Old School Confectionaries To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth In Singapore

© Jonathan Lim/Flickr
© Jonathan Lim/Flickr
Photo of Prianka Ghosh
1 November 2016

These days, Singapore is hipster heaven with cute cafés and artisanal desserts for sale on every corner across the island, from Bugis to Tiong Bahru. But long before café culture became ubiquitous in the Lion City, there were bakeries that specialized in traditional Chinese sweets like kueh and ondeh ondeh as well as more Eurasian style baked goods like sugee cake.

Balmoral Bakery

Bakery, Australian, British
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Balmoral Bakery opened the year of Singapore’s independence and has been serving up sweet and savory pastries to its loyal customers for over five decades. It was founded by the same Hainanese brothers who owned the Balmoral Steak House in Holland Village that catered to Australian and English expats, and so many of the bakery’s recipes are British-inspired. All of their products are not just made by hand, but they also use the same recipes they’ve been using for 50 years. Be sure to try their chicken pie or go for butter cakes that are still decorated in the traditional style, which gives them a vintage vibe.

Lek Lim Nonya Cake Confectionery

Bakery, Chinese
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Lek Lim Nonya Cake Confectionery started at the owner’s home where they made ku kuehs, also known as red tortoise cakes, using a family recipe and delivered them to nearby friends and customers. In 1979, they moved into their present-day home on Bedok North Street. Over the years, they added more and more items to their menu including their popular ang kueh (Chinese rice cake) and Chinese new year cookies. To this day, all of their products are handmade following their original family recipes.

Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry

Bakery, Pastry Shop, Pastries, $$$
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Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry is known for its kueh dar dar — in this case, rice cakes filled with sweet coconut and pandan leaves. Unlike most places that use palm sugar for the filling, Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry is unique in using rock sugar, which enhances the natural sweetness of the coconut filling. This bakery also makes an incomparable ondeh ondeh (boiled rice cakes stuffed with liquid palm sugar and rolled in grated coconut) using sweet potatoes to make the dough, resulting in a totally unique version of the pastry.

Love Confectionery

Bakery, Dessert
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The nostalgia of Love Confectionery comes as much from its old school baking style as its vintage decorations. The shop sells deceptively simple cream cakes in different flavours like chocolate rice and rainbow sprinkles, but their fluffy texture makes these moist cakes irresistible to all of their loyal customers. Love Confectionery is located near the Alexandra Food Village, so stop in after a visit to the hawkers center.

Chin Mee Chin Confectionery

Bakery, Cafe, Asian, $$$
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If you’ve ever wondering how Singapore felt and looked before the rapid modernization it has undergone over the last decades, visit Chin Mee Chin to be whisked back to the late 1940s. This bakery has been located in this same shophouse on East Coast Road for more than 70 years, and very little has changed. Chin Mee Chin is the place to go for the traditional Singapore breakfast of kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs, and kopi. Be sure to also try their sugee cake — made from Semolina, it is a Singapore classic.

Dona Manis Cake Shop

Bakery, Asian
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The Dona Manis Cake Shop is a relative newbie in the Singapore confectionery landscape. The confectionery opened 20 years ago and was started by Tan Keng Eng and Soh Tho Lang. The husband-and-wife team gained fame across the island for their trademarked banana pies. When patrons first started discovering them — and hidden away in the basement of Katong Shopping Centre, they really did have to be discovered — customers went crazy for these pies with sliced bananas enhanced by coconut shavings and an almond crunch to finish it off.