Chong Wen Ge Cafe is a Peranakan cafe that occupies the building that once housed Singapore’s first Chinese school. There is a Peranakan Tiles Gallery next to the cafe and a Japanese owned Music Box Museum upstairs. Their next door neighbour is one of the oldest Chinese temples in Singapore, the Thian Hock Keng Temple. How did all these different entities end up in as neighbours in Telok Ayer? An insightful article in the Today newspaper provides some good background reading: “Tile me about it: Chong Wen Ge is the most unusual cafe space in Telok Ayer”.
Peranakan Tile Gallery
Chong Wen Ge Cafe is located on the ground floor of the blue building. Here are some pictures of the Peranakan Tile Gallery.
The cafe part of the premises is furnished with an abundance of colourful tiles on the floor and the table tops. Some antique furniture added to the Straits Chinese atmosphere.
Chong Wen Ge Cafe Menu
The menu at Chong Wen Ge Cafe was a simple one. Food on one page and drinks on the other. We tried four of their main dishes and an assortment of nonya kueh.
Here is a picture of the main dishes – Curry Chicken and Rice ($10.80), Sambal Prawns and Rice ($10.80), Laksa ($10.80) and Mee Siam ($7.80).
The chicken curry and the sambal prawns were both nicely presented. Only the flat middle part of the chicken wing was used. The curry was thick, creamy and mildly spicy. We would have preferred the curry to have more kick and less lemak and to have pieces of chicken other than just the wingettes. The sambal prawn was better, with a sharper taste.
We thought that the laksa and the mee siam had similar characteristics as the curry chicken and sambal prawn respectively. The curry had a heavy taste of coconut milk and only mildly spicy. We preferred the mee siam. A generous number of prawns were served in both the laksa and the mee siam.
We tried an assortment of 5 types of nonya kueh that came with two drinks and cost $10.50 and a fresh coconut ($4.50). The kuehs were attractive but the taste was quite average. The hot drinks were also quite average but the coconut was delicious.
Overall, the Telok Ayer area is always an interesting place to visit for both locals and tourists. The Chong Wen Ge Cafe is an unusual place to find Peranakan food. The food was not the best nonya food that we have tried, but the overall experience of the location and the history was certainly unique.
Overall Rating: 3 TOPs
Chong Wen Ge Cafe
168 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: +65 9168 3208
Opening Hours: 10 am – 6 pm
Nearby MRT Stations: Telok Ayer, Tanjong Pagar