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Joo Chiat rivals other enclaves that lay claim to have the best food contained in an area. Others include Geylang, Changi Village, Tiong Bahru. Home to some of the best of the best foods in Singapore, here is a 3 hours/8 stop eat your way through Joo Chiat walkabout.


Starting Point:

#328 Laksa

You start here because it’s on one end of this food trial. So no backtracking. But more so, because you really want to savor laksa before you are stuffed. And believe this. You will be…

This place is an institution. There is no mucking around. Simply order the laksa for $5. Add otah ($1) on the side if you like. Spoon away….

#Tau Kwa Pau

Next stop Sheng Cheng Tau Kwa Pau. Tau Kwa Pau is fried beancurd ($1.50 each) sliced down the middle and stuffed with fried fish cake, braised egg, cucumber and fried yam.

So essentially the beancurd is like a jacket holding all the yummy goodness in. The beancurd is garnished with coriander leaves and loaded with same gravy used for braised duck rice. If you are into chilli, this is to die for. Heck! Even if you are not, you have to. The chilli sauce is core to making this dish great.

The multitude of tastes and textures that explode in your mouth makes each visit to Sheng Cheng a worthwhile stopover.

Sheng Cheng Tau Kwa Pau

369 Tanjong Katong Road, Peranakan Food Village
Open: 8am to 6pm or until it sells out (Tuesdays to Sundays), closed Mondays
Info: Call 9068-5188

#Kim Choo or Glory

Kim Choo is really one of the authentic places in Singapore that serves Peranakan food. But that’s not why we are stopping over (there are so many main dishes you can fit in, so we are being kind J) They are also famous for their delectable kueh-kuehs. We recommend kueh ambon, kueh dadar, ondeh-ondeh, kueh salat, or whatever catches your eye. Be warned: Service is not what Kim Choo is known for, so avoid asking what you should order. Either go with our suggestions or point!

#Tian Tian Chicken Rice

As a testament to Joo Chiat being foodie central, where does the super famous Tian Tian Chicken Rice from Maxwell Food Centre open its second outlet? Joo Chiat of course. So avoid the snake lines of the office crowd in Maxwell that can number fifteen on a good day, and order a standard plate.

#Sha Za Confectionary

A much further walk of about 950m (you need it) or an 11 min walk according to Google. Here another light snack of one of Singaporean’s beloved foods – curry puff. Sha Za does many versions of curry puff. But if you only have room for one or two, Tribe recommends the xx curry puff. For a smaller version and equally delightful, go with the epok epok either the potato or sardine version. Again, the only way to go about this is to slather (or in my case, drown) the curry puff in the sweetish chilli sauce.

#Putu Piring

We end on a sweet note. And bookending this self-walk food journey is arguably the best putu piring. Best way I can describe putu piring are small steamed (in a special mould) cake made of finely pounded rice flour filled with either ground peanuts or grated coconut. Malaysian cities like Penang and Kuala Lumpur do not sell kuih tutu so very much is a unique food of Singapore. In the 1980s, Singaporean Tay Low Long designed steam carts and moulds in stainless steel to make kuih tutu. He developed his recipe for the cakes based on his boyhood memories of kuih tutu made by a vendor in the Joo Chiat neighbourhood. He then single-handedly revived the dish by setting up more than 20 kuih tutu outlets in major supermarkets such as Cold Storage and Yaohan. 

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Details & Faqs


  • FAQs
    1. How are these stalls and dishes selected?

      Are these based on fans' votes or some famous food blogger's list? No. This is based on the noses, taste buds, interviews, many a friend's recommendation of the foodies at Tribe. We contend that there is no one Joo Chiat must eat lists out there, but this comes pretty close. Makan (eat) till you drop!

    2. How much $ to bring?

      You will not spend more than $40. Prices are clearly displayed but here goes:

      Laksa - $4

      Otah - $1

      Tau Kwa Pau - $2-3 (??)

      Chicken Rice - $4

      Bak Zhang, Putu Piring and Curry Puff are snacks that range from $1 - $3

    3. Do I need a guide?

      No and that's why we created self walking journeys like these. Still there are guests that request for our guides. On the guided versions, our guides explain what goes into each dish and the accompanying sauce, how best to eat it, the story behind some food like bak zhang, request for photo shots with the master hawkers, stop by quaint shophouses along Joo Chiat to explain about Peranakans and shophouses, and pretty much all else to expect of a private tour.

    4. How much to engage a private guide for this tour?

      This varies depending on group size so email us at hello@tribe-tours.com

    5. Are there days to avoid?

      Mondays are typically rest days for hawkers. Also, weekends tend to be crowded with locals, so best days are weekdays except Mondays.

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