4 of the Oldest Shops at Serangoon Garden [Local Guide]

By Ruth Loh Xiu / EdgeProp Singapore | June 4, 2019 3:00 PM SGT
Serangoon Garden is one of Singapore’s most-loved enclaves, popular with a multi-generational crowd. It has been designated by URA as an “identity node”, one of the first five private residential estates handpicked for the government’s inaugural Estate Upgrading Programme (EUP) in 2001. It is one of Singapore’s oldest private residential estates comprising mainly landed properties, with a history stretching back six decades and counting.
With a rich heritage built on generations of families living in the district and its multitude of evolving stores — including myVillage mall at Maju Avenue, which opened in 2011 — Serangoon Garden exudes life and lore. It is one of our nation’s most-loved neighbourhoods, and like Holland Village, it is set apart from much of Singapore by virtue of its low-rise, charmingly dishevelled housing architecture.
Its shophouses are neat and spruce and have a most well-loved feel to them, despite the lack of homogeneity — or perhaps because of it. Serangoon Garden shophouses command some of the most impressive transaction prices within District 19. The most recent shophouse transaction took place last Christmas — at an extremely auspicious $8,800,088 for a 2,164 sq ft unit.
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Much of the charisma of the village – as Serangoon Garden is colloquially known as among residents – lies in its unique features. Its circus for motor vehicles was highlighted as its most prominent landmark during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s 2001 speech to Serangoon Garden’s residents and leaders. Of course, Chomp Chomp is an undisputed household name among supper fiends. Its wet and dry markets, too, are a highlight of any visitor’s sojourn into this neck of the Serangoon woods.
Another facet of Serangoon Garden’s character is its fascinating shops, many with long legacies. The shophouses in Serangoon Garden flank the neighbourhood’s thoroughfare in fairly organised double-storeyed formation, but their uses are anything but homogeneous. Some businesses use both ground and upper levels of the same shophouse, while others are located on just one floor. Some shops have split a single level into two to create microstores, such as 4 Kensington Park, home to both the artisanal La Petite Boutique and Singapore Pools-authorised Gerk Chwee Trading.
The food available in this enclave runs the gamut from Japanese and Thai to Italian and French, with dessert places for both traditional Asian sweets and ice-cream with waffles. You’ll find pet shops, combative sports hubs such as brightly lit Kickmatics Taekwando, and numerous tuition centres. Gourmet coffee sellers, wine bars, and even old-school karaoke joints that come to life late at night complete the neighbourhood tapestry. Make no bones about it: this is a fantastically eclectic neighbourhood, ideal for those who love to socialise in a highly energetic scene.
Here are four of the village’s oldest living businesses, filled with flavour and colour.
Serangoon Garden Bakery and Confectionery
Address: Serangoon Garden Way Food Centre, Stall 45, Singapore 555945
Opening hours: 7.30am to 1pm (closed on Mondays)
 - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Singapore’s fluffiest butter cake calls this little dwelling home. Photo credit: Loh Xiu Ruth
This stall is located in the refurbished Serangoon Garden market. Facing Serangoon Garden Way, this old-school bakery is run by a group of sprightly seniors. This stall has been around for four decades or more, and while everything is great here (seriously!), the oven’s highlights are its amazingly fragrant butter cake and luncheon meat buns. The butter cake gives off a delightful aroma, springs back to the touch, and is as light as a cloud. The luncheon meat buns are utterly delicious, simple but profoundly flavourful. Other notables on the menu are sugary butter buns and kaya buns. Don’t overbuy if you’re on a diet, thinking you’ll eat just one and bring the rest home to share — it’s not gonna happen, mate.
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RK Eating House
Address: 1 Kensington Park Road, Singapore 557253
Opening hours: 24 hours
Crispy stacks of prata and milo dinosaurs await you here.  - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Crispy stacks of prata and milo dinosaurs await you here. Photo credit: Loh Xiu Ruth
The prata here is the rolls royce of its kind, with crisp edges and plump, pillowy insides. RK serves it with some of the most droolsome fish curry you could hope to find islandwide. This prata shop isn’t the only one in the neighbourhood, but it certainly is the oldest, and has been around for decades. It underwent renovation some years ago, but thankfully, unlike Chomp Chomp across the road, kept its food standards high after the facelift. It’s a halal prata house that serves teh tarik towers and tall tissue prata. Its mutton maggi goreng and Indian rojak are must-tries, too. Jalan Kayu’s got nothing on these bad, bad, calorie-loaded boys. If you’re a believer in making your calories count, think no more and order up a large stack of prata. Ask for extra fish curry.
Chong Hoe 中和 Health Products Chinese Medical Store
Address: 61 and 71 Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore 555957 and 555967 respectively
Opening hours: 8am to 7pm from Mondays to Saturdays, and 8am to 1pm on Sundays
One of the highlights of this place is undoubtedly its chilled traditional desserts, such as  agar-textured osmanthus jelly - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
One of the highlights of this place is undoubtedly its chilled traditional desserts, such as agar-textured osmanthus jelly. Photo credit: Loh Xiu Ruth
Founded in 1957, this traditional Chinese medical store is eight years older than Singapore. It has two stores in Serangoon Garden, mere metres apart. It sells refreshing and very tasty Chinese desserts in disposable cups, herbs and medicines, and word on the street is that it purveys a special brown rice carefully milled for weaning babies. The people at Chong Hoe are very helpful and are willing to talk you through the various ingredients for different uses, from serious topics such as lung ailments to frivolous ones such as brewing the best cheng tng.

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Pow Sing Restaurant
Address: 59 and 63 to 65 Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore 555961
Opening hours: 9.30am to 9.30pm, Mondays to Sundays
An appetising row of chickens indicates that Pow Sing is open - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
An appetising row of chickens indicates that Pow Sing is open. Photo credit: Loh Xiu Ruth
The frontage is old-school and an accurate reflection of this restaurant’s long standing in the neighbourhood. Opened for business more than 35 years ago, Pow Sing first started as a Hainanese restaurant serving up authentic Hainanese chicken rice. It is still famous for its unbelievably flavourful and utterly scrumptious chicken rice, but has evolved over the years to serve Peranakan-styled dishes as well. The lime juice is also a refreshing fixture on the menu, nicely balanced between tart and sweet. There are two Pow Sing outlets, both along the same shophouse stretch. The original outlet is the one in the picture above. The newer one presumably serves the same standard of chicken, but loyal fans still patronise the senior store. If you see an elderly but energetic gentleman chopping the chicken at the front of the original restaurant, give him a smile. He’s been with the restaurant for two decades or more.
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