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What I Eat In My Hood: Newly Minted Tiong Bahru Resident

“Long before I moved here, I’d visit Tiong Bahru often,” says Experience Design Lead Jayson Ong.

“I’ve always loved the vibe of this place and that it offers a whole mishmash of things, from great local food to good western brunches. Moving here, however, has meant that I now eat in the area throughout the day, especially since I work from home more often. This has given me a chance to really get to know the neighbourhood and all its offerings.

“At the end of the day, it’s the stalwart Chinese food businesses that I find myself gravitating towards. The hipper western-style joints don’t really do it for me as I feel they cater more to the tourists and people who just come here for the photo ops. But hey, that’s just me!”

Skirt & Dirt

Location: 30 Seng Poh Rd (in Tiong Bahru Market)

This is one of the newer kids on the block. Their signature is a burger with a cheese skirt (shaved cheddar grilled to form a crisp crust), but personally, I prefer the fish burger - crispy breaded dory topped with a tangy mango salsa. The sweetness of the salsa goes well with the savoury breaded dory. Come before 11:30am to avoid the lunchtime crowd or get it delivered; they are on multiple food-delivery apps. Set meals with two sides and a soup will only cost you under $10.

Long Ji Zi Char

Location: 253 Outram Rd

My favourite crab vermicelli place. They have a great selection of sake and wines at good prices, served in unexpectedly nice glassware. The service staff of aunties and uncles are always attentive and warm. I recommend their har cheong (prawn paste) chicken and fried salted egg pumpkin and bitter gourd. They get really busy on weekends, so call ahead to book.

Merci Marcel Tiong Bahru

Location: 56 Eng Hoon St, #01-68

A totes Instagram-worthy eatery. I don't know why, but I gravitate towards duck when I'm at a French restaurant. So the Duck Parmentier - duck rillette with marinated pear and melted Camembert - is my go-to. The Ravioles de Royals, dumpling pasta filled with Tête de Moine cheese, is another great choice. The seating area at the air well at the back of the restaurant is pretty, with fairy-lights and plush outdoor furnishing.

Por Kee Eating House 1996

Location: 69 Seng Poh Lane, #01-02

An institution in the neighbourhood, it announced its closure back in 2013 because of a family dispute. It was reportedly sold, but the owners reclaimed it after the sale fell through. Luckily, the food remains as good ever. The Thai-style steamed fish and champagne pork ribs are my default. Be prepared to stand around and wait for your table - it’s always crowded and they often make use of the grass patch beside the premises to extend their outdoor capacity.

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