Welcome to Part 2 of A Taste of Tradition in Katong. In Part 1, we explain why Katong is well worth a side trip, how to get here and recommended five spots for Peranakan food in Katong. Continue on your off-the-beaten-path foodie adventure here in Part 2, where we introduce five more places to visit for your Singapore food fix.
Address: 458 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427671
Telephone: +65 6345 5034
Opening Hours: 12 noon to 10pm (Sunday, Tuesday – Thursday)
12 noon to midnight (Friday & Saturday)
Closed on Monday
This charming café is the perfect destination for Throwback Thursday, though it’s open on other days of the week (except Monday) too. The décor is authentically retro Singapore, with a splash of antiques to evoke a bygone era. The menu here continues the nostalgic theme, with a diverse range of local foods, desserts and drinks. Try their Scissors Cut Rice which is served with chap chye (stewed vegetables), pork chop, an egg and lashings of chicken curry. The meats are cut up into bite sized pieces with a pair of scissors, so there’s no fancy plating but it’s easy to dig in! For dessert, take your pick of traditional local desserts. One of the options is the Ais Bor – basically, ice ball. An old street food that has been supplanted by the more common ice kachang, the ice ball here comes with crunchy peanuts for extra flavour.
Sin Heng Claypot Bak Koot Teh
Address: 439 Joo Chiat Road
Telephone: +65 6345 8754
Opening Hours: 7.30am to 4am (Tuesday – Sunday, closed on Monday)
Bak koot teh (more usually spelt bak kut teh) literally means “meat bones tea”, but don’t worry about having to gnaw on bones. Regardless of which style of bak koot teh you pick – the herbal broth or the lighter, peppery one – they are cooked with meaty pork ribs. As its name proclaims, the soups at Sin Heng Claypot Bak Koot Teh are served in claypots which are said to retain heat better. This means you’ll be able to enjoy piping hot soup for longer than if it was served in ceramic bowls. Don’t miss out on the side dishes if you choose to have bak koot teh. Fried Chinese crullers, known as you tiao, are a must when having bak koot teh. Dip the pieces of you tiao into the soup to soak it up before chowing it down! Other classic side dishes to try are salted preserved vegetables and stewed peanuts.
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
Address: 443 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427656
Telephone: +65 6345 9443
Opening Hours: 10.30am to 10pm (Tuesday – Sunday, closed on Monday)
What’s there to say about chicken rice that hasn’t already been said? Fragrant and flavourful, there’s no wonder that this is one of Singapore’s national dishes. Regularly touted as one of Singapore’s best chicken rice stalls, Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice still runs its massively popular stall at Maxwell Food Centre, but if you come to this branch along Joo Chiat Road you can enjoy the same fantastic chicken rice in air-conditioned comfort. To enjoy chicken rice’s full flavour, you can either dip the chicken pieces in the grated ginger, chilli and dark soya sauces or drizzle them directly over the rice and meat. This Joo Chiat branch also has dishes not available at other branches, so you might want to take advantage of the special menu and order sweet potato leaves, sambal kang kong (chilli vegetables), Hainanese chap chye (stewed vegetables) or ngoh hiang (fried beancurd skin roll with meat, vegetables and five-spice powder).
Sin Hoi Sai Eating House
Address: 187 East Coast Road, Singapore 428893
Telephone: +65 6440 6956
Opening Hours: 5pm to 4am (Daily)
A popular spot for dinner and post-midnight supper, Sin Hoi Sai Eating House dishes up zhi char, meaning you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that hasn’t been fried in a wok. With that said, the menu is extensive and whether you want seafood, beef, pork ribs, rice, noodles or vegetables, there’s sure to be something to satisfy that craving. The noodles here are generally well received, especially the hor fun dishes (broad, flat rice flour noodles with gravy, meat, seafood and some veg). Beef hor fun is a staple, but for something with a more delicate flavor, try the san lo hor fun with fish slices. Other dishes to try here include the salted egg crabs and Guinness pork ribs. In fact, Sin Hoi Sai Eating House lays claim to creating the original Guinness pork ribs! It was so popular that other zhi char places started offering their own renditions, but when nothing but the original will do, this is the place to hit up.
Ampang Niang Tou Fu
Address: 225 East Coast Road, Singapore 428922
Telephone: +65 6345 3289
Opening Hours: 11.30am to 8.30pm (Thursday – Tuesday, closed on Wednesday)
For something healthier, head to Ampang Niang Tou Fu. Niang tofu literally means stuffed tofu, but there are plenty of other items available apart from tofu such as fresh vegetables, mushrooms, fishballs, meatballs and various fried and stuffed items. Stuffing is usually made from fish paste, sometimes meat. “Ampang” style niang tofu is different from regular niang tofu at a food court. At a food court, you select the specific items you want from the display, place them in a bowl and hand it to the stall vendor to cook. With “Ampang” style niang tofu, the selection is pretty standard and instead of being cooked on the spot, the items are braised or steamed slowly then served in a shallow bowl with clear soya bean soup. If you still have space after your meal here, cross the street to Chin Mee Chin Confectionary for one of the best kaya (coconut jam) toasts around.
That rounds up our Katong recommendations! This list is in no way exhaustive – there’s plenty more to see and eat at Katong so walk around, see what strikes your fancy and grab a seat! Leave a comment and let us know how you liked the food.