Singapore’s traditional food is a must-try; here’s where you need to go to get a taste of the nation’s old-school treats.
Head to the east of Singapore for a tasty meal at these Halal-certified dining destinations.
Mediterranean, Italian, Japanese, local—name a cuisine and you’ll find Halal-certified eateries that will satisfy your cravings. As you make your way around the idyllic eastern region of the island, fuel up at these Muslim-friendly restaurants and cafés.
Fun fact: The Tampines neighbourhood is actually named after the tempinis (Malay for riau ironwood) tree, which was largely found in the area. Formerly populated by swamps, forests and quarries, the estate is known for its green spaces such as Tampines Eco Green and Sun Plaza Park.
Brothers in Fine Food
Fusion dishes are the order of the day at this charming café tucked away on the second floor of a community club. Brothers in Fine Food serves entreés like steak with beetroot purée (S$15), and lamb with harissa sauce (S$16) at affordable prices.
Don’t stop at entrées, though—the café’s all-day breakfast & brunch menu is popular for good reason. On it, you’ll find hearty platters such as the Mediterranean Breakfast (S$15), where hummus, eggs, spinach, falafel, avocado and sourdough toast make for a spirited start to the day. For something lighter, go for the dashi (Japanese broth) noodles (S$18.90)—the bowl is filled with an onsen (hot spring) egg, chicken and Japanese pickles in a light bonito broth.
Tampines West Community Club. 5 Tampines Avenue 3 #02-07, Singapore 529705. +65 9008 9314.
Tue-Fri noon-10.30pm; Sat & Sun 9am-10.30pm.
If you like your subs big, brawny and sloppy, then Toasties’ sandwiches have you sorted. Choose your type of bread, from garlic-oregano loaf to ciabatta—everything is freshly baked in-house. Then, have it stuffed with chipotle chicken, cheese steak, Mexican-inspired pulled beef, or other hearty meats. Have some greens, oven-grilled corn, or sautéed onions in the mix if you so desire. To complete your meal, add on a basket of crispy fries and wash it all down with a glass of iced lemon tea.
Once you’re done, hop next door to the 24-hour restaurant, Al Azhar, for dessert. Order ice kachang, a bowl of shaved ice topped with corn, red bean, nata de coco and a rainbow of syrups.
Tampines N2. Block 201D Tampines Street 21 #01-1171, Singapore 524201. +65 6386 7243.
Home to more than 250,000 residents, Bedok is one of our largest residential area. Also, thanks to the cycling paths network that runs through the neighbourhood, you can easily get to East Coast Park by hopping on one of the bike-sharing bicycles.
It’s easy to get lost in Badoque Café’s menu. The cuisines served here range from Italian to Mediterranean to American, but the beef ribs are a good place to start. This generous slab of meat is drenched in home-made barbecue sauce, and served with a side of potato wedges and corn on the cob (S$24). Other highlights include the lamb shank that’s slathered with a sweet and spicy soya sauce, and a classic shakshuka (poached eggs in spicy tomato sauce).
Looking for a venue to perform your daily prayers after? Take a short stroll to Al-Taqua mosque. The Muslim place of worship has been around since the 1960s, when it was a prominent landmark for residents of the Bedok kampong (Malay village).
Simpang Bedok. 298 Bedok Road, Singapore 496454. +65 6446 6928.
Mon-Thu & Sun noon-11pm; Fri 3-11pm.
Pancakes both sweet and savoury are the stars of this cosy café in Upper Changi Road’s East Village. For a breakfast of champions, indulge in Morning (S$16), a stack of pancakes served with home-made beef and chicken patty, salad and scrambled eggs. To up the luxe factor, dig into The Benedict (S$19), which pairs buttermilk hotcakes with poached eggs, salmon and Hollandaise sauce.
Got a sweet tooth? You’re in luck, because Sarah’s also doles out good ol’ fashioned pancakes drizzled with maple syrup and topped with a scoop of gelato (S$13). Pick from flavours such as coconut and yam, Snickers, and cotton candy.
East Village. 430 Upper Changi Road #01-66, Singapore 487048. +65 9688 4163.
Mon-Thu, Sat & Sun 11am-10pm; Fri 3-10pm.
A hidden gem in the east of Singapore, Kembangan is chock-a-block with cosy cafés—perfect for a café hopping adventure for all you foodies.
The Royals Café
Malay food is a bedrock of our local cuisine, loved for its satisfying spiciness and heartiness. At The Royals Café, indulge in traditional Malay fare such as nasi lemak (fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf, accompanied with an array of side dishes like omelette, fried fish and anchovies, S$6.90), beef rendang (braised meat cooked in coconut milk and spices, S$12.90) and ayam masak merah (chicken in spicy tomato sauce, S$8.90).
Consider yourself a spice fiend? Then try the café’s signature dish, nonya mee siam (S$5.90). The rice vermicelli noodle soup is equal parts sweet, tangy and savoury; with a lethal dose of chilli that will have you wiping sweat off your brow.
Walk off those calories by heading over to East Coast Park. It’s a long stretch that overlooks the Straits of Singapore, and is typically crowded with cyclists and families huddling around barbecue pits.
Crescendo Building. 19 Upper East Coast Road, Singapore 455209. +65 6445 6457.
Mon-Fri 9am-10pm; Sat & Sun 8.30am-10.30pm.
Take a walk through Paya Lebar and you’ll uncover the best of what the old Malay village has to offer, including food, traditional Malay clothing and heritage architecture.
99 Bistro and Kitchen
The fragrant aroma of 99 Bistro and Kitchen’s briyani (an Indian spiced rice dish with meat or vegetables, S$24) will linger on your clothes, but take it as a souvenir of the hearty meal you’ll have here. Helmed by celebrity chef Syed Shah, the restaurant doesn’t just hawk your average briyani. Its version features fork-tender Australian lamb shank flavoured with spices from Karachi, and cooked in a bamboo trunk imported from India.
Travel southwards and you’ll hit the Geylang precinct: Historic architecture, colourful shophouses and mosques await in the former Malay settlement.
Lifelong Learning Institute. 11 Eunos Road 8 #01-02, Singapore 408601. +65 6745 9958.