Daisy's Dream Café
11 Tanjong Katong Road #B1-K1 (Map) 11am – 8.30pm Daily
They began as a hawker stall in Tiong Bahru before they upgraded to a full fledge Peranakan restaurant in the West and, now at Rifle Range Road. But they went back to their humble origins here. This food court stall has a rather huge kitchen but instead of the full menu we see at their restaurants, they offer only 4 main items; assam chicken, beef rendang, babi pongteh and babi buah keluak – with some sides like otah, sayur lodeh, chap chye and emping belinjau crackers. The babi (pork) buah keluak is like how it was originally; not with chicken and the meat holds well and retains a firmly soft texture of the keluak braise, with pleasant hints of assam in the rempah. The Babi Pongteh is bold and rich enough and the use of taucheo is nicely tempered. They use some fatty pork, not overbraised and it is a delight to the bite. The Nonya Chap Chye uses a coherent seafood stock but it comes in a little sweeter than we like. If you are there alone or with just another, it’s better to order their Nonya Bowls, with mains like Babi Buak Keluak to Assam Chicken. Finish off with the hot Bobo Chacha, it uses a rich gula melaka and coconut milk.
Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant
38 – 40 Joo Chiat Place (Map) 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 9.30pm Daily
This is truly a Singaporean icon. They are known to be the first licensed Peranakan restaurant here and they have a 60-year-old government-issued certificate to prove it. This Chinese family patriarch and founder once worked for and hung out with the Nonya community in the Joo Chiat area. He helped cook their meals and later decided to set up an eatery. While the current second-generation husband-and-wife owners, Jenny and Raymond, are “very tired as no one in the family wants to continue”, the restaurant packs in a crowd especially on weekdays. Despite having foreign cooks in the kitchen, Raymond still lords over the kitchen and doles out one of the best Ayam Buah Keluak around – perfect over soft steamed rice with a piece of that black nut paste swirled in. Their own-made otah is also a must-try. It is redolent with spices. The Ngoh Hiang roll has that imperfect touch, especially in the way it was not so tightly rolled up, that felt like some friend made it for a private meal. Very hearty. The meat and turnip stuffing were not too finely blended and had enough bite. Don't miss their roast pork or sio bak. Crispy, crusty skin and serves with salted vegetables and sweet soy sauce. Finish up with their chendol and all will be ok.
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