Rumah Bebe in Katong is the place for good nyonya food. While takeaway is its mainstay, dining at the shophouse is a rather unique experience. You can go there for tea-time snacks. If you want lunch, the daily special Rumah Bebe menu offers a sampling of the popular dishes.
Rumah Bebe in Katong
Rumah Bebe (which means house or home of Bebe) in Katong showcases Peranakan furnishings, costumes & shoes and, of course, nyonya kuehs and dishes. It is like a living history project rather than a neat but sterile museum.
We had bought food for Rumah Bebe for take away on many occasions (see Rumah Bebe – top nyonya food for takeaway). However, having a meal there was a rather interesting experience
Rumah Bebe Menu
Rumah Bebe does not have a fix menu. The “Cuisine” section of their website shows you photos of the typical items offered. However, you never know what is available or not on a particular day.
The Daily Rumah Bebe Menu and Today’s Lunch Specialties are simply printed on pieces of paper and affixed on a notice board outside the shop.
Kuehs, cakes, candies and sides dishes or snacks that are available are also on display inside the shop.
Dining in Bebe’s Shop
Not only does it not have a regular menu, Rumah Bebe does not have a dining hall. There is a table near the main entrance used for display and for takeaway packages awaiting pickup. It will be used as a dining table if there are eat-in guests.
There are a few small tables among the sarong kebayas, beaded slippers and jewelry for sale. Eating at those tables is like eating in someone’s cluttered home.
Lunch at Rumah Bebe in Katong
The Rumah Bebe Menu for lunch included all the items we wanted and so we decided to have lunch there. We had the Beef Rendang ($16), Chye Tow Kueh ($8.50) and Otak ($3.50).
The beef rendang came in a rather substantial portion. It could easily be shared by 3 to 4. It was good. The dish had luscious texture and a complex mix of spices. The beef was tender and flavourful. It went very well with plain steamed rice.
The otak was served hot. The fish, coconut milk, herbs, spices and other ingredients were well blended. The texture was soft and smooth, almost custard like, but retaining sufficient firmness to please the palate. It was not too spicy and could be eaten on its own. It also went well with rice.
The Chye Tow Kueh or carrot cake (or radish cake) was nice. The radish cake fried with egg was soft and moist and tasty. It was served with a small amount of sambal on the side. With the sambal added in, the dish took on a completely different character – transformed from comfort food to a spicy dish which would excite the taste buds.
Cold lemongrass drink ($1.50) was refreshing and a good counterbalance to hot sambal. We rounded up our lunch with freshly made kueh bingka ($6 for 4 pieces). The tapioca cake was soft and chewy and not too sweet. It had a pleasant aroma. It was hard to stop at just one piece.
Good Peranakan Food
Rumah Bebe in Katong has no regular menu, no dedicated dining hall and no fancy plating. Don’t expect anything close to white linen service. What you can expect is good Peranakan food prepared the old fashioned way served in a homely shophouse. It may feel like you are intruding in someone’s home or shop when you are eating there. Perhaps that is the charming authenticity of Rumah Bebe.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
113 East Coast Road
WhatsApp / SMS : +65 98162177
Tel: +65 6247 8781
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog