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Looking for desserts? Try checking out these old school haunts that serve up traditional fresh bakes. If Instagram was around in the 70s or 80s, these quaint bakeries would surely have been all over the gram.
Today, they are redefining hipster cafes and remain a charming piece of heritage that deserve to be cherished. . Stepping into one of these bakeries in Singapore brings back the fuzzy feelings of nostalgia. Perfect as birthday cakes for an old soul or simply desserts during teatime, here are 6 bakeries with non-pretentious, yummy traditional bakes that I love dearly. And, because these places carry an eccentric charm, your monopods should be ready at hand to capture a few artistic shots while you’re at it!
1. Dona Manis Cake Shop
Tucked in the basement of the old Katong Shopping Centre in Singapore is this little cake shop run by an elderly couple. The range of items on their menu may belimited, but everything is baked to perfection and always satisfying. Their gooey banana pie (S$28 for a whole pie) is a hit with both the young and old. My favourite is the chocolate tart (5 for S$5) which is creamy, melty, and so addictive you cannot get enough of them.
Their other desserts like butter cake and cream puffs are also very popular with regulars. To enjoy these traditional cakes, do preorder by calling their number at 6440 7688 at least 2 days in advance. You will need to self-collect, and they only accept cash payments. But take my word, it’s well-worth the trouble!
Katong Shopping Centre
865 Mountbatten Road, B1-93
2. Sing Hon Loong Bakery
If you love soft fluffy traditional loaves, you must go to Sing Hon Loong Bakery. With over 50 years of history in Singapore, they have been serving endless bakes of soft rolls and loaves (from S$1.70). Perfect for making your own butter and kaya or peanut butter toast, which you can also get from the shop (S$3.10).
Open 24-hours daily, you can always swing by for a fresh loaf of bread even when the craving strikes at 2am, count this in your late-night activities next time. Enjoy a nice conversation with the uncles who are not just friendly but also highly passionate about keeping the traditional bread culture alive.
4 Whampoa Dr
3. Lana Cakes
Lana Cakes’ is a humble family-owned store that has operated since it opened its doors in 1964 in Singapore. It recently got an updated look, with retained charm. Each time you pass by the store, you can smell that buttery goodness of the cakes which just lures you in.
All their cakes are made in small batches and so full of love that you can taste it in every bite. The famous Chocolate Fudge Cake (S$55 for 1.2kg) is their bestseller and great for all occasions, especially birthdays! All cakes need to be pre-ordered at least three days in advance to enjoy delivery in Singapore.
36 Greenwood Avenue
4. Serangoon Garden Bakery & Confectionery
Located in the Serangoon Gardens Market & Food Centre, you cannot miss this hawker stall that proudly displays its traditional cakes and has a long line of customers patiently waiting to order. Each day, the owners start preparations at 6:30am to bring us over 15 types of mouth-watering Singapore-style bun and cakes.
Their simple menu includes items well-loved by all ages, like their signature curry, hotdog, otah, and coconut bun (from S$1). My favourite is the butter cake - so soft that it melts in your mouth (S$0.90 per slice or S$9 for a whole cake). A very popular cake shop here in Singapore, they usually sell out by 2:00pm, so come early and join the party.
49A Serangoon Garden Way
#01-45 Garden Market
5. Hock Ann Confectionery
In a sleepy neighbourhood of Tanglin Halt sits an unassuming confectionery that is filled with more old school delights than you can imagine! They have the fluffiest pandan cakes, creamiest custard puffs, crunchiest baguettes, spongiest cakes decorated the happy 80s way.
Time seems to stand still when you step in, so if there is anything you miss about the 80s flavours, you will most probably find them here. All items are baked in limited quantities; hence quality is never compromised. My top picks here are the chocolate donuts and swiss rolls.
The cake shop will be taken back by the government as there are plans to revamp the Tanglin Halt estate, hence I recommend you visit as soon as you can. Opt for cake delivery by ordering these traditional (but limited) bakes online via their Instagram page so check them out.
Blk 46-3 Commonwealth Dr #01-392
6. Lau Chong Kee
Lau Chong Kee is an old household name in Chinatown famous for its Chinese pastries. Their signature item is the custard pie (S$1.20) which contains an overflowing eggy custard filling with a good balance of sweet and savory that pairs well with a cup of traditional coffee. The custard bun (S$1.40) is equally tasty and very good for a tea snack. Their traditional cakes and bakes sell out very quickly, so go early to avoid disappointment.
32 New Market Road
#01-1030 People's Park Complex Food Centre
While time has given these spaces a vintage feel, it hasn’t reduced their luster in any way. There aren’t many of such old cake shops left in Singapore, so by patronising these shops, you are helping to keep traditions alive! Expand your repertoire of Instagrammable cafes by grabbing your backpack and exploring the various traditional bakeries in Singapore that hold much of their old-school charm for an afternoon of nostalgia.
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