Bedok is probably the best place to live in if you love the hustle and bustle of the heartland and yet do not want to stay too far away from town. Bedok is only 8 stops away from City Hall and has so much more to offer than what it looks. It is an exciting town and has developed so much from the days of Bedok’s old interchange and Bedok’s Princess Theatre. Bedok is one of those places where you can say it has refurbished well but has not lost its character.
It really does still make your heart go “bedok bedok” even after all these years.
1. Bedok was around even before Stamford Raffles time
Contrary to modern beliefs, the origin of Bedok’s name has nothing to do with heartbeat or furniture (“Bed-ok”). The name “Bedok” is most likely derived from the Malay word “Bedoh” which is a drum that was formerly used to call out to Muslims for prayer times. Back then, there was a mosque around the area. Another saying is that it could have referred to small fishing boats (“biduk” in Malay) which were found along the coastline. The latter is plausible given how there was river presence in Bedok area and it was home to a series of villages. According to a 1604 map by Cartographer Manuel Godinho de Eredia, the Bedok river was indicated as Sunebodo which was also known as Sungei Bedok.
To provide some context of how ancient this town is, the year 1604 is actually more than 200 years before Sir Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore! This suggests that Bedok was indeed one of the earliest documented places in Singapore. Mind blowing, isn’t it?
Btw, in case you’re wondering, Cartographer is one who draws or produces map.
2. Vintage-themed marketplace in Bedok
One does not necessarily need to travel all the way to Bangkok to explore a vintage-themed market. It is right here in Singapore! Not a full-fledged vintage market like Talat Rot Fai in Bangkok but good enough for Singaporeans who love to reminisce about old times or are simply vintage lovers. Even better if the market comes with food, ain’t it?
Simpang Bedok Marketplace is not the newest hipster kopitiam in the eastern side of the sunny island (Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre has topped it since opening its doors to the public in Jan 2018) but the vintage concept is so well infused in the interiors of this marketplace that it’s hard not to appreciate the ambience while enjoying a bowl of cheng teng (chinese dessert). Here, you will also be delighted to know that there is a hipster bakery selling home-made sourdough bread and pizza! 28-yr-old Lionel, founder of Mr Kneady, takes up to 20 hours making sourdough from scratch! That’s a whole LOAF of dedication and patience KNEADed in this profession!
Old school vinyl is also still very much alive! Check out Zennaudio Electronics at Bedok Shopping Complex (just round the corner) for its old-school records and vintage turntables.
3. Old-school barbershop made its way to Bedok heartlands
There’s no intention in portraying Bedok as a treasure trove for all things vintage but Limpeh Barbershop is certainly making old-school barbers cooler than your $10 k-cuts. Now if you know the story behind Limpeh Barbershop, you will be even more inclined to fork out a little more for high quality gent’s cuts. Siti Rafidah is one woman breaking gender stereotypes at her barber shop nestled in a small corner of an HDB estate at Bedok North.
You might mistake her for being one of the fresh-faced barbers but she’s actually the owner of this really cool shop. Rafidah, also known as Fidd, literally stumbled into the barbering industry after picking up hair-cutting skills while researching on her final year project at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). She was supposed to end up being a graphic designer. Fate clearly took a different turn for her and boy, the journey wasn’t easy at all. She had to keep her barbering gigs as a secret from her family in fear of parental objection. Thankfully, her family eventually encouraged her to pursue her dreams.
Her business has grown so much that customers now need to book their slots a week in advance! Also, fancy the design of Limpeh Barbershop? Fidd is probably putting her graphic design skills to its best use! #supportlocal
4. Disused car park into rooftop garden bearing fruits of love
This rooftop garden came into fruition even before urban farming became a thing. Originally a disused carpark space in Bedok, this rooftop garden is now a space for people with very green fingers to come together and cultivate their love for gardening. The kampong spirit is very much alive here as volunteers chip in their personal time to tend to the farm. The reward? A sprawling garden with over 30 types of organic vegetables and fruits. Harvest is so bountiful that it can’t keep bugs and even rabbits (!!) away from this garden!
If you are keen to take home some juicy tomatoes and melons, all you have to do is to start volunteering at this kampong farm. No free lunch in this world indeed! Volunteers are encouraged to spread the love by whipping up a dish with the harvest and sharing it with the community farmers at the garden. Our Kampong Farm can be located at Block 765A at Bedok Reservoir View.
5. Home to possibly the best vegetarian food in the east
The east of Singapore is known for its good food. This is also no exception to good vegetarian food. When we say Bedok is home to possibly the best vegetarian food in the east, we mean it. The wok-hei in the food served at Lin Lin Vegetarian Delight at Block 412, Bedok North Avenue 2 is so good that it keeps you coming back for more.
If there’s something you MUST try at this stall, do not give the assam curry a miss. You can either order it as a dish served with rice or a dish on its own – it’s good either way. Other hot favourites include the sambal kang kong cuttlefish (yes it’s vegetarian) and fish maw. The sweet and sour dishes are equally tantalizing to the tastebuds. If you decide to order restaurant style, do ask for the prices before sending your orders in as the prices here are not the most transparent – that’s the only downside of this place. The staff will usually suggest the cost of the dish based on the number of pax at the table but you can always negotiate the cost based on your own comfort level. That aside, your tummy is in for a ride!
Who knew vegetarian food could taste this good? 🙂
Leave us a comment below and share with us what else you love about Bedok.