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Singapore's 5 best shopping malls away from town
Tired of the cookie-cutter malls in town? Head down to these heartland malls for some suburban relief
Seems like everytime we turn around, there's a new mall being built along Orchard Road and the newly minted district at Marina Bay. But where do the locals go to avoid the mad jam in town? CNNGo traipses to the ends of the island for the best shopping spots we love.
Far to the east and away from the main shopping strip that is Orchard Road, Parkway Parade is one of the oldest shopping centers with a collection of both new and old retailers and shops. Departmental stores like Marks and Spencer and Isetan as well as electronics and household names like Best Denki and Harvey Norman have settled in comfortably many years ago, and there's a varied mix of good food, designer coffee chains and niche apparel shops. A highly recommended place to go for those who are new to the east.
80 Marine Parade Road, Singapore. tel +65 6344 1242. www.parkwayparade.com.sg.
Eat: Sakuraya Fish Mart at the basement level serves up fresh fish dishes daily. Opened by fish retailer-turned-restaurateur Teruyoshi Abe, the chain prides itself on the variety and freshness of its inventory. Have some sashimi ready to go, or sit down at the dining area for a simple but hearty meal -- the lunch menu specials are especially good value for money. www.sakuraya.com.sg.
Drink: Tea Pal caters to both young tea drinkers and old-timers with its modern and traditional tea sections proffering a good range of quality tea.
Shop: Stege Gallery is a funky underground lifestyle store that's located on Level 2. The gallery-shop stocks a variety of steel jewelry and offers tattoo services as well. www.stegegallery.com.
Velocity @ Novena Square
We've always had a soft spot for Novena Square Shopping Mall, with it being just two MRT stations away from town but yet retaining its own distinct feel. A few years back, Novena Square re-positioned itself to be Velocity @ Novena Square with a new three-story extension added to the existing complex and touting itself as "Singapore’s first-ever dedicated sports and lifestyle Mall," and we like it even more now. Sports and fitness buffs would have a field day here, from the 26,000 sq ft gym run by California Fitness to niche boutique shops stocking the latest sports fashion and fitness equipment. The mall also regularly hosts sporting events both indoors and outddors -- check their events calendar for details.
238, Thomson Road, Singapore. tel +65 6350 5110 / 6358 0700. www.novenasquare.com.
Eat: My Mum's Cuisine serves up, as the name would have it, traditional dishes that your mum used to prepare. There are also stalwarts like Ipoh hor fun, nonya laksa and desserts like ice kachang. www.mymumscuisine.com.
Drink: Cedele By Bakery Depot is a niche bakery cafe that offers a wholesome range of breads, cakes, pies, pastries, sandwiches, salads, soups, desserts -- the catch is there's no trans fat and Celede uses only organic unrefined sugar. www.cedeledepot.com.
Shop: X-Boundaries is a specialty sports equipment store which brings in top brands like Halti from Finland, Alpine Skiing official apparel, Mountain Designs from Australia, and Garmont and Mico from Italy. Wondering where to get trekking and mountaineering gear in sunny, flat Singapore? This is the place to browse for the latest. www.x-boundaries.com.
Smack in the center of Ang Mo Kio, one of Singapore's earliest HDB enclaves, AMK Hub is a newly built mega-mall that spans 48,250 square meters and over 200 shops across four levels. It's really the all-in-one concept to suit the heartland location, with the air-conditioned bus interchange on Level 1, NTUC Fairprice Xtra, one of Singapore’s biggest hypermarkets in the basement and an eight-screen cinema operated by Cathay on the top floor. Small boutique shops are scattered thoughout the complex to cater to different groups, from education centers on level 3 for the families to hop fashion carts on Basement 1 for the tweens generation.
53 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, Singapore. tel +65 6753 9000. www.amkhub.com.sg.
Eat: Thai restaurant Sticky Rice fries up the best crispy soft-shelled crabs (served with a thick sprinkling of pomelo pearls and chopped garlic) and sweet mango desserts this side of the island. The set lunches (under S$10) are real bargains.
Drink: MOF Japanese Sweets & Coffee (aka "Ministry of Food") is great for all things Japanese, but the real finds are the desserts and drinks. Try the Macha Soft Serve (S$2.80), Shiratama Zenzai with Almond (S$5.20), and Shiratama Kurizen with Almond(S$7.20) on a hot afternoon. www.ministryoffood.com.sg.
Shop: Dead Sea Premier carries a fairly unique range of products with the curative and beautifying properties of the Dead Dea, from detoxifying masks, wrinkle fillers to renewal creams and serums. www.premier-deadsea.com.sg.
Sim Lim Square
Sim Lim Square is where the locals go to satisfy their high-tech cravings. It's six levels of computer-related shops with hundreds of electronics dealers offering some of the best prices in Singapore. The customer service leaves a lot to be desired but price is the priority here and competition is fierce, so browse around to compare prices. The better bargains are found on the top floors, so make your way up to Level 6 first. For the more technically inclined, you can literally build your own PC from scratch at this electronic mecca.
1 Rochor Canal Road Singapore. tel +65 6338 3859. www.simlimsquare.com.sg.
Technically, Mustafa Centre isn't a shopping mall but it might as well be since it spans two full buildings in the middle of Little India and is probably bigger than many heartland malls. Every traveler and local who has run out of time goes to Mustafa Centre for last-minute shopping and purchases. It's open 24 hours and sells everything from groceries to shampoo, to ethnic jewelery, to the latest electronics. The goods are usually piled up in heaps -- leading to a court ordered closure of the first floor in early April this year while the Civil Defence carried out inspections for over-crowding -- but the chaos is part of the Mustafa experience. You can wander around for hours at anytime of the day (or night), browsing through the mountains and walls of products.
145 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore. tel +65 6295 5855. www.mustafa.com.sg.