Here’s a random fact that every Singaporean knows on a gut level: the word ‘desserts’ is stressed spelt backwards.
If you’re a foodie vacationing on our sunny island, there’s no better way to unwind than to engage in our national past-time of eating, and explore the city’s unique desserts, which incorporate traditional flavours with innovative modern twists.
Birds of Paradise
Nestled in the beautifully preserved Peranakan* shophouses of the Katong neighbourhood, Birds of Paradise is a great choice for those craving a sweet reprieve from the tropical heat. This dessert store is famous for its medley of unique, botanically-flavoured gelato, infused with the taste profiles of herbs, flowers and spices.
While all the ice cream flavours are equally delectable, we recommend ordering their Southeast Asian-inspired flavours, which include lemongrass ginger, pandan and basil. Be sure to get your scoop with their signature thyme-flavoured cone for an added crunch.
Birds of Paradise. 63 East Coast Road #01-05, Singapore 428776. +65 9678 6092.
Tue-Thu & Sun noon-10pm; Fri & Sat noon-10.30pm.
*The term is an Indonesian/Malay word that means “local born”, which generally refers to people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage.
True to its playfully evocative name, Ding Dong incorporates local influences into a singular gastronomic experience that fuses heritage with bold modern flavours.
From cakes made with goreng pisang (fried banana fritters) to a Baked Alaska that fuses local flavours like durian, pandan and kaya (a traditional jam made from coconut and eggs), the dessert offerings at Ding Dong will give you a great overview of unique Singaporean flavours.
Ding Dong. 115 Amoy Street, Singapore 069935. +65 6557 0189.
Mon-Sat noon-3pm, 6pm-midnight.
This one’s for foodies hankering for a variety of sweet treats. Founded by award-winning chef Janice Wong, 2am:dessertbar offers up a range of artisanal pastries and alcohol-infused ice creams.
Foodies hoping to bring the tastes of Singapore home to their loved ones should certainly purchase a box of chocolate bonbons from their Singapore Signature Series. These melt-in-your mouth sweets come in flavours like chilli padi (bird’s eye chilli), gula melaka (palm sugar), pandan, milk tea and mango curry.
2am:dessertbar. 21A Lorong Liput, Singapore 277733. +65 6291 9727.
Tue-Fri 3pm-2am; Sat & Sun 2pm-2am.
Tarte by Cheryl Koh
Sample world-class pastries at Tarte by Cheryl Koh, located in the bustling shopping district of Orchard Road. The restaurant’s titular chef-founder was crowned ‘Asia’s Best Pastry Chef’ at the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Award in 2016, and her reputation for creating delightful confectionaries is well-deserved.
The cakes and pastries at Tarte by Cheryl Koh are made with the freshest ingredients and French culinary techniques, and include classic cakes like gateau opera (almond sponge cake) and fraisier (strawberry sponge cake).
Shaw Centre. 1 Scotts Road #02-12, Singapore 228208. +65 6235 3225.
Non Entrée Desserts
Presentation is the name of the game at Non Entrée Desserts, which serves up desserts visually resembling Singaporean hawker staples. Foodies hoping to delight both their eyes and their palate should certainly sample the dishes here.
Signature dishes include ‘bak chor mee’ (minced meat noodles)—made with passionfruit, coconut parfait and red tea jelly. Many Singaporeans break their fast on a traditional breakfast of kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs, and this restaurant’s ‘Singapore Breakfast’ dessert is a playful riff on this classic dish, with mango and coconut used to create the visual illusion of a soft-boiled egg.
Hong Building. 204 Rangoon Road, Singapore 218451. +65 9878 6543.
Tue-Thu 2-10pm; Fri 2-11pm; Sat noon-11pm; Sun noon-10pm.
Ultra-retro vibes meet old-school flavours at Sinpopo Brand, an establishment that proudly takes inspiration from the nostalgia of yesteryear. Set up to resemble a traditional Singaporean eatery from the 1950s, this restaurant’s menu includes innovative takes on local comfort food, including wagyu hor fun (flat rice noodles) and burgers with har cheong gai (prawn paste chicken) patties.
While there are many savoury options, we recommend foodies to save belly space for their diverse array of cakes. The pastries here are inspired by traditional flavours like ondeh ondeh (glutinous balls filled with palm sugar), pulut hitam (black glutinous rice in coconut milk) and durian.
Sinpopo Brand at Joo Chiat. 458 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427671. +65 6345 5034.
Mon-Thu & Sun noon-10pm; Fri & Sat noon-midnight.
Sinpopo Brand at Paragon Shopping Centre. 290 Orchard Road #B1-33, Singapore 238859. +65 6365 1772.