Katong is one of Singapore’s most exciting food hubs – home to hip cafes, popular Peranakan restaurants and famous laksa stalls. Just the short stretch of East Coast Road between Haig Road and Still Road will have more eating places than many decent sized shopping malls. The number and variety of the restaurants you can find there is amazing but the real thrill is finding places with cheap and good food in Katong. These are places that may never be listed in Michelin or Zagat but have long been very popular among the locals. For the about price of a latte from one of the international coffee chains, you can get in Katong a good traditional breakfast, delectable Teochew snacks, sinful lunch, healthy dinner or late night supper. We list in this food trail post The Ordinary Patrons’ favourite Cheap and Good Food in Katong.
Mention food in Katong and one of the first things that spring to mind is Katong Laksa. There has even been a “Laksa War” about who was the original Katong Laksa and the debate about which is the best Katong Laksa rages on. It would seem that the oldest laksa store in Katong is one originally known as Marine Parade Laksa or Janggut Laksa and is now simply known as “The Original Katong Laksa” (see Russel Wong’s Which is the Real “Katong Laksa”?).
The Original Katong Laksa is a simple stall in the food court of Roxy Square. The stall is still run by members of the Ng family and the laksa is prepared by them. The prices are $4 for a small bowl, $5 for medium and $6 for large. Add $0.50 for takeaway.
The more well-known 328 Katong Laksa (Michelin Bib Gourmand 2016) is a chain of stores. There are 2 outlets in Katong. The main one at 51 East Coast Road has recently be renovated and is air-conditioned; and that is the one Gordan Ramsay visited for the Hawkers Heroes Challenge. The prices are $5 for a small bowl and $8 for large.
We are not going to start another debate about which is the better Katong Laksa. Both the laksa from The Original Katong Laksa and 328 Katong Laksa are flavourful and good. We have a slight preference for the cheaper version from The Original Katong Laksa.
The Original Katong Laksa
50 East Coast Road
Roxy Square #01-64
Hours: 8.30am – 5.30pm
328 Katong Laksa
51 East Coast Road
Hours: 8am – 10pm
216/218 East Coast Road
Hours: 10am – 9pm
Yong Huat is a stall in Alibabar, a corner coffee shop modernised into a Hawkers Bar (see Alibabar – O Bun Sesame). It sells traditional local food like Fried Mee Suah, Fishball Minced Meat Noodle and Hokkien Prawn Mee ($3.50 to $8). Yong Huat’s Fried Kway Teow ($4) with great wok hei and lots of pork lard was one of the best we have eaten. The Fried Hokkien Mee is very popular.
125 East Coast Road
Hours: 8am to 10pm
Yong’s Teochew Kueh
Yong’s Teochew Kueh, best known for its soon kueh and ku chye (chive) kueh, has a variety of traditional steamed Teochew kuehs such as png kueh, yam kueh, and cabbage kueh. The kuehs are handmade on the premises. Prices are between $1.10 to $1.40 per piece.
Most customers buy to takeaway but there are a few small tables where you can sit and have a drink and enjoy the kuehs. It is definitely different from a modern hip cafe but it is a unique charming eating place. The soon kuehs ($1.10 per piece) with skins of perfect thickness and delicious filling are highly recommended.
Yong’s Teochew Kueh
150 East Coast Road
Hours: 7am – 7pm
Ampang Niang Tou Fu
Ampang Niang Tou Fu serves Ampang-style fried Yong Tau Hu in plain soup base. They offer standard portions at $7 per plate but you are allowed to customize your dish by adding or removing items. Each item is priced at $0.70. It is a no frills place but a good one for a simple healthy tasty meal.
Ampang Niang Tou Fu
225 E Coast Rd,
Tel: 6345 3289
Hours : 11am – 8:30pm
Located in the level 4 food court of Katong 112 mall, Penang Chiak serves a range of simple Penang Street food at reasonable prices. With chicken wings at $1.70, lor bak at $2.30, tasting portions from $2.80 and single dish meal like Penang laksa at $5.50 – this is where you can get cheap and good food in a comfortable air-conditioned space. See Penang Chiak at Katong 112.
#04-01 Katong 112
112 East Coast Road
10am to 10pm
Chin Mee Chin is an institution in Katong. The kaya toasts, custard puffs, sugee cakes and coffee in this confectionery and coffee shop have been delighting the residents of Katong for generations. The place look almost unchanged from 30 years ago. Stepping into Chin Mee Chin is like stepping back in time, a time where a coffee shop is not fanciful but sells food that is cheap and good.
It is almost always crowded. Be prepared to queue for a while and to share a table with other customers. Don’t expect refined restaurant service or chatty staff at Chin Mee Chin. The staff is there to sell and serve you food not to brighten up your day with witty remarks or charming smiles. The star of the place is the food.
Chin Mee Chin’s kaya toast ($1) is a round bun with a slightly crispy outside and fluffy inside served with a thick layer of house made kaya and topped with a generous slice of butter. A traditional breakfast of toast, 2 soft-boiled eggs and coffee will cost $3.70. You can help yourself to whatever may be available at the display shelves – freshly made luncheon meat bread, cream puff, custard tart or whatever they decide to bake at that time – and pay according to what you declare at the time of payment. It is an honour system from the old days adding to the unique experience of having simple but delightful cakes and snacks in a real traditional setting. For a real experience of old school Singapore coffee shop, it is hard to find a better place than Chin Mee Chin.
Chin Mee Chin
204 East Coast Rd
Tel: 6345 0419
Hours: Tue–Sun: 8am – 4.30pm
See also TOP Singapore Chicken Rice in Katong