6 Old-School Bakeries In Singapore For Nostalgic Treats

Take in the aroma of freshly-baked bread and pastries at these long-standing institutions we all know and love.

By Diana Najm        26 December 2023

Take a step back in time and savour the nostalgic charm of these old-school bakeries, where the aroma of freshly-baked bread and pastries wafts through the air. Offering a variety of tempting treats from traditional kaya toast and buttery egg tarts to classic Swiss rolls and freshly baked pies, these beloved places probably have a soft spot in your parents’ and grandparents’ hearts too. 

Read on to rediscover the enduring flavours of some of the most famous, enduring bakeries in the Lion City, loved by generations. 

1. Dona Manis Cake Shop

Ask any Singaporean living in the east side, and they would probably be familiar with this bakery that’s been around for more than 30 years in the same spot, in the basement of Katong Shopping Centre. 

We can’t mention Dona Manis Cake Shop without talking about their famous banana pies. These buttery goodies – with their flaky crust, sweet banana filling, and roasted coconut topping – have attracted long queues for decades. The bananas are freshly sliced at the shop, and you can taste the chunks of fruit in the pie itself as they are baked fresh. We’ve even heard some Singaporeans comparing the taste to goreng pisang, only that it comes in pie form here. 

Another speciality you can’t miss are the chocolate tarts, with their buttery crust and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate filling. But availability is limited, as it’s often sold out. So we’d recommend heading to Dona Manis Cake Shop early to avoid disappointment. 

Must-order items: Banana pie ($3.30/slice), chocolate tart ($5 for 5 pieces)

865 Mountbatten Road, #B1-93 Katong Shopping Centre, Singapore 437844

2. Tong Heng Traditional Cantonese Pastries

Here’s a question we dare you to ask: “Where can you find the best egg tarts in Singapore?” 

A name that would probably come up would be Tong Heng. Founded in 1935, this traditional Cantonese pastries shop along South Bridge Road is one of Singapore’s oldest Chinese bakeries. Till today, the owners still occupy the first floor of the Chinatown shophouse. But that’s not all – the pastries have also been recognised by the Singapore Tourism Board’s Made With Passion initiative. 

Don’t expect the usual rounded egg tarts here. Their iconic pastries are diamond-shaped, with a flaky crust and semi-molten egg custard. Tong Heng’s egg tarts really do hit different. Those who are lactose intolerant will also be happy to know that the pastries here aren’t made with dairy. 

Should you want something savoury, a solid recommendation are the barbecued pork crisps. 

Must-order items: Egg tart ($2.20/piece), barbecued pork crisp ($2.40/piece)

285 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058833

3. Chin Mee Chin

For a traditional Singaporean breakfast, you can’t go wrong with Chin Mee Chin. Located in a pastel blue pre-war shophouse in Joo Chiat, this family-run kopitiam started out as a humble coffee shop in 1925. Even its name, which means “genuine, beautiful treasures”, hints at a quaint bakery loved by generations.

While it had its beginnings as a kopitiam, Chin Mee Chin started introducing traditional Eurasian confectionery in the 1970s, as the Eurasian community in Joo Chiat grew. That’s when bakes such as the cream horn and sugee cake made their debut at Chin Mee Chin. Today, they remain popular items on the menu.

Singaporeans from all generations continue to frequent Chin Mee Chin, spending lazy Sunday mornings there savouring a kopi and kaya toast. While it still has heritage at its forefront, you can also find contemporary merch like colourful, quirky socks and graphic t-shirts to flex your brand loyalty. 

Must-order items: Kaya toast ($2.20 a la carte, $4.90 for a set), cream horn ($2/piece), sugee cake ($2.30/piece)

204 East Coast Road, Singapore 428903

Looking for a cosy location for your next gathering? These cool cafes offer a welcoming ambience, yummy bites and good coffee.

4. Rich & Good Cake Shop

If you’ve ever accompanied your parents to buy birthday cakes in the past, we bet you’d have come across Rich & Good Cake Shop. Opened in 1997 in the heartlands, it was the go-to spot for home-baked goodies – specifically, Swiss rolls that are baked fresh in small batches every day.

A popular flavour is the signature Kaya Swiss Roll, made using a traditional recipe that includes fresh coconut and pure pandan extract. If you were wondering what’s so special about it, that’s because each batch is slow-cooked for 4 hours with fresh pandan leaves, resulting in a fragrant pandan kaya filling. Another bestseller is its chocolate sponge cake, which has soft and fluffy layer, buttery chocolate cream, and chocolate truffle in the middle layers. 

Since 1999, the bakery has been located in a heritage shophouse in Kampong Glam, with a second outlet at Jewel Changi Airport. That makes it a perfect “souvenir” to taobao for your friends and family overseas, should you want to give them a taste of Singapore. They have since added 2 more outlets at Marina Bay Link Mall and City Square Mall.

Must-order items: Kaya Swiss Roll ($12), chocolate delight cake ($33)

Four outlets located across Singapore

5. Lau Chong Kee Bedok Confectionery

Lau Chong Kee Bedok Confectionery has been around for almost 56 years. And miraculously, their assortment of pastries offered is still priced under $2. The custard buns, in particular, are super popular. They’re almost similar to the sausage buns you’d usually find at local bakeries, but filled with golden yellow custard.

Another must-try item here is the red bean pie – flaky and buttery with almond flakes in the red bean filling. Each is $1 a pop, so it’s definitely worth a try for the younger generation who’ve never tasted this traditional pastry before.

And if Bedok is too far for you, Lau Chong Kee has a second outlet at People’s Park Complex Food Centre in Chinatown. 

Must-order items: Custard buns ($1.40), red bean pie ($1)

17 Bedok South Road, #01-591, Singapore 460017
32 New Market Road, #01-1030, People’s Park Complex Food Centre, Singapore 0500324 

6. Jie Bakery

If you’ve ever wondered where you can get the rainbow bread used in the iconic Singapore ice cream sandwich, Jie Bakery is where it’s at. An unassuming bakery located in Tai Seng, it’s been selling batch after batch of freshly baked rainbow bread and buns for more than 30 years.

Those wanting to make their own version of the ice cream sandwich at home can’t leave without grabbing one of the fluffy bread loaves. Buy them as they are, or with a spread of your choice such as kaya, margarine, or peanut butter at $3.90. 

While you’re here, you should also pick up one of the old-school buns with fillings like curry potato, sambal prawn, or coconut. The latter is filled with sweet shredded coconut, combined with the taste of gula melaka.  

Must-order items: Traditional rainbow bread ($2), coconut bun ($1.20)

123 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 534837

Taste more of Singapore’s heritage dishes such as roti prata and wonton noodles at these places.

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