Heading East? We’ll show you where to eat, shop, play, and explore when you’re in the bustling heartlands of Tampines
‘East versus West: which is cooler?’ – now that’s one debate that’ll never cease. Sure, the Westies have it good with easy access to cool cafès, beautiful spots to catch the sunset, and of course, the Holy Trinity of Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park, and River Safari. But make no mistake, living in the East is pretty awesome too. It has perennially popular ‘hoods like Katong, Joo Chiat, and Changi Village. And Tampines? Don’t scoff; it is home to some stellar spots to eat, shop, explore! Here are our top picks of this bustling heartlands.
Hurrah for churros! Bringing these tasty, sugary treats to Tampines is Alt-Yard, a new dessert joint that’s tucked away in (of all places!) a community centre. A joint collaboration between the folks from Fluff Bakery and Penny University, Alt-Yard offers piping-hot, crispy churros with unusual flavours like ondeh ondeh with a gula melaka dip and a selection of cupcakes. In other words? Pure dessert heaven for those with an insatiable sweet tooth.
Alt-Yard, Tampines West Community Club, Tampines Avenue 3, Singapore 529705. Open Tue-Sun, 1-930pm
Who says hipster cafés can only be found in cooler-than-thou neighbourhoods like Tiong Bahru and Telok Ayer Street? Tampines has one too and it’s called Coffee: Nowhere. Never heard of it? That’s because this new coffee joint hails from Malaysia and only just recently made its way to the East (its other two outlets in Singapore are located in West Coast Plaza and Nanyang Community Club). Take note, coffee connoisseurs: Coffee: Nowhere takes its java very seriously with expertly brewed coffee made by siphon, aero press or cold brew.
Coffee: Nowhere, Block 820 Tampines Street 81, #01-524, Singapore 520820
French artisanal cuisine with a Japanese twist? Pure yum! Miam Miam sure knows the way into our hearts (and stomachs) with their lip-smacking East-meets-West fusion menu of pastas, curry rice, and of course, classic desserts like matcha soufflé and French toast (an absolute must-try).
Miam Miam, #B1-05 Tampines 1, 10 Tampines Central, Singapore 529536, p. 6634 5518. Open daily 1130am-10pm
We just can’t get enough of Korean fried chicken, so needless to say, we’re stoked that Chicken Up has brought its patented greasy fried goodness to the East. Trust us when we say dining here will be a messy but utterly satisfying affair – think crispy wings slathered with sticky sauces, washed down with an ice-cold bottle of Korean lager or watermelon soju.
Chicken Up, #01-44 Century Square, 2 Tampines Central 5, Singapore 529509, 6588 0308. Open daily 1130am-11pm
4 Fingers Crispy Chicken
Looks like the craze for 4 Fingers isn’t going away anytime soon – amen to that! These chicken connoisseurs sure know to up the ante with their selection of crispy wings hand-painted with soy garlic or sizzling hot sauce that packs a punch. Another must-try from 4 Fingers? The addictive kimchi skinny fries.
4 Fingers Crispy Chicken, #01-39 Tampines 1, 10 Tampines Central, Singapore 529536, p. 6481 2357. Open daily 10am-10pm.
Japanese eateries are dime a dozen in Tampines but if you’re looking for one with a unique spin on your typical sushi, check out Roll Out. A humble takeout bar located in the depths of Tampines Mall, Roll Out offers delish sushi rolls with local flavours such as Hainanese Chicken Rice and Chilli Crab flavours, alongside classics like unagi, chicken katsu with curry, and salmon.
Roll Out, # B1-K11, Tampines Mall, 4 Tampines Central 5, Singapore 529510, p. 6900 4372
Tuk Tuk Cha
Why go all the way to Bangkok when you can get a taste of Thailand right here in Singapore? Just hop onto Tuk Tuk Cha. This dessert and drink joint offers the authentic Thai experience with a menu of freshly brewed Cha Yen (Thai iced milk tea) and sweet treats like the utterly addictive Golden Toast Cubes with Thai Tea Kaya dip. Bonus points for the décor: we love the actual, life-sized tuk tuk, which sadly can’t be driven (we tried!).
Tuk Tuk Cha, #B1-K2 Tampines 1, 10 Tampines Central, Singapore 529536, p. 64810074. Open daily 10am-10pm.
Amongst the trio of shopping malls surrounding Tampines MRT station, Tampines 1 is the newest and glitziest. This six-storey space is just the place to get your dose of retail therapy; we’re talking about the likes of Topshop, Uniqlo, Sephora, Cath Kidston, Promod, and Forever New.
Need to work up a sweat or indulge in some R&R after all that shopping? No need to venture far – head up to Amore Living fitness centre and boutique spa. Tampines 1 is also home to beauty joints Strip and Browhaus. Need to get your waxing and eyebrow threading done? Check and check!
Ok, so there’s already another IKEA on Alexandra Road but the Tampines branch is undoubtedly bigger and better. And what’s not to love about IKEA’s Scandinavian-style furniture and Swedish meatballs? Bonus: Courts and Giant hypermart are just a stone’s throw away – so plus points for convenience!
Tampines Eco Green
Tampines may not have world-class zoos and bird parks like its counterparts in the West, so the closest you’ll get to flora and fauna is at Tampines Eco Green. With open grasslands, freshwater wetlands, and hiking trails, visitors to this 36-hectare park can commune with nature and even enjoy a leisurely bike ride along park connectors that lead to Tampines Biking Trail and Sun Plaza Park.
Tampines Eco Green, between Tampines Avenue 9 and Tampines Avenue 12