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Photograph: Sevens Kissaten
Photograph: Sevens Kissaten

10 best hidden food gems in Tiong Bahru

Just when you thought that there was nothing left to discover in this hip hood

Cheryl Sekkappan
Pailin Boonlong
Written by
Cheryl Sekkappan
&
Pailin Boonlong
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Art galleries, hip cafés and heritage eatsTiong Bahru has got it all. This neighbourhood has put itself on the map in recent years with its eclectic mix of things to see, do and eat for young and old alike. You would think that there would be nothing left to discover in Tiong Bahru – but there are still underrated haunts and hidden gems that haven't gotten the same hype as favourites like Tiong Bahru Bakery, Forty Hands or Bakalaki. So, here are some lesser-known places to whet your appetite. 

RECOMMENDED: The 10 best hidden food gems in Orchard and 6 iconic hawker centres in Singapore and the stories behind them

  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Tiong Bahru

Quench your thirst at Canjob Taproom, a small bar situated on the first floor of Link Hotel. This joint has a rotating menu of six craft beers on tap, four cocktails, as well as a boutique selection of gin and tonics to satisfy most alcohol lovers out there. And if you prefer to pop one off while streaming a series from the comforts of your home, you can always make a beeline for the liquor store to bring back craft beer, cider, sake or any other poison of choice. 

TRY Line your stomach with Canjob Taproom's specialty bratwurst hotdogs. But you're really here for the beer and the selection changes all the time – so speak to the bartenders to get recommendations or try your luck!

It’s not just your typical plate of Hainanese chicken rice over at Kampong Chicken Eating House. While the chicken is still cooked so perfectly succulent, kampong chicken here is typically less fatty and a healthier choice for those with high cholesterol. Before it caught on with organic butchers, kampong chicken is essentially the original free-range chicken with sweeter and leaner meat. 

TRY What else, but the chicken rice? If in a larger group, we recommend getting the whole chicken ($28) to share. They do the rice very well too, so all you need is a light drizzle of dark sauce and some ginger chilli.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Tiong Bahru

This Kyoto teahouse-inspired spot in Tiong Bahru has two faces – it's a Japanese-style tearoom by day, and a Kappo-style omakase by night. Enjoy the bright, casual contemporary setting by day as you sup on salmon angel hair pasta ($18), A4 wagyu katsu sando ($20/2 pieces), sashimi platters and fried appetisers. Delightful desserts include Matcha Monaka – Japanese rice crackers with matcha ice cream and red bean mochi crepe stuffed within, and matcha creme brulee. The café closes at 5.30pm daily, after which its five-seater bar counter will accommodate diners at Sevens Kappo. This private dining joint has two savoury omakase menus: a nine-course set for $238 and an add-on menu at $280.

TRY Be sure to order a pot of small-batch, artisan Japanese tea to accompany your brunch at Sevens Kissaten. At night, Sevens Kappo has two savoury omakase menus with a menu that changes with the seasons (or the chef's fancy). 

Tian Tian Seafood Restaurant
Photograph: Google Reviews/Sherman TBH

Tian Tian Seafood Restaurant

As commonplace as zi char restaurants are, good ones are a diamond in the rough. At Tian Tian Seafood Restaurant though, they do up a range of classic cooked-to-order dishes such as har cheong gai (shrimp paste chicken) and even fried live frogs ($20). As a seafood restaurant though, their strength obviously lies on fresh seafood. They have a wide range, from snow crab ($18/100g) to turbot fish ($12/100g). It’s also open till 3am, marking it as one of those late-night supper spots to visit when you get midnight cravings. 

TRY The drunken prawns – it’s meant to be some of the freshest around.

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  • Restaurants
  • Hawker
  • Tiong Bahru

You've got to love the dedication behind Tan's Tu Tu Coconut Kueh. Taking over from her brother since he passed on, the ladyboss behind this traditional snack shop runs between the Havelock and Clementi outlet almost everyday, where she personally grinds the rice flour and handmakes each delightful morsel of tutu kueh (a small steamed cake, made with ground peanuts or grated coconut filling). The effort is evident in the tutu kueh, which has chewy yet tender skin that keeps customers coming back.

TRY The peanut tutu kueh (five for $3.50) is a crowd favourite, but our personal pick is the coconut tutu kueh (five for $3.50), which has a brown grated coconut filling that's sweet – but not overly so. For something a little different, try the chocolate tutu kueh (five for $4). 

  • Restaurants
  • Tiong Bahru

Craving for some Peranakan cuisine? Visit House of Peranakan Petit, a quaint and cosy restaurant tucked away on Eng Hoon Street. This hidden gem offers traditional Peranakan food from secret home recipes passed down to its fourth-generation Baba chef-owner, Bob Seah. Housed in a 30-seat restaurant with traditional fixings in a modern, pastel-toned room, House of Peranakan Petit is constantly booked out – so do make your reseravations ahead. 

TRY Cuisine staples like ayam buah keluak ($18) and vegetable Nyonya chap chye stew ($10) are a must-try. If you're feeling adventurous, go for Seah's innovations – like crayfish Nyonya mee ($18) or the signature Bob's braised pork bun ($10/two). 

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Tiong Bahru

Bincho at Hua Bee is clearly inspired by the yakitori-ya stalls that line the streets of Osaka. Its menu is filled with a range of chicken skewers, featuring unusual parts like the gizzard ($7) to the cock’s comb ($7). While it's housed in an old-school kopitiam that doles out bowls of bak chor mee during the day, it swiftly transforms into a yakitori restaurant once dusk hits. You’ll have to enter through the hidden back door, flanked by rubbish bins along a dark alleyway, just to get into this edgy space. Set meals start from $120, which comes with a yakitori platter – neck, breast, and liver skewers included. 

Bincho at Hua Bee is closed till the end of August for renovations. Till then, you can check out their other outlet, Bincho at Min Jiang.


TRY The tsukune ($21), a grilled chicken meatball that’s served with a raw egg yolk. It’s made of minced chicken neck, and offers a delicious burst of flavour when dipped into the creamy yolk.

  • Restaurants
  • Snack bars
  • Tiong Bahru

Leung Sang Hong Kong Pastries' story began almost 40 years ago. Back then, Chef Chik Sang was an apprentice chef in Hong Kong, where he honed his craft in dim sum. Since then, he's refined his baking technique and brought it over to Singapore, where he now runs a chain of Leung Sang Hong Kong Pastries outlets – the oldest being the one in Tiong Bahru (and the most modern, a flagship in Bugis). 

TRY Its claim to fame is the flaky egg tart, so give that a shot. We also love Leung Sang's polo buns. 

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Flock Café
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Tiong Bahru

While Tiong Bahru might be chock full with interesting cafés, it’s Flock Cafe that’s been under-the-radar all this while. They do serve up quintessential café fare, such as avocado toast ($13.80) and an Eggs Sally ($17.20) with smoked salmon, but it’s the undisturbed ambience that most will keep flocking over for. It’s also a pet-friendly space so feel free to bring your pups over. 

TRY For a twist on the classic eggs Benny, order a Cheeky Eggs ($17.20). It comes with two poached eggs, braised pork cheek, and a generous dollop of hollandaise sauce – all over a brioche bun.

  • Restaurants
  • Pan-Asian
  • Tiong Bahru
  • price 1 of 4

Omakase meals are always a hit in Singapore, and Torio Japanese Restaurant at Tiong Bahru’s Link Hotel is no different. It is one of the more affordable omakase lineups out there though, starting from just $80 – you’ll get a full-fledged meal too, ranging from three kinds of appetisers to an array of skillfully-prepared sushi. If looking for a reliable Japanese haunt for lunch, Torio also offers appetising donburis, from chirashi ($35) to Toro, Uni & Ikura ($45). 

TRY The Gyuniku (Beef) Course ($68) that’s only available for dinner – they do a solid foie gras chawanmushi and teriyaki beef rice bowl. 

More to explore

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