Known for the eponymous sports stadium, there’s much more to Jalan Besar than just football matches and industrial metalwork shops. Quiet cafés, solid restaurants, and an extensive offering of local food lies in wait for those keen to explore, as well as a treasure trove of stalls in the Jalan Berseh Food Centre. Located conveniently in the central area of Singapore, the area is increasingly becoming the new “it” spot for a lazy weekend afternoon, or a quick, satisfying meal. Here are 25 noteworthy spots for the next time you find yourself in the vicinity!
Jewel Café & Bar
Further away from Jalan Besar itself is Jewel Cafe & Bar on Rangoon Road. With a clean, industrial interior, Jewel offers the best cold filter coffee amongst its neighbours. It also has rather a spiffy collection of booze for the evening crowd.
Jewel Café & Bar is located at 129 Rangoon Rd, Singapore 218407. Open Sun – Thu 9am – 10pm, Fri-Sat 9am – 10.30pm.
Hong Kong 88 Roast Meat Specialist
With a name as promising as that, expect nothing less than expertly roasted char siew, pork belly, and duck from this stall. Luckily, the humble kopitiam outlet lives up to its name, frequently (and understandably!) selling out of its famously crispy-skinned pork belly and fatty, sweet, and salty meats.
Hong Kong 88 Roast Meat Specialist is located at 153 Tyrwhitt Rd, Singapore 207566. Open daily 10.30am – 8pm.
The 1925 Microbrewery & Restaurant
Another pass-time of hipsters is the making and consumption of certain beverages beyond coffee. In this case, craft beer. The 1925 goes beyond coffee and speciality beers and actually brews it themselves. Niceeee!
The 1925 is located at 369 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208997. Open Mon–Sat 10am – 12am, Sun 10am– 10pm.
Gourmet cupcakes, pies, coffee. What more could a hungry caffeine-craving hipster ask for? Oh, and it’s certified halal.
Butter Studio is located at 147 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208865. Open Sun–Thu 10.30am – 10pm, Fri-Sat 10.30am – 12am.
The Tiramisu Hero
I can’t help but feel a bit ‘Alice through the looking glass’ here. I’m pretty sure it’s the illustrations on the wall and trippy garden setting. Yes, it’s definitely that. Besides the setting however, the tiramisu and other food offerings are good value and quite tasty.
The Tiramisu Hero is located at 150 Tyrwhitt Rd, Singapore 207548. Open daily, 11am – 10pm.
Another hipster joint. The Bravery is a very minimalistic café with simple furnishings, which is really all you need. The affordable and decent food menu keeps this place busy no matter what day of the week.
The Bravery Café is located at 66 Horne Rd, Singapore 209073. Open Mon-Fri 9am – 7pm, Sat-Sun 8am – 8pm.
Ooo la la! l’Étoile café is a Japanese-French inspired café located on Owen Road. It’s very popular with the local residents and offers an inviting escape from the hustle of Little India.
L’Étoile Café is located at 160 Owen Rd, Singapore 218953. Open Mon-Fri 11am – 10pm, Sat-Sun 9am – 10pm.
Known for their unique Avocado Lattes, AEIOU Café is definitely one for the hipsters. Repurposed furniture, vodka-bottle glasses, and an eclectic mish mash of décor give this hole-in-the-wall café a kooky, unpredictable vibe.
AEIOU Café is located at 111 King George’s Ave, Singapore 208559. Open daily 11am – 10pm.
The Bao Makers
The Bao Makers puts a modern twist on the traditional kong ba pao with freshly made buns and alternative fillings such as Salted Egg Chicken and Chilli Crab. They also do catering and deliveries, so you’ll be able to get your bao fix even if you’re not around Jalan Besar.
The Bao Makers is located at 78 Horne Rd, Singapore 209078. Open Mon-Fri 12pm – 10pm, Sat 11am – 10pm, Sun 11am – 6pm.
A three-in-one café, restaurant, and bar, The Refinery serves up Japanese yakitori and donburi for lunch and dinner. The brunch menu is also popular here, with the usual eggs benedict and burger staples. For the alcoholics, a hidden bar, Little Bastard, offers up interesting cocktails and bar grub with Asian-inspired flavours.
The Refinery is located at 115 King George’s Ave, Singapore 208561. Open Tue-Thu 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm, Fri 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 1am, Sat 11am – 4pm, 6pm – 1am, Sun 11am – 4pm.
An artisanal bakery café that specialises in French and fusion pastries, Two Bakers makes their creations fresh daily from premium ingredients. You’ll also find coffee and savoury dishes here, as well as high tea sets and baking masterclasses.
Two Bakers is located at 88 Horne Rd, Singapore 209083. Open Mon, Wed, Thu and Sun 9am – 6pm, Fri – Sat 10am – 10pm.
Lighthouse Bistro and Bar
Focusing heavily on using premium, fresh ingredients and fueled with a love for cooking, Lighthouse Bistro takes their menu seriously. Get a cup of gourmet coffee or glass of wine to go with the fine dining experience at pocket-friendly prices.
Lighthouse Bistro and Bar is located at 75 Jellicoe Rd, Singapore 208738. Open Mon-Sat, 12pm – 10.30pm.
Voted as Singapore’s Best Beer Bar of 2016, Druggists hosts an impressive 23 taps and serves up craft beer and hearty Asian food. Chill out in this cosy outlet with a pint of your favourite beer, or get adventurous and try out the cult brews and seasonal specials.
Druggists is located at 119 Tyrwhitt Rd, Singapore 207547. Open Mon-Thu 4pm – 12am, Fri-Sat 4pm – 2am, Sun 2pm – 10pm.
Audace Bar and Restaurant
Previously known as Cocotte, Audace is a new French bistro in the quirky Wanderlust Hotel. Its name a short form for the word audacity, Audace aims to serve up adventurous, unique French food with a global influence.
Audace Bar and Restaurant is located at 2 Dickson Rd, Singapore 209494. Open Mon-Sat 7.30am – 10am, 11.30am – 12am, Sun 7.30am – 10am, 11.30am – 4pm.
Coffee connoisseurs will find a caffeine treasury at this coffee bar, with roasts from all over the world spanning from Malaysia to Norway and Sweden. The seasonal menu also changes every 3 to 4 months, so a visit to VXX Co-operative always holds a fresh surprise.
VXX Co-operative is located at 20 Foch Rd, Singapore 209261. Open Mon-Sat 10am – 9pm, Sun 9am – 6pm.
Red Eye Smokehouse
Carnivores are sure to feel at home here with the extensive offerings of smoked, barbecued meats. Fill up on pork ribs, beef ribs, pork belly, and the like and wash it all down with the exquisite beers and whiskeys at this American-style BBQ joint.
Red Eye Smokehouse is located at 1 Cavan Rd, Singapore 209842. Open Tue-Fri 5pm – 10.30am, Sat 12pm – 3pm, 5pm – 10.30pm, Sun 12pm – 3pm, 5pm – 9pm.
Specialising in roast meats, Char’s menu features fatty char siew, crispy pork belly, and roast duck cooked using a mixture of Chinese and Western techniques, resulting in a best-of-both-worlds combination sure to leave you wanting more. Combine the meats with some of the draft craft beers available for a true fusion experience.
Char is located at 363 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208994. Open Tue-Sun 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10pm.
Royal J’s Seafood
Famous for their interesting fried porridge, the signature dish is nothing like the mild, sick-people-friendly broth you’re probably used to. Instead, it’s packed with wok hei and garnished with a generous helping of fried lard, a great pairing with the other tze char sides on offer here.
Royal J’s Seafood is located at 30 Foch Rd, Singapore 209276. Open daily 11am – 11pm.
Ming Chung Restaurant
Established since 1933, this Chinese restaurant specializes in Heng Hua cuisine, a style of cooking highly popular amongst locals. Must-orders include the signature lor mee and mee sua, coupled with a golden, crispy side of fried batang fish.
Ming Chung Restaurant is located at 67 Maude Rd, Singapore 208348. Open daily Tue – Sun 3pm – 11.30pm.
Shou La Shou Beijing Restaurant
A go-to for authentic Beijing cuisine in Jalan Besar, Shou La Shou is lauded for their comforting xiao long baos, guo ties, and noodles. Skip the queues at Din Tai Fung and head here for your next dumpling fix!
Shou La Shou Beijing Restaurant is located at #01-01, 141 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208859. Open daily 10.30am – 10.30pm.
Lai Huat Seafood Restaurant
A veteran in the zi char scene, Lai Huat is a household name for fans of their signature sambal fish. The addictive homemade sambal slathered on top of the crispy deep fried pomfret is a major crowd pleaser, so don’t be afraid to dive into this sharing dish before it’s all gone.
Lai Huat Seafood Restuarant is located at 72 Horne Rd, Singapore 209075. Open daily 5pm – 12am. Closed alternate Tues.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware
Perhaps the ‘original hipster venue’ in this hood. Serving up superb coffee since August 2012, Chye Seng Huat Hardware is perhaps the embodiment of the ‘Singapore hipster’. Set in an old hardware store with a concealed al fresco area, this place is the hipster café king.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware is located at 150 Tyrwhitt Rd, Singapore 207563. Open Tue – Fri 9am – 7pm, Sat-Sun 9am – 10pm. Closed Mon.
Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice
A comforting and classic dish, curry rice provides diners with variety in choosing their side dishes, but envelopes every ingredient in a delicious, unifying curry sauce. The Scissors Cut Curry Rice mixes Hainanese curry and braised dark sauce for a one-of-a-kind taste.
Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice is located at 229 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208905. Open daily 11am – 3.30am.
Sungei Road Laksa
One of Singapore’s more well-known local dishes, laksa holds a special place in every Singaporean’s heart. Get yourself a bowl of one of the best at Sungei Road Laksa, and marvel at the familiar taste of rich, spicy coconut broth and springy rice noodles.
Sungei Road Laksa is located at Blk 27 Jalan Berseh #01-100, Singapore 200027. Open daily 9am – 6pm. Closed every first and third Wednesday of the month.
Jalan Berseh Food Centre
Home to over 100 stalls, Berseh Food Centre is a repository of cheap, good eats in the Jalan Besar area. Here are a few of the best, most popular stalls in the food centre:
Coffee Hut (#02-43): Find thick, aromatic kopi here and the ubiquitous national breakfast favourite, kaya toast. With homemade kaya and peanut butter spreads, you know the quality and attention to food here is top notch.
Open Mon-Fri 6.30am – 5pm, Sat-Sun 6.30am – 2pm.
Lim’s Fried Oyster (#01-32): Everyone has their personal fried oyster stall favourite, but Lim’s Fried Oyster is a worthy contender with its well fried, gooey, and chewy offering. The tangy chilli sauce is also a perfect complement to the starchy omelette.
Open daily 6pm – 12am.
One Kueh At A Time (#02-61): One of the few stalls selling Teochew dumplings, One Kueh At A Time makes their goods by hand each day. Find the usual, tried-and-tested dumplings here, such as soon kueh, png kueh, and koo chye kueh.
Open Tue-Sun 8am – 2pm.
Lao Liang Shark Meat (#02-37): A rare dish, this is a stall for the adventurous pescetarian. Try the firm, sweet meat with its accompanying plum and peanut sauce and feed your burning curiosity at Lao Liang.
Open Tue-Sun 11am – 2pm.
Fu He Turtle Soup (#02-40): Another interesting, not-for-the-faint-hearted dish, the turtle soup from Fu He is made out of soft-shelled terrapins from Indonesia. Boasting health and beauty benefits, this bowl of soup challenges you to embrace the extraordinary and forget about any pet turtles of your childhood.
Open daily 11am – 8.30pm. Closed Thu.
Fu Zhou Poh Hwa Oyster Cake (#02-34): Fried oyster cakes, a popular snack of the past, are slowly fading away from the public stream of consciousness. Savour one of the last left standing at Fu Zhou Poh Hwa Oyster Cake, and don’t skimp on the chilli- it packs an addictive punch.
Open Mon-Sat 10.30am – 6pm.
Jalan Berseh Food Centre is located at 166 Jln Besar, Singapore 208877.
Cover image: Jewel Café and Bar