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Joo Chiat is known for its wide variety of eateries located in close proximity. From great picks for a family feast to cheap eats for two, we've taken the liberty to sieve out places that are worth your buck.
Here’s a list of 15 tried and true food places in and around the Joo Chiat arena, guaranteed to leave you feeling full and satisfied.1. Joo Heng Restaurant
Joo Heng Restaurant has a split personality when it comes to ambience and décor. The right side of the restaurant resembles a mid-end Chinese restaurant fitted with dim lighting and plush leather chairs, while the left is jarringly lit with fluorescent lights and the same stools you would find at your neighbourhood zi char eatery.
Regardless of where you sit, everyone is treated to same quality of food and service. The Steamed Soon Hock Fish, which comes covered in tau cheo sauce and lard is something every table has to order. Another favourite amongst regular customers is their Tofu with Prawns. The sauce is both sweet and savoury and makes for the perfect gravy to go with a plain bowl of rice.
360 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427605Image: Instagram user @biteclubsg2. Guan Hoe Soon
As Singapore’s first heritage town, Joo Chiat is home to well-maintained Peranakan-style shop houses, as well as some of the best Peranakan restaurants on the island – Guan Hoe Soon included.
Signatures of this humble eatery include Chap Chye, a hearty Peranakan staple with well-stewed cabbage amongst other ingredients. Another classic is their spicy Ayam Buah Keluak, where the keluak nut is stuffed with minced pork mixed with the contents of the nut instead of being served as a whole. Overall, this Peranakan food gem does not disappoint and is the closest you’ll come to authentic Peranakan food, unless you know a Peranakan who will invite you over to their home for dinner.
38 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427762Image: Guan Hoe Soon3. Eng Seng Restaurant
Google “Best Black Pepper Crab in Singapore” and you’ll find that Eng Seng Restaurant is constantly recommended. Housed in a coffee shop that has seen better days, you’ll find customers tucking into their huge plates of Black Pepper Crabs without a care about the mess that follows after.
What makes the black pepper sauce special is the right balance of sweet and peppery flavours, mixed into a thick, sticky sauce that coats every inch of the meaty crabs. Do note that you will have to order a minimum of 2 crabs here, and if that’s not enough, their Mee Goreng and Fried You Tiao are must-tries as well.
241 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427932Image: Instagram user @biteclubsg4. Lau Hock Guan Kee
Lau Hock Guan Kee started off as a Bak Kut Teh shop in the 1970s. So it comes as a surprise what people flock here for instead – their Assam Fish Head Curry. While age has caught on with the 40-year-old shop house, service here doesn’t tire with their warm hospitality.
As for the food, Lau Hock Guan Kee’s famed Assam Fish Head Curry is made by first steaming the fish head together with lady's fingers and eggplant before the spicy and sour assam curry sauce is ladled over the top. Another dish you won’t find anywhere else is their Deep Fried Chopped Fish with Bitter Gourd and Black Bean sauce.
328 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427585Image: Instagram user @biteclubsg5. Long Phung
Step into Long Phung at 6pm on a weekend and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the streets of Hanoi. You’d be surrounded by people speaking fluently in Vietnamese as they catch up with one another over a piping hot bowl of Pho.
There is a whole host of Vietnamese restaurants along Joo Chiat but Long Phung comes up top amongst them. It prides itself in serving up simple and authentic Vietnamese dishes such as their Beef Pho, Prawn Rolls and Cockles Stir-fried with Garlic.
159 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427436Image: Openrice user stargirl6. Eng's Wanton Mee
While Eng's Wanton Mee has moved from Joo Chiat to Tanjong Katong Road, many still consider it a part of the Joo Chiat institution since it entered the food scene in the 1950s. It’s also one of the only wanton mee places that serve free flow pork lard for some added crunch and flavour to the already delicious bowl of noodles.
Note: Beware of their potent chilli, as it comes labelled. One squirt too many might have you clawing for refuge. You’ve been warned.
287 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437070Image: Opensnap/Openrice user crappysotong7. Smokey's BBQ
Instead of having ribs from one of the big names of American BBQ, head down to Smokey's BBQ at Joo Chiat. Attracting both expats and locals alike, Smokey’s adopts the laid back atmosphere of a bar mixed with an American diner in an al fresco setting. However, no one seems to mind having their meats in the heat as long as the food is served hot and the beer cold.
Taking the craft of American BBQ seriously, the diner not only makes their own BBQ sauce from scratch, but use custom built smokers as well, to ensure that anything you order from the grill comes out perfect each time.
73 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427790Image: Openrice user rszepvolgyi8. Werner's Oven (Closed)
Take a short walk from Smokey’s to Werner's Oven for your dose of German fare. The first thing that hits you when you enter the restaurant is the aroma of breads freshly baked daily on site – one of the most comforting scents in the world.
Food-wise, the menu is packed with German specialties such as their Sausage platter for 2 and Crispy Pork Knuckle with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut as well as Werner’s Schnitzel Burger, made with a deep fried breaded pork fillet. Of course, no German meal is ever complete without beer. At Werner’s, they serve imported Paulaner straight from the tap.
49 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427773Image: Openrice user citrella9. Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata
With a name like Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata, you’ll know what to expect even before stepping foot into this old coffee shop over at Crane Road. The dough here is homemade and every single order is made fresh so you don’t get cold, stale prata that seems commonplace at prata shops in Singapore nowadays.
On top of the crispy prata, is a choice between three types of curry. Their dahl is given as the default if you don’t specify what type of curry you want, but we recommend that you try their Mutton curry or Fish curry if you find the gamey taste of lamb too unpalatable.
Poh Ho Restaurant, 7 Crane Road, Singapore 429356Image: Adeline Tan10. 328 Katong Laksa
Moving away from Joo Chiat Road, the long stretch of East Coast Road nearby is too lined with good eats. The famous 328 Katong Laksa has been amassing legions of loyal supporters with their hot and spicy bowls of laksa long before Gordon Ramsay’s visit in last year.
They are said to have pioneered the Janggut trend of eating laksa - using just a soup spoon instead of chopsticks. Each spoonful gets you a mix of springy noodles, lusciously thick gravy and maybe even the occasional dried shrimp.
216 East Coast Road, Singapore 428914Image: Openrice user rachelays11. Carvers and Co
East Coast Road has been constantly changing and we’ve seen an army of new restaurants popping up to cater to the growing expat population in the area. Carvers and Co isn’t your usual café serving mere coffee and desserts. It ups the ante by including Wagyu Beef Steak and Grass-fed Prime Rib in their dinner menu (which by the way is hidden between the pages of a thick book so don’t be surprised when your server hands one to you).
Their Signature Carver’s Plate features an assortment of meats including juicy chicken thighs, home cured gammon ham and crispy sio bak. Each meaty dish comes with sweet caramalized onions and roasted garlic to pile on with every bite.
43 East Coast Road, Singapore 428764Image: Openrice user thumbsforfood12. Sinpopo Brand
For a unique cafe experience, head on over to Sinpopo Brand and reminisce the past over a plate of traditional Nasi Lemak or old school Ice Kachang Balls. Decked in 1950s décor, this quaint café is an eclectic mix of Singaporean nostalgia with modern sensibility. Even the type of music they play brings you back to the years of rediffusion and canto-pop.
Beyond the interesting concept is its themed menu, which includes well-executed local dishes of yesteryear. Their Durian Pengat, available all year round, tops our must-try list.
458 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427671Image: Openrice user runningman13. Chin Mee Chin Confectionery
Long before Singapore started adopting the café culture, we had good old kopitiams like Chin Mee Chin Confectionery. This hot and stuffy coffee shop hasn’t changed much since the 1950s when they first started operations. You can still watch them toasting your Kaya Toast and baking egg tarts at the back of the shop, while you enjoy your sock-pulled kopi out front.
Every 15 minutes or so, a batch of freshly baked cupcakes would be brought out and put on display at the front of the shop. If you’re ever fortunate enough to catch their Chocolate Cupcakes, grab them immediately before they’re snapped up in bulk orders.
204 East Coast Road, Singapore 428903Image: Openrice user dairycream14. Wing's World
On top of their classic buffalo sauce that comes in mild, medium, hot or blazin’, Wing's World offers over 15 different types of sauce and seasoning to jazz up the humble chicken wing. Here, you can mix and match flavours, with a minimum of 3 pieces each, to get a tasteful range from their Mango Habanero sauce to the Jamaican Jerk rub.
Each set is served with your choice of fries, coleslaw or potato salad and comes with the best blue cheese dip you can have with sticks of carrots and celery. The refreshing crunch and zing of the vegetables and blue cheese serves as a great palate refresher, especially with those extra spicy wings.
214 East Coast Road, Singapore 428913Image: Wing's World15. Full Of Crab
Utensil-free seafood shacks where you eat off the table seem to be the latest food trend to hit our shores. The interior of Full Of Crab reminds us of Krusty Krab from Spongebob Squarepants, with wooden planks of which you can write on plastered on the walls. Even the light fixtures are decorated with lobster traps and colourful fishing lures!
As for the food, the restaurant stays true to its name, offering Alaskan King Crabs, Sri Lankan Crabs, as well as prawns and lobsters tossed in their fully-loaded garlic butter Cajun spice sauce. Unless you’re keeping a close watch on cholesterol levels, chowing down on a bucket of fresh seafood with a crab leg in one hand and a beer in the other makes for one of the best activities you could do with close friends in the east.
195 East Coast Road, Singapore 428900Image: Full Of Crab Facebook Page
Written by Nicole-Marie Ng, Edited by Peh Yi Wen
Best of Joo ChiatExplore Singapore's best eats here
Updated on 15 July 2015