8 malls in Singapore that you didn’t know exist — but you should

by Natalie Lim

My dad is my personal TripAdvisor and HungryGoWhere. Though his hardware is a little old, he makes up for it by having a rich database of hidden food gems and a network of friends, who would update him on interesting places they’ve found. I’ve often spent my weekends scouting these sites with him, and while exploring, we’ll stumble upon older malls in Singapore that appear desolate—only to be surprised by the easter eggs within.

1. Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre

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Photo: Remember Singapore

Built in 1981, Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre has barely withstood the test of time. Little changes have been made to the place, and only a few tenants remain. If there was truly a ghost town in Singapore, this would be it.

But beneath this worn-down exterior lies a curry fish head store that many flock to, especially on the weekends.

Jia Yi Curry Fish Head Eatery – S$28 Assam fish head

Singapore malls 1
Photo: instagram/@jiayicurryfishhead

Priced at S$28, the Assam Curry Fish Head is the magnet that draws the crowd. It is served with generous amounts of tau pok and ladyfingers, soaked gloriously in a rich and tangy sauce.

Other favourites include the Homemade Wine Herbal Chicken Soup (S$9) and Vinegar Pork Knuckle (S$11).

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???? 756 Upper Serangoon Rd, #03-18 Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre, Singapore 534626
????️ 7:30am–3:30pm (Mon–Sat) Closed Sun

Christanio De Florist – Secret florist shop with long queues

Photo: Google images

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and Christanio De Florist is said to have ridiculously long queues during such special occasions—queues that start from one end of the mall to another.

The store itself may seem obsolete, but its online site allows customers to customize their own bouquet, making each of them one of its kind.

???? 756 Upper Serangoon Rd, #02-51 Upper Serangoom Shopping Center, Singapore 534626
????️ 9am–10pm (Mon–Wed, Fri, Sat), 9am–11pm (Thurs)

2. Wisteria Mall

Singaporeans may be familiar with north-situated Singapore shopping malls such as Northpoint City, but the words ‘Wisteria Mall’ may raise a few eyebrows, even from the northies.

Wisteria Mall houses a FairPrice outlet, Japan drugstore, DIY store and a couple of cafes—a one-stop plaza for all your needs.

Builders at Wisteria – Affordable French-inspired café

Photo: instagram/@fatpigdiary

The Beef Cheeks (S$17.90) are sous vide for 24 hours, resulting in pull-apart tender meat. It is then laid on a bed of creamy potato puree and served with a crisp pumpkin chip.

The café also has Ratatouille (S$12.90) on its menu, but served pasta-style-–-their rendition of a dish made famous by our favourite chefs, Remy and Alfredo Linguini.

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???? 598 Yishun Ring Rd, #01-02/60, Singapore 768698
????️ 11am–10pm (Daily)

Blossoming Juice – Taiwan-franchise smoothie bubble tea

Photo: instagram/@bjsg_official

For dessert, make a trip down to Blossoming Juice¸ a Taiwan-franchise smoothie bar. While nothing beats the indulgence of bubble tea after a meal, the shop sells smoothie concoctions that can be topped with pearls, offering a healthier choice with lesser guilt.

 The drinks are named with quirky monikers like Emotional Placebo, and there’s even a Sobermind Tea for hangovers.

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???? 598 Yishun Ring Rd, #01-57 Wisteria Mall, Singapore 768698
????️ 10am–9:30pm (Daily)

3. Sun Plaza

Hai Di Lao – But with lesser crowd

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Photo: Koh Brothers Development

If you live in Sembawang, chances are you’ve heard the area dubbed as “鸟不生蛋的地方, or a place where birds don’t lay eggs. It’s a fair statement, granted that the neighbourhood hasn’t developed much in years.

Photo: Google images

But north-siders hold a secret in this far-flung Singapore mall. A hidden Hai Di Lao in unassuming Sun Plaza, where queues usually do not last for more than 15 minutes. Queues? Pfft! We don’t know her.

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???? 30, #02-01 Sembawang Dr, Sun Plaza, Singapore 757713
????️ 10:30am–6am (Daily)

4. Serene Centre

Orhgao Taproom – Kopitiam by day, beer bar by night

Photo: instagram/@yoursgfoodadventure

From morning till 6:30PM, this Killiney Kopitiam looks like any other coffeeshop. But by dusk, it would have transformed into a taproom, where Bukit Timah residents would gather for a pint of ice-cold beer.

Photo: instagram/@handstands_and_hops

Orhgao is a Hokkien moniker for ‘black stout beer’, and true to its name, the bar offers an extensive menu of beers with prices starting from S$8.

Bar bites such as Har Cheong Kai (S$10.90) and Gao Vinegar Fries (S$9.90) are also available, which brings this interesting concept of Singaporeans drinking, and chilling at a kopitiam home.

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???? 10 Jln Serene, #01-03 Serene Centre, Singapore 258748
????️ 4pm–10:30pm (Tues–Sun) Closed Mon

HAN BING by K Boulangerie – Student-priced Korean food and bingsu

Photo: instagram/@jackx11

Whether it’s 24°c or 34°c, the pairing of ramyeon and bingsu fits any occasion. However, Korean fare often comes with a hefty price, even more so for a student that’s surviving on an allowance.

Photo: instagram/@perpetuallyxxhungry

Thankfully HAN BING by K Boulangerie prides itself a student paradise. The neon-lit café has a student menu set served from 2–5pm, with prices starting from S$9.90. They also have a variety of bingsu flavours such as Lychee Rose and Mao Shan Wang, with some of them sold as mini-sized portions for S$5.80.

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???? 10 Jln Serene, #01-03B, Singapore 258748
????️ 12pm–9pm (Daily)

5. Bukit Timah Plaza

The once remote Beauty World has been catching our attention with hipster fusion fare such as Ham Bao Bao infiltrating the old-school hawker base. But there’s more to be found in the neighbourhood.

Nonya Delicatessen – Authentic Nyonya café from the 1980’s

Photo: instagram/@ediblesquares

Just a 10 minutes walk from Beauty World MRT, Bukit Timah Plaza houses Nonya Delicatessen, an eatery which sells authentic Nyonya food. The café is a family-owned business that started since the 1980s and has now been passed on to its second generation.

The Mee Siam (S$6.80) and Laksa (S$6.80) form the majority of dine-in orders, but there are homemade kuehs available for takeaway too.

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???? 1 Jln Anak Bukit, Singapore 588996
????️ 11am–8pm (Daily)

The Grumpy Bear Café – 11 different chicken chops

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Photo: instagram/grumpybearsg

There are many western cafes around, but The Grumpy Bear Café is the only one which serves 11 different flavours of chicken chop.

From the usual Black Pepper Chicken (S$14.90) to special options like Goma Chicken (S$16.90) and Chilli Crab Chicken (S$18.90), you’ll be spoilt for choice.

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???? 1 Jln Anak Bukit, Singapore 588996
????️ 11am–9pm (Tue-Sun) Closed Mon

6. The Odeon Katong

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Photo: Google images

Most of us have been to Katong for the signature 328 Katong Laksa, but the buildings in the vicinity are usually left unnoticed. Just a 3 minutes walk from the stall, The Odeon Katong is a mall in Singapore with much to explore.

Volare by La Barca – Italian cuisine with open concept kitchen

If you’re not feeling the heat for laksa, try Volare by La Barca instead. The Italian restaurant has an open kitchen concept, so guests would be able to interact with the chef and see their meals prepared in-situ—all in the comforts of an air-conditioned dining room.

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Photo: instagram/@hunnybunnyj

If you’re a steak-lover, the Black Angus Florentina Steak is sure to tantalize your taste buds. The free-range beef is sold at S$17/100g and has a wonderful degree of marbling that will induce a melt-in-your-mouth feel.

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???? 11, #01-22 E Coast Rd, 428722
????️ 11am–11pm (Daily)

The Barn Cornerstone Community Services – Thrift store which donates to the needy

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Photo: The Barn

Thrift store The Barn is also in the area. They sell pre-loved clothes, bags, household, and children items. Branded items from Kate Spade and Purpur have been sighted, but the most valuable takeaway would be knowing that proceeds from your purchase go a long way in helping the needy.

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???? 11 E Coast Rd, #01-14/15, S428722, Singapore 428722
????️ 11am–2pm (Tues–Fri), 9:30am-12:30pm (Sun), Closed Sat, Mon

7. myVillage @ Serangoon Garden

A short walk away from Chomp Chomp Food Garden is myVillage @ Serangoon Garden, a small boutique place with several dining options not found in other Singapore malls.

Simple Burger Inc – Subway but for burgers

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Photo: instagram/@so.gelly

Think Subway but for burgers, and you’ll have Simple Burger Inc. Here, you’re given the freedom of assembling your burger patty choices such as beef (S$9), pork (S$9) and chicken (S$8).

Vegetable toppings such as iceberg lettuce, spinach, salsa and coleslaw are also available, but if you’re a meat lover, opt to stack on the meat patties instead.

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???? 1 Maju Ave, #B1-21/22 MyVillage, Singapore 556679
????️ 8am–10pm (Daily)

East Treasure Speciality Prawn Noodle – Giant prawn noodle by Astons

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Photo: instagram/@foodgemsg

S$12.50 may seem like an exorbitant amount of money to pay for prawn noodles, but a visit to East Treasure Speciality Prawn Noodle may change your mind. The Supreme Big Prawn Noodles is a hearty bowl filled with giant sea prawns, pork belly slices, pork ribs, pork tails, and topped with crispy pork lard.

The signature broth itself is full of umami and will leave you wanting for more.

???? 328 Joo Chiat Rd, #01-01, Singapore 427585
????️ 9am–9pm (Daily)

8. Midpoint Orchard

Say Orchard and one would think of a branded shopping district. After all, it’s a cluster of retail stores housed in luxurious glass-panelled infrastructures, with ION and 313@Somerset to name.

But situated just opposite 313@Somerset is Midpoint Orchard, a dubious-looking mall in Singapore that almost seems stuck in time. However, the mall holds more than it shows.

Games @ Pi – Premier board games shop to play with strangers

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Photo: Games @ Pi

Nestled in its abode is Games @ Pi, a premier board games shop that survived the increasing surge of online gaming. The shop is still visited by hobbyists since tables can be booked for playing sessions. A few rounds of Dungeons and Dragons will be fun to spectate, or if you’re game enough, join in as a player.

???? 220 Orchard Road #03-01 Midpoint Orchard, 238852
????️ 12:30pm–19pm (Daily)

Old Airport Rd Wanton Mee – Same taste without the hawker heat

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At the basement is also Old Airport Rd Wanton Noodle, serving delicious bowls from S$4.50. There’s no need to go to the extreme ends of Singapore just to enjoy this humble dish.

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???? Midpoint Orchard-09, 220 Orchard Rd, #B1 – 01 to 05, 238852
????️ 9am–7pm (Mon–Sat) Closed Sun

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I leave the office at 6PM on the . to rush home and play games. My boss has no control over me!!

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