After a 2-hour walk with the My Queenstown Heritage Trail, we were feeling quite hungry – thankfully we ended our trail at Tanglin Halt Market.  There are 2 stalls with very long queues when we were at Tanglin Halt on Sunday 11.20am – one of them is Wei Yi Laksa and Prawn Noodle (Stall Number 20).  The other is Mei Jia Fried Bee Hoon (Stall Number 18) which sells economic rice and of course, fried bee hoon with different ingredients.

Wei Yi Laksa and Prawn Noodle starts its business at 5.30am and it is closed on Mondays and Fridays.  The stall owner works really fast – watching him work is almost like a performance – every action is so smooth from scooping out the rich laksa sauce onto a bowl to stirring to mix up the noodles with the laksa.

wei-yi-laksa-tanglin-halt-market-review

The Tanglin Halt Market Wei Yi Laksa and Prawn Noodle menu is simple – Laksa or Prawn Noodle – you even get to select your choice of ingredients for your laksa.  If you don’t like cockles, then just choose the cockle-less options 1, 2 or 4.

weiyi-laksa-tanglin-halt-menu-price

Our $3 bowl of laksa (option 2) – very rich and tasty – worth it!

laksa-wei-yi-tanglin-halt-market

From what i observed (just based on the people who were in front of the queue), 95% of them ordered laksa.  Nonetheless, I decided to try the Prawn Noodle too.  So here it is – our $3 bowl of prawn noodle (option 8).  It is also very tasty – just what i would expect of a good prawn noodle.

dry-prawn-noodle-wei-yi-tanglin-halt-market

Another stall that comes highly recommended by various forums is Ah Luck Beancurd (Stall Number 17) – located just beside the Mei Wei Fried Bee Hoon.

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For 80 cents, you get a big cup of refreshing soya bean drink – great drink to cool down after the long My Queenstown Heritage Trail walk.

ah-luck-beancurd-soya-bean-drink

Other stalls worth trying at Tanglin Halt Market includes:

Tian Shui Chicken Rice (located just beside Wei Yi Laksa and Prawn Noodle)
Tanglin Halt Market
Stall Number 21
9am to 8pm
Closed on Mondays

(Mei Wei) Delicious Duck Noodles
Tanglin Halt Market
Stall Number 23
4am to 2pm
Closed on Fridays

Tanglin Halt Original Peanut Pancake
Tanglin Halt Market
Stall Number 16
5am to 11am
Closed on Mondays and Fridays

After lunching at Tanglin Halt Market, do walk around the area to check out some very retro shops like this convenience store shown in the picture below.  There is also a very old looking clinic in the area.

thin-huat-traditional-convenience-shop-tanglin-halt

As we were walking towards the Commonwealth MRT station, we spotted this Richie’s Crispy Puff – it was featured in quite a number of newspapers for its unique crispy puff fillings – you can order from the traditional (and best selling) Curry Chicken to Chicken Cheese to even Durian!

richies-curry-puff-flavored-review-tanglin-halt-market

Each Richie’s Crispy Puff cost $1.30 – if you buy two, you get them for $1.20 each (savings of 20 cents!).  Very rich filling and crispy on the outside – nice!

richies-curry-puff-jurong-tanglin-halt-review

The nearest MRT to Tanglin Halt Market is Commonwealth – it is about a 5 minutes walk away from the MRT station.  The Tanglin Halt market and hawker centre and its surrounding areas are scheduled to be demolished by 2021 as part of HDB’s biggest SERS project to revamp and redevelop this vicinity so do check out the stalls at Tanglin Halt market before it is too late!

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Everytime my MRT journey along the East-West line passes by Queenstown, the area around the Queenstown MRT station seemed to be always changing – I think it was just last year that the former Queenstown Cinema and Bowling Alley was demolished (although it had been vacant for quite a number of years). I also remembered taking my Advanced Theory test at the former Queenstown Driving Test Centre – the Centre ceased operations in 1995. I took it at a Traffic Police facility above the then Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre that took over the building.

All these memories made me curious if there are other interesting landmarks and historical sights at Queenstown since it is quite an old estate. The story of Queenstown began on 27 September 1953 when British officials from the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) named the new town after Queen Elizabeth II to mark her coronation a year ago. Setting up Queenstown as a suburb was the most ambitious project initiated by SIT to tackle overcrowding woes in Chinatown.

We had the opportunity to do a MyQueenstown Heritage Trail organised by the civic group – My Community and supported by the National Heritage Board and Queenstown Citizens’ Consultative Committee. My Queenstown Heritage Trail is opened to the public and interested participants can register for the free guided tour, which takes place on the last Sunday of every month - you can sign up through www.myqueenstown.eventbrite.sg or email: [email protected]

myqueenstown-heritage-trail-poster-last-sunday-free-tourMyQueenstown Heritage Trail covers the important landmarks in Queenstown’s second neighbourhood, the Duchess Estate. In this trail, you will come across historical sites such as Queenstown Public Library, former Queenstown Polyclinic and former Commonwealth Avenue Wet Market at the town centre as well as the first HDB Blocks.

  • Queenstown Public Library
  • Former Queenstown Polyclinc
  • Former Commonwealth Wet Market
  • Former Venus & Golden City Theatres
  • The first HDB Blocks & HDB Terraces
  • Former Queenstown Cinema & Bowling Alley
  • Former Margaret Drive Hawker Centre (now just a grass patch)

You won’t be entering these places – but they are visible along the My Queenstown Heritage Trail.

  • Mujahiddin Mosque – you will see this from afar
  • Former Baharuddin Vocational Institute – the current MDIS building

We met at the Queenstown MRT station and proceeded to our first stop – the former Queenstown Driving Test Centre.  It is vacant now and it seems that this former Driving Test Centre and its surrounding is a reserve site under Government Land Sales Programme and it will be released for sale as a residential site – perhaps as a condominium?

former-queenstown-driving-test-centre

Although Queenstown has changed a lot over the past few years, you can still see many of Queenstown’s historical landmarks along this My Queenstown Heritage Trail such as Queenstown Public Library, former Commonwealth Avenue Wet Market, the first HDB Blocks, Princess House and Church of the Blessed Sacrament.

However, some of the landmarks like the former Queenstown Cinema and Bowling Alley have been demolished.

demolished-queenstown-cinema-bowling-alley

Another stop along the trail is the former Commonwealth Avenue Wet Market - the only remaining market in Singapore that is designed by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT). Opened on 23 October 1960, the Wet Market features a parabolic-vaulted roof that allows rainwater to drain quickly and high internal spaces for effective air flow.  But interestingly, the dome-shaped façade earns the Wet Market a morbid colloquial name from the residents, “the Coffin Market,” for its striking resemblance to a traditional Chinese coffin.

The Commonwealth Avenue Wet Market was closed in 2005 and the hawkers were relocated to other wet markets within the precinct. As an icon of Queenstown’s past, the former Wet Market was gazetted for conservation in 2013.

38-wet-market-commonwealth-avenue-heritage-conserved

My Queenstown Heritage Trail is the first heritage trail in Singapore which introduces the history and heritage of the estate by having residents, shop owners and librarians to tell their own stories and personal encounters.  Here at Queenstown Public Library, we were told stories about the library’s past and present by one of its librarian.

The Queenstown Public Library is Singapore’s first full-time branch library. It was officially opened on 30 April 1970 by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to provide access to books which most people could not afford to buy.

queenstown-library-conserved-building-heritage

[click to continue…]

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