Balestier was a sugarcane plantation developed by Joseph Balestier. He was an American who arrived in Singapore in 1834 and initially served as the United States consul. In the early 1900s, Dr Sun Yat Sen stayed in a villa in Balestier (now the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall) several times. The bungalow in Balestier was used as the regional headquarters for the revolutionary activities of Tongmenghui and Kuomintang. Today Balestier is associated with lighting shops and Tau Siah Piah, a traditional Chinese pastry stuffed with bean paste. 603 Tau Sar Piah is one of the many tau sar piah shops in Balestier. This small family owned traditional bakery has brought us much delight and many many calories.
There will always be a debate about where to find the best tau sar piah in Singapore. The battle in Balestier seem to be between 2 popular shops – Loong Fatt Tau Sar Piah at 639 Balestier Road and 603 Tau Sar Piah at, well, 603 Balestier Road. As in most food wars, there probably can be no clear winner in this battle of Balestier – each shop will have its own loyal followers and supporters.
603 Tau Sar Piah is located in a row of shophouses which is near the junction of Balestier Road and Thomson Road. It looks like it has tried to update the appearance of its shop front but it still has a very neighbourhood bakery feel.
Right at the front of the shop, there is a display cabinet for Western cakes, pies and tarts. In another display cabinet are tau sar piahs with all sorts of filling – from bean paste to yam and durian.
603 Tau Sar Piah also sells food like char siew sou, curry puffs, custard puffs and a variety of sweets and snacks.
The main attraction for us at 603 Tau Sar Piah for is their tau sar piah with flaky pastry. When we visited the shop recently we bought a box of Salty Tau Sar Piah (80 cents each) and Lotus and Sesame Paste Tau Sar Piah ($1.50 each).
It might not be too evident from the photos but the Lotus and Sesame Paste Tau Sar Piah is much bigger than the Salty Tau Sar Piah. We like the crust of 603 Tau Sar Piah. It is made up of a number of thin layers and is not oily. The crust is a bit hard, like a biscuit texture, but is crispy and flaky. Every bite of the crunchy crust is a delight.
The filling of the 603 Salty Tau Sar Piah was properly salty with a right tinge of sweetness. The generous amount of filling was crumbly but not too dry.
603 Lotus and Sesame Paste Tau Sar Piah has two separate types of filling. Both are smooth and moist. They are sweet but not too sweet. Everything combined well to make the tau sar piah a very enjoyable one.
Plain Tau Sar Piah may not be very Instagrammable and thus not trendy. However, a good tau sah piah is a classic treat at a fraction of the price of many of the fancy and cute tarts and pastries we find nowadays. The freshly baked flaky pastry of 603 Tau Sar Piah is a delicious traditional delicacy – old-fashioned goodness which can give simple pleasure at any time of the day.
603 Tau Sar Piah
603 Balestier Road
Tel: +65 6250 0692
Opening Hours: 8 am- 6.30 pm
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog