Neighbourhood Secrets: 18 NIR

Tai Seng’s hidden gems

Back in its heyday, Tai Seng was known as gang turf (rivalling the gangs of Geylang). Taxis refused to enter the area at night, and the district was also home to a busy wet market and popular outdoor cinema. While the district is nowhere near as colourful as its past, there are plenty of hidden secrets to be discovered among our drab industrial buildings. Here are some of our favourites.

From old-school bakeries to million-dollar roast meat recipes, there is no dearth of good food in the Tai Seng hood. These are our favourite spots to unwind at after a hard day’s work.

The Boiler Louisiana Seafood & Beer
This multi award-winning restaurant serves up tasty fare inspired by the Southern tradition of Cajun seafood boils. Wash dinner down with Alaskan Cider or a Royal Jamaican Ginger Beer.
18 Howard Road, #01-06, Novelty Bizcentre, 369585. $$$$

Saturday House

This casual joint has an eclectic mix of sio bak, truffle fries, and marmite wings – in other words, comfort bar food perfect with a Friday sundowner.
339 Upper Paya Lebar Rd, 534953. $$-$$$

Three Years in a Balloon
Opened by the same team behind Wimbly Lu, the highlight here is the range of desserts – cakes, waffles, tarts, house-churned ice-cream. The downside is that they close at 7.30pm and only open on weekdays, but if you’re ever in need of an office birthday cake, you know who to call.
163 Upper Paya Lebar Rd, 534857. $-$$

Big Bakery
Need a pick-me-up come groggy office afternoons? Head out to Big Bakery and take your pick of freshly baked pastries. Tip: the fresh apple crumble is the hot favourite.
99 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 534825. $

Unearth some serious furniture and lifestyle gems around the hood, but fair warning: the best way to explore the area is on foot.

If walking isn’t your jam, head over to the bicycle experts at Footloops and get yourself a handsome set. Footloops offers a range of bicycles from Europe and the US, along with foldable and electric bicycles.
61 Ubi Road 1, Oxley Bizhub #01-21, Singapore 408727

Hock Siong

Prepare to root around for gems in this treasure trove of secondhand and designer furniture. You do have to get your hands dirty, but the search is half the fun here.
153 Kampong Ampat, Singapore 368326

Serta Trading Company
Move over, Merlin’s. Display your photographs in made-to-measure frames by Serta.
89 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 534820

Red Point Record Warehouse
Vinyl heads come here for the extensive range of music, from indie singles and contemporary hits to classic rock and roll.
Blk B #06-11, Kapo Factory Building, 80 Playfair Rd, Singapore 367998

Assorted furniture shops
Furniture shopping for the new house? Check out Egg3 (#07-01, 85 Playfair Road) and Grafunkt (#02-01/02 85 Playfair Road) for designer pieces, or head over to Departures and Arrivals (#02-61 Oxley Bizhub 1, Block 65 Ubi Road 1) for covetable accessories.

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