I read an article circulating on social media about why Clementi is the best place to live in. I agree. But my husband and I both thought the article didn’t manage to give justice to exactly how wonderful Clementi is, and I’ve been challenged to do a better piece.
Just some background: I’ve stayed in Ang Mo Kio almost all my life, and never in my life have I thought that I was going to ever move to Clementi. The closest I’ve ever been a Clementi-er? When I was studying in NUS. But very reluctantly (at first), I gave in to my husband’s request to ballot for a place here, and we got it on our first try. Because I wasn’t used to it at all when I first moved, I didn’t like it. I missed Ang Mo Kio so much. Now that I’ve settled down for a year, I’m ready to show my love.
So, how do I love Clementi? Let me count the ways:
1. It’s super convenient
Because of where it is at on the MRT line (one stop from Jurong East), people tend to have the impression that we are in the West. To be fair, we are probably better described as South-west.
The other article said we are 20 minutes away from Yishun by MRT, well, that’s quite a stretch. (It makes me wonder if the writer has ever taken the MRT.) But it doesn’t matter, because who cares about going to freaking Yishun anyway?
We are, however…
- just a 30-minute MRT ride to Orchard Road (15 minutes only if you drive, and I know because I do that every day, and you can skip all the ERP if you want)
- board a JB-bound bus at Kranji MRT station within 20 minutes (20 to 30-minute drive via Tuas Second Link to Malaysia)
- 30-minute bus or MRT ride to VivoCity (where you can get to Sentosa, and 15 minutes if you drive)
- the nearest NEL station is just seven stops away at Outram Park, and the nearest Circle line station is two stops away at Bouna Vista
2. There are many good educational institutions nearby
If you’re planning ahead for children, you’ll be happy to know that there’s no lack of good educational institutions nearby: Nanhua Primary School, NUS High, Nanhua High, and National University of Singapore are all here. Not too far away (approximately 15-minute drive), you have Hwa Chong Institution, National Junior College, and Nanyang Girls’ High.
3. So many cool places to hang out at
When I stayed in Ang Mo Kio, the “coolest” place I hang out at was probably at Bishan Park (where there are cafes available). But after moving here, I find myself spending my weekends at Holland Village and Rochester Park, where there are many nice places to wile my time away at. Some nice places Keith and I spend time at:
- Sixty40 at Rochester Mall, a nice bistro-bar that offers live music from Thursday to Saturday. We’ve heard Alfred, who does mainly country music, play there one night and it was good. He also does pop songs, take dedications and entertained us with his great imitation of singers like Elvis Presley. He’s a lot of fun to hang out with because he’s very humorous. The prices are reasonable, and you can find decent food and alcohol there.
- If you, like us, really love live music, another place you can hang out at is Wala Wala, in Holland V. Most people already know about this, so I’m not going to elaborate.
- W39 is within Clementi, and is a hidden-away bistro and bakery that is very popular, despite how difficult it is to find parking lots there. The food isn’t fantastic, we think, but it’s a good “hipster” joint to hang out at.
These are just three examples but really, there are so many more just within the Rochester Park and Holland V area. And if you need any more convincing, well, my Starbucks at Rochester Park looks cooler than your Starbucks. (That’s where you’ll find me working on Daily Vanity either after breakfast or after dinner on the weekends.)
4. Food, glorious food
Building on the previous point, there are also lots of good food to be found in or near Clementi (who says you only get good food in the East?!)
- There’s a famous rojak place at Clementi central. The uncle mixes the rojak so professionally, it’s a joy to watch him. He’ll also try to sell you his signature dried squid. Our honest advice: just go for the rojak. The squid is not bad, but just a little too pricey. The rojak is worth the queue, though!
- Right beside the rojak stall is a famous tutu kweh stall that also sees long queues all the time.
- While you’re in Clementi central, might as well queue at the Blk 448’s hawker centre, home to a famous satay stall. At the same hawker centre, you’ll also find a famous fish porridge stall. This stall doesn’t have a queue, but you typically have to wait for 20-30 minutes for your food. It was the best porridge I’ve tried.
- Did you know that the famous Maxwell Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice has a stall in Clementi (at Blk 450) too? At the same coffee shop, you’ll also find Golden Rooster, which sells yummy fried and BBQ chicken that my husband loves. Tian Tian usually sells out by around 7pm, so make sure you visit early.
- We also have Botak Jones in Clementi (Blk 325)!
- Go to West Coast market and look for the delicious duck rice ($3 for a set meal consisting of braised duck meat, tofu, egg and herbal soup). In the morning, don’t be surprised to see a long queue forming at the fishball noodles stall. We don’t particularly like it, but obviously, the queue says otherwise for many others.
- Travel further to Bukit Timah and don’t forget to visit Udders Pancakes, which my husband and I absolutely love. Next to Udders Pancakes is Kim’s restaurant, which we heard serve really good Korean cuisine. (We haven’t tried it ourselves.)
- If you’re a prata fan, Clementi is your place. Prata Planet (Blk 320) has one of the best prata to offer in Singapore. You can also check out Niqqi’s Cheese Prata (it’s where we used to go to when we were in NUS, but it doesn’t seem so good anymore) and Al-Azhar Eating Place at Bukit Timah, which is highly recommended too.
5. There are many pasar malam
I noticed Clementi West often holds pasar malam. I estimate it to happen around once every three months. I haven’t seen one in my Ang Mo Kio neighbourhood for at least 10 years. Where else can you get Ramly burgers in the neighbourhood?
6. It’s in Jurong GRC
Tharman. ’nuff said.
7. You have the sea near you too
Those who like water bodies will appreciate that the West Coast Park. The VivoCity waterfront, Keppel Bay, and Labrador Park are also a stone’s throw away. Sentosa is near too (see point 1). I like places with water bodies because I find it relaxing to be near them. This is a personal bonus for me.
8. Malls and more
I can have access to these shopping malls within 10 minutes: Clementi Mall, City Vibes, 321 Clementi, West Coast Plaza, Star Vista, Rochester Mall, IMM, Jcube, Westgate, JEM, and Big Box.
9. Home to award-winning HDB estate
The estate I stay in has won at least three awards, from what I understand. I don’t really know how often are HDB estates given awards – not that common, I suppose. Because it was in the news and there was a documentary that talked about it. One of the awards is the annual Fiabci Prix d’Excellence award, which is apparently a highly-regarded international award. On a separate note, did you know that on the plot of land where Casa Clementi now sits, they’ve found a bomb left behind from World War II?
10. A piece of cross that Jesus died on can be found in Clementi
This relic is securely kept in the Church of Holy Cross in Clementi, hence its name.
You tell me, where else in Singapore is more holy?