Saturday, June 30, 2012

Awesome Town Centres Part 1: Ang Mo Kio Town Centre


If you don't know, majority of Singaporeans live in HDB flats which are also known as public apartments. HDB flats (Housing Development Board) are the government's solution to affordable housing and it's also the solution to old villages AKA Kampungs. In today's article, I'll be talking to you about my visit to a town centre in a HDB estate. A town centre is a central place where shops and restaurants are located at the void deck of low rise HDB flats. Most old HDB estates have town centres and when I mean old HDB estates, I meant flats that don't have lift access to every floor (Yes there are such things). Many activities are held here, many affordable goods can be found here and many food establishments can also be found here at the town centre. In this Awesome Town Cendres series, I'll be taking you on a tour of Ang Mo Kio Town Centre in the heart of Ang Mo Kio housing estate. The other town centres will be featured in a later date.



Getting to Ang Mo Kio was easy thanks to the Ang Mo Kio Bus Interchange and MRT station. I took a bus all the way to Ang Mo Kio Bus Interchange as there was a straight bus service. Once I alighted from the bus, all I have to do is to walk straight and exit AMK Hub, the shopping mall. If you spot the McDonald's restaurant, you have reached Ang Mo Kio Town Centre. Thankfully, there was this map that shows the town centre and also talks more about the history of the town centre. If you live in Ang Mo Kio, the signboard also shows old photos of the town centre so you can check them out and relive your memories. Although, I'm not so sure if the map board is still there or not but I still hope they do.



The HDB flats that surround the town centre were low rise. Every surrounding HDB flat has around 3 to 4 floors and most of them do not have lift access. It's great that some of them have retrofitted lifts thanks to the government's Lift Upgrading Programme so it will not be such a hassle for seniors or the disabled to get between floors. Various shops can be found at the void deck of the HDB flats. Most of the time, I saw mobile phone shops that sold first and second hand phones along with various iPhone cases and service repairs. If you're lucky, some of them also sell non-iPhone cases if you don't have an iPhone.

Apart from that, I also saw several shops selling hardware stuff. You know those hardware stuff like hammers, hangers, scrubs and other household-related items? I also noticed there are plenty of coffee shops in Ang Mo Kio. Everywhere you turn, you are sure to find coffee shops. Back then, there was a Banquet food court and a place where small children can drive toy cars. I used to bring my cousin there but now, it's all gone. I feel so sad.



 

After passing by a row of HDB flats with shops, it's time for me to visit Jubilee Square. Jubilee Square used to be a big cinema complex but it has recently ceased operations. Together with the similar Toa Payoh Entertainment Centre, both public cinemas ceased operations and only shops in the centre still remain opened. Jubilee Square is still owned by Eng Wah which is one of the cinema operators in Singapore although the nearby Toa Payoh Entertainment is now known as ERA Centre and it now belongs to Hersing Pte Ltd. Toa Payoh Entertainment Centre was formerly owned by Eng Wah that's why both look similar.

What I like about Jubilee Square is the wide array of shops in the entertainment centre. My favourite is Popeyes Chicken in which I have written an article about it a few weeks ago. (more info for Popeyes here). Just right beside Popeyes Chicken is a Hong Kong dessert cafe which is HALAL certified. I can't really remember what the name was but still, I would like to check it out the next time. There is also a fun playground right outside Jubilee Square along with a coffee shop. It's a great place for families to hang out and bond.

Popeyes Dip'n Chicken (Promotion)

Popeyes Mashed Potato
If you have recently read my Popeyes Chicken article, you may noticed that one of the pictures was a picture of the Popeyes mashed potato. In that post, I did not show how it looked like on the inside. To make up for that mistake, here I have the picture of the best mashed potato in Singapore. You can see the Cajun herbs and spices that are spread all around the gravy and potato. The result was amazing tastes with full flavour of the Cajun spices.

The pieces of fried chicken that's pictured above is called the Dip'n Chicken. The Dip'n Chicken is actually a plate of small breaded pieces of chicken breaded in their deliciously amazing Cajun spices. The reason why they are small and bite-sized is because they're for dipping. That's why it's called the Dip'n Chicken. The pieces of chicken each were huge and it's fun to dip with their new sauce which was the Blackened Ranch Sauce. Somehow, the Blackened Ranch Sauce was a bit diluted and watery but when you dip the pieces of chicken in it, the taste was simply heavenly. The sauce was a bit on the salty side and there's like a hint of barbecue in it. I prefer my sauces to not be watery and I want it to be gooey and gel-like. Still, the sauce was great and the whole meal consists of a Side, Dip'n Chicken and a small drink. The whole meal costs S$5.90. If it's still available now, get it while you can.



There's also a hawker centre in Ang Mo Kio Town Centre. Hawker centres serve delicious and affordable food in an open-air environment. Unfortunately, I did not check out the Ang Mo Kio Hawker Centre as it was closed temporarily for cleaning. If it's open, do check it out because I have heard of several popular hawker stalls in this hawker centre. Not so sure which ones but try to Google for it.


There is also Broadway Plaza which is situated right beside the hawker centre I mentioned earlier. There are also several shops like the popular Korean casual restaurant called BBQ Chicken at the first level of the building. I'm not entirely sure if it has an interior with shops in it but I do know that there is National Healthcare Groups' 1 Health clinic located in Broadway Plaza. Back then, there was a Long John Silver's restaurant on the first level.


If want to get yourself some brand new furniture and electronics in the Ang Mo Kio area, you can look forward to coming here. It's called Courts and it's a very popular furniture/electronics retailer with several outlets around the island. The headquarters is Courts Megastore which is located in the Tampines area. What's similar with Courts Megastore and Courts Ang Mo Kio is that both are stand alone structures that both feature big yellow exteriors and both have Market Halls. The Market Hall is where you can get big discounts on various types of items like household appliances, bed covers and even household electronics like vacuum cleaners. The reason why they're discounted heavily is because they have been shipped directly from the docks. Courts calls them Hot Off The Docks. Courts also has various sales around the year so if you're looking for further discounts, you can look forward to coming to Courts to purchase the discounted items.


Just like Courts, the Ang Mo Kio Public Library is also located quite far off from the main town centre. I don't know why they want to do so because it's actually quite inconvenient as it's located too far away. Perhaps they should try relocating to the nearby AMK Hub shopping mall. Anyway, if you noticed, it's a library. The library is a favourite place among Singaporeans to read, hang out at the cafe or do some studying. The Ang Mo Kio Library has two floors and a cafe at the first level. You have to try the Cookies and Cream Milk Shake at the cafe. It's delish. Still, I wish they put the Coffee Bean at the first level but it's okay. If you live in Ang Mo Kio and want to head somewhere that's quiet and relaxing, head to the library if you have the time. If you are too lazy to walk here, you can just take the bus from the interchange. There's a bus stop right outside Courts and the library is just beside Courts.



As I was walking to the furniture store, Courts, I actually spotted construction hoardings for a lift upgrading programme. Sure, construction hoardings aren't interesting right? Actually, something caught my attention. The construction hoarding has a big advertisement advertising a beauty spa which is located just right behind the construction site. Not so sure if it's a common practice in Ang Mo Kio but it was the first time I have seen such things. Ang Mo Kio Town Centre also has several map boards located around the town centre. If you want to know how to get to somewhere like the library or Courts, you can refer to the map board as pictured above. However, it seems that the map board isn't really updated. The temporary bus interchange has been removed for a very long time already and the NTUC Fairprice has moved into the town centre instead of still being located beside the temporary interchange. They should do something about the map board. The rest of it was accurate.



It was time for me to leave the beautiful Ang Mo Kio Town Centre. Before I leave, I have to take a picture of the town centre at night. After the sun sets, shops and restaurants in the town centre will all be brightly lit and everything will be colourful. There are bubble tea shops, pharmacies, pawnshops, jewellery shops and so much more. Everything was so lively at night. To be honest, all the good shops and most fast food restaurants are located in the town centre and not the AMK Hub shopping mall. I still prefer the town centre over the shopping mall anytime.

All in all, Ang Mo Kio Town Centre is an amazing place to get great bargains, eat cheap hawker food, hang out with friends at the coffee shops, read a book at the library or get some discounted furniture at Courts. There are so much things you can do at Ang Mo Kio Town Centre. Sure there's no air-con or high end street fashion stores but you can get cheap stuff on almost everything here at the town centre including clothes and phones. If you live near or in Ang Mo Kio Town Centre, consider yourself lucky. Do watch out for the next few parts of my Awesome Town Centres series where I'll cover a few more town centres in the next few days. Hopefully, your favourite town centre gets featured. 

Popeyes Chicken at Jubilee Square is HALAL certified

The Awesome Town Centres Series

Part 2: Toa Payoh Town Centre 

Part 3: Hougang Central Town Centre

Part 4: Bukit Merah Town Centre

Getting Here 

Bus services available: Bus services at Ang Mo Kio Bus Interchange

Nearest MRT Station: NS16 Ang Mo Kio MRT Station (North South Line)

Website: http://heritagetrails.sg/content/3140/Ang_Mo_Kio_Town_Centre.html



View Larger Map

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...