Choa Chu Kang may not be famous as a foodie district, but it has its edible charms. "We even have a whole bunch of hip ice cream cafes, okay?" quips tertiary student Derek Lau, who's lived here all his life.
"Most foods are pretty affordable in this neck of the woods, so it's easy for us to just head somewhere nearby to eat well and hang out," he adds.
This place specialises in nasi rempah, which is kinda like nasi biryani meets nasi campur. The basmati rice is spiced with things like turmeric and cinnamon, and it comes with a side of really good fried chicken drumstick, a hard-boiled egg and fried ladies fingers.
Actually, think of it as biryani meets nasi lemak. I say that because the dollop of sambal that comes with the dish is as much like nasi lemak sambal. There's also a mee rempah version and tofu fries, if you're feeling too virtuous for French fries…
302 Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4, #01-719, Singapore 680302.
Kam Par Claypot Bak Kut Teh
My family's go-to spot for soul-soothing claypot food. My parents love the bak kut teh which is herbal and robust with spices.
I much prefer the chicken and salted fish claypot rice, 'cos how does one drink hot herbal soup in this crazy hot weather? They also do a mean braised pig trotters, with meat and gelatinous skin that just falls off the bone.
143 Teck Whye Lane, Singapore 680143.
This is among the latest of many ice cream and dessert cafes that have sprung up around here. They serve things like brownies and molten lava cakes, but most people come for the waffles and ice cream.
I like the lychee rose ice cream best and usually have it in one of their oversized cones. They also have a good selection of iced-brewed shaken tea and smoothies.
The pink walls make this a popular place for Instagrammers, and I suppose it's no surprise since it is owned by Melina Irwan who has 65k followers on Instagram.
818 Choa Chu Kang Ave 1, #01-06, Singapore 680818.
Ah Boy Chicken Rice
Ask anyone about the best hawker stalls in this neighbourhood and chances are you'll hear about Ah Boy Chicken Rice. This is nothing fancy — just very good poached chicken with that quintessential layer of tasty jelly on its skin.
The rice is fragrant and slicked with fat, which makes it damn shiok when you're hungry and craving comfort food.
678A Choa Chu Kang Crescent, Singapore 681678.
Oh My Mango Dessert Bar
This is a fun place to come for desserts and thick toast. It probably gets its name from the mango bingsu that it serves, which comes blanketed with cubes of fresh Thai honey mango and shaved milk ice.
There's also a mango sticky rice frappe with sticky rice and coconut milk at its base and a mango ice blend on top. It's like Thai mango sticky rice dessert in drink form. Weird, but good, lah.
475 Choa Chu Kang Ave 3, #01-24, Singapore 680475.
This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg.