Cover Ji Xiang Ang Ku Kueh/Facebook

Visit these time-honoured sweet shops for a slice of nostalgia

Old is gold, and the same can definitely be said about food. Sometimes, all we crave is a sweet dose of nostalgia—familiar flavours that we grew up eating and enjoying. Many of these heritage eats hark back to a simpler time in our lives, holding a special place in our hearts and stomachs.
 
But only a handful of such old-school establishments have stood the test of time, to continue to serve up treats from the yesteryears. From traditional kuehs to classic bakes, here is where you can (still) grab a taste of history.

1. Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry

This quaint neighbourhood bakery has been drawing crowds from all corners of Singapore for decades. Many flock to this family-run shop in Tiong Bahru for its impressive and colourful selection of Nonya kuehs—popular items include juicy balls of ondeh ondeh, soft rounds of putu ayu, and kueh dada stuffed full of coconut.
 
But the doors to this dessert shop might soon close by mid-2022; the elderly couple who owns Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry are planning to retire, citing reasons of poor health and rising utility cost. For now, the shop remains open from Tuesday to Sunday, for those looking to get a final taste.

Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry, Blk 55 Tiong Bahru Road, #01-39, S(160055), +65 6324 1686

Read more: Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry: It’s Goodbye to This Popular Kueh Shop This July 2022 

2. Rich & Good Cake Shop

The reason for its popularity is announced in the name of the store: rich, and decadently good Swiss rolls. While the cake might have originated in Europe, the homegrown bakery—which was founded in 1997—has created an enduring and winning recipe that celebrates local flavours. Durian, a popular option, is added between a layer of fluffy sponge, while freshly made pandan custard forms an aromatic filling for the signature kaya roll. Today, the bakery has two outlets, including a kiosk with long lines at Jewel Changi Airport.

Rich & Good Cake Shop, 24 Kandahar Street, S(198887)

Read more: 5 Best Local Dessert Shops in Singapore

3. Ji Xiang Confectionery

This store specialises in just one item: the humble ang ku kueh. What started as a small outfit with just two flavours (peanut and mung bean) in 1988 has since grown into a multi-outlet business. Still, Ji Xiang Confectionery chooses to mould everything by hand; the painstaking process helps ensure the glutinous skin remains thin and chewy. Not everything remains rooted in the past, though. With the second generation at its helm, the store has since introduced modern flavours of durian and yam to its lineup, alongside a novel rainbow-hued iteration. 

Ji Xiang Confectionery, 1 Everton Park, 01-33, S(081001), +65 6223 1631

In case you missed it: How Atlas Handcrafted Made Over 150 Individual Nonya Kuehs for Kim Lim’s Engagement

4. Steeple’s Deli

There lies a pocket of old-world New York in Singapore. Steeple’s Deli is quite the institution; this is, after all, the first deli in Singapore. The family-owned store first opened its door in 1981, and provides a fuss-free menu of massive sandwiches, sloppy burgers, and creamy milkshakes. Entering the space feels almost like stepping into a time capsule: browse the handwritten chalkboard menu, and grab a seat at its wooden bar counter before chowing down on a hearty Reuben, where corn beef, sauerkraut, and cheese come stuffed between toasted rye slices. 

Steeple’s Deli, Tanglin Road, 02-25 S(247909), +65 6737 0701

5. Dona Manis Cake Shop

Dona Manis Cake Shop comes tucked in the basement of Katong Shopping Centre. It might be easy to miss this unassuming bakery, but luckily, there seems to always be a small crowd outside of the store. Most would hover around the glass display, where daily bakes are proudly arranged. Pastries are all handmade, and everything is freshly prepped from scratch. Must-gets include the banana pie, crowned with coconut shavings and toasted almonds; rich chocolate tarts; and choux cream puffs. 

Dona Manis Cake Shop, 865 Mountbatten Road B1-93, S(437844), +65 6440 7688

Read more: The Best Homegrown Ice Cream Brands in Singapore

6. Sweetlands Bread and Bakery

The loaves of bread on display each spot an uneven char—a sign that Sweetlands still chooses to bake things the traditional way. Inside, the ovens have been kept warm since the 1960s, where bakers work round the clock to churn out warm treats of Nanyang-style buns, ‘rainbow’ bread, French loaf, and more. Made without any preservatives, the goods at Sweetlands are meant to be consumed within a day or two—not that you’ll have any problem finishing its charmingly nostalgic bakes.

Sweetlands Bread and Bakery, 10 Kim Keat Lane, S(328867), +65 6253 3100 

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