Adventures At Home: Let’s Rediscover Bedok
STORY: Nicholas Yong
22 September 2021
Imagine Bedok as the backdrop for "Crazy Rich Asians" - we mean the "Turn of the 20th Century" edition. It could very well have been the case, because at that time, luxury bungalows and seaside motels lined the sunny beaches where the moneyed members of society resided - just think of the Great Gatsby-like beach parties back then!
In fact, before Singapore’s land reclamation project, the seashore was practically right at your doorstep in pre-1960s Bedok – pretty neat if you wanted respite from the afternoon heat. Some houses from that time period still stand today, like the popular and retro Hua Yu Wee restaurant (more on that below).
But if there's one thing that hasn't changed about Bedok, it is the fact that it was - still is, and, for the East-proud, forever will be - a food haven for those staying in the area.
Following the National Heritage Board's Bedok Heritage Trail, we travel through the sleepy heartland to find the best eats and Instagrammable spots that would make your heart go bedok-bedok in this once coastal settlement.
Breakfast (or brunch) at Bedok Food Centre
Kampong Bedok marker
Longtime residents affectionally call this place “Bedok Corner”. Way back when, this area was formerly Kampong Bedok Laut and Kampong Bedok Darat founded in the 1850s.
Bedok Corner was completed in 2005 and features Minangkabau style architecture that comes from the Sumatra highlands of Indonesia, a nod to the kampong past of Bedok.
Some must-try eats here include the Suka Ramai Mama Power nasi goreng, cuttlefish kangkong from Ye Lai Xiang, Bedok Corner Hokkien Fried Squid Prawn Mee, Yang’s Epok-Epok for their excellent curry puffs, as well as the nasi rawon at the Satay Solo stall.
As for dessert, have the cheng tng at Ye Lai Xiang – the recipe has been passed down three generations!
Lunch at Simpang Bedok
Simpang Bedok and Koh Sek Lim marker
Locals calls this area “Simpang Bedok” aka Bedok Junction in Malay. Before the 1980s, there was a Malay kampong, which was a favourite food haunt for the Commonwealth soldiers based in Changi. To this day, it still remains a popular makan spot – ask any of your Bedokian friends.
Next time if bae says “can eat anything lah”, you should definitely bring her here. Next to the heritage marker, there's Spize with a million food choices on their menu, as well as Ah Lim Mee Pok from the Kwek Seng Huat Eating House.
Behind that block is The Bedok Marketplace, a vintage-themed food centre. Besides the endless photo-ops (scroll down to our Insta-walk checklist for ideas), the selection of food here is amazing – like the atas meats from The Burning Oak, the best value-for-money sourdough pizza from Mr. Kneady's, plus affordable authentic Italian fare from The Naughty Chef.
Coffee at Upper East Coast Road, opposite Jalan Tua Kong
Siglap, Frankel Estate and Opera Estate marker
Wah seh, here's a mind-blowing fun fact: Dr Albert Einstein once visited this very place in Singapore! The Nobel Prize winner was a guest of the Frankel family in 1923. The Frankel Estate was also the home of Singapore's first President Yusof bin Ishak.
Grab a cuppa at the Five Oars Coffee Roasters nearby, or if you’re feeling peckish, we recommend the mac and cheese, rosti, and French toast. They also have great wine options too. Alternatively, head to The Royals Café directly opposite the trail marker, famous for their Royals Mee Siam.
Dinner at Hua Yu Wee Seafood
Seafront Homes and a Holiday Lifestyle marker
Be prepared for a full house, especially on weekends. Hua Yu Wee Seafood is one of the few buildings still standing from Bedok’s beachside past. At this 1920s bungalow, you can still find the steps that used to lead towards the beachfront. Crabs here are a must-order, but you won’t go wrong with most of the dishes here.
Supper feast at 85 Fengshan Centre aka Bedok 85
Fengshan Estate marker
The Fengshan estate has been here for so long, its older than all the HDB flats and shops that have popped up around it. The older folk who stay here came from the farming village of Chang Mao Hng in Tai Seng.
You don’t have to be from the East to know that Bedok 85 serves some glorious makan: The Bedok 85 Fried Oyster Omelette, Sin Bedok North BBQ Chicken Wings, Xing Ji Bak Chor Mee, and the sambal stingray from either Chomp Chomp or Chan BBQ (I’m salivating as I write this). Come with four friends to order as many things as you can.
For more makan options in Bedok, click the image above or check out our piece, "What I Eat In My Hood: Bedok (By A Lifelong Eastie)".
For scrumptious halal options, click the image above or check out our piece, "What I Eat In My Hood: Bedok (Halal Edition)".
Your Insta-walk checklist here:
Look closely and you’ll find some hidden Insta-gems right here in Bedok:
Bedok Blocks 75 and 76, 460075/6
Photogenic HDB blocks are a staple of our Adventures At Home series, and these pastel coloured HDB blocks (above) are a treasure. Climb up a few floors to get a good shot of the opposite block, or stand smack between both blocks, using them to creatively “frame” your subject.
The Bedok Marketplace
This hipster food centre has all the ingredients for the perfect Instagram feed – vintage storefronts, retro items galore, and fairy lights too. Take any photo here and you (and your viewer) will be transported to the swinging '60s. Bonus points if you dress the part too! Look out for the old-school Vespa mopeds.
Old seawalls at the junction of Nallur Road and Marine Parade Road
“Huh, this one just railing what” is what you’re probably thinking, but hear me out – these are preserved seawalls from the time when the coastline stretched all the way into Bedok - yes, the waves actually reached this point.
You can also find another stretch of seawall with colonial architecture further along Marine Parade Road, before you turn into Nallur Road.
Happening history sia
If you’re interested to explore the rich history of Bedok, you can follow NHB’s Bedok Heritage Trail. Get your trail map and guide here.