A lowdown on Bishan lifestyle [Local Guide]

By EdgeProp Singapore / EdgeProp Singapore | June 3, 2019 7:00 AM SGT
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One of the appealing things about Bishan is that as well as the new shiny malls and trappings of the 21st century, it retains a very strong connection to its past. Its history – and its name – stems back to Kwong Wai Siew Peck San Theng, a Cantonese and Hakka cemetery established in 1870 in what is today Bishan New Town. The area steadily attracted more and more settlers and became a refuge for many of the local population after the nation fell to the Japanese. Peck San Theng ceased operating as a cemetery in 1973 and a decade later the graves were exhumed in order to make way for the building of the New Town, though it still serves the community as a columbarium to this day.
Personally, while strolling around the area, my mind is flooded with childhood memories. A case in point is this children’s playground located on Bishan Street 13.
The iconic clock playground on Bishan Street 13. Credits: EdgeProp Singapore
The iconic clock playground on Bishan Street 13. Credits: EdgeProp Singapore
This being Singapore, we can’t talk about Bishan without mentioning food. The locals have known for years just how good the food options in Bishan are, and they couldn’t care less if the rest of the island don’t realise it. The fact that the cafes and restaurants here aren’t as well known and aren’t going to send your Instagram into meltdown does not mean they do not serve delicious food in charming surroundings.
Kim San Leng Hawker Food Centre
The jewel in Bishan’s culinary crown. Credits: EdgeProp Singapore
When it comes to hawker style dining in Bishan, the star of the show has to be Kim San Leng Food Centre.
Trying to recommend a stall is impossible as everyone you speak to has their own favourite, but Ming Kee Chicken Rice has become somewhat of an institution and is many people’s favourite chicken rice stall anywhere. A few stalls down there is also Lian Bang Fu Zhou which is developing a very good reputation for its dim sum.
A short walk to Junction 8, located right next to Bishan MRT Station, is where you will find a good selection of international eateries.
Junction 8 Bishan EdgeProp Sg
Junction 8 serves up international cuisine from all four corners of the globe. Credits: EdgeProp Singapore
In the basement of Junction 8 is The Mark8t, which has a small but good collection of hawker-style eateries, while there is also a Food Junction on level 4.
When it comes to shopping, Junction 8 offers enough, so Bishan residents are not forced to travel outside for their retail therapy fix.
Made up of five retail floors as well as the basement, Junction 8 has a good range of fashion, beauty and wellness, as well as electronics stores. It also has a Pet Lovers Centre and is home to the Golden Village Cinema, as well as the FairPrice Finest supermarket.
For a change of scenery, take a five-minute drive from Junction 8 to the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, which also houses a couple of restaurants.
Tori Yard is a Yakitori Restaurant where you will be torn between soaking up the lush green surroundings and allowing yourself to be mesmerised by the skilful preparation of your food at the open grill stations. The Yakitori is some of the best on the island, but there is a lot more to the menu, including an intriguing and delicious salmon skin salad.
Tori Yard Bishan EdgeProp Sg
Tori Yard provides spectacular food in a wonderfully relaxed environment. Credits: Screenshot from Tori Yard Website
Next door is Canopy Garden Dining. In keeping with its location, it offers a fantastically chilled garden dining experience. The menu boasts some imaginative takes on classic dishes as well as tapas options. You can choose to dine inside or al fresco, and it is a perfect venue for events and parties. It is also pet friendly, so it’s a great option for dog walkers. The accompanying Middle Rock Garden Bar is an ideal place to start or end the evening with a cold beer or classy cocktail or two.
Canopy Garden Dining in Bishan EdgeProp Sg
Canopy Garden Dining and the Middle Rock Garden Bar. Credits: Screenshot from Canopy Garden Website
The western half of the park, after crossing Marymount Road, is where you will find the other F&B option that this park has to offer. Grub recently celebrated its sixth birthday, and this wholesome bistro continues to go from strength to strength. It’s not hard to see why, with its location in the heart of the park, easy parking nearby, and an eclectic menu featuring several imaginative fusion dishes and a good selection of burgers.
Grub Restaurant in Bishan EdgeProp Sg
Grub serves up some of the best burgers in town. Credits: Screenshot from Grub Website
After all that food, it’s good to burn off some calories, and you are in the perfect place to do just that.
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Bishan Ang Mo Kio Photo Spot EdgeProp Sg
Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park on Bishan’s northern perimeter in an oasis of calm. Credit EdgeProp Singapore
Once again, the park may not be as prestigious or celebrated as many of the other more high-profile ones on the island, but the locals certainly know what a gem it is. It is similar to the Sengkang Riverside Park, but this is smaller, quieter, and somehow it just feels more natural. With its meandering stream, lush meadows and quaint stepping stones, it really is a delightful place to stroll or while away the hours.
River spot in Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park EdgeProp Sg
A river runs through it. Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Credit: EdgeProp Singapore
Street signs for all ages in Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park EdgeProp Sg
The park is not just a place to sit or stroll, with activities for all ages. Credit: EdgeProp Singapore
Stepping Stones in Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park EdgeProp Sg
The renowned stepping stones in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Credit: EdgeProp Singapore
For those who need a helping hand or two to help them truly relax, there is Aramsa The Garden Spa. Situated nearby the Canopy restaurant, there can’t be many more tranquil locations in Singapore to have the full spa treatment.
Aramsa Garden Spa in Bishan EdgeProp Sg
Aramsa The Garden Spa has an enviable position. Credit: EdgeProp Singapore
For the young ones, there is a large and attractively designed play area with sand pit.
Children's Playground Spot in Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park EdgeProp Sg
The large sandpit and children’s playground. Credit: EdgeProp Singapore
Bishan has a lot going for it, and a lot to offer residents and visitors alike. The fact that it doesn’t shout about it from the rooftops, but merely goes about doing what it does best, is what makes it so alluring.
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