Alfresco Coffeeshop Dining
Monday, 17 Sep 2012
So you think you’ve earned your well-travelled Tiong Bahru hipster cred, huh?
You’ve become fast friends with the charming nana & bird, had your requisite coffee at Forty Hands, and your too-pretty-to-eat croissant at Tiong Bahru Bakery. Hell, you can even order at Open Door Policy with both eyes shut.
Well you haven’t covered full ground yet, kid.
We think that Tiong Bahru’s best-kept secret is actually… a long-standing coffeeshop that was there before the area became the buzzing hub it is now.
It’s not fancy, but Ting Heng Seafood Restaurant definitely cooks up some good grub.
First things first. This is not a fancy place. You eat by the roadside, alfresco style, on red plastic chairs and wooden tables. We personally think it’s a great restaurant to bring out-of-towners to because it’s got fantastic local fare at reasonable prices and is a shining example of unpretentious tze char (translation: Chinese home-style cooking).
Those familiar with the place might know it for its steamboat (some say hotpot), which is enticing enough, but who wants to sit outdoors in tropical humidity and fawn over a bubbling pot of soup? Not us.
We highly recommend the crab here – both pepper and chilli are great options, but our favourite is the cold crab. The reliable freshness of their seafood means you can enjoy the produce as simply as possible. They usually go for about $20+/crab. Call ahead to check if they have it – they don’t always carry the dish.
Those who enjoy seafood also have the option of ordering geoduck (again, always fresh). One of our staples is their steamed fish that comes perfectly cooked, but this is plenty, so order only when you’ve got a large table. Other failsafe options include 3-egg vegetable, hotplate beef, cereal prawns, and their famed crispy roast chicken.
Service is fast though not the friendlist. Don’t be intimidated if you can’t order in Mandarin; either call over a waitress who can (there usually is at least one on shift), or point to the menu! Also, we find most dishes a tad oily, so you might want to put in a word for them to cut down on the oil.
We’ve brought both tourists and fussy locals alike, and everyone has only had good things to say about it. We even tested the restaurant with a 90-year-old cookbook author – and to date it remains her favourite restaurant!
Call ahead to reserve a table.
Ting Heng Seafood Restaurant, #01-03, 82 Tiong Poh Road, Singapore 160082, p. 6323 6093. Next to Drips Bakery Cafe