Hot spring in Singapore, sounds like a deal too good (and too hot) to have?
I was pretty amazed when I heard about this a few years back, and it’s pretty near the Sembawang Shopping Centre, where I use to frequent previously, but never had the motivation to just walk a little more to this hidden place. Thanks to Jerome’s (the man behind The Long and Winding Road) invitation, and on a warm and breezy Sunday morning, a group of us set off from Khatib Mrt Station, in search of the the legendary Sembawang hot spring! Here are some of the highlights along the route:
1. Hot spring
Discovered by Chinese merchant Seah Eng Keong (b.1837), who saw the commercial possibilities in this hot spring, sent the water samples to Europe for testing by analysts . After the water was proved to be safe for consumption, Seah Eng Keong set up a Singapore Natural Mineral Hot Springs Company, to market the bottled spring water as well as to promote this location as a tourist attraction. The Sunday crowd was a mix of regulars (elderly folks) and bikers. Beware.Yes, our hot spring has been tapped. Have some eggs!
2. Gin Thye Cake Maker – traditional Teochew biscuits and pastries. Maybe it’s a thing of the peeps of my era, there’s this nostalgic part of Singapore that lingers in our memories, bakeries and traditional cake shops are a big part of that memory (besides playgrounds and mama stores).
I was slightly sad when the Katong red house bakery closed, cause I vividly remember eating one of the nicest custard puffs from that bakery. Every time when I passed by now, I glanced at that building and feel a little sad.
Anyway, the folks from Gin Thye were really friendly and kindly answered all our questions. I bought a packet of 雪糕 (not ice-cream, but it’s called snow cake and oops I do not have a picture of it), which was a white coloured powdery snack that melt in your mouth. Not quite the kueh bangkit type of powdery though, this snow cake is sticker.
Tons of tau sau bia, pong bia and the baskets you need for traditional weeding rituals, which apparently people rent nowadays instead of purchasing them, unlike the old days. Friendly shop owner who had a short chat with us.
3. Ulu Sembawang
The forgotten urban playground (quote by Zinkie), an area of wilderness up the Ulu Sembawang Road (which is actually near Sembawang Shopping Centre). A great place to bring your kids out to, for short nature trekking and education, or simply a nice big field for kids to explore amidst our concrete jungle. The group for the day!
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