Serangoon Garden Market is a popular place for the many patrons of Serangoon’s night scene to pre-game or load up on carbs before meeting in one of the nearby pubs. It’s also a favourite spot for Singaporeans who stay in the Central East area to gather for a simple meal. Open since 1962, it last went through major renovation works in the early 2000s. Now, it’s time for Serangoon Garden Market to undergo another facelift.
In March 2021, Serangoon Garden Market will be closed for an as of yet undetermined period of time for extensive renovation works. Here are 5 iconic Serangoon Garden Market stalls you should visit before that happens!
There’s often a long queue of hungry people outside Garden Street Kway Chap. One imagines it has been that way for a while, since the stall has had plenty of time to refine its recipes since going into business in the 1940s. Founded by the late Mr. Koh, the stall has since been taken over in 2005 by his son, Jason, an ex-pilot. There was a lot for Jason to pick up, as cooking kway chap is an extremely labour-intensive process, from making the broth to ensuring the pig offal is sufficiently clean.
Served with braised peanuts and preserved salted vegetables, kway chap is an ideal choice for those rainy days when you just need a bowl of something warm and comforting.
Some of Ah Seng Braised Duck Rice’s loyal customers have been ordering from them for decades. As the word-of-mouth about their food circulates, their popularity continues to soar. It’s not uncommon to see queues forming even before the stall opens at 11am every day. The Teochew approach to making braised duck rice means the broth is on the lighter side, which means you can drench your rice in it. If you have friends who complain about the heavy and herbal taste of braised meat broth, this is a good choice for re-introducing the dish to them. But don’t underestimate the power of the broth, though subdued, the herbal undertone adds to every bite and the tender duck meat is all the better for sitting in it! Ah Seng Braised Duck Rice also serves up sides like tau pok, tau kwa, braised eggs and cabbage.
Mr. Chin, who hails from Ipoh, started this stall with recipes from his mother. He takes the quality of his ban mian so seriously that he took a year to find a supplier whose noodles are up to par. He also uses mani cai, or sweet potato leaves in his soups instead of cai xin or spinach. Hungry diners can pick sliced abalone, clams, prawn or fish to go along with their noodles.
Each bowl is also served with a little saucer of homemade green chili padi dip, which is so addictive you may have to go back for a refill! Mr. Chin’s mei cai or preserved Chinese mustard is also homemade and adds a unique savoury flavour to every dish.
Pancake King was established in 1998. The quality of their food is of supreme importance to them, so much so that they offer full refunds to anybody who doesn’t like their food. They only use Australian or Kiwi butter for their pancakes and only olive oil for their banana and apple cinnamon cakes. They also believe in using exactly zero MSG and preservatives. All food is made in-house daily – no mass-produced food from central kitchens allowed! Aside from their signature pancakes or mee jian kueh, they also sell other snacks like carrot cake, banana cakes, apple cinnamon cakes, rice kuehs, sesame balls and yam cakes.
Many Singaporeans who prefer a lighter breakfast often grab a hotdog bun or a coffee custard bun on their way to work. This old school bakery and confectionery has been serving large morning crowds for over 30 years! They open early, at 7:30am and their shelves of freshly baked goods usually empty out by 2pm. Their smash hits include their butter sugar bun, where a generous dollop of salted butter sits in the centre of the bun and melds delightfully with crunchy sugar as you take a bite. A close second would be their custard puffs, with the slightly burnt exterior and the creamy custard within. Their cheese buns are also insanely popular and another example of how great they are at balancing sweet and savoury together to create the best flavours. Aside from these gems, you can also get other traditional treats like banana cakes, lunchon meat buns and kaya peanut buns.
Know friends who stay in the Central East area? Meeting friends nearby for a few drinks to catch up? Make a date and go grab some good food before Serangoon Garden Market is down for who knows how long!