Tok Panjang Peranakan Cafe along East Coast Road is a small restaurant for a quick bite and simple nyonya meals. Established by the House of Peranakan Group of restaurants, Tok Panjang’s menu features Peranakan set meals and snacks like braised pork belly buns, kueh pie tees and tahu goreng, as well as one dish meal like Assam laksa and mee siam.
Tok Panjang literally means long table but there is no long table at Tok Panjang Peranakan Cafe, although there are tables lined up so close to each other that together they looked like one long table. As we understand it, Tok Panjang in Peranakan culture usually means a feast or a special occasion. However, Tok Panjang Peranakan Cafe is hardly a place for an intimate special date or a sumptuous celebratory feast. The restaurant is quite small which can seat about 30 in a narrow dining space. The menu is designed for a quick simple meal. Tok Panjang Peranakan Cafe is probably suitable for the office lunch crowd, a small family or solo diner who has a sudden craving for nyonya food.
The menu is not extensive but offers the usual Peranakan staples. There are Nasi Lemak Sets ($10.90) and Peranakna Rice Sets ($11.90). The Peranakna Rice Set allows a choice of a main dish, and is served with chap chye and itek tim (salted vegetable and duck soup). Pictures of Tok Panjang’s menu are below.
We went to Tok Panjang Peranakan Cafe for lunch and ordered 2 Peranakan Rice Sets, selecting the Sambal Prawns and Beef Rendang as the main dishes. We also ordered the Nyonya Ngoh Hiang ($5.50) as a side dish. A pot of lemongrass ginger tea was $3.50. No service charge would be added to the bill but there was GST.
The food was served within less than 10 minutes. They came nicely presented in quite substantial portions.
The itek tim (just the soup, without any duck) was of the expected standard. It was quite tasty. The nyonya chap chye was very good. It was traditional home-style cooking at its best. The vegetables and all other ingredients were well stewed so that they were really soft and all the flavours and essence of the various ingredients were absorbed by the vegetables.
The beef rendang was good. The meat was tender and the nice blend of spices and generous amount coconut milk meant that the sauce was rich and tasty. The sambal prawns were quite ordinary.
The dish of the day was the Ngoh Hiang. The deep-fried skin was really crispy and the bits of water chestnut in the filling gave it a very nice texture. On the whole the traditional five spice minced meat and prawn roll was really flavourful and delicious. Eaten with the sauce provided and it was really enjoyable.
We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the pot of lemongrass ginger tea was made with freshly chopped lemongrass and ginger. We have gotten used to restaurants using teabags or pre-mixed powder. The freshly brewed lemongrass ginger tea was aromatic and refreshing. It went well with the meal.
Overall, we liked the food at Tok Panjang Peranakan Cafe. We would recommend their Ngoh Hiang and Chap Chye. We thought the dining space felt a bit cramped and the tables were placed rather close to one another. The restaurant seemed to be understaffed when we were there. However, for a quick meal, Tok Panjang Peranakan Cafe is a good place for delicious Nyonya food at very fair prices.
Overall Rating: 3 TOPs
Tok Panjang Peranakan Cafe
392 East Coast Road
Tel: +65 9663-3392
9 am to 9 pm Tuesday to Sunday
closed on Monday