For the best ayam buah keluak, assam laksa, itek tim, otak-otak, and kueh pie tee, head to our fave Peranakan restaurants in the city
History lesson time: the inter-marriages between the Straits Chinese and Malays offers a delicate culture of the Nyonyas (the ladies) and the Babas (the gentlemen). This was then translated to Peranakan traditional fashion, handmade crafts, and, of course, its special cuisine. Like the culture and heritage, Peranakan food is rich and full of complex flavours – it is after all, a mix of Chinese, Malay and Indonesian cuisines, resulting in a heady and wondrous combination of all things spicy, aromatic and homely. Of course we’ve got the best Peranakan places to try out in Singapore…
House of Peranakan Petit
Fourth generation Baba Bob Seah is the chef-owner here and he puts out smashing favourites like babi assam (braised pork in a tangy tamarind sauce), itek tim (salted vegetable duck soup), and gula Melaka sago pudding. Uncomplicated, honest, and comforting – just the way we like it. Pssst, some of the guests this place has seen include past presidents and even some Thai royalty.
House of Peranakan Petit, 42 Eng Hoon Street, Tiong Bahru Estate, Singapore 169785
Housed within the former Joo Chiat Police Station, the neighbourhood 90-seater retains much of its colonial charm of the ’20s; white walls brighten up the cosy establishment, and homely, colourful motif-scattered tiles are contrasted against metal mesh sliding panels that are more contemporary than stifling. Stand-out dishes include the ayam buah keluak (braised chicken in black nut curry) burger, beef short rib rendang (pictured above), fried barramundi with chilli, chilli crab cake, and kueh durian. Check out our full review of Baba Chews.
Baba Chews, 86 East Coast Road, #01-01 Katong Square, Singapore 428788
Ivins Peranakan Restaurant
The décor here at this Bukit Timah restaurant isn’t exactly eye-catching, but Ivins Peranakan, you’re not here for the ‘gram. At affordable prices, you can fill your plates with itek sio (braised duck in tamarind and coriander gravy), sambal prawns, and curry fish head. Notice a trend? They’re all dishes with gravy that you should definitely mix your rice in… you’ll thank us later.
Ivins Peranakan Restaurant, 21 Binjai Park, Singapore 589827
The Blue Ginger
Family-run restaurant, The Blue Ginger, is one well-known spot that dishes out exquisite Peranakan cuisine. Order items like the ayam panggang (grilled chicken) “blue ginger” and assam puteh (the Nyonya version of the Thai tom yam soup) to share, and for dessert, keep it simple and have the awesome durian cendol.
The Blue Ginger, 97 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088518
Peranakan Inn Restaurant
Founded in 1985, this is one of the oldest Peranakan restaurants in Singapore. Housed in a century-old shophouse, chef Bob Seah keeps the unpretentious old-school charm vibes where the food is the centrepiece. The memories and tradition still stand, with signature dishes including chap chye (mixed vegetables stew), ayam buah keluak, ngoh hiang (meat rolls), and bakwan kepiting (pork and crab meatballs) served in an addictive peppery broth.
Peranakan Inn Restaurant, 210 East Coast Road, Singapore 428909
PeraMakan is a force to be reckoned with. Aside from the main restaurant (which is pretty fancy – there’s a smart casual dress code in place) that offers a mean beef rendang, you can find their delicatessen (think Peranakan pastries, cakes and kueh) at Tangs Plaza on Orchard Road.
PeraMakan, 3/F Keppel Club, 10 Bukit Chermin Road, Singapore 109918, p. 6377 2829.
Violet Oon’s Kitchen
A treasure trove of Nyonya cuisine, this cosy bistro helmed by renowned food connoisseur, Violet Oon, celebrates Singapore’s rich cultural diversity. The chic and iconic restaurant serves Nyonya staples like ayam buah keluak ayam and ngoh hiang. Leave room for dessert – the durian cendol panna cotta is to-die-for.
Violet Oon’s Kitchen, 881 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 279893, p. 6468 5430.
Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant
Known to be one of Singapore’s oldest Peranakan restaurants (it’s established 1953!), Guan Hoe Soon is the go-to place for a no-frills Nyonya meal. Choose from items like ayam buah keluak, sayur lodeh (vegetables in coconut curry), and udang assam pedas (prawns in a spicy tamarind sauce). Heads up, all dishes come in three sizes – small, medium, and large.
Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant, 38/40 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427762, p. 6344 2761.
While not a restaurant, this is one Peranakan private dining experience that you should scribble onto your must-eat list. An idea cooked up by Cultural Medallion winner and long-time leader of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Lynnette Seah, keen diners either adjourn to her abode or invite her specially to prepare a private feast of dishes like buah keluak rice, bakwan kepiting and sayur lodeh. You can only taste her cooking via referrals, so visit this website to learn more.
Lynnette’s Kitchen, book online
Helmed by young head chef and owner, Malcolm Lee, Candlenut Kitchen offers a great mix of traditional and contemporary Peranakan dishes. Items like itek tim can be found on the menu, alongside more intriguing creations like the durian soup (creamy durian ice cream with feuilletine and fresh durian puree).
Candlenut Kitchen, 17A Dempsey Road, Singapore 249676
Located in a pretty little spot on Scotts Road, INDOCAFE is both a restaurant and an arts and cultural centre (which is just next door and houses souvenirs and hosts coffee appreciation workshops as well as musical and dance performances). Find timeless classics like the Penang otah, pulot hitam, and bubur cha cha on the menu.
INDOCAFE, 35 Scotts Road, Singapore 228227
Executive Chef Raymond Khoo and his team serve three generations of delicious ‘mesti-cuba’ (must-try) Peranakan recipes, lovingly handed down by the Nonyas and Babas in his family, now brought to your table. Eat ‘tok panjang’ style where the feast will be laid out on long tables from the exclusive tasting menus or if you’re set on getting that ayam buah keluak, check out the a la carte menu.
The Peranakan, 442 Orchard Road, Level 2 Claymore Connect, Singapore 238879
Chong Wen Ge Café
A vibrant Peranakan cafe has opened its doors in a national monument on Singapore’s Telok Ayer Street. With its menu of heritage dishes with a modern approach, beautiful decor of Peranakan tiles and tempting spread of Nyonya kueh, it’s love at first sight at Chong Wen Ge Cafe. Check out the full review (and more lovely pictures) of the Insta-worthy cafe at sister site, HoneyKids!
Chong Wen Ge Cafe, 168 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068619
Translating to “love of a Peranakan mother”, you’ll truly taste the home-cooked flavours and TLC that’s been peppered into these dishes. Ikan assam pedas, chap chye, even beef rendang – these staples of Peranakan cuisine will transport Babas and Nyonyas back to their childhood.
O’Nya Sayang, #B1-K3 Tampines Mall, 4 Tampines Central 5, Singapore 529510
Straits Chinese Restaurant
Touted as Singapore’s favourite Nyonya restaurant since 1953, this well-known chain is the brainchild of the Guan Hoe Soon Group (also a prime pick on this list!). Make sure you try the braised, fatty babi pongteh (stewed or braised pork in fermented soy bean sauce) and tangy udang asam goreng (fried prawns in spicy tamarind gravy). Their fish head curry is also a popular pick for catering.
Straits Chinese Restaurant, #B1-01 Keck Seng Tower, 133 Cecil Street, Singapore 069535
True Blue Cuisine
Recipes here have been kept in the family through generations, with renowned Peranakan chef, Daisy Seah, passing on her Nyonya recipes to chef-owner Benjamin Seck (affectionately known as Baba Ben). Not only is the décor here authentic – think wooden windows, “tok panjang” tables and partition screens – but the food as well with dishes like ayam buah keluak and sayor lemak (vegetables in coconut gravy).
True Blue Cuisine, 47/49 Armenian Street, Singapore 179937
National Kitchen by Violet Oon
The second restaurant of Violet Oon and family, this digs is decidedly more posh than its comfy-chic Bukit Timah establishment, complete with black marbled surfaces, gold accents, framed Peranakan tiles, and edible herb foliage with scents of curry leaves and turmeric to whet your appetite. You’ll definitely wanna be hungry for her gado gado, daging cabe beef cheek and novel buak keluak noodle. And save space for the dessert she whips up impeccably – roti jala with gula Melaka and banana sauce.
National Kitchen by Violet Oon, #02-01 National Gallery Singapore (City Hall Wing), Singapore 178957
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