JOO CHIAT ROAD
Sinpopo Brand (458 Joo Chiat Road)
Step into 70s Singapore, when TV was in its infancy and vintage Shanghai posters, music records and popular street snack ais bor ($3.90) reigned. Named after a now defunct notorious nightclub, it dishes out Fake Bird’s Nest ($2.90), Sng Muay Pop ($3.90) and gula Melaka soft jelly ($4.90). For savouries, there’s lo gai yik ($8.90), or stewed chicken wing rice, and John Eh Roti ($6.90). We liked the bygone era ambience more than the food. Tel: 6345 5034
Ann Tin Tong (Hing Kee) Medical Hall (320 Joo Chiat Road)
It’s a retro medical hall in every sense. The original owner is over 90 years old while made-to-order cupboards were carved by a master craftsman almost 100 years ago. They once had a spacious unit with double doors across the road but now make do with a small shoplot. Curious passers-by make enquiries and buy ready-to-drink luo han guo ($2) instead of brewing their own (from $0.60 for a fruit).
Nam San (261 Joo Chiat Road)
Fancy some mackerel otah ($1.10) at 3am? Nam San’s open 24 hours and they also have prawn ($1.20), sotong ($1.20), fish head ($1.20), Nonya ($0.90), white fish ($1.20, non-spicy) and raw versions perfect for a barbecue. Free delivery for orders $120 and above. Tel: 6345 5542
Pre-war Peranakan Shophouses (Koon Seng Road)
End your tour of Joo Chiat Road with exquisite architecture. These colourful pre-war shophouses with ornate designs line both sides of Koon Seng Road. They’re typically narrow (four to six metres) but deep, due to the spans of timber available at that time.
DUNMAN FOOD CENTRE (271 Onan Road)
Dunman Road Char Siew Wan Ton Mee (#02-19)
If you enjoy the wanton mee at Eng’s Noodles House (287 Tanjong Katong Road), you’ll find the one here familiar, down to its eye-wateringly spicy chilli. Here’s the goss: Eng’s started in Dunman Food Centre, and his former helper opened Dunman Road Char Siew Wan Ton Mee. Which do you prefer? Fri-Wed 10am-8.30pm
Dunman Duck Rice (#01-10)
It’s not just braised duck on rice ($3/3.50/4), there’s porridge too ($2.50). The well-marinated duck is tender and the accompanying herbal soup satisfying. Pick up a duck to go ($17 for half, $34 whole) or try their kway chap ($0.50). Sat-Thu 11am-9pm
Lau Hong Ser Rojak (#02-14)
Expect to see long queues for this rojak stall which uses a thick and fragrant hae gor (prawn paste) from Penang and homemade chilli ($2/3/4). Be patient: the uncle toasts dough fritters over a small charcoal fire and grinds and toasts the heap of peanuts himself. Call in advance so you can swing by to pick up your order an hour later. Mon-Sat 4.38pm-1.38am. Tel: 6346 6519
Did You Know?
Tau kwa pau is a fast disappearing Nonya-Teochew dish of fried stuffed beancurd. There used to be two stalls at the busy junction of Joo Chiat Road and East Coast Road but they have since moved. You’ll find Sheng Cheng Tau Kwa Pau, once where Brotzeit is now, at the Peranakan Village Food Centre (369 Tanjong Katong Road). Mary’s Corner went from Alibabar to Dunman Food Centre but we heard they’re now without a home. If you’ve found them, please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org