As the largest mall in northeast Singapore, NEX holds plenty of dining options, and here are the best places to eat there.
Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, NEX used to be an empty field next to the terribly warm Serangoon Bus Interchange. In 2010, the blank space turned into a seven-storey grey box, which would be equally forgettable if not for being the only monolith in the area.
Today, the shopping mall is a major hub for commuters transiting through the Serangoon MRT Station and Serangoon Bus Interchange – thankfully, the latter is air-conditioned now – and food choices are plenty. Go-Ang serves Hainanese chicken rice by the way of Thailand, as Yun Nans forages China’s rich southwestern province for flavours. Putien turns out reliable Fujian food with an eye on fresh seafood, and Penang Culture presents Halal renditions of dishes from Malaysia’s northwestern food capital.
Japanese options come in the form of the larger-than-life Monster Curry, and efficient yet quality sashimi rice bowls from Donburi King. Army stews get the top rank at Seoul Yummy, while Texas Chicken does fried chicken inspired by the Lone Star State.
NEX is located at 23 Serangoon Central, Singapore 556083
8 best places to eat at NEX
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Donburi King prioritises sashimi rice bowls at affordable prices and an efficient service. The store has a variety of styles from aburi salmon to its signature kaisen don with fresh oyster, prawn, salmon, uni, scallop, octopus, and fish roe, which join katsu don, cream crab croquette, and jelly fish. If your rice bowl is overflowing with ingredients, they have a guide on how to eat it without making a mess.
(Image credit: Donburi King 爆爆王 – ばくばくおう / Facebook)
Go-Ang can trace its lineage back to 1960, when it was a food stall specialising in khao man gai, or Hainanese-style chicken rice in the Pratunam district of Bangkok. The original outlet has been given a Michelin Bib Gourmand award multiple times, and they opened in Singapore in 2018. Compared to the local chicken rice, the difference lies in the chilli sauce, which is made with fermented soybean, making it richer and slightly funky. Other popular dishes include chicken gizzard, chai poh omelette, and sambal kang kong.
(Image credit: Go-Ang Pratunam Chicken Rice)
Everything is freakishly large at Monster Curry. Their Japanese demi-glace curry is made with 14 different vegetables and spices, and takes two days to cook. The portions come in 35cm and 41cm sized plates, which are wider than a frisbee. There are five levels of spiciness, which goes from normal spicy to monster spicy, courtesy of a sauce made with chilli padi, garlic, ginger, and celery. It brings the burn to tonkatsu, cheese omelette, shrimp tempura, and ramen, while honey toast with ice cream offers a cool respite.
(Image credit: Monster Curry)
Penang Culture brings beloved dishes from the northwestern Malaysian state to a wider swarth of diners. The Halal-certified restaurant serves street fare like Penang char kway teow, rojak, assam laksa, and oyster omelette, together with barbecued seafood, assam curry fish head, and prawn fritters. There is also its signature Malacca seafood cheese bee hoon, and desserts of chendol and bubur hitam.
(Image credit: Penang Culture – Street Food Paradise / Facebook)
Out of Singapore’s rich variety of Fujian cuisine, Putien serves it Henghua style. It hails from the coastal city of Putian, and features fresh seafood cooked lightly. Since 2000, Putien has grown into a chain with the original restaurant awarded a Michelin star, and counts its Fujian red mushroom seafood lor mee, ‘100-second’ stewed yellow croaker, bian rou dumpling soup, and stir-fried chilli clams among its top sellers.
(Image credit: Putien Restaurant / Facebook)
Seoul Yummy makes diners stand at attention for its budae jjigae, or army stew. Made with ramyeon, tteokbokki, spam, sausage, enoki, beancurd, baked beans, vegetables, and kimchi, it can be topped with seafood, chicken and pork slices, as well as fish cake and cheese. The restaurant also serves rabokki, or tteokbokki with ramyeon, on a grill plate with cheese, as well as Korean fried chicken and kimchi pancake.
(Image credit: Seoul Yummy)
Unlike a certain colonel hawking fried chicken from the US state of Kentucky, this chain does it the Texan way. The difference is in the way the bird is prepared: typically dredged in flour, coated with egg and buttermilk, and dunked in the flour once again, in a process called chicken-fried chicken. Texas Chicken applies this to both their bone-in meat and tenders, paired with sides of honey-butter biscuits and mashed potatoes.
(Image credit: Texas Chicken)
A restaurant chain from mainland China, Yun Nans specialises in dishes from the country’s southwestern province. Highlights include wild porcini mushroom with Yunnan chilli, crispy grilled seabass with lemongrass, pao fan of rice and seafood poached in prawn broth, and rice noodles served in a silky pork broth with vegetables, sliced fish, and Yunnan ham. For dessert, go for the the baked rose pastry, which has aromatic rose petal jam.
(Image credit: Yunnans 云海肴 / Facebook)