Did you know that Siglap was believed to be named by a Sumatran Prince on the day of a solar eclipse back in 1821? The name was derived from the Malay word ‘si-gelap’, meaning ‘the darkness that conceals’. History lesson aside, this place is known to be an atas residential district with private bungalows and condominiums outnumbering public housing blocks.
There’s also an abundance of kopitiams, cafes, restaurants, and bars, making Siglap a wonderland for foodies like myself.
With this food guide of 10 eateries that make Siglap an enclave for food hunters in the east, I hope to showcase Siglap to be an ideal place to satisfy all your food cravings no matter what type of cuisine you’re searching for.
1. Kota88 Restaurant
Kota88 Restaurant is a rare breed— the quintessential Indonesian Chinese Restaurant in Singapore. It may be located at Siglap but serves as an authentic glimpse into Glodok, the Chinatown of Jakarta.
Indonesians hankering for a taste of home will find its wide variety of Indonesian Chinese food, beer, cocktails, wines and spirits a comforting indulgence. My own passion for Masakan Tionghoa Indonesia (Chinese Indonesian Cuisine) was lit anew when I discovered this wonderful place.
Stepping into Kota88 Restaurant is like stepping into an old atas coffee shop in China, casual enough that I don’t feel encumbered but adequately stylish for me to have a semi-formal business dinner.
Perfect for any occasion is their Sate Babi (Mix n’ Match 10 Sticks for S$17.88). This house specialty of Chinese Indonesian-style pork satay is served with shredded galangal, green chili shallot pickles and sweet soy sauce. Your choices of meat are Sate Babi Manis (sweet marinated pork), Sate Babi Asin (savoury marinated pork), Sate Ati (pork liver), Sate Usus (pork intestine) and Sate Kulit (pork skin).
The last of these options is the best, by far. Can you imagine entire skewers of just perfectly-done skin? This is it! It is very saucy and pairs perfectly with drinks.
However, my favourite was the Fu Yung Hai (S$13.88), which is an Indonesian crab omelette served with homemade sweet and sour sauce. It was so delicately prepared; perfectly balanced between flavourful seafood without being overly intense. Anyone else who doesn’t like strong seafood flavours will love this very light, very crispy side dish.
Not far behind is the Nasi Goreng Spesial Kota88 (S$11.88). True to its name, this is a special fried rice of pork, roast pork, BBQ pork, Chinese sausage, chicken, sliced beef and sliced fish ball. With every rice grain coated in just the right amount of oil, this plate went down very well, especially accompanied by the lovely smoky flavour from the BBQ meat. The portion was huge, too.
We also sampled a plate of a classic Indonesian dish, Udang Goreng Mentega (S$ 28.88), which is crispy fried prawns with a margarine sauce. One bite of the large prawns and you can tell how fresh they are. Without a sambal sauce suffocating them, the prawns were very light and went down well with drinks.
Kota88 Restaurant is a revelation of the variety and ingenuity that is the hallmark of Indonesian Chinese cuisine. Highly recommended!
To make reservations, please click here.
One glance at 6 Letter Brunch on Frankel Avenue tells you exactly what the cafe’s theme is. Bicycles, bicycles everywhere, literally, even on the roof! Bike-mounted diners will find convenient parking spaces for 4 bikes in racks right on the patio. This minimalist cafe spoils you with a menu of over 100 dishes and drinks— that’s more than most cafes in Singapore!
If you aren’t sure what to have over here, order their eponymous 6 Letter Brunch (S$21). It has rosti, Norwegian smoked salmon, sunny-side up egg, shiitake mushrooms, mashed avocado, mixed salad, and fresh fruits.
Feeling sweet-toothed? Give their signature Pancake Wonderland (S$16) a try. It consists of three extremely fluffy pancakes served with caramelised banana halves and berries, creme anglaise, granola, and cookie crumble topped with a scoop of gelato.
They also have a selection of drinks such as Honey Cafe Latte (S$6.50 for hot), Chocolate Milkshake (S$8), and Hazelnut Flavoured Cafe Latte (S$7.30 for large).
3. Fu Lin Tofu Yuen
Opened since 1995, Fu Lin Tofu Yuen is located at 721 East Coast Road, and it’s famous for serving their original version of yong tau foo. The stuffing uses fresh yellowtail fish, and it’s drenched with their signature minced meat and shiitake mushroom gravy.
There is a wide variety of about 50 ingredients (S$0.40-S$2 each) for you to choose from with a minimum purchase of six pieces. Upon receiving your order, each ingredient is freshly deep-fried instead of boiled in soup unlike other yong tau foo places, and served with their signature gravy atop.
Pair it together with a bowl of thick Noodles with Meat Gravy (S$2). Fishball Soup (S$4.80) is also available on the menu if yong tau foo is not your cup of tea.
Besides their original outlet at Siglap, Fu Lin Tofu Yuen also has other outlets at IMM, Suntec City and Bugis Junction.
IZA is an izakaya (Japanese bar) that serves some seriously delicious Japanese-Singaporean fusion food. For egg lovers, you’ve got to order their Four-Ton Chawanmushi (S$4.50). It’s your classic chawanmushi, but with four different types of eggs incorporated into it.
There is, of course, the chicken egg which is steamed and forms the bulk of the chawanmushi. Embedded inside the steamed egg are chunks of century egg and salted egg. And sitting on top is half a hard-boiled quail egg.
The Special Yaki Onigiri (S$5.90 for two pieces) is filled with hae bee hiam and instead of wrapping it with seaweed, it’s grilled to give it a crispy, charred exterior— very unique indeed.
IZA also serves a variety of skewers like Chicken & Pork Meatball (S$3.50), Chicken Mid-joint (S$1.90), Shiitake Mushroom (S$1.90), and Bacon-Wrapped Lychee (S$2.80).
What’s a visit to a bar without some beer? Be sure to try their Yuzu Lager (S$13) which has yuzu infused by the team at IZA themselves. It’s smooth, slightly sweet, and pretty unique.
5. Masalaa Bar
A fun and quirky hangout, Masalaa Bar is a gastro bar opened by Chef Milind Sovani, who has over 35 years of culinary experience. He proudly showcases the street food of India from various cities, in his own contemporary style.
Masalaa Bar has just updated their menu recently. Some of the highlights include Bombay Veg Grilled Sandwich (S$13), which is a favourite street food of Mumbai. It’s quintessentially a crispy sandwich stuffed with peppers, tomato, cucumber, potato, green chutney and their homemade spice sprinkle. You must try their Malwani Prawn Curry (S$24), Vada Pao Sliders (S$9) and Zafrani Murg Malai Tikka (S$18)— a saffron enhanced creamed chicken kebab.
Some of the new Indian-inspired cocktails to look out for include the Aam Aadmi (S$18), which is a mixture of rum, honey, and mango. Another one to try is the Adraki Confetti (S$18) which is a concoction of spiced rum, tamarind chutney and ginger fizz— an interesting combination bound to excite your taste buds. And finally their Red Hot Chilli Pepper (S$18), which consists of aviation gin, chily & vermouth will certainly spice up your night.
6. Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore
Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore has been serving up authentic Italian food in Singapore since they opened back in 1988. Currently, they have three outlets in Singapore: Boat Quay, Bukit Timah and East Coast (Siglap).
Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore offers the widest range of homemade fresh pasta in Singapore. From the commonly recognised varieties like spaghetti, fettuccine, and penne, to the lesser known selections like Panzerotti (Mushrooms), Rigatoni and Pappardelle.
Be spoilt for choice with their extensive menu selections. For appetisers, opt for their Melanzane Alla Parmigiana (S$19.90). This is a vegetarian version of a lasagne, with juicy eggplant baked in layers of mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce.
If you love pizza like me, order their 12-inch Pizza Lecce (S$28.90), which is a margherita pizza topped with bacon, sun dried tomatoes, oozing egg and topped with dollops of fresh ricotta cheese. The Ravioli Di Burrata E Tartufo Nero (S$32.90), which is one of their best sellers, is a combination of their homemade ravioli that’s stuffed with delectable burrata cheese and black truffle, tossed in creamy porcini mushroom sauce and topped with crispy parma ham and truffles caviar.
9 Upper East Coast Road #01-01, Singapore 455203
+65 6241 5560
7. Springleaf Prata Place
Springleaf Prata Place has nine outlets scattered all around Singapore, including their Jalan Tua Kong outlet in the Siglap district. This prata chain offers North and South Indian cuisine and is well known for their unique prata creations.
If you’re a roti prata and eggs benedict lover at the same time, give their Plaster Blaster (S$6.50) a go. It consists of two slices of turkey ham and a perfectly poached egg drizzled with an Indian-spiced hollandaise sauce placed on top of a plain prata— it satisfies two cravings at once!
They also offer their Ultimate Murtabak (S$15.30), featuring a luxurious upgrade from the traditional version. It’s loaded with chunks of tandoori chicken, portobello mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese.
Besides prata, their menu also has an extensive offering of other Indian delights. From six kinds of nasi briyani including Prawn Briyani (S$12.40) and Vegetable Briyani (S$6.20) to Masala Thosai (S$3.40), Fried Chicken (S$5.80), Fish Head Curry (S$24.90), and even dessert pratas like Chocolate Prata (S$3.90).
8. Jin Wee Restaurant
Jin Wee Restaurant is very much an old school coffeeshop that has been in existence before I was born, 1963 to be exact. They specialise in Hainanese zi char dishes.
The crowd favourites over here are their “Hai Nan” Pork Chop (S$14 for small, S$20 for large) and Steamed Fish in Nyonya Style (Seasonal Price). Jin Wee Restaurant also uses traditional charcoal urns to bake two of their chicken dishes, which are Salt Baked Chicken (S$17) and “Jiao Hua” Chicken (also known as Beggar’s Chicken) (S$20).
They also have a myriad of other dishes on their menu. From seafood dishes like Salted Egg Yolk Prawn (S$20 for small, S$30 for large) and Sea Cucumber & Fish Maw Pot (S$25 for small, S$38 for large), to Oyster Omelette (S$10 for small, S$15 for large), Hot Plate Beancurd (S$14 for small, S$20 for large) and much more.
928 East Coast Road, Singapore 459117
+65 9852 7066
Thu to Tue: 9am to 9pm
Closed on Wed
9. Blu Kouzina
When you visit Blu Kouzina‘s outlet at Siglap, their island ambience and decor will instantly transport you to Greece for a little while. Satisfy your taste buds as you enjoy the comforts of Greek food, wine, and hospitality over here. They are recognised as one of the oldest (and best) Greek restaurants in Singapore.
Only the best ingredients are used in their food and all their dishes are prepared with extra virgin olive oil from their family-owned Olive Grove Estate in Messinia, Greece.
Looking for something light? Indulge in their Earth Salad (S$29.50), which is a mix of kale, radish, pomegranate, celery, sauteed mushrooms, feta, sunflower seeds, and pine nuts with honey and balsamic dressing.
Savour Blu Kouzina’s delicious signature mains like Paidakia (S$47.50 for three pieces, S$59.50 for four pieces), which is a dish of grilled lamb chops, vegetables and potatoes, and Xtapodi (S$41.50), which is grilled octopus with vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil.
10. The Royals Cafe
Tucked away in Crescendo Building along Upper East Coast Road, The Royals Cafe is a Halal-certified establishment serving western and local cuisine. They offer salads, sandwiches, and western mains like Braised Lamb Shank (S$24) and Gochujang Chicken Chop (S$15.50).
If local cuisine is more to your liking, you must try their Rendang Beef Linguine (S$22), The Royals’ Signature Mee Siam (S$8), and Nasi Lemak Ayam Masak Merah (S$10.90).
The Royals Cafe also has a selection of cakes, coffee, hot teas, and cold drinks. They’re currently offering a Cake + Drink Set (S$4.90) all-day long, which is only valid for dine-in with any purchase of a main course. Choose between iced lemon tea, iced honey lemon, coke, or coke zero to go with a cake selection of either a honey cheese swiss roll or mini American carrot cake—that’s a pretty good deal, if you’d ask me!
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