Food Spots and Unique Shops A Guide to Jalan Besar
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Food Spots and Unique Shops: A Guide to Jalan Besar

In a way, Jalan Besar is an underrated neighborhood in Singapore. It’s one long road sandwiched between some of the nation’s most famous areas (namely, Little India, Kampong Glam, and Kallang). 

But this underrated neighborhood does have a lot to offer. Aside from its fascinating history (did you know it was once a swampland?), Jalan Besar is now home to countless dining spots and shops, making it a haven for foodies and shopaholics. 

If you’re planning to visit, this article lists down all the best things to do and the best places to eat and shop in Jalan Besar.

Things to Know

History and Background

Jalan Besar got its name in the 1880s, and in Malay, it means “big or wide road.” This road was once a betel nut and nipah plantation, and when it was bought by the sons of an East India Company army officer, mangosteens and other fruit trees were added.

Eventually, Jalan Besar was developed into a major road, and its surrounding areas became residential lots. A community soon came to be, and it’s comprised of people from various ethnicities, including Indians, Peranakans, Chinese, and Malays. 

For that reason, the area of Jalan Besar features many historical buildings. It’s also become a modern landmark in recent years, with several businesses and unique shophouses. 

How to Get There

MRT: Jalan Besar is part of the MRT system; in fact, there’s an MRT station located on the road. Because of this, it’s easy to come to this neighborhood even if you’re from the opposite side of the mainland.

Bus: If you prefer riding the bus, bus services 130 and 145 pass by Jalan Besar. There are also several bus stops here, so you can drop off wherever you want. 

Taxi or Ride-Hailing Service: If you don’t want to go through the hassle of public transportation or you just want privacy, you can ride a taxi or book a ride from a ride-hailing service like Grab or Gojek. 

Best Time to Visit

Anytime is a good time to visit Jalan Besar. That said, if you’re keen on sightseeing, it might be better to come here in the morning or afternoon because you’ll be able to enjoy the view better with the sun out.

However, if you’re just thinking about dining or shopping, going in the evening might work too. Some restaurants are even open till dawn, so you might want to try those too.

What to Do

Look for street art and architectural marvels

Just like any other historical neighborhood in Singapore, Jalan Besar is endowed with gorgeous street murals and buildings with aesthetically pleasing architecture

One street art worth noting is located in an alley outside Chye Seng Huat Hardware. Done by artists Mike Herabot and Julie Chua, it’s a series of monochrome illustrations of various scenarios (e.g. a campfire in front of a hut and an astronaut on a skateboard).

If you’re an architecture nerd, take a stroll along Petain Road because you can find many buildings with charming, old-school designs there. Many of the shophouses have ceramic tiles, intricate patterns, and colorful bird and flower motifs.

Learn a new skill by joining a workshop

Learn a new skill by joining a workshop

If you’re looking for a memorable experience during your stay in Jalan Besar, why not try learning a new skill by joining a workshop? 

Many shops and businesses offer all kinds of workshops here. For example, The General Co has classes for various crafts, such as candlemaking, calligraphy, and even leather crafting. 

If you’re keen on learning pottery, you can go to Mud Rock Ceramics and take their pottery courses for beginners. There are even classes for children ages six to 12 years old, so your little ones can learn a new skill too. 

Shop and dine till you drop

Shop and dine till you drop

Orchard Road isn’t the only shopping and dining paradise in Singapore. That title can also be given to Jalan Besar. 

Jalan Besar is home to all kinds of dining spots—from cozy cafes to fine-dining restaurants—so you can easily satisfy your food cravings here. Additionally, you can find charming stores here that sell items you’ll never see anywhere else. 

For recommendations, I’ve listed the best dining spots and shophouses in the next sections. 

Where to Eat

Red Eye Smokehouse

Address: 1 Cavan Rd, Singapore 209842
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Friday—12 to 3 pm, 5 to 10:30 pm
  • Saturday—10 am to 3 pm, 5 to 10:30 pm
  • Sunday—10 am to 3 pm, 5 to 9:30 pm
  • Closed on Monday

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6562910218

For fans of smoked meats, Red Eye Smokehouse is a must-visit. This restaurant specializes in BBQ dishes that are prepared using low and slow American smoking techniques, so you can expect nothing but tender and flavorful meats here. 

The brisket has to be one of the most indulgent dishes I’ve ever tasted. 

It has beautiful marbling, the mouthfeel is perfectly tender, and it tastes slightly sweet. Typing this just made my mouth water!

In addition to the main courses, this restaurant offers a great variety of side dishes. I love starting with their house Caesar salad (to get my veggies and make my meal a bit more balanced), crispy buffalo wings, and macho nachos.  

Black Fairy Coffee and Grill

Address: 131 Tyrwhitt Rd, Singapore 207553
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Thursday—3 pm to 10 pm
  • Friday—3 pm to 12 am
  • Saturday—9:30 am to 12 am
  • Sunday—9:30 am to 9 pm

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6569093518

Enjoy a cozy dining experience at Black Fairy Coffee and Grill. This spot is known for its wide array of drinks. 

Coffee is undeniably the bestseller, but there are also tea, ice-blended beverages, and alcoholic drinks. 

The cafe also serves hearty meals. 

If you’re coming for brunch, there’s a section on the menu dedicated to all-day breakfast. The best option is the hearty breakfast because it already has everything: eggs, bacon, sausage, and more. 

Sandwiches and burgers are available as well. 

For lovers of sweet treats, don’t miss out on the choco banana French toast. It’s so addictively sweet!


Address: 363 Jln Besar, Singapore 208994
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Sunday—11:30 am to 2:30 pm, 5:30 to 9:30 pm
  • Closed on Monday

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6568427759

Char is a Chinese restaurant best known for its rendition of char siew, and it really is glorious! The meat is perfectly fork-tender, and the sauce is thick, sticky, sweet, and salty—so delicious!

Char siew isn’t the only thing worth getting here. You should also try the soya sauce chicken and roast duck infused with jasmine tea; be sure to pair your courses with draft beers or wines for a more elevated dining experience. 

Dynasty Fried Porridge 

Address: 30 Foch Rd, #01-02, Singapore 209276
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—11:30 am to 11:30 pm
Pricing: $
Contact Number: +6591223993

Have you never heard of fried porridge before? Well, now you have, and it’s actually really good!

Essentially, a fried porridge involves frying porridge (usually leftover ones when done at home) in a pan with rice and noodles before being transferred to a clay pot. The end result is a dish that’s smoky and comforting. 

What I love about the fried porridge here is the serving portion. Even when I order a small bowl, it’s still big enough to share with a partner. 

Chuan Chuan Le

Address: 271 Jln Besar, Singapore 208941
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Saturday—12 pm to 12 am
  • Sunday—11 am to 11 pm

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6562916466

Chuan Chuan Le is open till midnight, so when your craving for Mala or Sichuan dishes hits late at night, this is the place to go. 

My favorite things to order here are the Sichuan pepper duck wings and chicken wings. They’re the perfect mix of sweet and spicy, making them so addictive to eat. 

Aside from the classic Mala and Sichuan dishes, there are also meat skewers available. If you’re out for a late-night meal with friends, you might want to order a cheap beer together with your dishes. 

Sungei Road Laksa

Address: 27 Jln Berseh, #01-100, Singapore 200027 
Operating Hours

  • Thursday to Tuesday—9:30 am to 4 pm
  • Closed on Wednesday

Pricing: $

If you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with Sungei Road Laksa. As the name suggests, this dining spot only offers the classic laksa, but they do it so well that you won’t mind there aren’t any other dishes available. 

The laksa here has a broth so rich and textured that you’ll be slurping it all down in no time. Sometimes, you’ll even be tempted to order another bowl, and I recommend doing so; the laksa is pretty affordable, so you won’t be breaking the bank ordering for more. 

Hand in Hand Beijing Restaurant

Address: 143 Jln Besar, Singapore 208859
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—10 am to 3 pm, 4:30 to 10 pm
Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6562971398

Just looking at the exterior of Hand in Hand Beijing Restaurant, you’ll get the impression that this is a traditional Chinese restaurant. And true enough, the menu here features an extensive array of authentic Chinese dishes. 

The dumplings have to be my favorite items in this restaurant. Both the steamed and fried ones are great and savory, and their portion size is pretty generous, so you can share them with someone else (or eat them all by yourself).

There are also soups, noodles, roast ducks, and many more here, so take your time browsing the menu. 

Chye Seng Huat Hardware

Address: 150 Tyrwhitt Rd, Singapore 207563
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—8:30 am to 10 pm
Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6562994321

Chye Seng Huat Hardware is one of the most interesting coffee shops I’ve ever visited in Singapore. This was once home to metal and hardware companies of the past, hence the name; because of its history, it’s also designed to look like a hardware company.

Now, this is a place to go to get your daily dose of coffee. The coffee bar offers a 360º view, so you can watch as the baristas make your drink. 

Be sure to pair your coffee with pastries or any of the breakfast dishes (I’m a big fan of the smoked salmon and avocado on toast) to complete your meal.

Scaled by Ah Hua Kelong

Address: 8 Hamilton Rd, Singapore 209179
Operating Hours

  • Wednesday—5:30 to 10:30 pm
  • Thursday to Sunday—12 to 12:30 pm, 5 to 10:30 pm
  • Closed on Monday and Tuesday

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6591333379

If you’re looking for a seafood restaurant in Jalan Besar, Scaled by Ah Hua Kelong is a great option. This spot makes use of locally farmed seafood, so you can expect nothing but freshness here. 

I recommend starting your meal with Shime Saba (which features a house-cured pacific mackerel and confit orange), then pick the prawn dashi aglio olio or char siew chasoba as your main course. 

As for drinks, you have many options: draft beers, rosé, and a variety of wines (both red and white).  

Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice

Address: 229 Jln Besar, Singapore 208905
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—11 am to 3 am
Pricing: $
Contact Number: +6598261464

Another great affordable dining spot in Jalan Besar is Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice. 

The curry rice served here looks so loaded because the rice is topped with a mixture of various sauces and tender meat pieces. Once you get a spoonful of everything, you’ll be treated with a flavor bomb inside your mouth—spicy and savory at the same time!

I recommend adding a sunny-side-up egg to your curry rice. The rice becomes even better paired with the runny yolk!

Goldenroy Sourdough Pizza

Address: 125 Desker Rd, Singapore 209642
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Sunday—12 to 9 pm
  • Closed on Monday

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6531294321

Pizza lovers, this is the spot for you. Goldenroy Sourdough Pizza has several unique pizza flavors—with catchy names—so you’ll undoubtedly find one (or two or three) that will pique your interest. 

Personally, I really enjoy Spongebob’s Revenge; the browned butter scallops work really well with the onions. Other favorites include Roy’s Favorite (mushroom pesto), She’s My Girlfriend (potato, chicken, and ham), and Here Comes the Sun (roast beef and garlic). 

New Fut Kai Vegetarian Restaurant

Address: 282 Jln Besar, Singapore 208945
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Sunday—10:30 am to 2:30 pm, 5 to 9:30 pm
  • Closed on Monday

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6563980836

If you’re looking for a vegetarian restaurant, New Fut Kai Vegetarian Restaurant is worth checking out. 

This restaurant’s specialty is the charcoal hotpot and hot wok, so it’s perfect when the weather is cold and you’re craving something hot to warm you up. Aside from the hotpot dishes, you can also enjoy a variety of curry dishes, like tempeh mix veg Padang curry. 

For a more hearty meal, be sure to order a platter of rice. The pineapple fried rice is personally my favorite, but I also really like the sambal fried rice with petai. 

The Lunar Rabbit Boulangerie

Address: 16 Hamilton Rd, #01-02, Singapore 209186
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Sunday—8:30 am to 5 pm
  • Closed on Monday

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6581880102

You don’t have to go to France to enjoy the very best of French patisserie. Instead, you can just stop by The Lunar Rabbit Boulangerie and purchase a box full of baked goods!

This bakery offers four types of baked goods: viennoiseries (e.g. croissants and danishes), brioche (creamy, milky, and fluffy bread), kouign amann (sweet butter cake), and apple chausson and crumble (apples and puff pastry).

Because of this, the menu has many options to choose from. If you’re overwhelmed, you can just order the bundles because they already have the bestsellers in one box.

Tian Wang

Address: 145 Jln Besar, Singapore 208863
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Friday—5 pm to 2 am
  • Saturday and Sunday—3 pm to 2 am
  • Closed on Monday

Pricing: $
Contact Number: +6596801628

Tian Wang is a great option if you’re looking for a dessert fix. This shop is known for its array of traditional Chinese desserts, both hot and cold offerings. 

So far, I’ve loved everything that I’ve tried, but if I have to choose a favorite, I’ll have to say the mango pomelo sago. This uses fresh mango, fresh mango puree, sago, and coconut milk served on a bed of shaved ice—so refreshing! 

The best part about this shop is that it’s open till 2 am, so you can satisfy your cravings even when it’s the middle of the night!

La Levain

Address: 23 Hamilton Rd, Singapore 209193
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Sunday—8 am to 6 pm
  • Closed on Monday

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6598223924

La Levain is home to artisanal coffee and handcrafted baked goods with interesting flavor combinations. I mean, where else can you find a burnt cheese croissant in Singapore other than this bakery?

Aside from the burnt cheese croissant, other pastries that I love here include the bobochacha croissant (it has sweet potato, yam, and coconut mochi!) and the Ferraro Rocher Nutella cruffin. 

There are also vegan and vegetarian options if you prefer.

Two Bakers

Address: 88 Horne Rd, Singapore 209083
Operating Hours

  • Wednesday to Monday—9 am to 5 pm
  • Closed on Tuesday

Pricing: $$
Contact Number: +6562930329

The great thing about Two Bakers is that they use Singapore’s rich history and heritage as inspiration. So, their products reflect Singapore’s local flavors, but at the same time, they also put a modern twist.

For example, the traditional ang ku kueh features a sweet filling of either mung bean or ground peanuts and sugar, but in this bakery, the filling is dark chocolate and passionfruit mousse with creamy hazelnut cremeux.

Every dessert on display looks so tantalizing, making it hard to choose just one. If you’re having the same problem, I recommend going for the dessert box because it will have four to six sweet treats in one package.

Where to Shop

The Nursery

Address: 326 King George’s Avenue King George Building, Singapore 208567
Operating Hours

  • Monday, Wednesday to Friday—2 to 10 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday—12 to 8 pm
  • Closed on Tuesday

Contact Number: +6592780728

If you love gardening, then you might want to stop by The Nursery. This is the leading plant shop in Singapore, so you can find everything you need here. 

Firstly, there’s a selection of house plants that might capture your attention, such as the Japanese maple tree and Euphorbia Hedyotoides. Additionally, this shop has gardening accessories and plant care items that will help you with your gardening journey.


Address: 165 Tyrwhitt Rd, #01-06, Singapore 207569
Operating Horus

  • Monday to Wednesday, Friday—12 to 8 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday—2 to 8 pm
  • Closed on Thursday


Another shop option for plant lovers is Jungalore. This shop is so hard to miss when you’re exploring Jalan Besar; it has a striking green storefront that’s set against a brutalist architectural design. 

Inside, you can find a variety of house plants—both indoor plants and larger options for your garden or landscaping project—and they’re all reasonably priced. So, you might be tempted to buy one or two to add to your collection back at home.

Antea Social

Address: 9 Tyrwhitt Rd, Singapore 207528
Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Sunday—11:30 am to 10 pm
  • Closed on Monday

Contact Number: +6564930120

I admit that the reason I love Antea Social is its name—I love a good pun! But aside from that, this shop specializes in tea, and I also love tea, hence why I love recommending this place to people. 

You can find all kinds of tea here, from green tea to black tea; there are even caffeine-free options! Many of the products also offer interesting flavor combinations, such as lychee oolong, oriental red, and kuki-hojicha. 

While you’re here, you might as well purchase a few teaware items. They have harvest teapots, tea cloths, cold brew carafes, and more!

Roger & Sons

Address: 115 King George’s Ave, #01-01, Singapore 208561
Operating Hours

  • Monday to Friday—9 am to 6 pm
  • Closed on Saturday and Sunday


Roger & Sons is a shop offering woodworking services. Here, you can ask the staff to create furniture like tables and couches, electronics, and other wooden items that are perfect as gifts. 

Additionally, this shop offers several classes and workshops about timber and woodworking. Be sure to contact them via their website to learn about possible events in the future.  

Loop Garms

Address: 635 Veerasamy Rd, #01-148, Singapore 200635
Operating Hours

  • Friday to Sunday—12 to 7:30 pm
  • Closed from Monday to Thursday


Loop Garms is a tiny, underrated shop in the Jalan Besar area that sells vintage apparel. Here, you’ll see shirts, jerseys, jackets, sweaters, and more that you’ll probably never see in mainstream stores. 

During the few times I’ve visited this place, I’ve seen apparel featuring famous people back in the day (like the Beatles) or beloved characters (usually from Disney). There are also clothes that Loop Garms created themselves—so many options!

The General Co

Address: 150A Tyrwhitt Rd, Singapore 207563

If you have money to splurge, consider stopping by The General Go. This store offers artisanal goods that you won’t find elsewhere, and you can even ask them to make a personalized product for you. 

The products you can find here range from furniture and houseware to designer accessories like bags and shoes. Additionally, if you’re interested in what they do, you can attend a workshop to learn more about the craft.

Take note that to visit this store, you need to book an appointment beforehand. Check out their website to know more.

Mud Rock Ceramics

Address: 85 Maude Rd, Singapore 208357
Contact Number: +6562911186

As you can guess from the name, Mud Rock Ceramics sells all kinds of ceramic products. This was founded by two ceramics artists, Ng Seok Har and Michelle Lim, and they handcrafted all the works you see here. 

I really like how no two bowls, mugs, and plates look alike; even if they look similar at first, when you look closer, you’ll see that their patterns actually differ from each other. I also love how simple yet elegant they look. 

If you’re interested in learning pottery, you can take classes here. There are also tools available, so you can purchase them to help improve your skills. 

Where to Stay

The Vagabond Club

Address: 39 Syed Alwi Rd, Singapore 207630
Contact Number: +6562916677
Book Now

The Vagabond Club is a hotel like no other. Conceptualized by Jacques Garcia, an award-winning French designer, this five-star hotel is all about boutique luxury; that’s why the interior is strikingly vibrant and decked with opulent furnishings. 

The rooms and suites are especially beautiful. They have warm lighting and an array of unique photographs, so it feels like you’re staying in someone’s home.

For entertainment, you should stop by The Whiskey Library and Jazz Club. It has plush seating and a collection of over 1,000 bottles of whiskies—truly a sight to behold.  

Hotel YAN

Address: 162 Tyrwhitt Rd, Singapore 207581
Contact Number: +6568051955
Book Now

A combination of industrial and chic—that’s the best way to describe the aesthetic of Hotel YAN. This three-star hotel’s interior features concrete walls with modern chandeliers, and the rooms are all bright and cozy. 

The best part about this hotel is that they host promotions often. So, if you’re lucky, you can book rooms with a 40% discount and other save-money schemes. 

Be sure to check out their website to see what promotions and packages are available. 

Arcadia Hotel

Address: 32 Hamilton Rd, Singapore 209201
Contact Number: +6567180700
Book Now

Arcadia Hotel is a humble boutique hotel in Jalan Besar. The building is made up of two art deco-styled shophouses and was once a hardware shop; now, it’s a serene hotel with 36 rooms. 

Additionally, the hotel has an on-site cafe that offers brunch options like salads, sandwiches, and desserts. This is the perfect spot to lounge around during lazy afternoons. 

Wanderlust, The Unlimited Collection by Oakwood

Address: 2 Dickson Rd, Singapore 209494
Contact Number: +6563963322

Wanderlust, The Unlimited Collection by Oakwood, is just oozing with old-world charm. It’s housed in a heritage 1920s art deco-style building, and its facade is just so simple and pretty—I love all the floral details. 

Despite looking old-fashioned, this hotel is furnished with modern-day comforts. The rooms and studious are well-equipped and cozy, and you’ll also get to enjoy amenities like the pool, hot tub, and residents’ lounge. 

Some units even have a fully equipped kitchen, so you can whip up a delicious meal whenever you want. If you’re not in the mood to cook, there’s an on-site restaurant you can check out.