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What I Eat In My Hood: Picks From A Chinatown Policeman

In this edition, long-time police officer Gregory Tan picks out the best eats from the area in which he works.

The juxtaposition of hipster cafes, and age-old food businesses and hawkers makes this a fantastic place for food lovers. There’s always a little stall or restaurant waiting to be discovered around every corner. While these are my regular haunts, I like that even after years of working here, I can still stumble on appealing little shops, stalls or restaurants to duck into for food, coffee or cake.

Foong Kee Coffee Shop

Location: 6 Keong Saik Road

I love the char siew and roast duck here. The duck has nice, crisp skin and isn’t gamey, while the char siew is always perfectly roasted so that it is burnished and lightly charred, and not too sweet. Word of warning: If you go before 12.30pm, chances are the char siew won’t be ready yet.

Rong Xing Yong Tau Foo

Location: #02-04 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, 6 Tanjong Pagar Plaza

This stall is so popular, they sell out by 1pm. I usually try to go before 11.45am to beat the long queues that form during lunchtime. You can have the yong tau foo in a soup or dry, and I decide depending on my mood. Both are equally good. Of all the good-quality ingredients they serve, I love the square of silky white tofu best. The chilli sauce is also excellent — slightly sweet, with lots of punch.

Nylon Coffee Roasters

Location: 4 Everton Park, #01-40

This is my go-to place for coffee in the area. It’s good coffee at a good price. If you bring your own cup, you pay 30 cents less (I know I sound damn uncle). I usually get the five-ounce double shot because more caffeine is always good! I like that the coffee is delicate and not over-roasted. You can taste the nuances of the coffee even when mixed with milk. In fact, I like the coffee so much, I often buy beans from them to grind at home.

The 1950s Coffee 五十年代咖啡

Location: Blk 335 Smith Street, Stall #02-048 Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

The Chinese coffee here is the perfect blend of bitter, sour and robust flavours. It’s so smooth, it’s like drinking a draft. This explains the constant long queue at the stall. They also serve kaya toast, but only till about noon. When I’m here and the queue is short, I get on it!

The Better Half

Location: 1 Everton Park #01-43

My wife and I love the cakes here. They do delicious, pretty tea cakes in delicate flavours like our favourite Lavender Honey (shown above). It’s moist and crumbly, like a really light pound cake. The store is run by a friendly couple who bake their cakes throughout the day. That said, they sell out quickly, like, say, 3pm, so we try to get there earlier. We like to order their whole cakes for birthdays too. They let you customise the flavour and frosting combinations, and so far, every one we’ve tried has been great!

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