11 Restaurants Serving Peranakan Perfection in Singapore
Bringing together the very best tangs, aromatic herbs and spices of Southeast Asian cuisine, the worldwide reputation of Peranakan food only keeps growing in popularity. Honestly, we’re not surprised.
Woaaaah there. Back up a minute. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, you might be wondering: Who exactly are the Peranakans (also known as Straits-Chinese) and why are we making such a fuss about their cuisine? We’re glad you asked. Here’s something we prepared earlier for those needing a quick catch up.
Peranakan eats were once served hot and fast from Hawker Market stalls, but these days the traditional dishes have found their way off the street and into the home of many restaurants all over the world. While the likes of London, Paris and dishes have cottoned onto the trend, nothing compares to your first bite of the goods in the place where it all began: Singapore.
From cheap and cheerful hole-in-the-walls to Michelin-starred top dogs, we’ve rustled together 11 of the best Peranakan restaurants in Singapore.
Ready to tuck in? Okay, let’s go!
Where to get the best hit of Peranakan Cuisine in Singapore
Housed in a very grand white-pillared building on Scotts Road, Indocafe has been scooping up award after award, including a Michelin Bib Gourmand, for its authentic take on Peranakan classics with a decent dash of contemporary flair. Quite frankly, once the irresistible feast hits your table, you’ll be handing out your very own award for these champs. It’s hard to go wrong with any dish of choice so feel free to get adventurous or scan the menu for signature dishes recommended by the chef like Kueh Pie Tee, Otah Klasik Ayam, Buah Keluak and Wagyu Beef Rendang.
Price: $$Address: 35/35A Scotts Road SingaporeHours: Tues – Sun: 12pm – 2:30pm, 6pm – 10pm
Been assigned as lead party-planner? The Peranakan is a favourite for those looking to celebrate life’s most special moments over scrumptious food. In a rather dramatically decorated space fit with chandeliers and pops of vibrant florals, The Peranakan is the only restaurant in the city to offer Tok Panjang-style dining all year round. This turn of the century tradition caters for large and hungry groups of friends and family where long tables are laden in an extravagant banquet (so come ready to share and care). There’s even a whole menu dedicated to vegan eating, so please don’t leave your green friends at home.
Price: $$ – $$$Address: 442 Orchard Rd, Level 2 Claymore Connect, SingaporeHours: Mon – Sun: 11am – 10pm
At National Kitchen by Violet Oon, it’s as if Gatsby got together with the nyonya and babas of the past for an epic collaboration. Definitely one of the most opulent destinations to get your fix of Peranakan eats, the restaurant is housed in Singapore’s grand National Gallery with accents of emerald green, a swish sky of chandeliers and black and gold Art Deco walls setting the scene for a very memorable dining experience. With celebrity chef Violet Oon at the head of the kitchen, there’s no end to the menu’s surprising delights, so make sure to book in for a classy Peranakan-inspired high tea, lunch or dinner. See that Dry Laksa on the menu? Do yourself a favour and order it.
Price: $$$Address: 1 St. Andrew’s Rd #02–01, National Gallery SingaporeHours: Mon – Sun: 12pm – 5pm, 6pm – 11pm
Name and cosy interior aside, there’s nothing little about the bold flavours coming out of this kitchen. You can thank Bob Seah’s mother for that. Tucked into an intimate 30-seater space on Eng Hoon Street, House of Peranakan Petit is a family-owned restaurant telling page-turning stories through the power of their food. At the helm of the restaurant is Bob Seah, owner and chef, who has stolen the hearts of the local community and visitors from afar with punchy dishes inspired by his mother’s cooking. Selar Sambal Fish, Nonya Crayfish, Assam Prawns are Long Beans Sambal are just some of the crowd favourites.
Price: $$Address: 42 Eng Hoon St, Tiong Bahru Estate, SingaporeHours: Wed – Mon: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm
A round of applause is of course in order for Candlenut, the first restaurant in the world to take Peranakan food to Michelin-star status. What we love most about Candlenut is their unpretentious approach to preserving the best of Straits-Chinese cuisine. The essence of the culture’s Hawker beginnings is heroed throughout the menu, with ingenious twists and fresh seasonal ingredients elevating the street dishes to heavenly heights.
Price: $$$Address: 17A Dempsey Road SingaporeHours: Mon – Sun: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm (open until 11pm Fri & Sat)
Dating back to 1953, Guan Hoe Soon is said to be the oldest Peranakan restaurant in Singapore – one heck of a legacy that they live up to with ease. You don’t come to the grandmother of Peranakan dining for the frills (or the ‘gram). The simple old-fashioned interior of round tables, chairs and vintage table settings are all part of the charm and make room for the real stars of the show to shine. Call up the whole crew, because cleaning off Guan Hoe Soon’s portions is going to take an army. Complimentary servings of achar (moreish bowls of pickled vegetables) spark an appetite for a smorgasbord of hearty Nonya sauces, soups and stews.
Price: $$Address: 40 Joo Chiat Pl, Singapore 427764Hours: Mon – Fri: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 9.30pm / Sat – Sun: 11am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Ask any local for their favourite Peranakan go-tos and we bet you’ll hear this restaurant’s name thrown around a dozen times. Striking the perfect balance between traditional and modern, PeraMakan feeds hungry throngs with exciting dishes that evoke plenty of childhood nostalgia. The restaurant prides itself on a solid spice base and unprocessed produce, but the game-changing ingredient here is the heart that goes into making each dish from scratch. One mouthful of the home-cooked food transports its eaters back to the good old days, when Peranakan food was generously served and enjoyed around the family dining table.
Price: $$Address: 10 Level 3, Keppel Club, Bukit Chermin Road SingaporeHours: Mon – Sun: 11.30 – 3:00pm, 6pm – 10pm
Don’t go rummaging through Indigo Blue Kitchen’s drawers for any secret recipes. The magic to their success is safely stored upstairs in their memories. Each dish at Indigo Blue is designed to momentarily whirl you away from the present and into the kitchen of Desmond Lim’s (Chairman, Les Amis Group) grandmother. The restaurant has been five years in the making, so you can expect a well-considered and a cleverly crafted menu that immerses its eater in tales of the past. Storytime has never been so delicious.
Price: $$Address: 1 Scotts Rd, #03 – 09 / 10 / 11 SingaporeHours: Mon – Sun: 12pm – 3pm, 6.30pm – 10pm
Authenticity runs through the walls of Chilli Padi Nonya Restaurant’s establishment. After all, the restaurant is located in a pre-war heritage shophouse home with traditional art and decor adorning every corner. An impossibly friendly family of staff await at the doors and fizz with enthusiasm to introduce you and your family to the best of their culture’s cuisine – and at pretty darn cheap prices too! Don’t go home without tasting their famous cabbage rolls or curry fish head (or risk facing a serious case of food envy for your neighbours at table four who got it right).
Price: $ – $$Address: 11 Joo Chiat Place SingaporeHours: Mon – Sun: 11am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 9.30pm
If the thought of having a dining room and chef all to yourself piques your interest, then we’d like to introduce you to FatFuku. Founded by renowned food critic, Annette Tan, FatFuku is one of the region’s best private catering experiences that celebrates the happy fortune of a well-rounded belly. Annette invites parties of six to nine into her home and sets the table for a modern Peranakan banquet. This foodie queen pulls inspiration from her heritage and favourite family recipes, so guests leave forever dreaming about her signature Wagyu Beef Cheek Rendang, Nasi Kuning and Sugee Cake – and perhaps a little fatter too.
We’re partial to a sit down meal, but it would be wrong to leave you without one Peranakan street-food stall. We’ve made sure it’s a goodie too. Nana Curry has been in business since 1989 with four joints around Singapore to keep up with the popular demand. The most famous of the lot is Bukit Merah. Most dishes boast a cheap $3 – $4 price tag, for example the Curry Chicken and saucy Drumsticks (which seem to endlessly fly from the window). Don’t just take our word for it though, because this old Nana has been a Michelin Bib Gourmand winner for three years running.
Price: $Address: Blk 115 Bukit Merah View, #01-47 SingaporeHours: Mon – Sat: 11am – 7pm
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