Whether you're searching for a good Chinese seafood restaurant, a froyo parlour, or a simple sandwich shop, this bustling central heartland has it all
Once a notorious squatter district in the early 60s’, Toa Payoh was later developed to become the second satellite public housing estates in Singapore. Today, the iconic neighbourhood is filled with cheap and great local eateries as well as swish cafés that has gotten nearly everyone hopping over. Even Queen Elizabeth II had paid this bustling ‘hood a visit!
Toa Payoh Block 127 Market and Food Centre
There’s always a long, snaking queue for the Hokkien mee at Come Daily Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee stall. Also, don’t forget to give the fishball noodles from 135 Fishball Noodle a go. Want something sweet to finish? The muffins from Bliss Haven Muffin are pure perfection.
Toa Payoh Block 127 Market and Food Centre, Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310127.
Tian Tian Lai
If you like your Hokkien mee with plenty of noodles, you’ll get it at Tian Tian – don’t expect a large serving of prawns and squid here, the star is the full-flavoured, gooey, satisfying noodles.
Tian Tian Lai, #02-27, 127 Toa Payoh Lorong 1. Closed Mondays.
Show your overseas friends the real Singapore by dining at this famous restaurant beneath a HDB block. Known for serving Chinese cuisine with a local twist, the restaurant’s signature dish – the claypot crab vermicelli soup – is legendary for the thick, milky broth and sweet crab essence. Or, if you want some good ol’ fashioned crab, order up the chilli crab or the buttery Golden Sands Crab. Be sure to add on a plate of fried mantou to soak up the gravy.
Mellben Seafood, #01-11 Block 211, Toa Payoh Lorong 8, p. 6353 3120.
Soon Heng Rojak
Don’t mix up Toa Payoh Rojak (located at Old Airport Road Food Centre) with Soon Heng Rojak – these guys are the ones in Toa Payoh. Housed in Toa Payoh HDB Hub, this humble heartland stall is renowned for being extremely good value for money (prices start at $2.50) and generous with their sweet dark sauce and peanuts.
Soon Heng Rojak, #B1-23, Toa Payoh 480 Lorong 6, Gourmet Paradise.
Oasis Taiwan Porridge
Seeking out comfort food in Toa Payoh? The Oasis Taiwan Porridge has been around for ages – we’ve been fans of their sweet potato porridge and goose meat (something that’s rather rare in Singapore) for quite a while now. Look out for ‘hidden’ charges here: the pickles, peanuts, and wet towels are chargeable, but you can request for them to be removed.
Oasis Taiwan Porridge, 303 Toa Payoh Lorong 6, Toa Payoh Town Park, Singapore 319393, p. 6346 4418.
CAFES & DESSERT
Creamier serves three of our favourite things – ice cream, waffles and coffee. The simple café attracts everyone from everywhere; not just from the neighbourhood (it’s that good). We love their Earl Grey lavender ice cream, but then again, who can say no to Earl Grey and Lavender?
Creamier, 128 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310128, p. 6250 1476.
Slap A Scone
The variety of scones on offer is pretty amazing; you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better selection of flavours elsewhere. Aside from the plain option (which comes with a tarte tatin dip), there’s cherry, chocolate (both milk and dark), yuzu, latte, rum and raisin, and more.
Slap A Scone, 319 Braddell Road, Singapore 579707.
It’s a sin if you don’t order a cup of coffee from Shrove Tuesday – the beans are flown in from Italy and were directly sourced. Serving wholesome grub at a steal, this brightly-coloured café makes for a nice hang out with the mates on weekends.
Shrove Tuesday, #01-32, 94 Toa Payoh Lor 4, Singapore 310094, p. 6258 2254.
Frozen By A Thousand Blessings
Give the long queues at llao llao a miss and make your own yoghurt at this chic froyo parlour that’s decked out in sleek wood and white counters. Hailing from Australia, this self-serve frozen yoghurt bar uses biodynamic milk and yoghurt, and has plenty of tantalising flavours including hot fave, coconut.
Frozen By A Thousand Blessings, #01-551, 126 Toa Payoh Lorong 2, Singapore 310126, p. 6259 8028.
The Little Prince Creamery
Paying tribute to the inspiring book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, this ice cream store is decked out in gorgeous illustrations from the famous book, making it a good place for avid Instagrammers.
The Little Prince Creamery, #01-134, 47 Toa Payoh Lorong 6, Singapore 310047, p. 8684 8218.
This kid-friendly eatery has heaps of plus points: it’s centrally located, offers healthy meals, and boasts a wonderful, cheery ambience. Stop by to get a caffeine boost and a light snack, or bring your entire brood here for a family dinner. Must try: the pulled beef on homemade bun for mouthfuls of tender, juicy meat.
Glee Kitchen, #01-04 Toa Payoh Central Community Club, 93 Toa Payoh Central, Singapore 319194, p. 6256 0104
Sink your teeth into a juicy cheesesteak at this locally owned, Halal-certified fast food chain, which has another branch at Bugis. Cheese devotees must order the Philly Submarine and top-up their fries to the Torpedo that’s bathed in hot, gooey cheese – mmmmm.
Yellow Submarines, #01-110, 177 Toa Payoh Central, Singapore 310177, p. 6352 7890
Get your hands on freshly baked goodies at this quaint French-inspired café. Everything here is handmade in small batches – so expect quality and freshness in every bite.
Niche Boulangerie, #01-833 Kuo Chuan View, 128 Toa Payoh Lorong 1, Singapore 310128, p. 9633 5108
The Daily Press
Pay a trip to The Daily Press and try their range of hearty, crazy-good sandwiches. Our favourite is their Korean Fried Chicken; coated with Panko & Korean Chilli flakes and topped with homemade kimchi, this best-seller packs a fiery punch.
The Daily Press, #01-561 126 Toa Payoh Lorong 1, Singapore 310126, p. 6258 0167
Tims Restaurant & Café
Opened by a Nepali, this gem in Toa Payoh serves up authentic momos (Nepalese dumplings), which resemble the Chinese xiao long bao, Thukpa (Nepali noodles), and Lamb Choila. If you’re in the vicinity and not feeling adventurous, the folks at Tims Restaurant and Café do good, and value-for-money, steaks, lamb shanks, and chicken chops, too.
Tims Restaurant & Café, 95 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh #01-52, Singapore 310095, p. 6250 5246
Charlotte Grace Cakeshop
A handful of bakeries we know (and desperately avoid) only manage to get the appearance of their sweet treats on point, neglecting the taste in the process. Thankfully, Charlotte Grace Cakeshop manages to score both in looks and taste. Best part? They are really affordable too – their cuppycakes are only $2.50 a pop and macaroons, $12.50 for five!
Charlotte Grace Cakeshop, #01-376, 85C Toa Payoh Lorong 4, Singapore 313085, p. 9768 9827.
A SPOT OF PLAY
Built in the 1979, this old-school structure, which made the list of “15 Amazing Playgrounds From All Over The World” by online publication Flavorwire, features dragon heads decorated with terrazzo tiles, a spine of steel rails (aka our version of jungle gyms), a slide, and swings. The flats surrounding this old-school structure in Toa Payoh have been demolished, but we’re hoping that it’ll be preserved for the icon that it is.
Block 28 Toa Payoh Lorong 6, Singapore 310028.