the East”.

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