A popular tourist destination in the midst of bustling Chinatown, Keong Saik has a colourful past. This storied neighbourhood was once home to an array of diverse denizens, from charcoal sellers and purveyors of incense to rich merchants and their paramours.
Keong Saik is now home to food options galore, with cafes, restaurants and bars across the neighbourhood. Whether you’re up early for breakfast or out late for dinner, you’ll want to visit Keong Siak on an empty stomach!
Breakfast spots and coffee stops
Hit up these spots for a hearty breakfast, a midday caffeine boost or simply to lounge your afternoon away.
Tong Ah Eating House
Start the day right by breaking your fast like a local. A traditional eatery along Keong Saik Road. Tong Ah Eating House serves up the classic Singaporean breakfast, which comprises of kaya toast, soft boiled eggs and a strong cup of kopi.
Tong Ah Eating House. 35 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089142. +65 6223 5083.
The Populus Coffee & Food Café
If you need a pick-me-up, follow the aroma of freshly brewed coffee beans into The Populus Coffee & Food Café. The specialty coffeehouse uses blends from local roaster Two Degrees North Coffee, so expect flavours such as natural Ethiopia Dumer filter coffee and Mörk Cold Chocolate. The café sells specialty coffee beans, too, so take a pack home if you’d like.
There’s no better dish to go with your cuppa than the signature The Populus Scramble. Creamy scrambled eggs, marinated feta cheese, bacon and herbs are stacked atop a toasted croissant—breakfast doesn’t get any more decadent than this.
The Populus Coffee & Food Café. 146 Neil Road, Singapore 088875. +65 6635 8420.
Mon 9am-7pm; Tue 9am-4pm; Wed-Fri 9am-10.30pm; Sat 9.30am-10.30pm; Sun 9.30am-7pm.
These lunch spots have earned a name for themselves, and are buzzing with hungry diners by midday.
Kok Sen Restaurant
For a hearty meal in an unpretentious dining spot, consider dropping by Kok Sen Restaurant. This authentic, hawker-style eater oozes old-school charm with its mismatched tables and stools, while its traditional zi char dishes have earned it a spot on the Michelin Guide Singapore's Bib Gourmand list.
Do as the locals do and order the prawn hor fun, a signature of the restaurant that graces almost every table. Charred ribbons of the flat rice noodles and plump, palm-sized prawns are drenched in an umami-rich gravy that you will be licking clean.
Kok Sen Restaurant. 30-32 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089137. +65 6223 2005.
Tue-Sun noon-2pm, 5-11pm.
Unagi Tei Japanese Restaurant
Singapore’s first unagi (freshwater eel) specialty restaurant may have undergone a name change, but the menu of delectable Japanese comfort food remains the same.
You’ll work up an appetite as you watch chefs lovingly baste and grill strips of eel right in front of you at this Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded restaurant. Be sure to come early to beat the snaking queue of hungry diners!
Unagi Tei Japanese Restaurant. 1 Keong Saik Road #01-01, Singapore 089109. +65 6222 0678.
Mon-Sat 11.30am-2.30pm, 6-10pm
Just as its name suggest, sweet treats are the main draw at Apiary. You’ll find queues out the door at this cosy café, famous for its delectable ice cream.
There’s a wide variety of flavours to sample, from classics like cookies and cream to unique creations like blue milk (made with blue pea flower) and Tiger Beer-flavoured sorbet. We recommend going for the signature Apiary flavour, made with honey ice cream and cocoa.
Apiary. 84 Neil Road, Singapore 088844. Sun–Thu 12-1pm, Fri & Sat 12-11pm.
Some of Singapore’s best restaurants can be found on this narrow stretch.
Boasting a Michelin star, Meta serves up innovative fine dining dishes that marry Asian flavours with French flair. Chef Sun Kim, an alumni of Tetsuya’s in Sydney and Waku Ghin in Singapore, deploys seasonal ingredients in his ever-changing degustation menus—think octopus slick with XO sauce and scallop sashimi in a dressing of basil and yuzu (Japanese citrus fruit).
Meta. 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109. +65 6513 0898.
Mon, Tue & Sat 6-11pm; Wed-Fri noon-2.30pm, 6-11pm.
With two Michelin stars to its name and a spot on the list of Asia’s 50 best Restaurants in 2022, Thevar is one of the hottest tables in town. The restaurant serves up classic Indian fare, with exquisitely-plated interpretations of iconic rice dishes, flatbreads and curries like lamb biryani, chicken roti and rogan josh.
Thevar. 9 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089117. +65 9750 8275.
Heart of Darkness
Vietnamese craft beer, an unpretentious ambience and crave-worthy comfort food make Heart of Darkness a great place to hang out and knock back a cold one. You’ll find over a dozen beers on tap — from Pale Ale to Stouts — that you can pair with classic comfort food like fries slathered in sauces and spicy chicken wings.
Heart of Darkness. 1 Keong Saik Road. Singapore 089109. +65 6208 7940. Daily 4pm-12am.