SINGAPORE – “Oh, Boon Lay is so far away, do I need my passport to visit?”
“Travel all the way to the wild, wild west, got good food meh? Don’t waste my time.”
As a westie, I have all too often heard disparaging remarks about the dismal state of gastronomy in my hood.
When I am compiling this list, I am inundated by recommendations from similarly aggrieved fellow westies, all eager to share their favourite haunts and redeem their hood’s reputation.
I live in Jurong East, to be exact, and my comfort food consists of Xing Yun Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice, Gan En Mee Hoon Kueh and Joo Siah Bak Koot Teh – all about a five-minute walk from my home.
But I soon realise that to do this mission justice, I have to cast off all feelings of familiarity and go farther, much farther, to showcase the best of the west.
What would get taste buds from other parts of Singapore excited about this area? What would make people say, “This was worth the trek”?
For the list, I eat my way through Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Panjang, Jurong East and Jurong West, Bukit Batok and Hillview, and West Coast and Clementi.
It is a pleasure to revisit old haunts that remain as good as I remember. These include lor mee establishment Feng Zhen Lor Mee at Taman Jurong Food Centre and Indian rojak stall Abdhus Salam Rojak at Ayer Rajah Food Centre.
Popular names such as steamed fish specialist Zai Shun Curry Fish Head in Jurong East and iO Italian Osteria in Hillview keep popping up in WhatsApp conversations. Deservedly so.
Then there are delightful new discoveries for me, like two-month-old Surrey Hills Grocer in Upper Jurong and Hokkien mee stall The Neighbourwok, which opened in June 2020 in Bukit Batok.
So if you ever find yourself in the wow, wow west – sans passport – worry not, you now have 20 places to start with.
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