“Hougang” 后港 which means “the end of the river” and known to be populated by Chinese Teochew residents, is located in the North-East region of Singapore.
In terms of cafes, there are a number of coffee and dessert places including Hatter Street (212 Hougang Street 21), Ice Edge Cafe (Simon Plaza), SOD Cafe (Ci Yuan CC, 51 Hougang Ave 9), Brosis Eatery (The Midtown), Lickers (124 Hougang Ave 1), Ciel Patisserie (124 Hougang Ave 1) and Cottontail Creamery (01-378 Serangoon Ave 3).
For this cafe guide, we have expanded the area up to include some in the Serangoon Garden area. Here are 10 cafes you can head to:
Apollo Coffee Bar
65 Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore 555961
Opening Hours: 9am – 10pm (Tue – Sat), 9am – 7pm (Sun), Closed Mon
Mediterranean-Inspired Brunch Café at Serangoon Garden
Apollo Coffee Bar by the team behind Atlas Coffeehouse at Bukit Timah, Lunar Coffee Brewers at Downtown Gallery and Columbus Coffee Co. at Upper Thomson, has easily become the hottest café spot at Serangoon Garden.
The team have got their formula quite right with every venture, by coming up with variance of industrial chic dining environment coupled with creative food offerings to satisfy café hopper’s interest.
My favourite spot would be the air-conditioned backyard which gave the vibes of al fresco dining. This is an ideal location to chill over a cup of coffee with soft sunlight pouring in from the glass ceiling. But pick an off-peak hour if possible.
Brunch menu is available from 9am till 4pm and serves offering such as Granola, Pears & Yoghurt ($13), Lemon Curd & Hotcakes ($14.50) and Super Nutty Acai bowl ($15).
Exclusive to Apollo Coffee Bar is the Dark Chocolate and Miso Caramel Softserve ($7). I prefer the latter which has an interesting blend of salty miso and sweet caramel flavour. Apollo Coffee Bar (Serangoon Garden)
66 Yio Chu Kang Road, Singapore 545568
Tel: +65 9487 1398
Opening Hours: 12pm – 9:30pm (Tue – Thurs), 12pm – 10pm (Fri), 11am – 10pm (Sat), 11am – 9pm (Sun), Closed Mon
Undiscovered Affordable Italian & French Dining At Serangoon
From the team which founded South Union Park at Kembangan, Elevens Strands is their latest Italian and French dining concept which have found themselves a home in Serangoon.
New items on the menu include Seafood Risotto, Truffle Mushroom Cream Pasta, Chicken Burger, Honey Baked Ham & Eggs, Wagyu Beef & Sausage, Mushroom Risotto and NZ Angus Ribeye Steak.
Leveraging on their former strength, they serve up pasta offerings from garlicky Bacon Aglio Olio ($19), tomato-based Beef Bolognese ($21) to dairy-based Bacon Cream Pasta.
I had the Crab Meat Pasta ($25) that came tossed in tangy red tomato sauce and crab meat woven in between, which can be tasted with every mouthful.
The Vongole Pasta ($22) also left an impression with its plump juicy clams simmered in light aromatic white wine sauce and further scented with garlic & herb fragrance. Eleven Strands (Yio Chu Kang Road)
Sun Ray Café
79 Brighton Crescent, Serangoon Gardens Estate, Singapore 559218
Tel: +65 6283 8700
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 10pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Pets Friendly Cafe That Feels Like Home
One of Sun Ray’s biggest appeals is that it is pets-friendly. The café is divided into two main rooms – the left for pets with their owners.
While getting to its location at Brighton Crescent can pose to be quite a bit of a challenge especially for those who don’t drive (a number of bus stops away from Serangoon Central), it is where you get friendly vibes and customers become regulars.
Head there early in the morning, and get filled with breakfast items of Beef & Spinach Omelette ($10), Eggs Benny ($7), Big Brekkie ($11), Royal French Toast and Super Chia Pudding and Acai Bowl ($12).
For more filling mains, offerings include Sirloin Steak ($10, $14), Quintet Pork Ribs ($14), Beef Lasagna ($9), Fried Dory ($9), Grilled Dory ($8), Grilled Salmon ($10), and Pork Cutlet ($9).
To be really honest, I was surprised at how inexpensive the food items are, considered some cafes sell them about easily 10-20% pricier.
730 Upper Serangoon Rd, #01-01, Singapore 534613
Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm (Tues – Fri), 10am – 6pm (Sat – Sun), Closed Mon
Charming Chic Café With Dusty Pink Interiors
Amber Ember is located off Serangoon Central, at a standalone building situated next to Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre.
While marble white with cement grey are the norm café colours (too many actually), I was greeted with a store dressed with dusty pink interiors.
Their brunch menu revolves around a range of jaffles options. From savoury; Truffle Shrooms ($11) and K-Pork ($10) to sweets; PB & Jelly ($8) and Chocobanana ($8).
I went for the Pablo’s Beef ($10) which came with minced beef, capsicum and loads of melted mozzarella cheese.
For sharing sides, AFC – Amber’s Fried Chicken ($10) turned out to be the crowd-pleaser. Amber Ember (Upper Serangoon)
Two Bakers – Serangoon
9 Teck Chye Terrace, Singapore 545720
Opening Hours: 12pm – 9pm (Mon – Fri), 10am – 10pm (Sat), 10am – 6pm (Sun)
For Brunch and Creative Bakes
Residents staying in Serangoon will be familiar with Teck Chye Terrace, a row of shophouses with restaurants serving a variety from Teochew Porridge, Thai seafood, Taiwanese cuisine, Korea BBQ to Laksa steamboat.
Two Bakers is located right opposite Paya Lebar Methodist Church and diagonally across Amber Ember.
They serve up mains, brunch items, bespoke French and Fusion inspired pastries, and specialty coffees.
For brunch till 3pm, You can look forward to Spicy Crab Omelette ($18), Corned Beef & Spam Hash ($16), Spicy Crab Eggs Benedict ($18), Shashuka ($16), Bak Kwa Stuffed Omelette ($16), Golden Kaya French Toast ($16), Pandan Pancakes ($14), and Earl Grey Pancakes ($14).
Some of the popular cakes include the “Spring” ($8.50) with mango mousse and passionfruit compote vanilla sponge and roasted pistachio on sable tart; and the “Goma” ($9) of black sesame mousse, salted caramel, with matcha sponge on chocolate sable tart. Two Bakers (Serangoon)
5 Simon Road, Singapore 545893
Tel: +65 6284 0349
Opening Hours: 10am – 10:30pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
One Of Hougang’s Most Popular Café For Comforting Brunch And Baked Treats
Residents staying near Hougang should be familiar with Lola’s Café, which is the to-go-to brunch place in that area.
Known for its unpretentious food, it is typically packed with groups of families and friends during the weekends, especially for the brunch hours from 10am to 3pm.
For brunch, offerings include comforting plates Pulled Pork & Avocado Eggs Benedict ($16), Miso Salmon Grain Bowl ($18), Basil Pesto Mushroom Toast ($14), Ultimate Croissant ($15), Angus Beef Burger ($18), and Bacon & Mushroom Truffle Cream Linguine ($16).
Head over for dinner and find Tomato Swimmer Crab Linguine ($18), Battered Fish & Chips ($16), Beef Cheeks with Barley Risotto ($20), Tuscan Seafood Stew ($19) and Garlic Soy Fried Chicken Burger ($16).
Go for the Crab Cake Benedict ($18) which consist of handmade crab cake on toasted English muffins, topped with miso hollandaise sauce and furikake.
Not forgetting the poached eggs as well. As you cut across, the combination of oozy egg yolk, moist crab cake and unique miso hollandaise may just create that mini explosion in your mouth.
See You Latte
988 Upper Serangoon Road #01-15, Stars of Kovan, Singapore 534733
Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm (Sun – Thurs), 8am – 11pm (Fri – Sat)
Serves Asian & Western Fusion Delights Like Rendang Pasta and Kueh Lapis
See You Latte serves a small menu of Asian & Western fusion delights, few a few options available on a daily rotating basis.
While their website menu promises a vast range of western offerings, the only food options available were such as Curry Chicken, Beef Rendang and Carbonara during my point of visit.
There was a rather wide selection of bakes and desserts available on the display cabinet like Butter Croissant ($4.50), Double Chocolate Muffin ($3.90) and Matcha Azuki Cake ($4.90), some of them sourced from suppliers.
What I liked about their Kueh Lapis was its buttery flavour of the sponge, complemented with uniformly layered with sweet prunes embedded within.
The Plain Jane
Blk 211, Serangoon Ave 4, #01-10, Singapore 550211 (Serangoon MRT)
Opening Hours: 12pm – 8pm (Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri), 10am – 8pm (Sat, Sun), Closed Wed
Swiss Roll Specialty Café at Serangoon
Located within the heartlands at Blk 211, Serangoon Ave 4, the interior has a homely feel which reminds me of my growing-up years with a rattan chair in the living room.
Vintage floor tiles, sofa seats, bespoke light and retro display such briefcase and lao-kok-kok typewriter.
The menu offers an assortment of bakes such as the highly recommended Plain Jane Swiss Rolls with flavours on a rotational basis, coffee and tea.
Among the bakes, the Not So Plain Jane Swiss Rolls ($5.90) stood out the most.
The Swiss roll was light and moist, generously filled with matcha cream with non- overpowering and slight lingering matcha bitterness. The Plain Jane (Serangoon)
121 Hougang Avenue 1, #01-1348, Singapore 530121 (Kovan MRT)
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 4pm (Mon, Thurs – Sun), 5:30pm – 10pm (Mon, Wed – Sun), Closed Tues, Wed Lunch
Halal Café With Many Salted Egg Dishes
Competition for cafes is tough nowadays, and to stand out among the rest, Halal-certified Flavour Flings had not just 1, not 2, but 3 salted egg dishes.
Savoury options of Salted Yolk Fries ($8.90), Salted Yolk Egg Benedict ($15.90) and sweet option of Salted Yolk Croissant ($6.90).
Flavours Fling also offers a couple of “Slow Cooked Hen’s Eggs” in its menu – Benedict ($14.90), Royale ($15.90), Croissant Dirty Norwegian ($16.90) and Salted Egg Yolk Dirty Benny ($15.90).
The Dirty Benny ($15.90) came with turkey ham, buttered cereal and salted egg sauce on poached eggs.
Buttered cereal with laksa leaves with a tinge of spiciness reminded us of cereal prawns at tze char stalls.
I loved the crispiness and crunchiness even though it could overpower the salted egg in terms of quantity. Flavour Flings (Hougang Ave 1)
Blk 211 Hougang Street 21 #01-291, Singapore 530211
Tel: +65 8166 0140
Opening Hours: 9am – 9pm (Mon – Thurs, Sun), 9am – 9:30pm (Fri – Sat)
Korean Inspired Café With Bibimbap, Naengmyeon And Pulut Hitam Bingsu
Inspired by Korean Café Scene, Two Cranes is a neighbourhood café found in Kovan which serves a focused selection of Korean-themed food, bingsu dessert and hand-crafted beverages.
Their signature coffee mocktail, Wonda-fu Drink ($6) was a potent mix concocted from espresso shot, coffee jelly and mint leaves served in a cocktail glass.
It was rather sweet with coffee aroma and had a lingering scent of mint. I liked this drink, but my dining companions had mixed opinions about it.
There were also some Korean-inspired brunch dishes such as Spicy Dakgalbi with Scrambled Eggs ($13.50), Poached Eggs with Flambé Champignons ($13.50) and Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings ($12).
While Korean bingsu may be considered passé (to some), their flavours such as Tea Bingsu ($12) and Caramel Macchiato Bingsu ($13.50) are made using tea and coffee syrup concocted using their in-house blend. Two Cranes (Hougang)
Tie Fun Wan
50 Hougang Ave 1 #01-00, JForte Sportainment Centre, Singapore 538885
Tel: +65 9738 6648
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Taiwanese Cafe With Lu Rou Fan And Mala Minced Pork Fries
Tie Fun Wan is opened within the premises of JForte Sportainment Centre, sharing space with Sweet Thoughts by M.O.D.
They are known to serve fusion Rice Rowls and have a few notable rice dishes such as 72-Hours Slow Cooked Beef Rice Bowl ($15.50), Mala Pork Collar Rice Bowl ($11.50) and Meat Ball Pao Fan ($10.50).
All served in a “metal rice bowl” like the name suggests.
Their signature bowl goes to the Lu Rou Fan aka Braised Pork Rice Bowl ($9.90) that came with traditionally prepared key ingredients such as braised pork belly slices, peanuts and beancurd skin.
Contrary to Taiwanese-style Lu Rou Fan, Tie Fun Fan’s rendition of braised pork rice originate from Teochew Lor Bak recipe, with more distinctive flavours characterized from soy sauce gravy and usage of spices such as cinnamon, star anise and five spices powder. Tie Fun Wan (Hougang)