The Ultimate Guide to Farrer Park's Hidden Gems
Take a step back and discover all of Farrer Park's Hidden Gems.
Farrer Park (not to be confused with Farrer Road) isn’t what comes to mind when you first think of Singapore. Would you even know the neighbouring locales? But Farrer Park is a secret marvel in and of itself; it has its own forgotten history, one that you can only glimpse at when you look hard enough.
Table of Contents
- Farrer Park: A Colourful Past
- Top 10 Farrer Park’s Hidden Gems
- MetroResidences Singapore Serviced Apartments—Your Home Base for Travels Beyond
Farrer Park: A Colourful Past
Its history is just as eclectic as the many colonial shophouses that line its streets. The name comes from a racecourse that used to be in a neighbourhood that was built in 1843 before it was moved to Bukit Timah. Originally called the Singapore Racecourse, it was renamed Farrer Park Racecourse after Roland John Farrer, the President of the Municipal Commissioners from 1919 to 1931. The racecourse was a pinnacle of the social life of colonial and postcolonial Singapore, where Malay and European royalties would watch the Spring Races, before the wealthy Chinese joined them.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, its sporting legacy continued as new sports facilities were built and completed. The new Athletic Centre opened, which included a swimming complex. The stadium became the training ground for training Singapore’s top sports talents like Ang Peng Siong, who was ranked first in the world in 1982 in the 50-metre freestyle at the United States swimming championship. The facility also produced soccer greats such as Majid Ariff, Rahim Omar, Quah Kim Song, Dollah Kassim, and coach Choo Seng Quee.
Besides all the sporting glories, Farrer Park has also experienced the most pivotal points in Singapore’s history. In 1942, Indian and Malay soldiers were rounded up at Farrer Park to switch allegiances to the Japanese as they successfully conquered Singapore. Then, in 1955, the neighbourhood was where People’s Action Party campaigned for self-government and independence.
But, towards the end of the millennium, the neighbourhood lost its status as a sports hub. The sports facilities were demolished to build the North East Line on Singapore’s MRT system, as well as new residential apartments. Plenty of Singapore condo rentals and apartment rentals sprouted up too. Other modern facilities include the City Square Mall, Singapore’s first eco-friendly mall, as well as the Farrer Park Medical Centre.
Farrer Park’s Hidden Gems
While the Farrer Park MRT station is a popular way to get to the area, some hidden gems can take quite a walk from Farrer Park MRT. We’re also looking at places outside of City Square Mall because a Uniqlo isn’t really a hidden gem, isn’t it? Nevertheless, you can enjoy the eclectic designs of the shophouses in the area as you walk to Farrer Park’s Hidden Gems, which are definitely a breath of fresh air from the busy city skyline of Singapore.
1. Loop Garms & Stakeout
This is a pure vintage haven. The pair of vintage stores sit side by side underneath an unassuming apartment block. You can find mainly vintage clothing in Loop Garms where they have a wide range of lineups for any stylist. They buy and trade vintage clothes too!
Meanwhile, Stakeout contains a kaleidoscope of vintage goodies. Find anything from board games to computer games, from concert merch to movie posters. But there are two kinds of price tage: tiered pricing items and single-price items.
For tiered pricing items, you can buy more items to enjoy a lower price. There are three tiers: 1piece, 3 pieces, and 5 pieces, where you need to buy the corresponding amount to enjoy the lower prices in the higher tiers.
For single-price items (usually around $15 to $30), you get $10 off automatically when you purchase 5 single-price items. You can find more info about the terms here.
Address: 635 Veerasamy Road # 01-154 Singapore 200635
How to get there: Start from Farrer Park MRT station Exit I, walk along Serangoon Road, turn left on Syed Alwi Road, then a right at Kampong Kapor Road, then a final left at Chitty Road to find Block 635.
Or, take a 2-minute walk from Jalan Besar MRT station Exit B.
2. Ramabear Thai Mart
Just across from Stakeout and Loop Garms is this little slice of Thai heaven—its owner found herself missing the Thai snacks from back home. What better way to always have a piece of your childhood memory? Ramabear Thai Mart boasts an eye-popping variety of Thai goodies, from Baan NaRa Thai Crispy Pancakes and Lay’s chips with Thai-exclusive flavours. Or, indulge in an ice-cold cup of Thai Milk Tea or Thai Milk Coffee after a hot day’s worth of exploring!
Address: 73A Jln Besar, Singapore 208817
How to get there: It’s just outside Jalan Besar MRT Exit B.
Or, start from Farrer Park MRT station Exit I, walk along Serangoon Road, turn left on Syed Alwi Road, then a right at Kampong Kapor Road, then a final left at Upper Weld Road to find Ramabear Thai Mart at the corner of Jalan Besar and Upper Weld Road.
3. Heartroom Gallery
Let your soul wander with the power of art. Heartroom Gallery offers a space where artists of all levels can come and explore. Established in 1996, they adopt a philosophy of freedom in their classes, where anyone and everyone can come in and learn how to make the art you want to make. You can find art classes galore, covering traditional decorative painting, acrylic painting, manga, and Chinese brush painting.
Address: Blk 48A Dorset Road, #24-119, Singapore 211048
Phone number: +65 9672 7849
Email: [email protected]
How to get there: Take Exit A at Farrer Park MRT Station, walk along Gluocester Road to get to Dorset Road.
4. HAMBAOBAO & Lil’s Taproom
Two halves make a whole, after all. This neat little gastropub is tucked away inside a commercial building along Sam Leong Road, where one half of it is a burger joint (HAMBAOBAO translates to burger in Mandarin), and the other is, of course, a bar (Lil’s Taproom).
There are five burgers available at HAMBAOBAO, as well as Loaded Nachos if you’re just looking for a nibble. At Lil’s Taproom, you can find an eclectic variety of craft beer on tap that comes in 3 sizes: (Lil’s: 6.5oz / Mommy: 10.5oz / Daddy: 15oz).
Address: 11 Sam Leong Road, TRIO Building #03-08, Singapore 207903
Email: [email protected]
How to get there: Take Exit I at Farrer Park MRT Station, walk along Kitchener Road, turn right on Verdun Road, then left to Sam Leong Road.
5. Swee Choon Dim Sum
Residents from across the island would still flock here for their midnight dim sum fix. This venerated right called itself Singapore’s favourite dim sum restaurant. Established in 1962, their dim sum remains one of the island’s best. They’ve grown to own four units in the same shophouse, along with express takeaway outlets across Singapore!
Their must-try include the Mee Suah Kueh (deep fried noodle cake, stunning!), Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun (heavenly!), and their Xiao Long Bao (transcendent!)
Address: 183/185/187/189, Jln Besar, 191/193, Singapore 208882
Phone: +65 6225 7788
How to get there: Take Exit I at Farrer Park MRT Station, walk along Kitchener Road, and turn right on Jalan Besar (don’t cross to the other end!). Walk along Jalan Besar until you see Swee Choon.
6. Cheng Mun Chee Kee Pig Organ Soup
It’s comfort food for plenty of Malaysians and Singaporeans. The pig’s organ soup is a broth boiled with a mix of offal and vegetables. Most of the time, the soup includes liver, heart, intestines, stomach, tongue, pig blood curd, as well as pork meat slices, strips of salted vegetables, celtuce and a sprinkle of chopped onion leaves and pepper.
Cheng Mun Chee Kee is a favourite haunt for the neighbourhood. There’s another stall with a similar name, as they originated from the same family before they went their separate ways. Besides their signature Pig’s Organ Soup, you can also try Steamed Minced Meat with Chestnut, and their Black Vinegar Eggs.
Address: 24 Foch Rd, Singapore 209263
How to get there: Take Exit I at Farrer Park MRT Station, walk Northeast along Serangoon Road, and turn right on Petain Road. Then take a left at Jalan Besar, before you see the fork onto Foch Road.
7. Ipoh Tuck Kee●(正宗)怡保德记
Amidst the sea of restaurants in town boasting the name ‘Ipoh Tuck Kee’, only one stands tall as the true OG, hailing all the way from the food haven of Ipoh, Malaysia. Don’t be fooled by imposters, taste the real deal at this zi char haven; they only have outlets at Clementi, MacPherson, and Jalan Besar. Since 1963, Restoran Tuck Kee has been tantalizing taste buds with their legendary fried noodles. And don’t even get us started on their Yu Kong Hor—moonlight hor fun—simply unforgettable!
Try their Wat Tan Hor, stir-fried thick noodles in a thick egg sauce—the very dish that catapulted the business into cult status in Ipoh. There also Another dish you must get is the Hokkien Dai Lok Mee, which are thick stir-fried noodles with shrimp and pork slices. You truly can’t miss it!
Address: 31 Kelantan Lane, #01-12, Singapore 200031
How to get there: Take Exit I at Farrer Park MRT Station, walk Southwest along Serangoon Road, and turn left when you reach Rowell Road. Walk the way until you see Jalan Besar, and cross over to the other side to find Kelantan Lane, which is beside the Berseh Food Centre.
8. Rong Fu HK Roast
Chicken rice is a staple dish for many Southeast Asian countries. As simple as it is fulfilling, chicken rice is a favourite comfort food for almost everyone in Singapore. But this stall doesn’t only sell chicken rice; its roasted pork dishes are amazing too! Their Siew Nyuk (roasted pork with crispy skin) is divine with its crisp, briny skin. Meanwhile, their Char Siew (honey-roasted pork) is simply oozing with goodness.
Address: Kim Sam Leng Eating House, 16 Verdun Road, Singapore 207279
How to get there: Take Exit I at Farrer Park MRT Station, walk along Kitchener Road, turn right on Verdun Road, and the coffee shop is on your left at the corner of Verdun Road and Sam Leong Road. The stall is nestled within Kim Sam Leng Eating House.
9. Main Street Commissary
Looking for some Western fare with a little creative twist? This cafe also houses a curatorial art space, but their bites are just as refreshing. And here’s a huge draw: they have all-day breakfast! Their menu for all-day breakfast is extensive; you can find classics like Eggs Benedict and French Toast, or you can spice it up with the Sriracha Chicken Brioche.
Their lunch menu also has plenty of scrumptious delights: Teriyaki Chicken Rice Boawk, Lasagna Roll Ups, and the Pesto Linguine. There is also, coffee, of course, where they hawk their own Cold Brews along with their Filter Coffee. If you’re lucky, you can indulge in their glorious tiramisu too!
Address: 81 Rowell Road, Singapore 208014
How to get there: Take Exit I at Farrer Park MRT Station, walk along Kitchener Road, turn right on Verdun Road, and continue on. Turn right when you reach Rowell Road. The cafe is settled in one of the shophouses, around the middle of the block.
It’s rare to have food that tastes as good as it looks. On the outside, it just looks like another hipster cafe. But the duo of sisters have gained their stripes by first starting with their home-based bakery specialising in tiramisu (yes, we love tiramisu).
They have an all-day brunch menu, and we recommend the SYIP Big Breakfast with its creamy and fluffy scrambled eggs and fragrant tater tots. To sweeten the deal, bank on their previous expertise and try their tiramisu. It comes in two versions: one that’s non-alcoholic and another with Kahlua.
Address: 79 Owen Road, Singapore 218895
How to get there: Take Exit I at Farrer Park MRT Station, head northwest and cross Serangoon Road to get to Rangoon Road. Continue on Rangoon Road and walk past Farrer Park Hospital. Cross Race Course Road and then turn left. Turn right onto Owen Road, and Syip will be on the left.
About the Writer: Benedict Lim
As the resident punmaker, Benedict is really bad at making people laugh. They’re much better at diving into the nuances of the things they write about.
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