As Katong Shopping Centre makes another bid for enbloc sale, we write a post about Dona Manis Cake Shop to help preserve memories of the vanishing traditional confectionaries in Singapore. Dona Manis Cake Shop has been in the basement of Katong Shopping Centre for as long as we can remember. It is a confectionery and bakery that sells hand-made pastries and cakes freshly baked on the premises.
The in vogue mantra that “you eat with your eyes” is severely challenged by Dona Manis Cake Shop in Katong Shopping Centre. There is hardly anything visually appealing about the shop – not the shop front, not its display counters, not its packaging and not even its pastry products. Yet the shop has many loyal customers and it is not unusual to find a queue outside the old school confectionery.
Run by pioneer generation husband-and-wife team Tan Keng Eng and Soh Tho Lang, Dona Manis Cake Shop is one of the few traditional bakeries left in Singapore. The wife is the baker and is almost always seen working away at the back. The husband is the one dealing with the customers and he can be quite charming, at times.
The shop occupies a small space in the basement of Katong Shopping Centre. Most of the space is used for baking and the food preparation. There are a few shelves for cooling the freshly baked products. A refrigerated display counter shows what they have to sell.
Dona Manis’ signature item is the banana pie. Their rum balls and scones are also popular. Other items you may find at the shop are cream horns, chocolate tarts, apple pies, biscuits and buns. You never quite know what is available at the shop – it depends on what Madam Soh bakes for that day and what the customers have snapped up. Many customers have turned up and queued up only to find out that the last batch of banana pie had been sold out.
For our latest visit to Dona Manis Cake Shop we bought some cream puffs ($2.50 each) and managed to get 2 slices of the famed banana pie ($2.50 per slice).
The “cream puffs” are really cream horns topped with a ball of whipped cream sprinkled with chocolate. The taste was rather ordinary.
Often touted as the best banana pie in Singapore, Dona Manis’ banana pie was as good as ever. It had a crisp, crumbly crust that was delicious on its own. The filling of sliced bananas of different varieties mixed with coconut savings was rich and scrumptious. Almond bits added a crunchy texture. It might not look very exciting but it was simply delicious – sweet old fashion goodness.
Good old Dona Manis Cake Shop in Katong Shopping Centre is a counterpoint to the mantra that you eat with your eyes; afterall “your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach.”
Dona Manis Cake Shop
865 Mountbatten Road
#B1-93 Katong Shopping Centre
Tel: +65 6440 7688
Mon : 9.30 am to 5 pm
Tues-Sat 9.30 am to 6 pm