Packed with cafes, independent boutiques as well as traditional stores, the Kampong Glam district is a popular destination for visitors and locals alike.
It's also a treasure trove of good food—you’ll find nearly a bit of everything, be it authentic Indonesian-style food or Mexican cuisine. So kick-start your foodie adventures in this colourful ethnic enclave, with the help of this dining list.
Seek out the heritage-rich restaurants and eateries that locals frequent; some of these boast a history even older than Singapore’s!
Top of the must-visits is Singapore Zam Zam, an Indian Muslim restaurant that has been open since 1908. This family-run business specialises in briyani (an Indian spiced rice dish with meat or vegetables); share the dish or go in hungry, to savour the generous portions served.
Other popular picks include murtabak (stuffed pan-fried pancake) as well as roti prata (South Indian flatbread), which are popular breakfast-lunch favourites, usually dipped with the accompanying curries.
Further along North Bridge Road is Warong Nasi Pariaman, an eatery with a history that dates back to 1948. It specialises in nasi padang, which is steamed rice served with Indonesian-style dishes like beef rendang (braised meat cooked in coconut milk and spices) and ayam goreng (chicken deep fried in coconut oil).
Do visit this eatery early in the day, for it closes by mid-afternoon.
For rustic kampung (Malay village) dishes, try Hajah Maimunah, a restaurant and catering group that’s been around since the nineties. Feast on a spread of dishes such as Sundanese grilled chicken and tahu telur (fried tofu, eggs and vegetables topped with prawn paste sauce). Another must-try: the siput sedut (sea snails in coconut milk gravy).
The charm of Kampong Glam lies in that deft mix of the old and the new. You’ll just as easily find traditional shops hawking carpets, perfumes and nonya kebayas (Peranakan-style blouse and dress), as well as cool cafes just a stone’s throw away.
Coffee connoisseurs will love the selection of quality brews in the area. Head to the Muslim-owned &Why Café, a New York-inspired café and one of a few coffee hotspots in Kampong Glam. The must-try: cold brews made with coffee beans from Puerta Verde, a specialty coffee farm in Guatemala.
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another locale at sister restaurant I Am, which is just a short walk away. You can’t miss it: a large ‘I am’ sign is placed at its entrance at North Bridge Road. Here, you’ll find western-style mains such as pizzas, charcoal grilled burgers and fish and chips.
Burger fans should check out Kaw Kaw by Makan State at Aliwal Street. This franchise hails from Kuala Lumpur and is known for its huge burgers; its name ‘kaw kaw’ means thick in the Hokkien dialect. Its star dish is the Permaisuri burger, which sandwiches a fried chicken thigh, turkey ham, chicken floss and lettuce in between crispy golden buns.
Food of the world
Foodies hungering for more should check out the international selection that Kampong Glam has to offer; you’ll find everything from Mexican food to Japanese-style eats.
Make your way to Beirut Grill on Bussorah Street for Middle Eastern fare. The Lebanese fine dining restaurant specialises in grilled meats as well as mezze (Turkish and Mediterranean small plates) dishes.
Over at Beach Road, more dining options await. Piedra Negra serves affordable Mexican dishes. This little gem is housed within a shophouse with graffiti-style walls too.
Further down Beach Road lies Mrs Pho. This small but cosy Vietnamese eatery serves up authentic beef pho (rice noodles in broth) and rice paper rolls. The ambience sure makes it feel like you’re dining on the streets of Saigon!
Take a short stroll to Box n Sticks at Kandahar Street, if you’re in the mood for Japanese food. Done in the style of a Japanese izakaya, this casual restaurant-bar has everything from yakitori (skewered meats) to sushi and other bite-sized dishes, at wallet-friendly prices.
For more dining recommendations in Kampong Glam, check out this list.