18 Places to Try Peranakan Food – Gems That Serve A Tasty Slice of Singapore’s Food Heritage

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What makes Singapore’s culinary landscape a peerless one is how it truly is a melting pot of literal flavours. As the home to a complex medley of cultures and heritage, this confluence brings forth a myriad of cuisines, each brimming with its own distinct palette of tastes and colours.

Beneath the veil cast by the dominant cuisines of major ethnic groups, there still exists multiple unique culinary heritages awaiting our discovery. Of this collective, one of the more prominent marginal ethnic groups is the Peranakan. With a lineage descended from a blend of Chinese, Malay and Indonesian backgrounds, many have since been assimilated into the broader Chinese or Malay ethnic groups.

Despite this dilution of cultural identity, an enduring aspect of their history is their inimitable cuisine. Renowned for having bright, vibrant flavours that are familiar yet fresh, these dishes and the equally rich history behind them have seen a recent resurgence in the local gastronomical scene.

From gourmet Michelin-starred restaurants to humble family-owned eateries, here is a collection of 18 places where you can sample a flavourful slice of Singapore’s Peranakan food heritage.

Baba Chews Spread

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BABA CHEWS


Normally we don’t attribute much more than somewhat palatable food to a hotel’s main café and restaurant, but the in-house restaurant for the Peranakan-culture-laden Hotel Indigo, Baba Chews, deserves a special mention.

Housed in the preserved 1928 Joo Chiat Police Station, Baba Chews too draws its inspiration from the rich Peranakan heritage of its Katong location. You can find a mix of the usual Western and local favourites, except many are served with a hearty Peranakan twist – like their Salmon with Laksa Sauce and Ayam Buah Keluak Burger – making for a less intimidating introduction to Nonya flavours.

86 East Coast Road
Katong Square
Singapore 428788
Tel: +65 6723 2025
Daily: 6.30am – 11pm
Nearest Station: Eunos

Bumbu Restaurant Spread

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BUMBU RESTAURANT


Upon first glance, Bumbu may seem to be an odd choice for a Peranakan list with its predominantly Thai and Indonesian offerings. Although not widely advertised, it is one of the few restaurants that offer authentic yet fairly priced Nonya fare, with their Buah Keluak being a favourite among its regulars.

If you visit their Kandahar Street branch, not only do you get to dine under the shadow of the palatial Sultan Mosque, the interior of the restaurant is akin to a museum of Peranakan cultural relics from Singapore’s yesteryears.

44 Kandahar Street
Singapore 198897
Tel: +65 6392 8628
Daily: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm
Nearest Station: Nicoll Highway / Bugis
** Multiple outlets islandwide.

Candlenut

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CANDLENUT


Upping the ante, Candlenut is no stranger to gourmands and connoisseurs of Peranakan cuisine. Upholding its title as the world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant for the past three years, this is the place to be if you wish to revel in the intricacies of Nonya food.

Flaunting the rigidity of traditionalists, Candlenut showcases the malleability of Peranakan fare without compromising on authenticity. By creating contemporary dishes around the essence of the cuisine, patrons can expect exciting taste combinations such as Kueh Pie Tee with Boston Lobster and Wagyu Beef Rib Rendang.

17A Dempsey Road
Singapore 249676
Tel: 1800 304 2288 (Local calls only)
Sun to Thu: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm
Fri & Sat: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm
Nearest Station: Queenstown

Charlie's Peranakan Food Copy


CHARLIE’S PERANAKAN FOOD


Swinging to the other end of the spectrum, Charlie’s approach to Peranakan food is humble and homely, centred around the core of heartfelt cooking. A famed hawker stall in the past, Charlie (of the eatery’s namesake) found it difficult to stay away from his passion for cooking, returning in 2017 after an 8-year absence.

As though he hasn’t taken a break, Charlie continues to dish out genuine yet affordable Nonya fare for the masses, including the often overlooked but surprisingly robust Chap Chye, and the tender scrumptiousness of his Babi Pongteh.

505 Beach Road
Golden Mile Food Centre, #B1-30
Singapore 199583
Tel: +65 9789 6304
Daily: 11.30am – 7.30pm
Nearest Station: Nicoll Highway

Chilli Padi

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CHILLI PADI


Another gem along the historic streets of Joo Chiat is Chilli Padi. The brand has been adorned with multiple accolades over the years for steadily cultivating the public’s palates for Nonya food over the decades with its exemplary yet reasonably priced fare. A feat considering interest in Peranakan food mostly burgeoned only in recent years.

While the food may not seem dissimilar to Chinese restaurants, the main difference here lies in the subtle difference in the seasoning and ingredients used. Expect flavours that are richer with a heavier dose of spices when dining here.

11 Joo Chiat Place
#01-03
Singapore 427744
Tel: +65 6275 1002
Daily: 11.30am –2.30pm, 5.30pm – 10pm
Nearest Station: Eunos

Godmama

Photo Credit: https://godmama.sg/


GODMAMA


Despite being one of the newer Peranakan establishments, Godmama manages to entice with its modern Peranakan fare, netting a spot in the 2019 Chope Diners’ Choice Hall of Fame New Restaurant of the Year category

Helmed by a trio of Peranakans looking to keep the food of their heritage alive, you can find a blend of traditional favourites and modern iterations of Nonya cuisine inspired by their real-life Godmama. For the former, look towards either the egg skin popiah or the babi assam; for the latter, the Godmama’s Otak Otak Benedict and Buah Keluak Bolognese Pasta are popular choices.

109 North Bridge Road
Funan Mall, #04-07
Singapore 179105
Tel: +65 6970 0828
Daily: 11am – 10pm
Nearest Station: City Hall

Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant


GUAN HOE SOON RESTAURANT


Operating since 1953, Guan Hoe Soon is one of the few remaining old-school Peranakan restaurants in Singapore. Found inside a shophouse along the streets of Joo Chiat, this eatery exudes a simple, time-worn charm similar to the comfort of a family dining room, finished with a small collection of Nonya vintage tableware.

From deceptively simple sides like their delightfully piquant otah, to more extravagant mains like the rich flavours of their assam pomfret, a meal at Guan Hoe Soon entails returning to the roots of the Peranakan heritage through an uncomplicated exploration of classic dishes.

40 Joo Chiat Place
Singapore 427764
Tel: +65 6344 2761 / +65 9633 2833 (Whatsapp only)
Daily: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 9.30pm
Nearest Station: Eunos

House of Peranakan Petit


HOUSE OF PERANAKAN


 Bob Seah, owner of the House of Peranakan group of restaurants, is one of the bulwarks of the local Peranakan food scene. Besides upholding the traditional culinary culture of his heritage, Seah has reinvented multiple dishes without losing the spirit that defines the cuisine. This has accumulated into the introduction of claypot-based Nonya dishes like the Itek Sioh and into Peranakan-inspired items as with the Nonya Crayfish and Assam Prawns.

Still going strong, Seah continues to manoeuvre the kitchens of his establishments, handpicking his produce and experimenting with modern combinations of familiar Peranakan flavours.

103 Frankel Avenue
Singapore 458225
Tel: +65 6445 2404 / 6733 4411
Tue to Sun: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm
(Closed on Mondays)
Nearest Station: Kembangan
** Multiple outlets islandwide.

Indigo Blue Kitchen

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INDIGO BLUE KITCHEN


Indigo Blue Kitchen might initially feel like any other respected fine dining establishment with its bright interior and distinct lines. However, when you catch a respite within its walls, the sharpness of the environment softens with the warm service and homespun food, bringing about a relaxation not unlike that of visiting family.

Inspired by the memories of childhood flavours, the dishes here maintain the classic profiles of Peranakan cuisine, with the occasional injection of playfulness to ease the uninitiated into the fare. Despite its assuming appearance, their Nonya popiah is a must-try for its hidden kaleidoscope of flavours.

1 Scotts Road
Shaw Centre, #03-09/10/11
Singapore 228208
Tel: +65 6235 3218
Daily: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 9.30pm
Nearest Station: Orchard

INDOCAFE

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INDOCAFE


One of the more alluring facets of Peranakan fare is the fluidity of its fare; drawing influences from foundational Chinese, Indonesian and Malay cuisines, Nonya food can take on a spectrum of flavours, with different iterations drawing more from one base cuisine over others.

Amidst the polished wood and burnished antiques, Indocafe sits in a stately colonial bungalow, The White House. Serving up Peranakan food with heavier Penang influences, patrons can look forward to food hued with a more intricate complexity of flavours. Among their signatures are the quintessential rendang dishes and their lavish version of Assam Laksa.

35 Scotts Road
Singapore 228227
Tel: +65 6733 2656
Tue to Sun: 12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10pm
(Closed on Mondays)
Nearest Station: Newton

Nonya Delicatessen Nasi Kunit

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NONYA DELICATESSEN


Found in a kiosk-like area by an escalator in Bukit Timah Plaza, Nonya Delicatessen is testament to how a fancy kitchen is welcomed, but unnecessary in preparing genuine and tasty Peranakan food. Maintained by the second generation husband and wife duo, they spend each day preparing the menu through family-inherited traditional techniques.

Especially popular during lunch hour, keep an eye out for their aromatic Nasi Kunyit and luscious Nonya Laksa if you manage to beat the crowd. Complete your meal with some desserts; the nectarous Chendol and Chendol Agar Agar are longstanding crowd favourites.

1 Jalan Anak Bukit
Bukit Timah Plaza, #B1-K69
Singapore 588996
Tel: +65 6469 1166
Mon to Wed, Fri to Sun: 11.30am – 4pm
Thu: 11.30am – 7pm
Nearest Station: King Albert Park

Old Bibik's Peranakan Kitchen

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OLD BIBIK’S PERANAKAN KITCHEN


Another gem located in the Peranakan enclave of Katong-Joo Chiat, Old Bibik is located on the ground floor of a hole-in-the-wall space along a row of dowdy shophouses. The interior is just as discreet, modestly decorated with marble-top tables and tiled floors; it can be easily mistaken for someone’s grandparents’ dining room if it weren’t for the bright menu hanging in its centre.

A wonderful spot to host family meals at, there are certain dishes that constantly make appearances on the surrounding tables. The foremost is Old Bibik’s Nyonya Curry Chicken, a much-acclaimed dish by regulars and newcomers alike.

328 Joo Chiat Road
#01-02
Singapore 427585
Tel: +65 8450 7996
Mon & Wed to Sun: 12pm – 10pm
(Closed on Tuesdays)
Nearest Station: Eunos

The Blue Ginger

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THE BLUE GINGER


While Candlenut is the only Michelin-star adorned restaurant thus far, there are other Peranakan establishments that serve just as enthralling fare without needing prospective diners to burn a sizable hole in their wallets.

Fitting this bill is The Blue Ginger, a Bib Gourmand awardee that prides itself in offering Nonya fare that doesn’t compromise on the cuisine’s abundant and nuanced flavours. A favourite by many of Peranakan lineage, but often overlooked for its glitzier cousins by the general masses, their signature Ngoh Hiang and Sotong Keluak might convince you to make this just your new go-to Nonya restaurant.

97 Tanjong Pagar Road
Singapore 088518
Tel: +65 6222 3928
Daily: 12pm – 3pm, 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Nearest Station: Tanjong Pagar
** Multiple outlets islandwide.

The Peranakan

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THE PERANAKAN RESTAURANT


True to its moniker, stepping into The Peranakan brings forth no doubt that you’re entering a Nonya abode, given how the place is embellished with constellations of geometric shapes and florals characteristic of traditional Peranakan décor.

Found in Orchard, a meal at The Peranakan is not meant to be a simple affair. Specialising in Tok Panjang, a type of Nonya feast commissioned by affluent Peranakan families to celebrate special and momentous occasions, dining here begets an opulent and elaborate selection of classic Peranakan dishes that will provide a comprehensive and decadent sample of what Straits fare is like.

442 Orchard Road
Claymore Connect, Level 2
Singapore 238879
Tel: +65 6262 4428
Daily: 11am – 10pm
Nearest Station: Orchard

TingKat Peramakan

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TINGKAT PERAMAKAN


For those familiar with the PeraMakan brand, TingKat PeraMakan is the dressed-down version of its original counterpart, serving a similar spread albeit at more conservative portions and prices. Instead of having a to order a collection of sharing plates, tables can opt to instead subsist on solo portions to better tailor to their individual preferences.

Having a more economical price point does not mean the food is of any lesser quality. Their trademark Buah Keluak is still a delectably creamy delight, and their rendang dishes are equally enrapturing with their fork-pulling tender profiles.

10 Bukit Chermin Road
Keppel Club, Level 3
Singapore 109918
Tel: +65 6377 2829
Daily: 11.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm
Nearest Station: Orchard
** Multiple outlets islandwide.

Tok Panjang Nonya Cafe

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TOK PANJANG NONYA CAFÉ


Move aside Nonya Delicatessen, you now have competition, and one that is on the same floor! Run by a plucky Peranakan patriarch, do not conflate this eatery with the House of Peranakan’s Tok Panjang lest you incur a (mostly) good-natured telling off by said owner.

Offering a similar spread of local favourites, the difference here is not only stylistic (the food is a tad sweeter) – the portions are heftier, the food is more heartfelt, and the service is a lot more personable. Aside from their beloved mee rebus and mee siam duo, their assortment of kuehs are marvellous as well.

1 Jalan Anak Bukit
Bukit Timah Plaza, #B1-52C
Singapore 588996
Tel: +65 9273 7979
Daily: 9am – 5.30pm
Nearest Station: King Albert Park

True Blue Cuisine

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TRUE BLUE CUISINE

What better way to experience Peranakan culture than by dining within a restored century-old Peranakan mansion? In addition to savouring immaculately prepared Nonya dishes, all diners will have the opportunity to dine among the private collection of fixtures and mantelpieces of a wealthy Peranakan household for a true blue, immersive culinary experience.

After partaking in the restaurant’s Bib Gourmand awarded fare – their Udang Kuah Nanas and Oyster Omelettes are definitely worth a try –  continue your Nonya journey by heading to the Peranakan Museum next door to explore other aspects of the Peranakan culture.

47/49 Armenian Street
Peranakan Museum
Singapore 179937
Tel: +65 6440 0449
Daily: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Nearest Station: Bras Basah
** Multiple outlets islandwide.

Violet Oon Ion


VIOLET OON


A darling of the local Peranakan food scene, Violet Oon has been steadily converting Singaporeans to her outstanding Nonya fare one dish at a time, enamouring palates and hearts alike with her exquisite flavours and elegant visuals. Each outlet is furnished in a contemporary palette and flourished with a liberal incorporation of traditional Peranakan elements.

Coalescing Peranakan classics with the gastronomical muses of her travels, from the refreshing sweetness of her Kuay Pie Tee to the poignant flavours of her flavourful fusion Buah Keluak Pasta, a visit here will bring you on a gastronomical round-the-world trip anchored by the familiar flavours of Nonya cuisine.

2 Orchard Turn
ION Orchard, #03-22
Singapore 238801
Tel: +65 9834 9935
Daily: 10am – 10pm
Nearest Station: Orchard
** Multiple outlets islandwide.