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New foodie hotspots
HOW do you get Singaporeans to go to a new location? Pull them in with lots of food offerings, of course. Property expert Eric Cheng says having plenty of food options gives people choices, and coupled with plenty of parking space, new destinations will eventually become a hit.
The Punggol Settlement
3 Punggol Point Road
SINGAPOREANS are known to travel to far flung places for food, and a trip to The Punggol Settlement, all the way at the end point of Punggol, is no deterrent. For those who don't drive or cab, the only way to get there is by bus service No 84.
Since it opened last year, the two-storey building with 12 F&B outlets has been attracting big crowds, especially on weekends. Lunch time on weekdays tends to be quieter. The Punggol Settlement, which also houses a bicycle rental shop, an exercise equipment rental shop and Giant supermarket is developed by The Colonial Settlement, a subsidiary of the Fragrance Group.
"The Punggol Settlement is designed to be a destination dining place in itself. All the eateries have views of the sea, and there is a good mix of different cuisines to suit everyone," says Sean Fong, the appointed marketing agent for the development. Mr Fong says he has had many requests from different operators who want to set up shop there, but he has been selective in accepting tenants.
Seafood lovers no longer have to travel to East Coast Seafood Centre to get their fix. The Punggol Settlement houses three famous seafood restaurants - Ponggol Seafood, House of Seafood and Jing Long Seafood Restaurant, which all have a strong following.
Opening hours: Weekdays, 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5.30pm to 10.30pm, Weekends and Public Holidays, 11.30am to 10.30pm
THIS famous seafood joint started in 1969 at a spot about 100 metres away from where it is now. It was one of the few seafood restaurants at Punggol Jetty. In 1994, when the government acquired the land, the restaurant moved to various locations, including Marina Country Club nearby.
Last year, Sean Fong, the appointed marketing agent for The Punggol Settlement, approached the restaurant to set up shop there.
Ponggol Seafood's managing director Ting Cheng Ping, who has been working at the family-owned restaurant for the last 35 years, says it was good timing as the lease at the country club was up, and the family is happy to return to its original spot.
"Back in the old days, diners ate by the sea," says Mr Ting. "We decided to return here, as it is near our old location, and also because of the lovely sea view."
The restaurant is famed for its chilli crab, mee goreng, and deep-fried baby squid. Its lala or clam bee hoon is also worth ordering.
Mr Ting says that some dishes that were available during its early days but were later taken off the menu, are now available again. He recommends the prawn pancake - a prawn omelette sandwiched between popiah skin.
Opening hours: 11.30am to 2pm, 5.30pm to 10pm. Closed on Wed
IF you have ever been put off by the long queues for the famed Sembawang White Bee Hoon, there's now a second outlet.
Its managing director Victor Tay says that the menu at both outlets is largely the same, but "at the Punggol outlet, we serve crabs too".
The star dish of the restaurant is White Bee Hoon, or white vermicelli. It sounds bland, but not when the noodles are cooked with prawns, squid, egg and vegetables.
Mr Tay says that the two-week-old restaurant has been getting "better than expected" crowds. The restaurant attracts new customers, some of whom drive from Simei and Pasir Ris. "There are those who don't want to go to Sembawang because the wait is too long, so they come here instead."
He adds that "whereas the Sembawang outlet is in a coffee shop, here at Punggol, it is in a restaurant setting".
Opening hours: Weekdays, 5pm to 12am, closed on Mon; Weekends, 3pm to 12am
THIS cosy little cafe is headed by chef Chris Fong, who used to work at Les Amis, and did apprenticeship stints at Andre and St Pierre.
Chef Fong calls his cuisine French fusion, which he explains as "food cooked using French cooking techniques but with local flavours".
He takes pride that his food is made from scratch, including the soup stocks, which contain no MSG. Some of his popular dishes include squid ink risotto topped with crab meat and grilled octopus.
On weekends, he offers a brunch menu which includes a truffle eggs benedict.
Chef Fong says he picked this location because of the view which opens out to the sea, and to nearby Pulau Ubin. People know of the place by word of mouth and business is picking up. "We've had a customer come back three times in the last two weeks, which is very encouraging," he says.
Rilek 1 Korner
Opening hours: 4pm to 10.30pm, closed on Mondays
OWNER Zulkifli Bukari has named his cafe well. "I want my customers to come here, and be able to feel relaxed," he says.
He used to come to Punggol to fish, but stopped about six years ago. When a friend recently told him about The Punggol Settlement, his interest in the area was piqued.
"I had been thinking of starting a cafe, and when I came to see this unit, I knew it was the ideal place. Where else can you get such a great view of the sea?" he says.
His cafe is the only halal eatery at the development. The spot has been popular with the Malay community who cycle in Punggol. Key dishes include butter prawn fried rice, sambal prawns and crispy seafood noodles.
Wayne's Chill Out
Opening hours: Weekdays, 2pm to 11pm, Weekends, 11am to 11pm
SO you've had dinner at one of the other restaurants at The Punggol Settlement, taken a leisurely walk around Punggol Point, and are now craving for some dessert.
Wayne's Chill Out would be the ideal end for a trip out to Punggol. Run by its namesake Wayne Ho, the cafe offers mainstays such as pizza and lasagne, but is also popular for its sweet treats. Mr Ho had previously worked in the F&B business, but this is the first time he's venturing out on his own.
There is also ice cream which comes in familiar favourites, such as cookies and cream and salted caramel. For the upcoming Chinese New Year, try the pineapple and mandarin orange sorbet, which is a refreshing after-dinner treat.