Hop on to the blue line for a family experience of a different kind.
Not only can you get from east to west (and vice versa) in just 45 minutes on the Downtown Line, you can make many stops along the way that will be just as fun for kids and parents alike.
This 17.3 hectare Zhenghua Nature Park links the Bukit Panjang Park Connector to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, forming a vital link between nature reserves and forested areas.
A diverse species of plant species has been introduced to facilitate habitat enhancement for the surrounding fauna, so high biodiversity can be observed in the park. Visitors have spotted at least 37 different bird species including the olive-backed sunbird, the flameback woodpecker and the long-tailed parakeet.
This hidden park in the northwest is ideal for both jogging and cycling. Green serenity awaits.
Zhenghua Nature Park
450 Bukit Panjang Ring Road, 670450
There’s a tasty little Italian secret in Hillview, and residents have kept hush-hush about it for far too long. The iO Italian Osteria in a second-floor shop lot in the quiet and breezy HillV2 serves authentic Italian cuisine that’s won them the prestigious Ospitalita Italiana Gold Seal Award from the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.
With a sleek open-kitchen concept, you’re able to see what the chefs (who mostly hail from Rome) are up to. Don’t miss the signature pork belly starter ($9 for a small portion), the wine collection (more than 15 varieties from Piedmont, Sicily and Tuscany), and baked treats and desserts like panna cotta and cannoli. Buon appetito!
iO Italian Osteria
#02-01 HillV2, 4 Hillview Rise, 667979
Relive a part of Singapore’s history at the Former Ford Factory, where you’ll be brought back to the fall of Singapore in 1942 as the British soldiers surrendered to the Imperial Japanese Army.
The Former Ford Factory hosts a standing exhibition titled Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and its Legacies, under the management of the National Archives of Singapore. The exhibition takes you through fascinating scenes of life in pre-war Singapore all the way to post-war reconstruction.
Entry is free for all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, and there are free guided tours which are limited to only 20 places daily, so be sure to get there early.
Former Ford Factory
351 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, 588192
Thai boat noodles were originally served from boats that floated through Bangkok’s canals and there would usually be only one merchant handling the business, from the cooking to the washing. The bowls were small, helping to prevent any spills when handing the dish over to the customer on another boat.
Take the train to King Albert Park and pop in at Royal Thai Boat Noodles and Bar and savour these little bowls of pork or beef boat noodles that cost just $3.90 per bowl! The establishment serves other Thai delights too, such as all-time favourites like Phad Thai and mango sticky rice.
Royal Thai Boat Noodles and Bar
#01-01/02, 9 King Albert Park, 598332
This eye-catching, 118-year-old house once belonged to Tan Teng Niah, a Chinese towkay (a business owner) who owned several sweet-making factories along Serangoon Road. Many believe that he built this eight-room residence for his wife, and had it embellished with intricately-carved wooden doors and a calligraphic inscription which translates to “elegant pine”, hinting strongly at endurance and vast aspirations.
It is the last surviving Chinese villa in Little India, the final remnant of Chinese businessmen who once thrived in the area. The psychedelic colours serve as a great backdrop for Instagram photos, and we’ve no doubt you’ll be heading straight for some Banana Leaf Apollo, just three minutes away, once you’re done snapping.
House of Tan Teng Niah
37 Kerbau Road, 219168
A tasty childhood treat has taken a modern twist, and can be found in the heart of the Central Business District at The Pantree. This min jiang kueh has a superbly thin, crisp skin and a pillow-soft centre that has won the outlet a loyal following of customers, and a mention in the Michelin Guide online.
Its extensive menu of pancakes ($2.50 and up) includes flavours from the traditional peanut, to sweet cookie butter (speculoos!) and savoury luncheon meat and cheese. Each pancake is made fresh to order. Hot beverage, anyone? Or do you need both hands to juggle your min jiang kueh?
Okinawan cuisine means no ramen, no tempura, no sashimi. Thanks to a long history as a port of trade, it incorporates Chinese and Southeast Asian flavours (think spices like turmeric) into its cuisine, and also tends to feature lots of pork.
For an authentic taste of this Okinawa, head to Nirai Kanai Okinawan Restaurant at Liang Court. The traditional restaurant decor and slow-simmered dishes will transport you. Look for dishes like the slow-cooked pork belly ($9.80 for two pieces / $14.80 for four pieces), as well as Okinawan shochu ($9.60 for a glass).
Nirai Kanai Okinawan Restaurant
#B1-01/02 Liang Court Shopping Centre
177 River Valley Road, 179030
Never underestimate each of these UFO-shaped dough treats. Oyster, pork, prawns, and chives make for a big flavour punch. Topped with savoury ikan bilis and roasted peanuts, this traditional Fuzhou snack is available in two sizes — $1.80 for a normal oyster cake and $2.30 for one with extra ingredients. Of course, they are best enjoyed when hot, or dipped in some chilli.
Fu Zhou Poh Hwa Oyster Cake
#02-34 Berseh Food Centre
166 Jalan Besar, 208877
Take a trip to Bendemeer to check out the 18 terrace shophouses that are a bright splash of colour on Petain Road.
Designed by British architect EV Miller for businessman Mohamed Bin Haji Omar in 1930, these Chinese-Baroque styled Peranakan buildings simply sizzle on camera. Walk down the long corridor and admire the Spanish floral ceramic tiles and floral motifs that line the walls that are the perfect backdrop for an #OOTD pic.
Ubi is more than industrial parks and driving test centres. In this estate lies a hidden treasure that serves lorbak (Hokkien for “braised meat”). At Mr LorBak, the pork belly comes in huge chunks with a hint of Peranakan influence.
Owner William Liou adapted his granny’s recipe, and prepares the pork with 20 herbs and spices that give it a wealth of flavour. Mr Liou has worked in the kitchens of Copthorne King’s Hotel and Swissôtel The Stamford, and has been smart enough to give the stall its own Instagram.
#01-947 Block 350
Ubi Ave 1, 400350
Take the train to Tampines West, where you’ll find awesome aerial views of Bedok Reservoir at the first and only tree-top obstacle course in Singapore, Forest Adventure. There are three different courses here — grand (for the fearless), junior (for the “Tarzan apprentice”), and one for the kids.
The grand course promises 2.5 hours of monkeying around on the treetops, with 44 adrenaline-pumping obstacles, including three giant zip lines. The junior course prepares one for greater heights with 26 obstacles including a 300-m zip line over the waters. Little ones aged 5-9 should be kept busy on 22 crossings and two zip lines.
Bedok Reservoir Rd
Easties are still celebrating Century Square’s recent re-opening in June 6 after being shut for a nine-month, $60 million makeover. Half the tenants of the upgraded mall are new, with much-loved additions like Hai Di Lao, Pizza Express, FatPapas, Nakhon Kitchen, Mahota Kitchen and Saveur. Boon Tong Kee’s first outlet in a shopping mall also opened there. Remember the fashion label M)phosis? It has made a comeback with an outlet here after abruptly shutting all its outlets in 2015. There are also new amenities like a roof deck, and even mobile charging stations.
2 Tampines Central 5, 529509
Adapted from Young Parents, November 2018