With Singapore’s diverse variety of cuisines, classic or fusion, we’re a must-stop for culinary connoisseurs. As many famous restaurants as there are in Singapore, there will often be hidden gems. Some are simply local secrets, while others have taken a step beyond to actively hide with innocuous storefronts and clever camouflaging. Here are some of the more secluded spots that your even your Singaporean friend may not know of!
Founded in 1973, this family-run restaurant for families is located in the heartland of Singapore, Bedok. A considerably “ulu” (rural) area, the restaurant is mostly known to only locals living nearby. Chin Lee has been serving humble Teochew fare to Singaporeans for years, adhering to their promise of comfort, scrumptious food, and excellent service. Visitors and fellow Singaporeans alike, don’t miss out!
Find it at Blk 115 Bedok North Road #01-285, Singapore (460115)
Click here for more information on Chin Lee.
Trek through the bushes for a taste of Colonial Singapore. Cafe Colbar was established by a Mr and Mrs Lim in 1953, making it 64 years old this year. A former military canteen, this colonial bar was originally located on Jalan Hang Jebat. It was, however, moved to its current location due to the construction of a flyover, and hence is no longer the original bar but a recreation by both owners and fans. The rustic eatery hasn’t changed its menu much since establishment, with local eats and Hainanese-styled British food. So take a walk down Singapore’s heritage lane and check them out!
Find it at 9A Whitchurch Rd, Singapore (138839)
Click here for more information on Cafe Colbar.
What’s that? You have a craving for ab-so-lute-ly awesome Prata? Well, hold onto that hunger just a little longer to make the drive all the way to Jurong West for some Enaq Prata! As a self-proclaimed Prata Connoisseur, I profess to favour crispy prata over the softer prata. There’s just no comparison between the two. Between the regular chewy version and the crunchy one, crispy prata wins hands down. And this is one of the rare places to get said crispy prata! There’s another outlet in Ghim Moh now, which caters to the hipster crowd unlike the original mamak stall style, so if you want to get your #Instastories, hop on over there instead.
Find it at 303 Jurong East Street 32, Singapore (600303) or 21 Ghim Moh Rd, Singapore (270021)
Click here for more information on ENAQ.
Have I come to the wrong place? This is a temple…or is it? Chong Wen Ge is a Peranakan cafe hidden in plain sight! Sharing the same tiling as Thian Hock Keng Temple (just next door), it definitely blends in well with the traditional look. Blink, and you’ll miss it. Serving up piping hot local favourites like Nyonya laksa and Nyonya Mee Siam (Nyonya also referring to Peranakan), this camouflaged spot is certainly worth squinting for!
Find it at 168 Telok Ayer St, Singapore (068619)
Click here for more information on Chong Wen Ge.
Despite its disguise as a heritage shop in Tiong Bahru, this classy gastrobar is no kopitiam stall. You’ll have to creep through the back lanes of Moh Guan Terrace alley, spot the entirely metallic door with the tiny Bincho lettering, and then watch as the world transforms around you as you walk through. Do try the custom cocktails and specialty yakitori, for they are sure to blow your mind.
While speakeasies are not uncommon in Singapore, they’re not usually Chinese. A large group of them are admittedly Japanese or Western concoctions, so I have to say that there was a little me squealing in excitement when I learned of this secret “speakeasy dining experience” by Tunglok. Head to Lokkee, a restaurant also under the Tunglok group, and ask to enter the Dragon Chamber. You’ll be lead to a red door through which you’ll enter this secret bar. There’s a secret menu that boasts exotic dishes. I won’t ruin the surprise, but do check out the Dragon Claw dish there—it’s proof that Chinese do eat everything!
In keeping with the speakeasy style, The Dragon Chamber does not have an official page, so you’ll only be able to access its front restaurant, Lokkee’s, website.
This trendily named restaurant doles out healthy and yummy salad/grain bowls in generous helpings. Started by two avocado lovers, it claims to serve the “best guacamole bowls in the CBD” and seems to be living up to this promise. Be sure to look hard for them, as they’re hidden behind Maxwell Chambers. This hipsterific place has seasonal menus that keep customers on their toes and absolutely instagrammable desserts. Check out their Supergreens Chai Parfaits!
Find it at 32 Maxwell Road #01-08, Singapore (069115)
Click here for more information on Guac & Go.
I navigated the narrow streets of Serangoon to this back-end alley corner coffee shop just to satiate my desire for clay pot. Perhaps we should remove “just”, for a craving is certainly no small deal! And I definitely got my wish at Lau Wang Claypot Delights, for a very reasonable price. This humble family-style kopitiam has been around since 1985, which only goes to show that they’ve been doing things right. So if you ever crave clay pot dishes, do take a short trip to Serangoon!
Find it at 263 Serangoon Central Drive, #01-43, Singapore (550263)
Click here for more information on Lau Wang Claypot.
As a popular spot for irresistible Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, this hidden gem isn’t exactly ‘hidden’ for those in the know. Go through the unassuming metal door entrance and you’ll find yourself emerging into the underground edgy atmosphere; thereafter, your taste buds are in for a treat! From the juicy, perfectly marinated Braised Beef Cheeks, Bacon & Cabbage to the irresistible Egg fried in Dukkha with Saffron Mayo, you simply cannot fault any of the dishes that fly out of the kitchens here.
Find it at 110 Amoy Street, #01-01, Singapore 069930
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