The heartland ‘hood may be famous for all the wrong reasons, but it’s also home to lovely green spaces, amazing eats and fun activities.
Contrary to what you may think, Yishun isn’t all that bad. Sure, with all the strange crimes, drug syndicate busts and unusual sightings, it may seem like Singapore’s Gotham City. But is Yishun truly as scary as it seems? Our answer is a resounding “no”. Aside from the occasional bizarre incident, Yishun is a fairly tame neighbourhood with charm in spades. It’s got greenery everywhere, it’s home to a close-knitted community, and there’s plenty to see and do. Need further proof? From hole-in-the-wall cafes and ice cream parlours to secret kayaking destinations and nature parks. We dish out all the reasons why this northern neighbourhood is worth the visit.
Eat, drink and repeat in Yishun
1. No Horse Run
While this place might be known for its gelato, you can’t miss out on the other dessert options here. We’re talking cakes, muah chee, and crispy plus chewy waffles. The best part? It’s open till 2am, so never fret if your sugar cravings hit you in the middle of the night. You know where to be to get your dose of sweetness. The only question is, is it a yay or neigh for you?
No Horse Run, #01-216, 160 Yishun Street 11, Singapore 760160
2. Baker’s Brew
Over at Jalan Tampang, Baker’s Brew Studio welcomes both inspiring bakers and cake lovers. Here’s where you can laze the day away over delish cakes and steaming hot cuppas. Or hone your skills at hands-on baking classes.
Baker’s Brew, 6 Jalan Tampang, Singapore 758950
3. Refuel J9
We’re happy to report that this east-side establishment has set up another home within Yishun. And it brings along its hearty brunch menu with it! Fuel up with plates of pasta, eggs with toast, and piping hot cups of joe to go along with it. For anyone that loves a sweet breakfast, we recommend going for waffles with fresh fruit and ice cream on top. You’ll find yourself all relaxed and ready for the day in no time!
Refuel J9, #01-04, Junction Nine, 18 Yishun Avenue 9, Singapore 768897
4. Heng Hua Restaurant
Serving traditional Heng Hwa fare, this veteran zi char stall made the move from Joo Chiat to Yishun. It’s been serving up plates of fried bee hoon, deep-fried fish, braised bean curd skin and stir-fried yam chunks ever since.
Heng Hua Restaurant, #01-212, 748 Yishun Street 72, Singapore 760748
5. Hawker gems
For hardcore hawker hunters, Yishun’s bountiful local food scene won’t disappoint. Slurp up thick gravy with fresh, plump cockles at 928 Yishun Laksa or tuck into the famous Yishun 925 Hainanese Chicken Rice, which comes with juicy, flavourful meat and fragrant grains. To get your dessert fix, the same stall that serves laksa is also home to Lit Lit Xin Popiah and traditional Chinese desserts. For nasi lemak that packs a punch, head to Chong Pang Nasi Lemak – do yourself a favour and order the spicy signatures of long beans and sambal brinjal.
Oh, and you can’t miss out on the delectable delights at the always-bustling Chong Pang Market & Food Centre. Hot faves include chwee kueh (steamed rice cakes with preserved radish), duck rice, kway chap (pig innards with rice noodles) and soya bean milk. To pay a visit to the new generation of hawkers, head to Yishun Park Hawker Centre for traditional eats and modern fusion dishes. You gotta try the Hakka rice bowls at Ah Lock Tofu and har cheong gai (prawn paste chicken) at Ah Tan Wings.
6. Holy Cow Creamery
These days, every ‘hood has its own dessert spot and Holy Cow Creamery is Yishun’s. The charming cafe is popular for its freshly churned ice cream flavours like ondeh ondeh or cookies and cream. Make sure to pair them with the crispy waffles! But, you shouldn’t give the other desserts a miss. We’re talking about rich and gooey brownies that go oh so well with ice cream. Chill here for an afternoon of cake and coffee or get a refreshing scoop of sorbet to beat the heat.
Holy Cow Creamery, #01-291, 292 Yishun Street 22, Singapore 760292
7. Hao Bang General Wholesale Trading
Don’t let the name fool you – it’s actually a bakery that sells old school bread, cakes and muffins. Be transported you back to the good ‘ol days. Don’t expect funky fusion recipes or fancy ingredients here. It’s a humble neighbourhood stall that’s been doing what it does best for years.
Hao Bang General Wholesale Trading, #01-241, 925 Yishun Central, Singapore 760928
8. Coba Coba
If it’s soul food you’re looking for, don’t miss Coba Coba. It’s an authentic Indonesian haunt that resembles a cafe, with its brick walls and vintage decor accents. But it also serves a mean rendition of nasi ambeng and nasi padang.
Coba Coba, #01-106, 156 Yishun Street 11, Singapore 760156
Things to do, see, and buy: Yishun edition
9. Nelly’s Retro Snacks
If you’re feeling exceptionally nostalgic while you’re out and about, you need to pay this humble spot a visit. Nelly’s Retro Snacks sells (you guessed it) old school snacks that are absolute treasures. Get wafer snacks in all kinds of flavours like pandan, strawberry, and good ol’ chocolate. Classic tapioca chips can be found here in plain, barbecue, and curry flavours. We hear that it even stocks the Craze Hottis snack that used to be in 7-Eleven stores!
Nelly’s Retro Snacks, Junction Nine, 18 Yishun Avenue 9, Singapore 768897
10. Sincere Fishing Tackles
For the fishing enthusiasts out there, here’s where you can get yourself some good quality fishing gear. You’ll find an assortment of fishing accessories and is perfect for any beginners out there. The staff are friendly and are more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
Sincere Fishing Tackles, #01-187, 744 Yishun Street 72, Singapore 760744
11. Yishun Pond Park
We’ve got a not-so-secret spot for evening strolls. Yishun Pond Park, located just behind the architectural marvel that is Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. With its huge variety of trees and marshland plants, water promenade and spiral tower, it’s a calm haven for both residents and nature-seeking visitors.
Yishun Pond Park, located along Yishun Central, in front of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital
12. Lower Seletar Reservoir Park
Looking to escape the constantly crowded bustling centre of Yishun? Lower Seletar Reservoir Park is your ticket to peace and quiet is found in this nature spot. Just a couple of minutes away from Khatib MRT, the tranquil spot is popular for after-dinner walks or jogs. It also features a water play area, a Heritage Bridge, a fishing jetty and water activities like kayaking and dragon boating.
Lower Seletar Reservoir Park, located by Yishun Avenue 1 and Lentor Avenue
13. Yishun Dam
Pack a picnic and drive up to Yishun Dam, located near Lower Seletar Reservoir, for a weekend picnic or barbeque. It’s secluded and only accessible by car, but that doesn’t stop us! It can get crowded with family gatherings and cyclists stopping for a breather. So plan your outing accordingly.
Yishun Dam, located at the end of Yishun Avenue 1
14. Sungei Khatib Bongsu
Described as the ‘Land of Giants’, Sungei Khatib Bongsu boasts a hidden natural river. Singapore’s biggest mangrove riverine habitat is home to large trees and wildlife. This includes various species of birds and mangrove inhabitants like crab-eating frogs and dog-faced water snakes.
Sungei Khatib Bongsu, starts at Yishun Avenue 6 around the corner from Yishun Park
15. Sembawang Hot Spring Park
As the only natural hot spring in Singapore, this outdoor gem is truly one of a kind. Gone are its dingy days, though. Thanks to a recent revamp, the place is bigger and better than before, with a floral walk leading up to the cafe and cascading pool. Here’s where you can dip your toes into the steaming water, try your best to soft-boil an egg or sit in the shade to give yourself a nice foot bath. Best of all, it’s free and open daily for family fun.
Sembawang Hot Spring Park, located along Gambas Avenue, Singapore 756952
16. Yishun Park
Formerly an old rubber estate, this little spot of greenery features tropical fruit trees and family-friendly hangouts like playgrounds, fitness corners, an amphitheatre and multi-purpose courts. To spend some time with nature, walk across the grounds and see if you can identify the rambutan, jackfruit, coconut or star fruit trees.
Yishun Park, located within the boundaries of Yishun Avenue 4, Yishun Central, Yishun Avenue 11 and Yishun Ring Road
See, Yishun ain’t that scary.