Singapore is made up of many small neighbourhoods, each bearing its own charm and treasures. Being born as and growing up as Singaporeans who reside in the West, the Alexandra neighbourhood is particularly close to our hearts.
We speak for many when we say Alexandra has so much to offer for that quintessential Singaporean experience. Today, Singapore may be a prosperous first world country, a financial hub, a trading port, a tourism destination – but all of these cannot hold a candle to the simplest of joys and bittersweet nostalgia we get from the places, food, and activities that we grew up knowing.
For one, Alexandra brings much comfort to our souls and while we welcome the new that keeps coming in, the neighbourhood remains one that we will always love.
From the olds of Alexandra Village Food Centre and Queensway Shopping Centre to the news of HortPark and Park Hotel Alexandra, here’s our guide to Alexandra – 13 Things To See, Do, Eat And Love about the charming neighbourhood.
#1 ALEXANDRA VILLAGE FOOD CENTRE
The hawker culture is a big part of Singapore, and it is a lifestyle that we are always proud to share. There are no lack of hawker centres in Singapore, and though the ones that are often in the limelight do not include Alexandra Village Food Centre – or AV for short – there is really a lot to love here.
AV operates throughout the day, and you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner here. Popular finds include BBQ Seafood, Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice, Claypot Laksa, and Avocado Milkshake. You might find the last two very endearing, and they sure are. We will talk more about them in a while.
#2 ANCHORPOINT FACTORY OUTLET
If you do not already know, Anchorpoint – the shopping mall right across Ikea – is actually a factory outlet. In other words, a sale takes place 365 days a year! It is a rather mixed mall so you pretty much have everything covered.
Residents and visitors alike enjoy the discounts and slashed price all year round. Brands who have boutiques in this mall includes Charles & Keith, Typo, and Cotton On.
It isn’t our first time professing our love for new rooftop bar, Aqua Luna, neither would this be our last. Sitting within Park Hotel Alexandra, Aqua Luna is like a gastrobar in the outdoors that offers a splendid view.
Catch the sunset while admiring Alexandra from a different perspective, and munch on bar grubs and mains – all at the less-than-crowded Aqua Luna.
#4 HORTPARK – A 22-ACRE PARK CONNECTOR
Dubbed as the first gardening lifestyle hub in Asia, HortPark is a 22-acre park connector that is situated within The Southern Ridges. There is a 10km long trail that is great for a leisure hike. Nature lovers would surely love it here.
#5 IKEA – FURNITURE SHOPPING
Because you need not have a new home to shop for furniture. We are sure many of you agree when we say a day spent randomly strolling in Ikea is our idea of fun. There is something therapeutic about walking through the different “rooms” and set-ups, and of course, we need to satisfy our craving for Swedish meat balls before we leave.
#6 KENG ENG KEE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT FOR ITS MOONLIGHT HOR FUN
Possibly one of the most famous old-school restaurants in the West, Keng Eng Kee (KEK) is your typical “tze char” restaurant, but their popularity over the decades have brought about expansion to the business, and today, KEK is a big scale restaurant that occupies two units, on top of its resident tables in the coffee shop.
Our all-time favourites are the Moonlight Hor Fun, Claypot Pig Liver, and Salted Egg Yolk Crab.
#7 BATTLE OF THE BEST LAKSA
No, Katong is not the place to go for Laksa. Alexandra is. Because the three best ones in Singapore are all concentrated in this neighbourhood.
You have Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa, 328 Katong Laksa, and Janggut Laksa all in one area. What more can you ask for in life, really?
#8 OLD SCHOOL FURNITURE SHOPS
You can hardly find such old school furniture shops in Singapore anymore. Think rattan chairs, wooden tables, and all that our grandparents used to seek comfort in. Alexandra sure invokes a sense of nostalgia every time we are in the hood; even more so when we walk past these shops.
The addition of Park Hotel Alexandra, the first hotel within the district, will change the facade of the neighbourhood forever, but we are embracing this change. Complete with an infinity pool that overlooks the green belt of the Southern Ridges, a premium roast buffet, one of the most gorgeous bars in Singapore and a stylish coffee place all within the premise, Park Hotel Alexandra is a charming one.
You may wonder what it is like to do a staycation within a residential area, and we will tell you it is nothing short of wonderful.
The hotel is modernistic in design with a tranquil vibe, spacious and clean. And we love the outdoor infinity pool so much – it’s like a resort but in the city! Deck chairs are aplenty for you to kick off your shoes and to unwind with your Kindle or magazines. If all else fails, the stunning bar will keep you occupied.
#10 QUEENSWAY SHOPPING CENTRE IS THE GO-TO PLACE FOR SPORTS EQUIPMENTS
No secret, right? Everyone knows to go to Queensway Shopping Centre for a one-stop “solution” for all our sporting needs. The prices are usually 10% lower than town’s, and you can find just about any sports brand here.
By the way, Janggut Laksa is the very crowded stall in the middle of Level 1.
#11 THE FAMOUS AVOCADO MILKSHAKE
You would have known by now that Alexandra Village Food Centre is synonymous with Avocado Milkshake. For some reason, Mr Avocado Exotic Juice at Alexandra Village Food Centre does it so right that Singaporeans now know Alexandra for his milkshake.
For the uninitiated, it is simply a refreshing drink of blended avocado with gula melaka syrup. You have to try it to understand how that creamy goodness is so addictive.
#12 SALUTE COFFEESHOP
This is not your usual coffee shop. Here at Salute, expect new-age finds of European and Western food – all in a coffee shop setting.
The stalls include Two Wings for their fried chicken wings (which were sadly mediocre), Stew Kuche for crackly German Pork Knuckle, and Immanuel French Kitchen that dishes out pretty affordable Duck Confit.
#13 TRADITIONAL CONFECTIONERY SHOPS
We have all sorts of fancy bakeries in town, but regrettably, the number of traditional confectionery shops have been on the decline.
Modernisation had us realising the beauty of these traditional confectionery shops where we can still find old-school bread loaves, buttercream cakes and homemade spreads. These were what we grew up eating, and at Alexandra, we can count on Love Confectionery and Chinatown Tai Chong Kok Confectionery Hue Kee.
Be a tourist in our own country by exploring the best kept secrets around the Alexandra neighbourhood and answering simple questions at apps.facebook.com/trailsofalexandra.
From now till 30 November, embark on an online explorative quest through the interactive map of Alexandra and stand a chance to win attractive prizes! What’s more, encourage your friends to take part in the quiz on Facebook to increase your chance of winning the big prize – a 1-night Weekend Staycation in a Suite at Park Hotel Alexandra!
This post is brought to you by Park Hotel Alexandra.