Situated in north-east Singapore, Kovan is a neighbourhood which has plenty of great restaurants, cafes, eateries and hawker stalls. Here’s our pick of the food places in Kovan you need to try when you are in the area.
Alkove bistro is a new French-inspired bistro by Michelin-starred Chef Haikal Johari and Passion For Food, the group behind Chapter 55, Pietro Ristorante Italiano and the now-defunct Ice Edge. The bright and cheerful bistro serves casual and comforting French fare at reasonable prices and you can look forward to dishes such as Wagyu Onglet Steak, French Onion Soup as well as a selection of Viennoiserie and bakes.
2 Kovan Rd, #01-10 Simon Plaza
BEER BASKET KITCHEN & BAR
From bar bites, to burgers, pizza and beer, Beer Basket Kitchen & Bar is a place where you can chill out and have a drink with your friends during Happy Hour.
Beer Basket Kitchen & Bar
1010 Upper Serangoon Road, Singapore 534748
Tel: +65 8821 3780
DING TE LE
With excellent Xiao Long Bao (XLB), Shanghainese Noodle, Fried Rice and Sheng Jian Bao, Ding Te Le is a humble eatery renowned for its excellent Shanghainese cuisine.
Their Shanghai Sheng Jian Bao is a must-try dish. Pan-fried to a beautiful golden brown shade, the Sheng Jian Bao is filled with pork filling and soup. We can easily finish a dozen Sheng Jian Bao at a go.
Ding Te Le
949 Upper Serangoon Rd
Tel: +65 6282 4380
FATCAT ICE CREAM & COFFEE BOUTIQUE
Known for its charcoal waffles with salted egg yolk sauce, FATCAT Ice Cream Bar is an ice cream shop in Bedok and it has opened a new outlet, FATCAT Ice Cream & Coffee Boutique, at 15 Simon Road.
The new outlet in Kovan is for takeaway only and there is no dine-in area. As such, they will not be serving their signature charcoal waffles here.
FATCAT Ice Cream & Coffee Boutique
15 Simon Road
Nestled in the heartland of Kovan along the same row as popular Thai eatery, Nakhon Kitchen is Gonpachi Ramen. At this humble ramen joint, you can expect gorgeous bowls of restaurant-standard ramen that will not cost you more than S$10.
Blk 212 Hougang Street 21, #01-329
Tel: +65 6584 1943
HANSIK KOREAN RESTAURANT
Situated on level 2 of Heartland Mall is a small family restaurant that serves authentic Korean fare called Hansik Korean Restaurant. For a small eatery, their menu is pretty extensive; from stews to real-deal barbecue. Their seafood soybean paste stew is a must-try for first timers.
This is our go-to Korean restaurant whenever we want a hearty and comforting Korean meal.
Hansik Korean Restaurant
205 Hougang Street 21
Level 2, Heartland Mall
Tel: +65 6288 2448
HENG LONG TEOCHEW PORRIDGE
Heng Long Teochew Porridge is our favourite teochew porridge stall in Singapore. We frequent the stall at least twice a month and what we love about them is the wide selection of dishes. Our top picks include their braised duck, braised intestines, stir-fried bitter gourd with egg.
Heng Long Teochew Porridge
1012 Upper Serangoon Rd
IVINS PERANAKAN RESTAURANT
For folks living in the Kovan neighbourhood, you can head to IVINS Nyonya Specialties at Heartland Mall.
While IVINS Nyonya Specialties has received mixed reviews—the standard has dropped slightly over the years—it is still a place that we go to for affordable Peranakan food.
IVINS Peranakan Restaurant
205 Hougang Street 21
Level 2, Heartland Mall
Tel: +65 6288 7922
Known for its brunch fare, coffee and cakes, Lola’s Cafe is one of the more popular cafes in Kovan. It is also one of the few dog-friendly places in the Kovan and Serangoon neighbourhoods.
We recommend their Miso Salmon Grain Bowl, Bacon & Mushroom Truffle Cream Linguine and Lola’s Chocolate Cake.
5 Simon Road
Tel: +65 6343 1808
Artisanal French Bakery Maison Kayser has opened its 6th Outlet at Stars of Kovan in the Kovan neighbourhood. The new outlet is at Stars of Kovan and it has taken over the former premise of Sugartree Gelato.
There are a few seats in the small bakery cafe and you can enjoy a cup of coffee/tea with your bread and pastries.
988 Upper Serangoon Rd
#01-28 Stars of Kovan
+65 9010 7389
Located along the same stretch as Yaowarat Thai Kway Chap, Punggol Nasi Lemak, Ding Te Le and Qi Wei Chicken Claypot, Naked Ice Cream is a new waffle and ice cream cafe in Kovan which opens until 2am daily.
Like most ice cream cafes in Singapore, you can have your ice cream in a cup, cone or with a waffle. There are two waffles to choose from—Plain Waffle (S$3.80), or Charcoal Waffle (S$4.80).
Naked Ice Cream
957 Upper Serangoon Rd
Admittedly one of the most well-known Thai eateries in Singapore, Nakhon Kitchen is a household name among the Singaporeans which serves affordable and decent Thai food.
The waiting time during dinner is usually at least 30 minutes. The food here tastes like Bangkok street food, and to further boost its authenticity of the eatery, most of the staff are Thai too.
212 Hougang Street 21 #01-341
Tel: +65 6286 8785
UK pizza chain, PizzaExpress Singapore has a cloud kitchen at Stars Of Kovan.
The pizzas are all made from scratch in store with fresh ingredients. Besides pizzas, PizzaExpress also has a whole range of salads, pastas and bite-size snacks.
988 Upper Serangoon Road
#01-45 Stars Of Kovan
Tel: +65 6969 4358
PONGGOL NASI LEMAK
Ponggol Nasi Lemak needs no introduction. This legendary nasi lemak stall has fantastic Chinese-style Nasi Lemak and we love their super crispy chicken wings, luncheon meat, and fried egg.
There is a long snaking queue at the stall once they open for business during dinner. Pro tip: the queue starts forming after 5.30pm, you can avoid the crowd if you reach there by 5pm.
Ponggol Nasi Lemak
965 Upper Serangoon Rd
Tel: +65 6281 0020
QI WEI CHINA CLAYPOT CHICKEN
One of the most renowned chicken hotpot restaurants in Singapore, Qi Wei China Claypot Chicken is a no-frills eatery that specialises in Chinese-style chicken hot pot (Ji Gong Bao).
You can also add more ingredients such as crab meat, quail eggs, vegetables, mushroom and luncheon meat to the hotpot.
Qi Wei China Claypot Chicken is perpetually packed; we highly recommend to reach there before 6pm. Otherwise, you can always go there for supper. They open until 2am every night.
Qi Wei China Claypot Chicken
947 Upper Serangoon Road
QI XIANG CHICKEN POT
Another chicken hotpot eatery in Kovan is Qi Xiang Chicken Pot.
Located in the same coffee shop as Ponggol Nasi Lemak, this supper spot in Kovan opens until 2am daily and this is where you can try its unique dark sauce chicken hot pot which has been fine tuned to cater to the locals’ taste buds.
Qi Xiang Chicken Pot has also opened a flagship restaurant at The Chevrons and it can accommodate up to 200 persons.
Qi Xiang Chicken Pot
973 Upper Serangoon Rd
THE BREAD SHOP
Other than freshly-baked bread and pastries, The Bread Shop in Kovan serves up the usual brunch works, but of great quality at affordable prices. Most of the dishes on the menu are priced under S$16.
The Bread Shop
953 Upper Serangoon Rd
Tel: +65 6581 7461
Head to Selegie Soyabean for some snacks after your dinner. It opens until 10.45pm daily and you can get your favourite soyabean, soy milk and fried dough fritters (youtiao) here.
1002 Upper Serangoon Rd
Tel: +65 6281 0933
SIN CHIE TOKE HUAN
This traditional Hainanese curry rice stall near Kovan MRT Station is incredibly popular and the queue forms even before they start their operation at 5pm. To be honest, we’ve tried their curry png several times and we don’t get the hype over it even though we are huge fans of Hainanese curry rice.
If you are looking for a supper spot in Kovan, you can consider to drop by Sin Chie Toke Huan. It opens until 2.30am at night.
Sin Chie Toke Huan
1018 Upper Serangoon Rd, Singapore 534756
Tel: +65 9003 5337
SOON SOON TEOCHEW PORRIDGE
Other than Heng Long Teochew Porridge, Soon Soon Teochew Porridge is another teochew porridge stall in Kovan that is along the same stretch as Lola’s Cafe.
Soon Soon Teochew Porridge
13 Simon Rd, Singapore 545897
Tel: +65 6954 4151
THIAM YIAN CONFECTIONERY
A traditional confectionery which has been around since the 1980s, Thiam Yian Confectionery is the place to satisfy your cravings for old-school cream cakes, handmade kueh and buns.
Thiam Yian Confectionery
1004 Upper Serangoon Rd
Tel: +65 6458 1478
TIAN WAI TIAN FISH HEAD STEAMBOAT
Tian Wai Tian Fish Head Steamboat is a zichar stall that is known for their Fish Head Steamboat as well as a wide variety of zi char favourites such as their Salted Egg Yolk Pork Ribs and Prawn Paste Chicken. Unfortunately, the standard of the food at their Kovan outlet isn’t as good as the original outlet at 1383 Serangoon Road.
Tian Wai Tian Fish Head Steamboat
203 Hougang Street 21 #01-12
Known for its locally-inspired ice cream flavours including Orh Haw (hawthorn berry), Orh-Bee-Good (pulut hitam) and In-Kueh-Dible (salted coconut & gula melaka), The Humble Scoop has opened its second outlet at Stars of Kovan.
The new ice cream takeaway shop in Kovan prides themselves on locally inspired ice cream flavours and they do not use any colourings, flavourings or additive in the ice cream.
The Humble Scoop
988 Upper Serangoon Road
Stars of Kovan #01-02
Tel: +65 8803 5981
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/twocranes.sg/
For brunch and coffee with a Korean twist, Two Cranes is one to visit. This Korean-inspired cafe offers an eclectic mix of coffee beverages, savouries and desserts.
Some of the Korean mains you can try include Wonda Army Stew (S$16.90), Fu Bimbimbap (S$13.90), and Kimchi Fried Rice (S$12.90).
Block 211, Hougang Street 21, #01-291
Tel: +65 8166 0140
WAN XIN MA LA XIANG GUO
Next to Beer Basket and Heng Long Teochew Porridge is Wan Xin Ma La Xiang Guo which opens until 3am daily. Other than their Ma La Xiang Guo, we also love their Chinese tomato stir-fry egg.
1006 Upper Serangoon Rd
Tel: +65 9887 3317
WENG FATT HONG KONG ROASTED SPECIALIST
This unassuming stall is our favourite roast meat stall in Kovan. Weng Fatt Hong Kong Roasted Specialist has excellent roast duck. Their char siew and roast pork are decent, though not as good as their roast duck.
Weng Fatt Hong Kong Roasted Specialist
210 Hougang Street 21
YAOWARAT THAI KWAY CHAP
Yaowarat Thai Kway Chap is a popular Thai eatery which is famous for their signature Thai-style kway chap.
It is a bowl of comforting goodness featuring deep-fried pork belly slices, beef slices, Thai fish sausages and offals together with their unique, rolled-up kway.
Yaowarat Thai Kway Chap
945 Upper Serangoon Road
Tel: +65 8822 5637
If you ask a resident of Kovan where you should head to for good dim sum without burning a hole in your pocket, Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum is the place to go.
Delicious and modest without being exorbitantly priced, Yi Dian Xin is where you can go to satiate your dim sum cravings without thinking twice about the price.
Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum
1012 Upper Serangoon Road
Teo Seng Eating House
Tel: +65 9168 5587
YAM MEE TEOCHEW FISHBALL NOODLES
There are three popular fishball stalls in Kovan 209 Market & Food Centre and one of them is Yam Mee Teochew Fishball Noodles. They have been selling their fish ball noodles—which feature bouncy fish balls, fish cake, minced pork, pork lard, mushroom, spring onions and springy noodles—to the residents in Kovan for decades.
You can also find Yam Mee Teochew Fishball Noodles at Yishun Park Hawker Centre and Kaki Bukit 511 Market And Food Centre.
209 Hougang Street 21, #01-35
YONG’S TEOCHEW KUEH
Established in 1998, Yong’s Teochew Kueh is a old-school kueh shop that specialises in traditional Teochew kueh including Png Kueh, Soon Kueh and Ku Chye (chives) Kueh.
1022 Upper Serangoon Rd
Good news for those who are staying in Kovan and Hougang, the halal-certified chicken chain has an outlet in the neighbourhood.
Stars of Kovan #01-29
988 Upper Serangoon Rd, Singapore 534733
Founded by local celebrities Chew Chor Meng and Zhou Chongqing in partnership with cousins Esmond and Ronnie, 888 Mookata is at the coffee shop in Blk 212 Hougang Street 21 and this is where you can get cheap and good mookata without denting a hole in your pocket.
212 Hougang Street 21
Also Curry Curry is a long staple in Kovan. How can this list be called Kovan best food when sub par stuff like Hooloo makes it and Curry Curry is not in
And where’s First Street Fish Soup, or Simon Road Prawn Noodle. For a list called best of Kovan, it’s really sus.
‘Simon Road Hokkien Fried Prawn Noodle has relocated to the coffee shop at Blk 210 Hougang street 21 (where you can also find 888 Mookata).’
Hokkien Mee is at 210 while Mookata is at 212.