Lifestyle Asia
Home > Food & Drink > Dining > These are the best heritage Hainanese diners in Singapore
These are the best heritage Hainanese diners in Singapore

Hainanese cuisine is often overlooked and generalised.

If you’re muttering “Isn’t it just Hainanese chicken rice,” under your breath now — we’re here to prove you wrong.

Before we get started, here’s a quick history behind Hainanese cuisine in Singapore. Compared to the Hokkiens, Teochews and Cantonese in China, the Hainanese were among the last to arrive in Singapore. Due to their difficulties in communication and comparatively underprivileged backgrounds, many ended up as cook boys and waiters in the British and Peranakan households.

heritage hainanese diners
There’s so much more to Hainanese cuisine than just chicken rice. (Image credit: Jew Kit Chicken Rice)

While these positions might have deterred many, their occupations proved to be an advantage for the community: the Hainanese became the first Chinese in Singapore to master Western cooking and table craft, resulting in dishes like Hainanese chicken rice, fried pork chop, meat pies and Hainanese steamboat. They eventually ventured into the F&B and hotel industry on their own in the post-WWII years.

If you’re ready to revisit the dialect’s spectacular heritage and food, look no further than these best Hainanese restaurants in Singapore.

(Hero and featured image: Three Hungry Tummies)

Scroll down for the best Hainanese restaurants in Singapore:

Family-run Cheng’s 27 (previously known as Cheng’s Delicacies) has been in operation since 1989, nestled in a cosy kopitiam along Tiong Bahru. Here, find hearty plates of Hainanese home-styled dishes for both lunch and dinner service, including the iconic Canned Pig Trotters Bee Hoon, a saucy plate that’s elevated with tons of wok hei flavour.
If you’re early enough, make sure to grab a bottle of their homemade kaya (best served chilled on top of some buttery soda biscuits!) and their crowd-favourite Gula Melaka Chiffon Cake to go.

(Image credit: @taanism via Instagram)

Address
27 Yong Siak St, Singapore 168654
Phone
+65 6223 7883
Golden Mile Thien Kee Steamboat was founded in 1952, in the colourful Bugis Street, but has since moved to the basement of Golden Mile Tower. You’ll be greeted chatters of Hainanese by guests and servers alike in the air, before being ushered to your table. Besides chicken rice, many diners here come for their classic steamboat — a rich chicken soup base that’s topped with an assortment of blood cockles, pork liver, pork slices, beef tripe, fried fish maw, sea cucumber, fish slices, squid and more.

(Image credit: @goldenmilethienkee via Instagram)

Address
6001 Beach Rd, #B1, 20 Golden Mile Tower, 199589
Phone
+65 6298 5891

3 /4

Jin Wee Restaurant

Easties won’t be strangers to Jin Wee Restaurant — an unassuming Kopitiam-styled eatery along Upper East Coast Road. On every table, you’ll be sure to find a serving of the diner’s Hai Nan Pork Cutlet a mountain of chopped pork cutlet drizzled in a tangy tomato-based sauce, complete with slivers of sweet onion and waxy potatoes.

If you’re wondering what the giant clay pot is at the entrance of the shop, it’s home to individual chicken soup clay pots that have been simmering in the vessel for hours on end — resulting in fall-off-the-bone meat and a clear, comforting broth packed with flavour.

(Image credit: @hansbaobao via Instagram)

Address
928 East Coast Road, 459117
Phone
+65 9852 7066

Easily one of the most popular Hainanese restaurants in Singapore, Chin Chin Eating House draws upon almost nine decades of experience to offer diners authentic dishes today. The dishes here are quintessentially Hainanese, and range from steamed chicken rice, to chap chye, mutton soup, and of course, pork chop. If you wanted to venture out of the usual fare, the restaurant does other zi char staples like the Prawn Paste Chicken and Cereal Prawns equally well too.

(Image credit: @alfccw via Instagram)

Address
19 Purvis Street, Singapore 188598
Phone
+65 6337 4640
Jocelyn Tan
Senior Writer
Jocelyn Tan is a travel and design writer who's probably indulging in serial killer podcasts or reading one too many books on East Asian history. When she actually gets to travel, you can find her attempting to stuff her entire wardrobe into her luggage. Yes, she's a chronic over-packer.
Sign up for our newsletters to have the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every week.

Yes, I agree to the Privacy Policy

Never miss an update

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates.

No Thanks
You’re all set

Thank you for your subscription.