Looking to move to a new neighbourhood? Nothing would be better than to hear from the residents themselves. We speak to Michael Riches about the ins and outs of living in Ang Mo Kio.
Contrary to how it sounds, the name Ang Mo Kio is not related to the phrase ang moh, the slang term for white foreigners. Rather, it translates to “Western bridge” to signify the prosperity of two cultures meeting. Today, it’s a vibrant area in the centre of Singapore, known for its array of HDB estates and absence of condominiums (there is only one).
Name: Michael Riches, Canada
Where did you live when you first came to Singapore?
I bounced between a few places and got a quick all-round view of Singapore life. First stop was a room in Potong Pasir for about a month. That area is famous for being one of two opposition districts in parliament, and certainly feels different from the rest of Singapore. Then it was off to a condo in Bukit Batok, which is a beautiful area but a bit remote for my liking. My landlord moved a few months later to an HDB in Bishan and I followed him there for a while. Then there were a few months in Newton, but that’s another story.
What were your main reasons for moving to this area?
Ang Mo Kio is close enough to the city for convenience, but far enough away that the rents aren’t through the roof. I also enjoy living in an HDB among the locals. Most expats tend to go for condos, which have their appeal, but condos the world over are alike. HDB flats are uniquely Singaporean, and AMK especially has a nice community feeling around the estates. The area is lush with trees and greenery, and feels full of life.
Best thing about living in this neighbourhood?
The FairPrice Xtra hypermarket is a real surprise. I had no idea it was there until after I moved in. It’s like a Carrefour that doesn’t require a trip to the city. There’s also an abundance of hawker centres and street malls with independent shops. I’ll never go hungry living here.
What’s missing from your local area that you would like to have?
There’s no Cold Storage, but I think it’s just an expat reflex to miss it. We get used to the look and feel of that style of grocery store. In fact, the FairPrice Xtra has everything I need.
Any drawbacks to living in this area?
The MRT station is more packed than I’d expect for a suburban area, and the bus stop outside is incredibly congested, worse than Orchard Road. I usually walk the four bus stops home rather than deal with the crowds.
Why this specific home?
I chose an HDB to experience Singapore the way the average local does. Besides that, there’s no reason for this specific flat besides the fact that a friend-of-a-friend offered and it was available.
Preferred local leisure area?
Although it’s a nice place to live, there’s not a lot to do in Ang Mo Kio. There’s a nice park on a hill by the MRT that is good for a jog. Mostly I head into the city for my leisure time. But living near an MRT station, it feels as though the city is at my doorstep.
Preferred local shopping centre?
The FairPrice Xtra hypermarket is always the first stop. The mall at the AMK Hub is new but rather sparse, and not a place I like to hang out in. My consumerist side still prefers to go to Orchard or VivoCity.
Favourite restaurant for a special night out?
Dian Xiao Er is one of my favourite restaurants. They have a few locations around Singapore, but there’s one in the AMK Hub that I head to when I’m with friends. It has a bit of a rustic, cosy feel, and it’s a nice place to get some authentic Chinese dishes.
Sweet Spring in the AMK Hub specialises in Chinese desserts. There are a lot of treats there I hadn’t tasted before. It makes for a nice place to relax with a friend after dinner.
Favourite “cheap and cheerful” restaurant?
The hawker stalls and food courts are so plentiful and widespread. There’s always cheap, and usually cheerful, too.
All locations below can be found in the AMK Hub shopping mall at the intersection of Ang Mo Kio Avenues 3 and 8, across from the Ang Mo Kio MRT station.
Dian Xiao Er
For traditional Chinese food
FairPrice Xtra hypermarket
For groceries, electronics and more
For Chinese desserts