Eating Out: Local Food with Home-Cooked Feels

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Singapore’s oldest Peranakan restaurant, an old-school scissor cut hawker stall and healthy spinach soup in the Central Business District (CBD) make the list.  

By Guest Contributor, Damo

We all work long hours in Singapore. If you live alone, cooking a big meal over the weekend could be a chore, so eating out is much better. If you have been craving for food with home-cooked feels, I’ve put together three suggestions for you.

Guan Hoe Soon is Singapore’s oldest Peranakan restaurant. Nestled quietly in Joo Chiat Place, this is old-school. Even though it’s established way back in 1953, it is clean, feels homey, and the service staff are friendly. As a Baba-Nyonya myself, this hits the spot when I have a desperate craving but lack the time to cook or visit Mom for her cooking.

Guan Hoe Soon experiences super peak hours on weekends, and is always packed and bustling with activity during lunch hours. Luckily, they managed to allocate us a table for two near the door. We braced ourselves for service slowdowns, then ordered a few dishes.

The Babi Pongteh (pork stew) is tender and slightly fatty, which gives the stew a robust flavour.

The Otak (spicy fish paste) had a lot of assam, but I did hope it would be thicker, like Muar’s Otak Otak.

The Nyonya Chap Chye (assorted vegetable stew) was just nice and not too soggy, which happens if stewed for too long.

For dessert, we ordered the Gula Melaka Sago, an ice ball soaked in concentrated Gula Melaka dunked into a generous bed of coconut milk and sago. I was sure to whack it. This was the highlight for me!

Price: Relatively cheap at SGD10+ per dish

Vibe: Clean and homey

Service: Friendly, but slow during super peak hours

If you’ve finished work late and hungry, Beach Road’s humble hawker stall is opened till 3.30am. Famous amongst many local Singaporeans, this made the list because my foreign friend, who’s a fan of local food, absolutely loves it.

Think pork chops, fatty pork, eggs, ngoh hiang, curry chicken and steaming white rice with lashings of gravy. This is local comfort food at its best.

Eating curry rice is versatile – you can either go solo, with a friend, or a group if you are in the mood for something sinful! The glorious upside of going in a group is that you can order almost everything that the old school, self-service stall has to offer.

It’s got to be curry rice all day, every day!

Price: Reasonable – SGD78 for 7 pax

Vibe: Old school

Service: Self-serve

In the mood for soup? Go for this healthy gem if you work in the Central Business District (CBD). I am a carnivore but this hits the spot when I need veggies once in a while.

Located on the second floor of Shenton House, it is right in front of the escalator. With generous servings, there are different spinach soup bowls to choose from. The egg in the soup really stands out and turns the slurp factor up in a good way.

Recommended for a healthy soupy lunch!

Price: At SGD4 per bowl, you can’t complain

Vibe: Typical CBD lunch

Service: Self-serve

Images by Damo


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