Want to taste traditional and authentic Chinese dishes? These restaurants offer you the most old school dishes from the various dialect groups such as Cantonese, Hokkien, Teochew, Hakka, Hainan and Foochow. Don’t miss these gems that still persist in cooking the dishes the traditional way!
TOP 1 Red Star Restaurant
Stepping into Red Star Restaurant is like stepping back in time as both the food and the ambience reminds you of the good old days. The menu has remained largely the same since they set up shop in 1971, with traditional dim sum and a host of classic Cantonese dishes such as suckling pig, roasted meats and Cantonese soups. Helmed by Chefs Sin Leong and Hooi Kok Wai, two of “Four heavenly kings of Cantonese cuisine” in Singapore, you can be assured of the quality and authenticity of the food here. Dim sum is served from food carts manned by aunties just like how it was in the past. However, be warned that you will not get top notched service here and you must not hesitate going after the food cart aunties to get your dim sum.
Red Star Restaurant is typically packed to the brim with long queues on weekends, so head there early or head down on a weekday instead.
Address: Blk 54 Chin Swee Road, #07-23, Singapore 160054
Mon to Sat: 8am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm
Sun: 7am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm
TOP 2 Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine
At over 170 years old, Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine is one of the oldest Teochew restaurants in Singapore, aptly located within the historic Chui Huay Lim club. It prides itself in preserving the finest Teochew culinary traditions and using only the freshest ingredients to whip up classic Teochew dishes. Savour authentic Teochew dishes such as braised duck, cold crab, pig trotter terrine, Teochew-style steamed pomfret, gooey-style Teochew oyster omelette and crystal dumplings. And don’t forget to save some space in your stomach for traditional Teochew orh nee (yam paste) served with fried shallots, ginkgo nuts and pumpkin, thought to be one of the best in Singapore.
Address: 190 Keng Lee Road, #01-02 Chui Huay Lim Club, Singapore 308409
Mon to Thu: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm
Fri to Sun & public holiday: 11.30am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 11pm
TOP 3 Plum Village
Nestled in the sleepy Sembawang Hills Estate is one of Singapore’s few remaining Hakka restaurants that has stayed true to its roots and continued to dish out authentic Hakka dishes. Owner-chef Mr Lai Fak Nian has been cooking Hakka dishes for over 30 years. A strong stalwart of Hakka cuisine and tradition, he holds cooking classes several times a year to impart the traditional cooking methods for classic Hakka dishes to the masses at a cheap price in hopes of attracting more people to learn so that tradition can be preserved. The Hakka dishes served here are as authentic as they are mouthwatering. Sink your teeth into the abacus beads (stir fried yam beads), stir-fried prawns with fermented red yeast and Hakka wine, Hakka yong tau foo, Hakka braised meat and braised pork belly with salted vegetables (mei cai kou rou). Throw in affordable pricing and a friendly owner, this restaurant is a must-visit.
Address: 16 Jalan Leban, Singapore 577554
Opening hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 6pm – 10pm daily
TOP 4 Beng Thin Hoon Kee Restaurant
Founded in 1949 by Lim Yew Hoon, a migrant from Fujian who arrived on Singapore’s shores when he was only 17, Beng Thin Hoon Kee Restaurant is a household name for authentic Hokkien dishes. The authenticity and taste of the dishes have got patrons raving and making repeated visits, making it a reputable restaurant and the go-to place to savour Hokkien delicacies. Must-try dishes include crispy oyster omelette, Hokkien noodles, kong ba bao (braised pork with bun), roasted chicken and crabmeat fish maw soup.
Address: 65 Chulia Street, Singapore 049513
Opening hours: 11.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm daily
TOP 5 Nan Hwa Chong Fish Head Steamboat
Nan Hwa Chong has been serving traditional Teochew fish head steamboat since 1927. Till today, the fish head steamboat is still served in traditional round metal wares with burning charcoal at the bottom which keeps the soup hot as more ingredients are added to it. The soup is boiled with fish bones, long cabbage, spring onions, fried yam, mushrooms and bean curd to make a robust and flavourful broth. The sliced fish (choice of grouper, pomfret, snapper, song fish and sea bass) adds natural sweetness to the broth, making it even more irresistible.
Besides the signature fish head steamboat, Nan Hwa Chong also offers an array of mouthwatering Chinese dishes such as prawn rolls, seafood tofu, prawn paste chicken and fermented beancurd pork chop. It is indeed one of the best places to dine if you want to try out Chinese food!
Address: 808/812/814/816 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198779
Opening hours: 4pm – 1am daily
TOP 6 Beng Hiang Restaurant
Beng Hiang Restaurant is another old school restaurant that serves authentic Hokkien cuisine. Since its establishment in 1978, it has gained both local and international acclaim and a loyal following. Tuck into the signature ngoh hiang (five-spiced roll) and kong ba bao (braised pork with bun), and traditional dishes such as stewed chicken with lotus nuts and steamed bread with Hokkien-braised pork’s trotters & yam, which are rarely found in restaurants nowadays.
Address: Blk 135 Jurong Gateway Road, #02-331, Singapore 600135 (near Jurong East station）
Opening hours: 11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm-9.30pm
TOP 7 Jin Wee
Jin Wee is an old-fashioned coffeeshop located along the bustling East Coast Road. Established in 1963, it is family-owned and stays true to its root of serving authentic Hainanese fare. A variety of Chinese stir-fried dishes are available from 11.30am onwards. The most popular dish here is the Hainan Pork Chop which is a pile of crispy pork chop topped with the signature tomato-based sauce characteristic of Hainanese style pork chops. The sauce comes with pieces of tomatoes, onions and potatoes. Other specialty dishes include the Hainanese braised pork (kou rou) and fish head steamboat.
Address: 928 East Coast Road, Singapore 459117
Opening hours: 9.30am – 9.30pm daily (closed on Wednesdays)
TOP 8 Chin Chin Eating House
Occupying two lots in traditional shophouses, Chin Chin was established more than 60 years ago and is famous for traditional Hainanese fare. One of their most famous dishes is the Hainanese Chicken Rice, where the chicken is cooked to perfection and every bite is tender and moist. The tasty ginger dip and fiery chili sauce are perfect compliments and they help to elevate the dish to another level. Be sure to try out their Hainanese pork chop, chap chye (mixed vegetables) and mutton soup as well!
Address: 19 Purvis Street, Singapore 188598
Opening hours: 7am – 9pm daily
TOP 9 Goldhill Hakka Restaurant
Goldhill Hakka Restaurant is a humble restaurant that serves authentic Hakka dishes. Its history went a long way back to when the owner’s father was operating the stall out of a trishaw in Katong. The no-frills menu has only 6 items on it, but diners have praised the quality of food, with some saying every item is a must-try. The most popular dish is the old-school Hakka yong tau foo which is reportedly cooked using the original recipe that has remained unchanged since the restaurant was founded. The abacus beads are also a big hit, along with seafood dishes such as steamed clams with Chinese wine and steamed fish which have earned praises for the consistent quality and freshness.
Address: 299A Changi Rd, Singapore 419777
Opening hours: 11am – 9pm (closed on Monday)
TOP 10 Lee Do Restaurant
Lee Do Restaurant is one of the few remaining Foochow restaurants in Singapore that has been faithfully dishing out Foochow favourites since 1964. The red wine chicken soup is the must try dish. Although it was traditionally cooked for women during their confinement period, it has become a dish that’s widely enjoyed by the public. The red wine chicken soup served here is rich and thick, and has a robust flavour from the red wine lees and fermented rice. The cold crab is another hot favourite among patrons, so much so that it is recommended to make a reservation for the dish before heading to the restaurant. Other popular dishes include Foochow fishball soup, fried pig’s liver, fried mee sua (rice vermicelli), crispy fragrant duck, honey pork ribs and Foochow white rice cake.
Address: 61 Ubi Avenue 2, #01-13 Automobile Megamart, Singapore 408898
Opening hours: 11:30am – 3pm, 5:30pm – 11pm (closed on Monday)
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