Home to stunning coastlines that lend a scenic backdrop to the rich maritime history and flourishing shipping trade, Sembawang is also home to some of the best local flavors that stood the test of time.
It isn’t surprising if you find the northern enclave a bit “ulu,” but you’ll be surprised to discover these gems that keep the flames robust and continue to delight locals with their familiar, satisfying and unwaveringly tasty home-grown flavors.
These 5 best local eats are worth the trip to the north.
The eponymous restaurant got its name from its famous White Beehoon ($7.90), which has been well-loved by locals since 1999. Even customers from neighboring towns take the journey to Sembawang just to swirl the moist noodles of deep chicken flavor, paired with sweet prawns, cham sim, sotong, and soupy egg in a savory broth.
Address: 22 Jalan Tampang, Singapore 758966
Hours: 10:00 AM – 9:30 PM Daily
Even in the wee hours of the night, it is not unusual to see customers queue up for their highly-acclaimed Nasi Lemak. A massive hit among locals and late-night crawlers for good food, this supper spot is famous for the aroma of coconut rice and goes overboard with its wide array of sides.
Folks love the sambal brinjal, spicy stir-fried string beans, and the usual accouterments of crispy fried egg, ikan kuning, and fried chicken wings.
Address: 447 Sembawang Road, Singapore 758404
Hours: 5:00 PM – 6:30 AM Daily
Run by the second generation of the family that started the Fish Head Curry ($35) authority in 1967, the legacy of their homey dishes has a strong and loyal following among locals and tourists.
The Assam stew of tangy and spicy fish has a milder flavour and generous portion, which can be shared well by 2-3 persons. The red snapper head was very fresh and tender and was accompanied by a melange of equally fresh vegetables.
Address: 579B Sembawang PI, Singapore 758429
Hours: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Step into the smell of charred smokiness of claypot rice ($12.80), where the rice is cooked directly in the clay pots that imparts its fragrant aroma and flavors.
The 40-plus-year-old recipe continues with the marinated chicken poured over the semi-cooked rice, goes for a second steaming, and finishes with lap cheong, salted fish, and vegetables for the last few minutes of cooking.
Then the claypot will be served hot on the table, and once you lift the clay cover, the fragrance will fill the air, and the dish is quite a sight to behold. Each mouthful is satisfying.
Address: 4 Jalan Tampang, Singapore 758948
Hours: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM Daily
Keeping the traditions alive since 1964, Gin Thye Cake Maker is a well-regarded bakery for its handmade and traditional pastries and betrothal gifts in Hokkien, Cantonese, Hainan, and Teochew weddings.
Indulge in a plethora of fine mooncakes like the lotus with egg yolk ($49), Teochew Da Lao Bing ($17), and the irresistible Durian White Snow Skin Mooncake ($43), among others.
Being honored by the National Heritage Board for the rich heritage and consistently good quality, this is the closest you could get to a traditional pastry dream, and it’s right here in Sembawang.
Address: 423 Sembawang Road, Singapore 758392
Hours: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM Daily
With the support of the locale and the consistency of quality, these 5 best homegrown food gems continue to thrive and delight the taste buds, transcending the past and a flourishing future to come.
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