Heidi Caro, from Manila in the Philippines, is a Senior Manager for Sales, Retail Customer Care at Apple. She tells us why her landed property in Yio Chu Kang is the perfect place for her family. Not only is Yio Chu Kang Road close to their Apple office, it’s also close to some of their family favourites like Greenwich V and Seletar Aerospace Park.
About the Chu Kang name
Three areas of Singapore share a name ending in Chu Kang: Yio Chu Kang, Choa Chu Kang (north of Bukit Batok) and Lim Chu Kang (in the far northwest, home to farms including Hay Dairies and Bollywood Gardens). There used to be others, too, such as Tan Chu Kang and Lau Chu Kang.
The names derive from the Kangchu system of land administration that developed in Johor in the 1800s, whereby settlers would organise themselves into groups, usually based around different river locations, and choose a leader, or kangchu.
The system is said to have driven the growth of Singapore’s vast pepper and gambier plantations in the 19th century. (Gambier is an extract from a shrub that was used at the time for medicinal purposes, but mostly for tanning hides.)
What’s the name of your street? We live in a lovely landed property at the edge of Yio Chu Kang Road.
If it’s in another language, what does it mean? Lifted from Wikipedia (literally!), the word kang means river, while Chu was apparently a clan; the word chu itself means “owner” or “land”.
What’s a common myth or misconception about your neighbourhood? That it’s way out, very far, and with hardly anything to do!
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home? “Yio Chu Kang Road, landed house at the edge of the street next to Begonia Road.”
Closest MRT station? Yio Chu Kang MRT (red North South Line).
How long have you lived here? My family and I have lived in our house for four and a half years now. We chose this suburb, Yio Chu Kang, because of its close proximity to the Apple office where both my husband and I work, and the large space offered by this landed property is necessary when you have three sons.
When you walk out of your place, what’s the first thing you see? Straight out from the gate when I walk out are lovely trees that line the street and somewhat shade our view from the hustle and bustle of the main road.
What’s the closest store to your landed property? Closest is a Cold Storage at Greenwich V shopping mall.
If your street was chosen for a remake of a film, which would it be? Crazy Rich Asians – specifically the street where Goh Peik Lin (played by Awkwafina) lives.
We’re sure your neighbours are great, but is there anything you wouldn’t mind a little less of? No complaints whatsoever – our neighbours on either side have been amazing so far!
What’s the unofficial uniform of your street? Sportswear! Our street is high traffic for joggers, runners and dog walkers.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street? ICA plainclothesmen on a mad goose chase running after two suspects who allegedly had a large shipment of counterfeit cigarettes.
What are your three favourite places to eat or drink in Yio Chu Kang? Our family faves are: Din Tai Fung at the nearby Seletar Mall for those days when we need our dumpling fix; Toast Box at Greenwich V for breakfast after our Saturday morning walks; and The Summerhouse at Seletar Aerospace for a little bit of fancier fare without having to trek into the city. A Thursday post-work fave is The Orange Point Hawker nearby our office at AMK for quick afterwork beers.
What are the best places to shop at in the neighbourhood? Cold Storage at Greenwich V for most groceries, and Little Farms at Serangoon when we’re feeling fancy. I love having fresh orchids at home when we’re entertaining, and Wee Lee Orchids at the Seletar Farmway has some of the most beautiful varieties.
What are some fun or interesting things to do in Yio Chu Kang? Ogle at the massive houses in our suburb! Seletar Aerospace is always a fun place to take the kids as they love watching the planes take off and land. There are multiple neighbourhood parks around Yio Chu Kang and Seletar that are quite nice as well.
What’s one thing you’d never change? The peace and quiet of the suburb, and the amazing space it affords us.
How about one thing you would change? A few more retail and food and beverage establishments within walking distance would be great.
If the city gave you a million dollars to soup up your street, how would you use it? Build up an area nearby for a nice café to walk to.
Beyond the ‘Hood
What are your favourite Singapore spots for taking out-of-town guests? Orchard Road for the obligatory shopping, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, Raffles Hotel for the Singapore Slings, Dempsey for the vibe, the beaches at Sentosa, and our absolute favourite restaurant on the island, No Menu on Boon Tat Street.
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, where do you go? To any of the amazing hawkers around the island, of course!
If you’re missing home, what do you do? Stay indoors mostly, cook comfort food, and FaceTime with family.
Do you love your neighbourhood?
Share it with others – just email us at email@example.com with “Street Talk” in the subject line. Include your name and street, and we’ll be in touch.
This article first appeared in the February 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
Looking for places for good coffee and hearty brunches? The Summerhouse in Seletar Aerospace Park has made to our list of best cafes for nature lovers.