Living it up in Serangoon - The Easy Guide

Let’s take a trip to the North-Eastern side of Singapore. Here's a look into our very own Serangoon guide.

You may know Serangoon, the MRT Interchange. But if you head out and explore beyond Serangoon Central, you can discover its multifarious cultural fabric. You can even find a quaint line of traditional shophouses too, similar to the ones in East Singapore. A rich collection of great eats, countless shopping options and a welcoming ambience to greet you; Serangoon always offers a good time. So here’s the only guide you need to a place you’ll love calling home. Who knows, you could find it as an interesting staycation idea too.

Here’s what you can expect in this read:

History of Serangoon

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During the 1820s, the district became an industrial area for the brick kiln trade and cattle farming, which were carried out mostly by Indians. By 1826, thousands of Indians had come to Serangoon Road to work as construction workers and farmers. The majority of Indians who came to Singapore were either South Indian Muslims or middle-caste Hindus.

The name Serangoon is likely to be derived from burong ranggoon, referring to a species of black and white stork that lives around Sungei Serangoon (formerly called Rangoon River). Satu, or one in Malay, was added to the name, thus becoming Serangoon. This name was used for a long period of time before it eventually evolved to Serangoon.

Serangoon Today

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At present, the busy town of Serangoon houses an estimated 69,000 HDB residents with approximately 22,000 flats.

Step out of Serangoon MRT station and you’ll find yourself at Nex shopping mall. This heartland mall is home to many brands such as H&M, Sephora and Isetan department store. So, take this opportunity to indulge in some eating and shopping in the largest mall situated in the North-East region of Singapore.

Walk out of Nex and visit some neighbourhood cafes. Treat yourself to some cakes, waffles and ice cream at Wimbly Lu Chocolates or Cottontail Creamery. You’ll need to do a bit of navigating amidst residential estates, but it’s worth the effort. A simple trick is to use your google map to help you navigate around should you fear getting lost.

Craving for supper? A favourite amongst residents is late night hotspot is the Hong Chang Frog Porridge and BBQ Fish. Popular for its signature frog porridge and seafood.

Alternatively, you can choose to take a 5-minute drive down to Serangoon Gardens. This estate is known for its countless eateries and its buzzing nightlife, with Chomp Chomp hawker centre that’s been serving up excellent local fare since 1972. Not to mention, there’s the Serangoon Garden Market & Food Centre, where you can relish all kinds of cuisine, from Japanese bento boxes to ban mian noodles. For some midnight goodies, there’s always the piping pratas from Sri Sun Express.

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Our Favourite Eating Places To Visit

#1 Cottontail creamery
Where is it? #01-378, 326 Serangoon Avenue 3, Singapore 550326

Cottontail creamery is a charming ice cream cafe nestled within a residential area; just a 10mins walking distance from Nex.

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This cafe offers a wide range of unique artisanal ice cream, waffles, crepes, speciality coffee and tea with an open-concept food preparation area.

With a total of 18 flavours of ice cream available, interesting and uncommon flavours include Craft Beer IPA, Mont Blanc Chestnut, Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Blackcurrant and Fresh Pink Grapefruit sorbet.

The food here is affordable with ice cream available at $3.50 per single scoop and $6.50 for a double scoop. An additional $1 top-up is required for premium flavours. Pair your ice cream with $5 for waffles or $3.50 for a crepe, along with sweet toppings such as Nutella, Homemade Jam or Caramel crunchies, all priced at $1 each. Alternatively, go for some savoury options such as Tuna Mayo, Kurobuta Ham or Cherry Tomatoes ranging from $0.50 to $2.50 per topping.

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#2 Hong Chang Frog Porridge and BBQ Fish
Where is it? 2 Braddell Rd, Singapore 359895

A sizzling pot of gravy with juicy and tender frog meat, showered in chillies and spring onion.

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Hong Chang Frog Porridge and BBQ Fish. Popular for its signature frog porridge, sambal stingrays and sambal squid. Give the trip to Chomp Chomp at Serangoon Gardens a skip and try this instead!

An all-time favourite late night hotspot for those craving seafood. It is sure not to disappoint.

#3 Wimbly Lu
Where is it? 15-2 Jalan Riang Singapore 358987

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This quaint little cafe is a great place where families and friends can indulge a variety of delectable desserts in a cosy and warm ambience. A definite go-to for dates or a night out with your family and friends.

Heading over after a heavy dinner? No worry. Wimbly Lu serves half-portions for some of their desserts. Flourless cakes are available too for those that need a skip on that gluten.

Be sure to try some of their popular items like the molten lava cake, root beer cake, nutella cake, lemon meringue pie and their highly raved waffles and ice cream.

Pros of Serangoon

#1 Accessibility to public transport

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Serangoon, a central area with great accessibility to public transport.

Serangoon has an MRT station that connects directly to two other MRT lines. Serangoon MRT interchange connects the North East (NE) and Circle Line (CC); a bonus for all those who live nearby. You can easily get to city-fringe locales like Farrer Park too. For those travelling by bus, there are bus stops all around Serangoon including the air-conditioned Bus Interchange within Nex mall. So it’s no wonder rental rates go for a premium in Serangoon.

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#2 Plenty of amenities

Serangoon boasts plenty of amenities with comprehensive offerings of retail, entertainment and dining options.

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Head over to Nex mall. With a total of 340 shops, it is a favourite hangout for residents and visitors alike. Shop for groceries at the 24-hour NTUC Fairprice Xtra hypermarket or catch a movie at Shaw Theatre’s cineplex on Level 4.

Looking for a new sweater? Look to fashion giants Uniqlo and H&M or check out the Isetan department store that spreads across 3 levels. Need a gift for your girlfriend? Head to Sephora on Level 1 and get her some beauty goodies.

Wishing to spend some time with your young kids? Bring them to the rooftop water playground. If you have a dog, there’s a rooftop dog park for your little pup to run and play. Spend your afternoon doing some quiet reading at the Serangoon Public Library, the first public library to be built on a rooftop. Alternatively, grab your running shoes and head to Anytime Fitness on Level 4R.

Serangoon just seems to have everything and I mean almost everything.

#3 Education

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Serangoon has a good mix of schools: five primary schools, four secondary schools and one junior college. Examples such as Yangzheng Primary School, St. Gabriel’s Primary School, Zhonghua Secondary School and Nanyang Junior College. There are international schools nearby Serangoon as well.

Cons of Serangoon

#1 Confusing mall layout

We should warn you first that many have commented on the confusing layout of the mall.

The whole layout of the shopping mall is very confusing. You might find yourself walking in circles in trying to locate the shop that you want to go to. Although Nex is big, there is always a huge crowd at any time of the day. This might be frustrating for some people.

Perhaps you might very well agree and think that the layout of nex is confusing, a terror to walk through and a crowded place to be in.

#2 Noise Pollution

One study has found that Serangoon, Clementi and Bukit Timah are among the noisiest neighbourhoods in Singapore. Thousands of residents live next to busy roads, MRT tracks, construction sites and shopping malls. And have you seen the swell of the crowds at Serangoon MRT and Bus Interchange? Closing all the windows around one’s home is not even sufficient and sadly, many have become accustomed to living with noise over the years.

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