Where to get old-school teh and kopi in Singapore

Frappuccinos and latte macchiatos, what? Here's where to get a steaming cup of traditional coffee and tea in the city
By Time Out Singapore editors |
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Tong Ah Eating House
Photo: Ahmad Iskandar Photography
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Tong Ah Eating House

icon-location-pin Chinatown

After 75 years occupying the building that Potato Head Folk now calls home, this kopitiam has moved just a stroll away from the buzzy bar. Fifty-three-year-old Ah Wee has been manning his family’s stall for more than 40 years, and it’s still regarded for its super crispy kaya toast, French toast and kopi, the beans for which are even roasted in-house.

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No Name Teh Sarabat Stall

icon-location-pin Rochor

Don’t be fooled by the address – this closet-sized drinks stall, which opened in 1956, hasn’t been usurped by a tailor. You’ll find it up the road, opposite Kampong Glam Cafe. Zamir Ahmad has been pulling tea for more than four decades, so his teh tarik ($1.30) is as it should be: milky, sweet and served with an inch-thick layer of froth. For bites, you’ll have to settle for samosas and curry puffs, or nasi lemak and nasi sambal goreng in packets. 

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Heap Seng Leong Coffeeshop

icon-location-pin Kallang

Heap Seng Leong has been stirring up bulletproof kopi – that’s coffee with a slab of butter – well before the hipsters caught on. The kopi here ($1.10) will take you back a couple of decades. It’s strong, aromatic and made by a 79-year-old uncle who’s always rocking blue pyjama pants. We hear the nasi lemak ($3) is popular, too, so grab a plate if you’re looking for something to eat.

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Chin Mee Chin Confectionary

icon-location-pin Marine Parade

This OG kopitiam has been a breakfast institution for generations. Nothing much has changed over the years: it’s still toasting kaya buns ($1) over a charcoal fire and using a sock to pull kopi ($1.10). Even the interior has remained the same. The kitchen occupies half the shop, giving the aunties who run the show ample space to bake. Every 15 minutes or so, you’ll see one of them emerge from the back to put out a tray of freshly baked cupcakes. So if you ever see a batch of chocolate cupcakes ($1), grab them before they’re all snapped up by bulk orders.

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Good Morning Nanyang Coffee

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

Settle for local kopi and ciabatta kaya toasts here instead of your regular cup of espresso and waffles. Brewing its coffee with a coffee sock, this coffeeshop also serves Singapore-style breakfast sets such as half-boiled eggs and nasi lemak.

More coffee please

Common Man Coffee Roasters
Johan Lim
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