There’s more to the north than the Singapore Zoo. Get your adrenaline pumping while wakeboarding in Sembawang, or work up an appetite kayaking down Lower Seletar Reservoir. After an action-packed day, hit up these Halal eateries in the north for a sumptuous treat.
Get back in touch with nature by making a stop at this residential area in the northeastern corner of Singapore. Home to plenty of lush parks and ponds with serene waters, the idyllic town of Yishun is worth a trek to the north.
Arnold’s Fried Chicken
The irresistible smell of fried food pulls a crowd to Arnold’s Fried Chicken daily. The 30-year-old fast food chain has perfected the art of achieving crispy, golden brown chicken that’s juicy on the inside. Arnold’s sizeable spring chicken meals come with a side of fries and coleslaw (S$7.30-S$12.80), which, on its own, is enough to feed a small family. The local brand also honours Singaporean heritage, with ice cream paired with ice kachang (local shaved ice dessert made with red beans, jelly and sweet syrup) on its dessert menu.
When in Yishun, do as the heartlanders do and pay a visit to Yishun Pond Park, a tranquil spot in the middle of the residential estate. Climb up the spiral tower for a bird’s-eye view of the area—you’ll spot Housing Development Board apartments, which are government housing that most Singaporeans call home, as well as the lush greenery of nearby Yishun Park.
Yishun 10 Cinema Cineplex. 51 Yishun Central 1 #01-04, Singapore 768794. +65 6757 7732.
Venture beyond run-of-the-mill fast food brands, and give local burger joint BurgerUP a shot. Besides unique creations like beef rendang (braised meat cooked in coconut milk and spices) burger (S$5.80) and cranberry chicken supreme burger (S$9.50), you can even customise a burger to suit your taste.
Up for a drive? Order your burgers to-go and cruise through the winding streets of the Yishun heartlands to Yishun Dam. A popular fishing spot among locals, it is also a great spot to bask in the sun’s warm glow before it descends behind shimmering vistas.
Yishun 10 Cinema Cineplex. 51 Yishun Central 1 #01-03, Singapore 768794. +65 6257 1255.
If you’re coming into Singapore via the Johor-Singapore Causeway, Woodlands will be your first stop to refuel before exploring the rest of the city.
Rasa Istimewa Waterfront Restaurant
Soak in picturesque views of the Johor Straits as you tuck into barbecued seafood dishes and a host of other Halal zi char (stir-fried) dishes. The waterfront restaurant is perched in the middle of Woodlands Jetty, endowing your dining experience with the feeling of dining out at sea—sans the rocky boat and seasickness. Try the restaurant’s signature chilli crab (from S$66) and salted egg yolk chicken (from S$20), a favourite among locals in recent years.
The restaurant is located next to the impressive Admiralty Park, spanning 27 hectares. Sungei Cina river runs right through the park, which makes strolling next to the river the best way to explore the park. If you fancy veering off the beaten track, there are several other trails that will bring you up-close and personal with monkeys in their natural habitat, as well as rare flora like the Putat Kampung Tree and Hedgehog Rattan.
Rasa Istimewa Waterfront Restaurant. 6A Admiralty Road, Singapore 757445. +65 6366 9339.
Mon-Fri 2pm-midnight; Sat & Sun noon-midnight.
Citrus By The Pool
The sound of children splashing in water and whistles of swimming coaches are a part of the unique ambience when you dine at Citrus By The Pool. Located within Woodlands Swimming Complex, the Halal-certified restaurant serves mostly western-inspired dishes, such as grilled free range chicken (S$12.80) and carbonara pasta (S$9.80) made with turkey bacon and ham.
If you’re there for a dip, avoid swimming on a full stomach and opt for light bites like Citrus’s sinful cheese fries (S$4) or crispy chicken nuggets (S$3.50).
Woodlands Swimming Complex. 3 Woodlands Street 13 #3-3A, Singapore 738600. +65 6366 6581.
Mon-Fri 11am-11pm; Sat & Sun 9am-11pm.
Madini Food Stall
This unassuming stall specialising in nasi briyani (an Indian spiced rice dish with meat or vegetables) attracts locals from all across the island. Conveniently located near Woodlands Checkpoint, the unpretentious eatery makes for a quaint pit stop to satiate hunger pangs after a long day. Order the chicken briyani (S$5.50), which comprises fork-tender curry chicken and fluffy basmati rice. Madini’s savoury chapati (Indian unleavened flatbread) and keema (minced meat curry with peas and potatoes) also make for a very filling meal at an affordable price.
Madini Food Stall. Block 4A Woodlands Centre Road #02-74, Singapore 731004.
Ah Meng Restaurant
After a day spent getting to know the inhabitants of the Singapore Zoo, drop by Ah Meng Restaurant. Named after Ah Meng, the zoo’s late beloved ambassador, the casual eatery celebrates Singapore’s favourite orangutan with photographs and plushies in her image decorating the bistro. Ah Meng Restaurant serves mostly local hawker favourites like chicken rice (S$9.90) and nasi briyani (S$9.90). If you’re in the mood for Western fare, the fish and chips (S$12.90) is a good choice.
Singapore Zoo. 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826. +65 6269 3411.