What I Eat In My Hood: Bedok (By A Lifelong Eastie)
“I’m a true blue Eastie,” proclaims dance instructor Jasmine Chen. “I grew up in Marine Parade and my world stretched from Bedok to Parkway Parade. Anything outside of that perimeter was just too far according to my family members,” she laughs.
No surprise, then, that when she was looking for her own home a decade ago, Jasmine settled in Bedok. “It was within range, you understand.” Since then, the enclave has remained her oyster.
“There are plenty of good things to eat, though the good places are always crowded,” she says. These are some of her favourites.
Hua Yu Wee
Location: 462, Upper East Coast Road
This stretch of road is where some of Singapore’s oldest seafood restaurants like Palm Beach and Spring Court were situated up until the early ’80s. The family-run Hua Yu Wee is the only one left here. This colonial bungalow is the last vestige of the old days of true beachfront living.
The entrance facing Upper East Coast Road is really back of the house. The front faces sea, which used to lap right outside the structure until land reclamation.
We’ve been coming here for as long as I can remember, so much so that our family always gets a free platter of fruit at the end of the meal when the owner, Angie, sees us. What’s great about this place is that though it is time-honoured, the kitchen has kept up with the times.
They do an amazing clam hor fun that’s rich with wok hei and topped with deep-fried kway teow for textural contrast. The other thing we always order is the feng sha ji, which is a ridiculously tasty flattened roast chicken served with sambal and ginger sauce.
Because I grew up eating here on special occasions, Hua Yu Wee’s chilli crab - sweet, ketchup-y and luscious - is still my favourite.
Fat Cat Ice Cream Bar
Location: 416 Bedok North Ave 2 #01-25
There’s always a queue outside this popular café, so we often dabao the ice cream and waffles to eat at home. The brown butter waffles are our favourite - they are a little dense, with a mild nuttiness.
It’s nice that they often come up with new ice cream flavours like Jasmine Peach or Pu-er Tea for Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival. When we have more time and can wait for a table in the café, we usually order one of their pretty plated desserts.
Chin Lee Restaurant
Location: 115, Bedok North Road, #01-285
This stalwart Teochew restaurant is one of the few places I know of where you can still get that old-school “cold dish platter” which we used to eat at Chinese weddings back in the day. Here, it’s called “5 Kinds Deluxe Platter” and it comes with things like a mayo-laced prawn salad, fried prawn rolls and jellyfish salad. That is the height of gastronomic nostalgia to me!
The Teochew classics here are done very well, think steamed pomfret and chai po kway teow. But the super smooth orh ni (yam paste) dessert is what I come back for every time.
Location: 168 Bedok South Ave 3
Don’t judge me, but this is my post-workout pitstop on weekend mornings. I love the crispy coin prata and mutton curry, though I sometimes ask them to give me fish curry instead. They usually make the prata to order, so you have to wait at least 10 to 15 minutes. But I don’t mind because the prata is always hot and crisp.
House of Chirashi
Location: 430, Upper Changi Road, #01-16 East Village
This place has just nine seats, so I really don’t know why I’m telling people about it since it’s already hard to snag a reservation. Basically, you can eat cheaply or extravagantly here – there are simple chirashi and rice bowls that start from $16.80 and costlier items like the Signature Chirashi, chock full of premium seafood like lobster, botan ebi and Hokkaido uni for $160 for two. Excellent quality Japanese food without having to schlep to the city.
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