Food By Area

10 Tiong Bahru Hawker Food Gems That Prove It’s Not All About Cafes Here

22nd December 2016

Hawker food at Tiong Bahru deserves more appreciation


I once trawled through Tiong Bahru, AKA the hippest neighbourhood in town, to sniff out food worth my penny. Densely populated with cafes of all themes and cuisines, Tiong Bahru’s food scene had me infatuated and stumbling into every hipster kitchen for a taste. It would be a matter of weeks before I had to live off leftovers if I wasn’t careful.

But I’m not one to give up, especially when food is concerned. My next mission was to push past the cafe-enclave curtain that everyone associated Tiong Bahru with. There, I would reap the real rewards this district has to offer. And rewarded, I was. Here are 10 of my best finds so you, too, can have a taste of Tiong Bahru’s awesome hawker food.


1. Ah Bong’s Italian


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Ah Bong’s Italian is a hug after a dreary morning. The pastas here seek to comfort and satisfy, and are equal parts quirky and creative. You could stick to classics like Tradition Bolognese ($8) and Mushroom Carbonara ($8), but I love Birthday Pasta ($7), which is linguine tossed in broccoli pesto, chilli, and crispy black pig bacon. Only three to four items are on their menu each day, so be sure to check their Facebook page to find out what’s on offer before you pop by.

Address: 56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-46, Singapore 160056
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am to 2pm
Tel: 9650 6194
Website


2. Tiong Bahru Yong Tao Hu


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At Tiong Bahru Yong Tao Hu, your lunch fate is decided for you in terms of ingredients. What you can choose, however, is how much to pay. A $5 portion gets you three fish balls, tofu, a few pieces of fish paste wrapped in bean curd skin, and bee hoon. Smaller eaters can go for $3 or $4 portions. Between the choice of dry or soup, it’s always soup for me. Served piping hot, the clear soup is packed full of flavour yet remains light on the palate.

Address: 56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-46, Singapore 160056
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 7am to 3pm


3. Tiong Bahru Market 178 Lor Mee


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This bowl of starchy, garlicky goodness first seduced me on a rainy afternoon, and I couldn’t wait to inhale everything upon smelling it. The result was a scalded tongue and a belly full of flat yellow noodles, crunchy shark nuggets, and a gentle heat from the heaping spoon of garlic and chilli. At $3, it’s needless to say that I returned multiple times to do it all over again.

Address: 30 Seng Poh Road, #02-23, Tiong Bahru Market, Singapore 168898
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 7am to 8pm 


4. Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry


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Way back before molten anything was all the rage, ondeh ondeh was magical to me. The ones at Tiong Bahru Galicier gives you that magic and more at $0.60 a piece, and from there, it’s a struggle to find an ondeh ondeh elsewhere that’s just as good. Other enchanting sweet treats include Kueh Dadar ($0.80) that boasts a light texture and fragrant coconut filling, Putu Ayu ($3.80 for 5 pieces), and the savoury-spicy Lemper Udang ($1.30).

Address: Blk 55 Tiong Bahru Road, #01-39, Singapore 160055
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 9am to 9pm
Tel: 6324 1686


5. Old Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh


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Like a girl who uses minimal makeup to enhance her looks, Old Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh’s broth flaunts the natural sweetness of pork, and is complemented by garlic and pepper. A bowl of BKT with pork ribs costs $7.50, and you can add $1 to get premium loin ribs instead. BKT isn’t complete till you’ve ingested a good amount of broth-soaked you tiao (fried dough fritters) and braised peanuts at $1.20 and $1.50 respectively, so go ahead and order those too.

Address: Blk 58 Seng Poh Road, #01-31, Singapore 160058
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 6:30am to 9pm
Tel: 6224 4990


6. Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice


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Sauce smeared plates are an indispensable trait of Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice. The mound of rice acts as a perfect vessel for their curry that was born after three days of preparation, allowing it to obtain a savoury-sweet and slightly spicy flavour. To give it the ultimate shiok factor, add on a plate of crispy pork chop coated in crackers instead of bread crumbs, sambal sotong for a change in texture, and the owner’s favourite dish, sambal prawns.

Address: 71 Seng Poh Road, #01-49, Singapore 160071
Opening hours: Daily 8am to 2:30pm, or until they sell out
Tel: 6224 4990


7. Ah Chiang’s Porridge


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Growing up Cantonese meant hearty bowls of smooth congee at Ah Chiang’s Porridge topped with a raw egg ($0.50). Not that anyone complained, since their Salted Egg & Pork Porridge ($4.80) and Fish Porridge ($3.50) are nothing short of delicious. My sisters and I would clamour for you tiao ($0.90) and yu sheng ($3), fight for the last of the century eggs ($1.50 each) and end the meal with satisfied sticky grins.

Address: Blk 65 Tiong Poh Road, #01-38, Singapore 160065
Opening hours: Daily 6am to 11pm
Tel: 6557 0084
Website


8. Nan Yuan Teochew Fishball Noodle


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Parting with $3 in exchange for a bowl crowded with bouncy fish balls, meatballs, slices of fish cake and a couple of dumplings doesn’t seem like that bad a deal. Go with yellow mee or mee pok over kway tiao as they’re ideal companions for the flavourful chilli vinegar mix and crunchy lard bits.

Address: Blk 38A Beo Crescent, #01-68, Beo Crescent Market & Food Centre, Singapore 169982
Opening hours: Sat-Wed & PH 6am to 1pm


9. Hua Bee Restaurant


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Turn the clock back to the good ol’ times at Hua Bee Restaurant, a kopitiam that’s been around since the 1940s. They serve just about the exact same menu they had from way back then. If you haven’t tasted the lusciousness of a kopi gu you (coffee with butter), there’s no harm starting here. Toast at Hua Bee is nothing short of crisp, and you’re encouraged to slurp your half boiled eggs straight from the plate. For heavier fuel, there’s fish ball mee pok and mee kia, where the noodles drenched in sauce are the star of the dish.

Address: 78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-19, Singapore 162078
Opening hours: Daily 7am to 3pm


10. Teck Seng Soya Bean Milk


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One of the few things that can get me out of bed early on a Sunday morning is a hot, silky smooth bowl of tau huay. Teck Seng dishes this out as early as five in the morning, and each bowl is as fresh as it gets. Don’t dilly dally, because queues outside the stall gets longer as the morning goes by. 

Address: 30 Seng Poh Road, #02-69, Tiong Bahru Market, Singapore 168898
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 5am to 12pm
Tel: 9786 5103


My kind of Tiong Bahru


It’s fair that Tiong Bahru is crowned the hippest neighbourhood. Old and new come into play for giving this area its character, and it’s time we started digging for more than cafes. If you’ve got your favourite spot in Tiong Bahru that we missed, let us know in the comments below!

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