Update: Say Seng Famous Tau Kwa Pau is temporarily closed.
Old school breakfast spots
Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day, and Singapore provides a plethora of options for us to choose from. However, before aesthetic cafes and grab-and-go sandwiches became our go-to breakfast options, Singaporeans’ typical breakfasts included charcoal-grilled kaya toast, butter coffee, chwee kueh and more. So, if you are on a hunt for a good ol’ kaya toast to reminisce about the past, here are 15 breakfast spots you should explore before they’re gone!
1. Heap Seng Leong
Image credit: @janet_lifegram
Blast to the past by dining in at Heap Seng Leong. Open since 1974, this coffee shop has captured and preserved the essence of what dining in the 90’s was like—rustic kopitiam tables and chairs, old-school cabinets, and iconic tibit containers. They also have a menu that serves the iconic Singaporean breakfast—Kaya Toast—in a traditional way.
Instead of the thin, crispy kaya toast that we are familiar with, Heap Seng Leong’s toast ($1.20) comes in the form of thick, fluffy white bread, toasted on a charcoal grill before it’s slathered with a generous amount of kaya. For a full breakfast, consider upgrading your a la carte toast to a set ($3.60), which comes with the usual soft-boil eggs and coffee on the side. While you’re there, don’t forget to try their famous Kopi Gui You ($1.20) that’s said to be akin to bulletproof coffee—silky and rich in flavour. If you’ve never tried, or heard of bulletproof coffee, it’s simply black coffee with a generous slab of butter. You might be repulsed by this combination, however, the butter is just what you need to musk the harsh coffee notes and provide a tinge of caramelised flavour.
Address: 10 North Bridge Road, #01-5109, Singapore 190010
Opening hours: Daily 5am to 6pm
Tel: 6292 2368
2. Tong Ah Eating House
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Another eatery to check out for traditional kaya toast is Tong Ah Eating House. They are known for their Crispy Thin Kaya Toast ($2.20), which is said to be so crispy that it shatters when you bite into it. To obtain this level of brittleness, the bread is toasted three times, till an evenly golden-brown exterior is obtained.
Alternatively, you can consider going for the Traditional Kaya Toast or Steamed Bread with Kaya. Both are priced at $1.80 for an a la carte meal, and $4.80 for a set that includes soft-boiled eggs and coffee or tea of your choice.
Address: 35 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089142
Opening hours: Daily 7am to 10pm
Tel: 6223 5083
3. Say Seng Famous Tau Kwa Pau
Say Seng Famous Tau Kwa Pau, located in Dunman Food Centre, has been serving Tau Kwa Pau ($1.50) since 1959. If you didn’t know, Tau Kwa Pau is a traditional Teochew-Nonya delicacy that consists of fried beancurd, stuffed with fishcakes, cucumbers, braised egg and yam, doused in a housemade braised sauce.
Although Tau Kwa Pau is usually served as a side dish, you can easily have it as a snack, or as a small, and light breakfast to start your day.
Check out our Say Seng Famous Tau Kwa Pau review over here!
Address: 271 Onan Road, #01-05, Dunman Food Centre, Singapore 424768
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 7am to 4:30pm, Sun 7am to 4pm
Tel: 9488 7736
4. Kuehs and Snacks
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You might or might not have heard of Chi Kak Kueh, AKA Black Herbal Kueh, or Shu Ke Kueh. This features a mugwort-infused kueh, with an unusual black coloured skin, encasing a green bean or black sesame filling.
This is one of the rarest items in Singapore, and fortunately, you can find it at Kuehs And Snacks. Priced at $11 for a box of six, you’ll have a choice between black sesame, or salted green bean filling to pair with the herbal flavoured skin. Chi Kak Kueh is said to aid digestion, so this might be a good snack to end a breakfast!
5. Fu Zhou Poh Hwa Oyster Cake
Situated at Berseh Food Centre in Jalan Besar, Fu Zhou Poh Hwa Oyster Cake is one of the last few stalls in Singapore that specialises in traditional oyster cakes. Originating from Fuzhou, this disappearing snack is shaped like a UFO, encasing a medley of ingredients: oysters, peanuts, prawns and parsley. This dough is then deep-fried till it reaches a deep golden colour.
The menu at Fu Zhou Poh Hwa is simple. You can either get a normal-sized oyster cake ($2.30) or an upsize version ($2.80), which is said to have more filling and an extra prawn. If you’d like to get your hands on one, we recommend heading down early as they tend to attract a queue, and sell out before closure.
Address: 166 Jalan Besar, #02-34, Berseh Food Centre, Singapore 208877
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 10:30am to 6pm
Tel: 8112 5286
6. Lai Heng Handmade Teochew Kueh
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You might easily find Teochew Kueh peppered around Singapore, however, having them handmade is hard to come by. Enters Lai Heng Handmade Teochew Kueh. As the name suggests, this hawker stall makes their kueh from scratch, which may be hard to come by these days.
At Lai Heng, you can opt for your kueh to be either steamed or fried (+$0.10). Go for the crowd favourite, Soon Kueh ($0.70/$0.80), which is said to have a lovely QQ skin when steamed, and a crispy, charred exterior when fried. Otherwise, check out the Png Kueh ($0.90/$1), Chives Kueh ($0.70/$0.80), and Cabbage Kueh ($0.70/$0.80).
Address: 347 Jurong East Avenue 1, #01-218, Yuhua Place, Singapore 600347
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 6:30am to 2:30pm (or till sold out)
Tel: 9455 6341
7. Heaven’s Indian Curry
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If you are looking for putu mayam, head down to Heaven’s Indian Curry. Located in Ghim Moh Market & Food Centre, this hawker stall specialises in South-Indian cuisine. They’re known for their thosai, appam, and most importantly, putu mayam.
Priced at $1 a piece, the Puttu Mayam is served with the usual suspects: a web-like rice vermicelli disc, with grated coconut, and bright orange brown sugar on the side. While you are there, try the Masala Tosai ($2.50) and Princess Appam ($3), which are said to be popular choices.
Address: 20 Ghim Moh Road, #01-26, 20 Ghim Moh Road Market & Food Centre, Singapore 270020
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 6am to 1pm
Tel: 9185 2251
8. Hum Jin Pang
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Maxwell Food Centre is well known for housing the famous Tian Tian Chicken Rice stall, causing some hidden gems such as Hum Jin Pang to be easily overlooked. If you are working near the food centre, consider visiting Hum Jin Pang for a quick, and cheap breakfast fix.
You can expect fluffy and chewy fried fritters, stuffed with either red bean fillings or seasoned with five spices. These are sold in a bag of six fritters for $1, which is incredibly worth your buck, even for a hawker stall.
Address: 1 Kadayanallur Street, Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore 069184
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 3pm to 8pm, Sat 4pm to 8pm, Sun 3:30pm to 8pm
9. The Beef House
For a traditional Hakka-style breakfast, visit The Beef House. Their menu includes items such as Soon Kueh ($1) and Abacus Seeds ($2), which is rather light and perfect for breakfast. The former is said to feature a QQ skin, loaded with bamboo shoots, mushrooms, dried shrimps and more.
If you are more used to a hearty breakfast, you can consider the Hakka Yong Tau Foo ($4), or the Slice Beef Kway Teow Dry Set ($4/$5/$6).
Check out our review on The Beef House!
Address: 218 Syed Alwi Road, REHAU Building, Singapore 207777
Opening hours: Sat-Thurs 7:30am to 4pm
Tel: 9665 4919
10. Millennium Glutinous Rice
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You may be familiar with lor mai gai, or ba zhang. However, there is one more type of glutinous rice that is slowly disappearing from the hawker scene, and that’s HK-style glutinous rice. This no-frills dish is served with either sweet or savoury glutinous rice, atop with shallots, and peanuts.
To get your hands on this rare dish, head down to Chinatown Complex Hawker Centre, where Millennium Glutinous Rice is located. They only serve one dish: sweet or savoury glutinous rice ($2). This stall has been open for over six years, and the fact that there is a huge line every morning attests to its popularity.
Address: 335 Smith Street, #02-092, Chinatown Complex, Singapore 050335
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 7:30am to 12pm
11. Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh
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Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh is another breakfast spot you can consider while you’re at Ghim Moh Market & Food Centre. This stall has been using the same ol’ recipe that they did 60 years ago. Priced at $0.50 a piece, Ghim Moh Chwee Kueh stands out from the crowd with its smooth and soft chwee kueh, topped with its robust, savoury chye poh.
Address: 20 Ghim Moh Road, #01-54, 20 Ghim Moh Road Market & Food Centre Singapore 270020
Opening hours: Daily 6:15am to 6:30pm
Tel: 9176 6850
12. Mei Zhen Hakka Delicacies
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Located at Shunfu Market, Mei Zhen Hakka Delicacies serves a range of Hakka-style breakfast to kick start your day. If it is your first time, go for the popular choice—Taro Skin Turnip Dumping ($1.20), and Yam Porridge ($2/$3). The former has been highly praised for its thin and chewy skin, making customers come back for more.
Alternatively, you can check out other traditional items, such as the Yam Cake ($2/$3), Abacus Yam Ball ($4/$6.80/$8.80), Hakka Yong Tau Foo ($4/$5/$6) and more.
Address: 320 Shunfu Road, Shunfu Market, Singapore 570320
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 6am to 1pm
Tel: 9799 0397
13. Chin Mee Chin Confectionery
If you are looking for something truly nostalgic and old school, visit Chin Mee Chin Confectionery. Yes, this is the same Chin Mee Chin Confectionery that announced its closure to the public in 2018. They have recently returned with a menu that features both old and new items.
At Chin Mee Chin Confectionery, you’ll be able to find the iconic Singaporean breakfast done traditionally—charcoal-grilled kaya toast ($2.20), soft-boiled eggs ($1.60), and coffee ($1.60). You can also have it as a set that is priced at ($4.90).
They have also brought back their classic baked goods—Plain Cupcake ($1.60) and Chocolate Cupcake ($1.80), and expanded their baked options to artisanal items such as Cream Horn ($2), Cheesecake Brownie ($2.60), Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart ($2.20) and more.
Read our Chin Mee Chin Confectionery review here!
Address: 204 East Coast Road, Singapore 428903
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 8am to 4pm (last order at 3:45pm, or sold out)
14. YY Kafei Dian
Image credit: @diningcompanion
YY Kafei Dian is another breakfast spot for you to explore. They specialise in Hainanese-style dishes such as Chicken Rice ($4), Hainanese Pork Chop ($9/$12/$15), and not forgetting, Kaya Toast ($1.20). Similarly to Heap Seng Leong, their buns are extremely thick and fluffy, with a beautifully charred exterior. For a full traditional breakfast experience, opt for the kaya toast set ($3.70), which comes with two soft-boiled eggs and a cup of aromatic coffee.
Address: 37 Beach Road, #01-01, Singapore 189678
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am to 7pm, Sat-Sun 8am to 7pm
Tel: 6336 8813
15. Keng Wah Sung
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With over 70 years of history, Keng Wah Sung is one of the longest standing coffeeshops in Singapore serving kaya toast. Over here, the kaya toast set is priced at $3.60, which is said to be one of the cheapest sets available nationwide.
Address: 783 Geylang Road, Singapore 389672
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 5:30am to 11pm
Old school breakfast spots to visit before they disappear
Head down to any of these eateries to either satisfy your cravings or to relive your childhood. It’s even better if you’ve never heard of these breakfast items. Try them out to learn and experience what cafes and breakfast were like in the past, and do it quick, before these gems disappear from the hawker scene.
If you are on a lookout for more traditional items, check out our traditional Chinese desserts guide, which includes Almond Cream, Sesame Paste, Bobo Chacha and more. For individuals who are looking for more traditional kaya toast spots, we’ve got you covered with our kaya toast guide over here.