Kebun Baru Market and Food Centres

"Ang Mo Kio in Hokkien literally means the ‘red-haired man’s bridge’, where ang mo is a colloquial term for a Caucasian person. The name makes reference to the bridge over Kallang River in the area, built by Johnson Turnball Thomson, Government Surveyor of the Straits Settlement from 1841 to 1853.The town was largely uninhabited until the rubber boom in the beginning of the 20th century, which brought cultivation and habitation to the Chinese district. Ang Mo Kio comprised mainly farms and attap houses scattered among rubber estates" -Source: HDB 

Ang Mo Kio including Yio Chu Kang has a population of 163,950 of which 60% are 40 years of age and above. Kebun Bahru, a sub-zone of Ang Mo Kio has 22,970 residents, similarly, 60% are 40 years of age and above, which is slightly higher than the national average of 52%. - Singstat June 2019

Kebun Baru is the Malay name for New Garden. Kebun Baru Mall is an amalgamation of Block 226A to Block 226H. Within the mall is Kebun Baru Market and Food Centre at Blk 226D, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1. It was built in 1976, the first in Ang Mo Kio among 8 other Market and Food centres in Ang Mo Kio itself. It has 10 food stalls and 101 market stalls (Wow !). Kebun Baru Mall has another eating place - the Kebun Baru Food Centre at Blk 226H, Ang Mo Kio Street 22 which houses 29 cooked food and drink stalls.    

Kebun Bahru  Market and Food Centre photo National Heritage Board
Kebun Bahru Mall photo by  HDB

Some of the must eat good food stalls at the newer Blk 226H Kebun Bahu Food Centre include 德记熟食Sheng Mian, Seletar Sheng Mian, Hong Heng Beef Noddle, 廣東Claypot Chicken Rice, Carrot and Fried Oyster and 'home cook' economical rice. 德记熟食 Sheng Mian sells noodles (sheng mian, mee pok .. ) at $3 commonly ordered meal (labelled healthy meal) and it gives generously a combination of ingredients, pork, pork liver, fish ball, fish cake, egg and veggie protien, carbohydrate, green and soup for a $4 meal. It is a 40-year old recipe and the business here is still operated by the pioneer and relatives. Seletar Sheng Mian serves value for money Mee Hoon Kueh and Sheng Mian at $3, lavish with fresh prawn, egg, vegetables, pork meat, minced pork and anchovies. The queue is often long, but you don't have to wait long with the husband and wife productive teamwork - they are able to whip up the noodle meals quickly. Hong Heng offers Beef Noodle, Mixed Beef Soup, Beef Ball Soup, Mixed Beef Laksa, Fresh Cockles Laksa and Fresh Prawns Laksa. 

Kebun Bahru 01-23 德记熟食 Sheng Mian
德记熟食Sheng Mian
Seletar ShengMian at Kebun Baru Food Centre unit 01-07
Seletar Sheng Mian #01-07
Kebun Baru Food Centre  Beef Noodle unit 01-16 Ang Moe Kio Avenue 1
Hong Heng Beef Noodle #01-16

廣東 offers a wide varieties of dishes; Claypot Chicken Rice, Claypot Pork Rib, Claypot Sausages and Bacon Rice, Steam Grouper, Steam Soup Fish Head, Slice Fish and Doubled Boil Soups. It has a stall at Beo Crescent Market and Food Centre run by Mr Wu, a former chef at Marriot Hotel. Li Fa Chi is the master of 2 delicious dishes that it sells, Fried Oyster and Fried Carrot Cake. The Carrot Cake may look plain at first sight but it tastes good and usually runs out before noon, when the man takes in more orders for Fried Oyster. The couple at 家香经济什菜饭 has been selling their home-cook traditional recipes serve with rice or porridge at reasonable prices for over 10 years at their the Kebun Baru Food Centre. In the queue are usually customers from around the middle age, seniors and pioneers. Porridge is usually sold out early and the stall closes around noon. 

Kebun Baru Food Centre  Claypot Chicken Rice unit 01-29
廣東Claypot Chicken Rice 01-29
Li Fa Chi Fried Oyster at Kebun Baru Food Centre unit -01-03 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1
Li Fa Chi Fried Oyster #01-03
Kebun Baru Food Centre  home cook economy rice at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1
家香经济什菜饭 #01-04

Fresh Coconut from Heritage Grinder

For decades since 1960s, provision shops or "Kedai" and wet  markets sold fresh shredded coconut produced by this heritage coconut grinder serving the needs of households and small food stalls for cooking food such as curry chicken, Laksa, Nasi Lemak (coconut juice extract from the shredded bits) and added as accompaniments, toppings ( such as for Lotong) or fillings for a wide varieties of Malay, Indian, Nonya and Chinese, kuihs/kuehs, buns, cakes, tarts, biscuits, desserts - Ondeh Ondeh, Kuih Dadar, Kueh Kosul,  Ubi Kayu, Getuk Getuk, Putu Mayam, Appam, Mang Chien Kueh (Chinese Pancake), Kueh Tutu, "Love Letter"  biscuit roll, Chendol, Glutinous Rice, Bubur Cha Cha, Bubur Terigu... 

Ming Engineering Pte Ltd started manufacturing its popular Coconut Grinder in 1963, among other machines - Ice Grinder (Ice Kachang machine), Sugar Cane Press and Ice Crusher. The coconut grinder can shred coconut with the brown skin or white without the skin. In the past, provision shop and market stall owners have to remove the thick brown "hairy" fibrous covering, hack open the shell, remove the brown skin, break the coconut meat into about 3 to 4 pieces before inserting each piece into the electric coconut grinder to produce the small shredded coconut bits. You could buy the shredded bits from at least half portion of a coconut, white, about a dollar or grind with the skin to pay less. It is a tedious process, time consuming, take up space and messy handling the waste of the fibrous covering, shell .. of the coconut.

As provision shops gradually disappeared, taken over by modern retailers, NTUC Fairprice, Giant, Watson, Guardian, cake shops, hair saloons, handphone shops … , the coconut grinding trade became extinct from the housing estates and it is also now hard to find one from among the markets. The last I bought shredded coconut was from a provision shop at Eunos Crescent a decade ago but it left the trade as shredded coconut and coconut milk are readily available in most supermarkets.  After searching, I managed to find a stall selling Indian spices which is continuing the trade at Kebun Bahru Market, one of the oldest markets in Ang Mo Kio and in Singapore.

CG Ang 2021-01-21

SHARE