From football fans to foodies, Jalan Besar is an area that is dear to many. That’s why we thought it’s appropriate to offer a guide to the best cafes, bars and restaurants in the area.
Named after the Malay words for Big Road, Jalan Besar started as a track through a betel nut and fruit orchard in the 1830s. The area was urbanised after World War 1, and numerous engineering workshops opened in the area, some of which still exist today.
Much of the bustle still takes place around Jalan Besar Stadium, which hosted the heyday of Singapore football between the 1930s to 1970s. In the neighbouring shophouses, you’ll find trendy cafes and bars like Chye Seng Huat Hardware and Druggists. Scaled offers locally farmed seafood direct from the supplier, and 1 Tyrwhitt Bistro Bar brings cheap beer and pizza together.
Hawker food also features heavily in Jalan Besar. Beach Road Scissor-Cut Curry Rice serves a sloppy but surefire dish, while Cheng Mun Chee Kee cooks pig organ soup that is incredibly soothing. Lim’s Fried Oyster at Berseh Food Centre is slightly further afield but is well worth a visit, as is the dim dum at Swee Choon. Finish off with cookies from Creamery, which does them lava cake-style. See below for more.
(Hero and featured image credit: Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee & Ah Hua Kelong)
Your guide to the best cafes, bars and restaurants in Jalan Besar
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Just a throw in from Jalan Besar Stadium is Tyrwhitt Bistro & Bar, which serves hearty, honest pub fare and affordable beer. Their Truffle Mushroom Pizza is a hit, and they allow you to get a half-and-half pie. Also popular is their happy hour deals like 1-for-1 pints of Carlsberg or Kronenbourg Blanc, and beer towers.
Mondays to Sundays, 3pm to 10.30pm
(Image credit: @1tyrwhittbistro)
Beach Road Scissor-Cut Curry Rice is decidedly un-Instagrammable. One of the pioneers of this dish, they use scissors to trim the food into bite-sized pieces, then drench the plate in one shade of curry. But the aroma and rich flavours are a draw. Popular options include the chicken chop, cabbage and braised pork belly.
Daily, 11am to 3.30am
(Image credit: @mikelogy / Instagram)
Comfort is a big bowl of pork soup at Cheng Mun Chee Kee. The signature includes generous amounts of meatballs, pork liver, stomach and other off cuts, while sides like Hua Diao Wine Chicken with Ginger and salted vegetables complements the soup’s meatiness. If you run out of broth, the stall offers free refills.
Sundays to Thursdays, 10am to 2am
Fridays and Saturdays, 10am to 3am
(Image credit: @hungryrayshoots / Instagram)
Chye Seng Huat Hardware was one of the pioneers that gentrified the Jalan Besar area. Run by PPP Coffee, they took over a hardware store and kept the name and the Art Deco touches, and added a rustic courtyard straight out of Kinfolk. The spot is still plenty popular today for its artisanal coffees, which you can have alongside tempura unagi wrap and oat milk muesli.
Daily, 8.30am to 10pm
Creamery’s ice creams run the gamut of styles – from Milo Dinosaur to a
Hojicha and Nutella mashup – but their cookies are arguably the highlight. They serve them in the style of a lava cake, oozing with flavours such as matcha, red velvet with lemon cream and charcoal cookie with salted egg. They also sell kits that let you recreate the experience at home.
Mondays to Wednesdays, 12.30pm to 10pm
Fridays, 12.30pm to 10.30pm
Saturdays, 12pm to 10.30pm
Sundays, 12pm to 10pm
Also taking the name of its previous tenant is Druggists. The bar replaced a former Chinese medicine hall and now serve therapeutics of the liquid kind: craft beer, cocktails and natural wine. The food is also well executed, like the Kung Pao Chicken Poppers, Curry Fries and Kacang Power Burger: galangal-marinated and grilled chicken thigh with satay sauce in toasted hamburger bun.
Weekdays, 3pm to 10.20pm
Weekends, 1pm to 10.20pm
(Image credit: @druggists_sg)
Located on the ground floor of Berseh Food Centre, Lim’s Fried Oyster is a second-generation hawker stall serving up decadent orh luak. The bivalves are fat and juicy, and the omelette has a lovely wok hei with charred, crispy sides. Fermented shrimp in the homemade chilli paste offers more briny depth.
Daily, 6pm to 12am
(Image credit: @amazingkway)
Scaled is local seafood supplier Ah Hua Kelong’s restaurant arm. They sell to other top end eateries such as Rosemead, Salted & Hung and Labyrinth, so there shouldn’t be any doubts of their quality. Asian flavours make up most of the dishes here, from grilled sea bass with pickled daikon and dill to Kong Bah Grouper with seasoned short grain rice and fennel celery archar.
Mondays and Wednesdays, 5.30pm to 10.30pm
Thursdays to Sundays, 12pm to 2.30pm, 5.30pm to 10.30pm
Swee Choon should be your destination when you’re hankering for traditional dim sum. Opened since 1962, they serve classic Hong Kong and Shanghai style dumplings and hand pulled noodles for lunch, then switch to zi char dishes in the evening. Go early or make a reservation, especially during weekends.
Weekdays, 11am to 2.30pm
Weekends and public holidays, 10am to 3.30pm
Sundays to Thursdays 6pm to 2am
Fridays, Saturdays and eve of public holidays, 6pm to 3am