Geylang which has a reputation of being Singapore’s ‘red light district’ is quite well-known for its numerous Chinese eateries, zi char restaurants, and late-night supper places.
I remember the ‘good old days’ when we would hang out for Geylang Beef Horfun, Frog’s Porridge and Yong He Dou Jiang – all around the same place at Lor 9 (20 years ago? gasp).
But the landscape there has changed quite a bit, especially after the “Circuit Breaker”, and we are starting to see many hipster cafes and dessert places opening up. So I made it a point to include the famous must-tries, and the new comers with potential.
Other than those listed here, some of the popular Geylang food places include Leong Kee (Klang) Bak Kut Teh, Tan Ser Seng Herbs Restaurant (for Turtle Soup), Bali Nasi Lemak, No Signboard Seafood Restaurant, Yong He Eating House, and newly opened Chicken Yakiniku Tori Yaro and San Shu Gong.
For your convenience and ease of navigation, I listed the shops and stalls according to the lorongs. Enjoy!
Jalan Sultan Prawn Mee 惹蘭蘇丹蝦麺
2 Jalan Ayer (Lorong 1 Geylang), Singapore 389141
Tel: +65 6748 2488
Opening Hours: 8am – 3:30pm (Wed – Mon), Closed Tues
Famous Prawn Noodle Soup with Michelin Plate
With over 70 years of history, Jalan Sultan Prawn Mee is also listed in the Singapore Michelin Guide with a “Michelin Plate”.
The famous noodle stall is located just off Geylang Lorong 1, a walking distance from Kallang MRT Station.
All prawn noodles are available as soup or dry, which comes with chili on the side and a small bowl of broth.
The fresh, sweet prawns come in 2 sizes – regular and “King”. The basic bowl starts at $6 for Prawn Mee, while it is recommended to get the King Prawn Pork Ribs Noodle ($8, $10). There is also a Pig Thai Pork Ribs Soup ($5, $8, $10) offered.
While my personal preference is typically the dry version, I say get the soup version for its broth, as it sets this apart from other stalls, mildly sweet and has a robust flavour.
Compared to some of the famous stalls around, the soup base was lighter, more diluted, not as hot-hot, but still considered appetizing. It was ”qing” and thus not too heavy. Jalan Sultan Prawn Mee (Geylang)
BBQ Box 串烧工坊
182 Geylang Rod, Singapore 389252
Tel: +65 9234 8659
Opening Hours: 1:30pm – 1:30am (Mon – Sun)
Popular Chinese BBQ Eatery known For Skewers
There are many Chinese BBQ restaurants at Geylang (too many till we cannot differentiate), but BBQ Box stands out and it is quite popular with the youths.
They serve up grilled skewers, with a wide selection of meats, seafood, fish, and greens. The skewers came on a tray with lighted candles below to keep the food warm.
Some of the popular dishes include Cajun Roasted Chicken Mid-Wings ($3.50), Grilled Beef Finger ($1.20), Grilled Romaine Lettuce ($1.30), Grilled Potato Chip ($2.80), Grilled Mantou Slices ($1.20) and Dumpling Shrimp Leek and Egg ($5.80).
I thought this was quite a fun concept, and liked its herb (+cumin?) and spicy seasoning on the meat sticks, which reminded me of those I had in the streets of Beijing.
Geylang Drip City
184 Geylang Road, Singapore 389253
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 6pm (Thurs – Tue), Closed Wed
Minimalist And Futuristic Black Coffee Bar
Situated right opposite Shell petrol station and next to the popular BBQ Box along Geylang Road, Geylang Drip City is a 25-seater Muslim-owned coffee bar.
Stepping inside, the all-black, futuristic design is very sleek and captivating with all the details from the coffee machine, to the black marble tables and coffer bar counter, walls, sofa couch and brewing equipment.
Geylang Drip City offers both coffee and light bites on their menu.
The espresso-based drinks use a single origin from El Salvador roasted by The Community Coffee for their Black, White and Soul Plane (Single Shot + 3oz White).
Light bites such as Sourdough served with either Lemon butter, Butter & Cream and Scrambled Egg are available. Geylang Drip City (Geylang)
Mongkok Dim Sum 旺角點心
214 Geylang Road, Singapore 389274
Tel: +65 8484 8829
Opening Hours: 24 Hours
For Dim Sum, Beef Noodle and Hong Kong style Cantonese Stir-Fried Dishes
Affordable and quite authentic, Mongkok Dim Sum is also popular for those with midnight cravings.
Customers love their Phoenix Prawn, Deep Fried Bean Curd Skin with Shrimp paste, and 3 Yolk Crab Porridge.
The Beef Horfun ($6.80, $14) is labelled as “Geylang Lor 9 Beef Horfun”. If you are wondering WHY, the two are owned by the same group.
Therefore, you would find that their styles are so similar – super-tender beef, thick sauce with that touch of spiciness.
I think some people would not be able to tell the difference if there was a blind-taste test.
Geylang Famous Beef Kway Teow 芽龙著名牛河
237 Geylang Road, Singapore 389296
Tel: +65 9388 0723
Opening Hours: 11pm – 1am (Mon – Wed, Fri – Sun), 4pm – 1am (Thurs)
Views of this shop can be divided. On one hand, people who tried it in the past would remark how much the standard has fallen; on the other there are diners who still consider it a not-bad rendition (when compared to many others Beef Hor Fun in Singapore.)
Priced at $7, $12, $18, $22 and $28, the plate is known for its generous portion of tenderer-than-tender beef slices (suspected too much tenderiser), cooked in thick gravy.
The wok-hei was not as strong as before, and sauce thinner as compared to the past. It could be because the rice noodles and sauces were pre-cooked, so lacking in that ‘oomph’ and wok-heat. But still not bad and worth a try. Geylang Lor 9 Beef Kway Teow (Geylang)
126 Dim Sum Wen Dao Shi 揾到食
126 Sims Ave, Singapore 387449
Tel: +65 6746 4757
Opening Hours: 24 Hours
Inexpensive Dim Sum For Late Night Supper
A typical Hong Kong-style eatery at Geylang (opposite Lor 17), the Dim Sum Wen Dao Shi is placed #1 on many people’s list of reliable restaurants to satisfy late-night supper cravings.
Don’t expect anything fanciful in terms of its interior, as it is a casual slightly-cramped space.
But the menu is brimming with an exciting variety of dim sum platters, homemade concoctions, and savory drinks.
The number of items can get quite overwhelming for first timers though, faced with many sheets of paper with hand-written labels and pricing in a green plastic folder.
Some of the store’s specialty are the 115 Crispy Cheese “Tarik”, 3 Fried Prawn Dumpling, 76 Scallop Siew Mai, 862 Crab Tang Hoon (Fried Thai Style).
I also liked that there were more uncommon items found here, such as Mixed Seaweed Roll ($3.80), Fried Crab Balls ($4.50), Fried Cuttlefish Paste with Beancurd Skin ($4.80), To Fried Banana with Mango Roll ($4).
Food is fresh and service is fast considering the number of customers.
Eminent Frog Porridge 明辉田鸡粥
323 Geylang Road (Lor 19), Singapore 389359
Opening Hours: 5pm – 4am Daily
Popular Frog Porridge Shop At Geylang With Michelin Bib Gourmand
There are 3 prominent Frog Porridge shops at Geylang, including the Michelin Bib Gourmand shop Eminent Frog Porridge at Lorong 19, G7 Sin Ma at Lorong 3, and Lion City at Lorong 9.
Eminent 明辉田鸡粥 serves up Frog Legs cooked in different sauces, from Gong Bao, Spring Onion, Porridge, Chinese Essence, Chinese Herb Soup, and store-exclusives Garlic & White Pepper and Special Home-made Chilli.
While 1 frog cost $8, they are known for their “buy 2 get 1 free” promotion at $16. A pot of 4 frogs is priced at $22.
Always pair it up with some of the Plain Porridge ($2, $3, $4) cooked in earthen pots.
I would recommend the Dried Chilli Gong Bao, where the tender frog legs would be simmered with chopped spring onions over high heat.
The enticing part would be the slightly-sticky dark sauce which was more sweet-savoury, with that notch of spice. I wished that there was more of the spiciness than sweetness though.
Eat it while it is hot, though the pot helps retain some of that heat within. Eminent Frog Porridge (Geylang Lor 19)
He Ping Claypot Rice
148 Sims Avenue Singapore 387470
Tel: +65 6748 9495
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm (Mon – Sun)
With over 40 years of history, He Ping Claypot Rice located at Geylang (near Lor 19) serves up Claypot Rice from $8 onwards.
The Claypot Rice is prepared the traditional way with charcoal, so be prepared to wait 30 minutes or more if you did not reserve before hand.
There is something different about the way it was served. The ingredients of chicken chunks, Chinese sausage, salted fish and salted duck egg yolk were removed before the dark sauce and oil were poured in. Auntie helped with the entire process, rather than some stalls which are DIY.
Auntie mentioned this is so that customers can choose and add ingredients, rather than to have it all mixed in. (I was quite divided on this decision as I felt that the salted egg and fish would have taken better within, well mixed.)
Don’t forget about the sambal chilli, which helps some of the blander parts more flavourful.
Koung’s Wantan Mee
205 Sims Avenue, Singapore 387506
Opening Hours: 8am – 7:30pm (Mon), 8am – 8:30pm (Tues – Sun)
Charcoal Roasted Char Siew With Springy Noodles
In operation since 1964, Koung’s Wantan Mee continues to draw fans to this part of Geylang for its old-school wanton noodles.
The location is kind of near Geylang Lor 21 even though the sign still indicates Lor 13.
A basic plate of Wanton Noodle in dry or soup version is sold at $4, while you can opt for extra noodles, vegetables, ingredients, or dumpling.
Note: The wait can be quite long even if there are not many customers in sight. So you may have to wait anything from 30 to 45 minutes?
Koung’s strength is probably in its charcoal-grilled char siew made with fresh quality pork, then marinated with a specialty sauce.
It did have more lean meat than fats when compared to the usual, but it went well with the noodles which was accompanied with own-fried pork lard and oil. Koung’s Wantan Mee (Geylang)
The Wonderment Collective
Agrow Building, 90 Lorong 23 Geylang, #01-01, Singapore 388393
Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm (Mon – Fri), 8:30am – 1:30pm (Sat), Closed Sun
Hidden Elegant Blue-Themed Cafe At Geylang
Setting inside, one will be greeted by the cozy 7 seater-space, clasped in gold and blue which has a slight resemblance to well… TWG.
From the tall ceiling, ample natural lighting to the golden takeaway tins, this Muslim-owned La Boutique evokes a sense of homely and class, suitable for a quiet afternoon tea time.
Their pastry menu rotates on a weekly basis, so check out the updates on their social media channels before heading down for your favourites.
There were Brownies ($6.50), Burnt Cheesecake ($6.50), 2 Tea Cakes ($6.50), Fruit Tart ($6.50) and Assorted Macarons (1 for $2, 3 for $5) during my visit.
My favourite was the Burnt Cheesecake ($6.50), served with raspberry compote by the side. The Burnt Cheesecake came in a round shape instead of the sliced version commonly seen in other cafes. The Wonderment Collective (Geylang)
Penang Seafood Restaurant
32 Aljunied Rd, Singapore 389817
Opening Hours: 11am – 12am (Mon – Sun)
Penang Cuisine with Zi Char
This Penang and zi char place is kind of near Geylang Lor 25. I have only recently tried out this place, because I wasn’t sure about a restaurant which serves up too many things.
Starting with the zi char side, there are items such as Volcano Chicken ($48), Yam Ring, ($24, $32), Sona Live Prawns (market price), Salted Egg Prawns ($20 onwards), Baby Spinach Soup ($12 onwards), Pumpkin Beancurd ($20 onwards) and Deep Fried Cod with Soya Sauce ($10 per 100g).
But I was really there for its Penang Special, which was a limited menu of Penang Assam Laksa ($6), Penang Fried Kway Teow ($7), Fried Beancurd ($5), and Shrimp Roll ($12).
Surprise, surprise. I thought that the Penang Assam Laksa ($6) was actually quite decent, with tasty tangy gravy and a strong fermented aroma of the prawn paste. Though not as hot and robust as those I had in Penang, this came quite close for local standards.
517 Geylang Road, Lorong 27A, 27A Eating House, Singapore 389473
Tel: +65 9755 2771
Opening Hours: 5pm – 11pm (Mon – Fri), 4pm – 11pm (Sat – Sun)
Satay Sauce Recipe With More Than 18 Different Herbs and Spices
Kwong Satay originated in the 1960s when Wong Chee Kwong’s grandfather peddled satay from a trishaw around the Katong area.
The traditional Hainanese recipe includes marinating the meats with aromatic spices like jintan puteh (cumin), jintaan manis (fennel), cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, five-spice powder, and saffron.
Up to now, Kwong Satay remains faithful to the original recipe.
With a flavour-packed marinade, the meat is grilled over charcoals until cooked tender but still succulent. To make it piquant, shallot and garlic are added to both marinade and sauce.
The chicken, mutton and fat-striated pork belly satay are each priced at $0.60, minimum order 10 sticks.
Dip them in the signature satay sauce, made chunkier with added mashed sugar-boiled pineapple for a burst of sweet-zesty notes.
Note that Kwong Satay has moved from Geylang Lor 29 to nearby Lor 27A, though I thought that it wasn’t as tasty and well-grilled as what I previously had.
Swee Guan Hokkien Mee
5 Lor 29 Geylang, Singapore 388060
Tel: +65 9817 5652
Opening Hours: 5pm – 10pm (Thurs – Tues), Closed Wed
Charcoal-Fire Fried Hokkien Mee At Geylang Lor 29
Located at an inconspicuous coffeeshop at Geylang Lor 29, there is always a moderately long queue here, with fans waiting patiently in the heat for a plate of delicious Hokking Mee.
Note: The owner Hock Siong has a brother (Alex) with a stall called Geylang Lor 29 Hokkien Mee located at East Coast. While they are from the same family, there are differences between the two versions.
A plate now starts at $6, but most people go for the $8 or $10 options – for a plate with that edgy, smoky taste due to the use of the charcoal.
I would say it terms of wok-hei, portion, flavours, texture, this is quite balanced overall – difficult to fault.
It was also fried till soft and flavourful with lard fragrance. Swee Guan Hokkien Mee (Geylang)
JB Ah Meng
534 Geylang Road Lor 30 Singapore 389490
Tel: +65 6741 2418
Opening Hours: 5pm – 2:15am (Mon – Sun)
Tasty White Pepper Crab and Salted Egg Prawn Roll
Accordingly, the chefs from JB Ah Meng are from across the Causeway, and cook in feisty Malaysian style with wok-hei
JB Ah Meng has a number of ‘star’ signature dishes – JB San Lou Meehoon, White Pepper Crab, Salted Egg Prawn Roll, Fried Fish Head, and 3 Delicacy Beancurd.
If you are a first timer here, you should order at least one of the above.
What I liked was that the white pepper did not overcome the sweetness freshness of the crab meat.
The crab could be of bigger sizes, boosting more succulent meat, but the power sauce would make you overlook that. Hate using this phrase, but this was finger-licking-good. JB Ah Meng (Geylang)
L32 Hand Made Noodles
558 Geylang Road (Lor 32), Singapore 389509
Tel: +65 9770 2829
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 9:30pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Famous For Dry Ban Mian
In terms of Dry Ban Mian, I think this famous stall at Geylang can easily be ranked as Top 3 in Singapore (1st for many, I would assume.)
This little stall is owned by a couple who make Ban Mian out of their love for cooking and excellent culinary skills. One of their ‘formulas’ is to leave the soup to simmer for over 10 hours a night before.
Coupled with their handmade noodles and star ingredients of anchovies and meat or seafood ingredients, the Ban Mian is a considered a bowl of heaven to many. There are choices of pork, chicken, fishball, meatballs, prawn, sliced fish, abalone clam, fish head, and prawn with sliced fish.
A bowl is priced from $4 to $7.
It was the Dry Bee Hoon Kway, tossed in a sweetish black sauce that stole my heart. I would recommend adding some of the chilli sauce in to balance out the sweetness. All their ingredients are said to be fresh and soup MSG free.
Sik Bao Sin (Desmond’s Creation)
592 Geylang Road, Singapore 389531 (Between Lor 34 & 36)
Tel: +65 6744 3757
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:45am – 2:30pm, Dinner 5:45pm – 9:30pm (Tue – Sun), Closed Mon
13 Dishes Offered, Famous For Steamed Fish Head
The food items here are called “Desmond’s creations”, as it is headed by Chef Desmond Chia who was formally from the famous Sik Wai Sin near Geylang Lor 15.
You won’t find fried rice or horfun, but only dishes that go with rice. Just a note: the menu here doesn’t indicate any pricing. That may make a new diner slightly anxious, enquire and you would find out that prices are mostly either $19 or $26 per dish. (Prices here are indicative, so do ask.)
Among the 13 items, 10 are listed as all-time favourites, with 4 named as main stars: Steamed Fish Head, Tofu Prawns, Ginger Chicken, and Steamed Pork with Salted Fish.
One of my personal favourites was the Steamed Pork with Salted Fish ($17), neither overpoweringly salty nor oil, and went well with steamed white rice.
Although the younger generation now probably have less contact with salted fish type dishes, it was so comforting-good. Sik Bao Sin (Geylang)
Sean Kee Duck Rice
659-661 Lor 35 Geylang, Singapore 389589
Tel: +65 9757 5255
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 6pm (Mon – Fri, Sun), Closed Sat
Tender Braised Duck Rice with Tasty Lor
This stall with almost 40 years of history has two names, known as “Sia Kee Duck Rice” or “Sean Kee Duck Rice”.
The basic Braised Duck Rice contains a plate of duck rice with duck meat, bean sprouts, braised peanuts; though you can top-up with items such as bean sprouts, more peanuts, braised eggs, beancurd, and chilli fishcake.
If you like your rice with a lot of lor aka dark braised sauce, then you would probably enjoy this Sia Kee’s take which is slightly on the sweetish side and sufficiently coats up most of the grains.
The rice is cooked to the soggier side, which I really didn’t mind. Overall, more zhong kou wei or rich.
Sin Huat Eating House
659/661 Lorong 35 Geylang Singapore 389589
Tel: +65 6744 9755
Opening Hours: 6:30pm – 1am (Mon – Sun)
Expensive Crab Bee Hoon At “No Menu” Restaurant With Michelin Bib Gourmand
There is NO MENU at the Michelin Bib Gourmand, Anthony Bourdain recommended Sin Huat Eating House at red-light district of Geylang Lorong 35.
Sin Huat Eating House had received complaints and negative feedback from exorbitant prices, rude service and long waiting hours.
My order included the legendary Crab Bee Hoon ($160 for 2 crabs), Prawns ($84 for 14 pieces), Scallops ($50 for 2 kg, that was like 12 pieces?), Frogs’ legs with essence of chicken ($26 for 2 frogs), and Vegetables ($20).
Note: prices differ, so please check with Chef properly.
The Crab Bee Hoon ($168) had rice vermicelli drenched in this impossible-to-resist sauce, with wok-hei and crabs so fleshy-sweet you wave your diets goodbye.
I wished for MORE bee hoon per crab, but got reminded that this had to be done so that every strand would get wrapped with the essence and flavours.
A word of caution: The kitchen was heavy-handed in using garlic. If your nemesis is garlic or you are a Dracula, stay far-far away. Sin Huat Eating House (Geylang)
Sims Vista, 53 Sims Place, #01-172, Singapore 380053
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Malaysian-Style Cafe With $35 for 2 Afternoon Tea Set
Teahouse 1973 is the newest addition to the Geylang community at Sims Vista. What you can expect are traditional home recipes of culinary flavours of Penang Malaysia given a modern twist.
I was there on a weekday afternoon and happened to see the same Afternoon Tea Sets on every table.
Probably one of the most reasonably priced Afternoon Tea Set at $35 for 2 pax, available on Tuesday and Fridays from 2pm to 5pm.
The assortment of pastries included varies every time and comes with a pot of fruit tea.
Both Asian and Western grub items are on their menu such as Nasi Lemak ($13.80), Curry Chicken Roti Prata ($8.80), Cheese Baked Rice with Japan Curry Seafood ($13.80), Rosemary Honey Roasted Chicken Leg ($13.80), Salted Egg chicken Chop ($13.80), Sous Vide Steak ($19.90) and Beef/ Chicken/ Salmon Burger ($13.80).
This Sambal Prawn Nasi Lemak ($13.80) is an atas version, beautifully plated with green banana leaf, blue butterfly pea rice, with a dollop of sambal chilli on top. Teahouse 1973 (Geylang)
Sweet Hut 甜秘密
654 Geylang Rd, Geylang Lor 40, Singapore 389584
Opening Hours: 3pm – 4am (Mon – Sun)
IG-Worthy Colourful Dessert Shop Opens Till 4AM Daily
Sweet Hut stood out among the row of shophouses due to the colourful walls and hanging neon lights that didn’t quite resemble the typical local dessert place.
Here, you will find a huge, 50-seater Instagram-worthy space.
There are varied themes in different corners, ranging from a blue floral backdrop to a golden cage, tatami area or even seats shaped like a rolling dice and Rubik’s cube.
Desserts such as Durian Sago ($6.90), D24 Durian Mousses ($6.90), Bird’s Nest ($15 – $28), Herbal Gui Ling Gao ($2.30), Almond/ Walnut/ Peanut/ Sesame Paste ($3.80), Yam Paste with Pumpkin & Ginkgo ($5.80) and Honeydew Sago ($4.30) can be found on their menu.
The Yam Paste with Pumpkin & Ginkgo ($5.80) aka Orh-Nee was rich and creamy with a thick and viscous texture, topped with a dollop of pumpkin flesh that added some sweetness. The ginkgo nuts contributed some chewiness overall. Sweet Hut 甜秘密 (Geylang)
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