Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tong Shui Cafe

I have been conscientiously avoiding the Hong Kong style cafes that have sprung up all over Singapore. Mainly because the "cha charn tang" or Chinese teahouse serving modified Western cuisine simply does not sound appealing to me. However, one day I was enticed by Tong Shui Cafe (some good reviews, delicious website pics and unusual decor).

My friend and I shared an oven-baked rice with chicken wings (S$8.88). He too, had never tried a cha chan tang, not even in Hong Kong. The baked rice came in a bamboo steamer. It had a casual homemade feel and taste about it. The cheese and sauce on top was quite delicious. I wished there was more. The rice is a bit like fried rice, topped with two fried chicken wing drumlets coated with BBQ sauce. Surprisingly the rice didn't taste greasy or overly satiating at all. Yum yum. I would eat this again.

Yes, my FIRST ever HK-style thick toast (S$2.88), believe it or not. My friend's too. The bread is extra soft, just lightly crisped on the outside and fluffy inside. That plus the peanut butter and condensed milk make this a total carbo bomb!

Oh, we had to have this when we saw it on the menu. D24 durian puree on toast (S$3.88)? It was heavenly! I'm sure sugar was added to sweeten it further but the durian fragrance was unmistakable. Another carbo bomb but some things are worth it.

The cha chan tangs are particularly famous for their fragrant milk teas, and some weird concoctions like that awful "yuan yang" coffee and tea mixed together - something I *still* can't get my head around to (yuck yuck). My friend's milk tea with grass jelly (S$3.88) was nice and light though.

I had the 8 Treasures Tea (S$3.88) which came in a tall carafe, with more than enough for two glasses. Extremely refreshing and best of all - it seemed sweetened only by the longans within.

The decor is one way Tong Shui Cafe stands out from the rest of its competition. Bright walls, bold Chinoiserie, dark furniture and French chandeliers. "Tong Shui" means "desserts" in Cantonese but this place serves well more than that, as its menu of over 300 items can attest to. What's even better? Free wi-fi, Chinese movies on cable, football match screenings, and operating hours that run from noon to 6am - good news for night owls seeking a place to chill, eat and chat! I will most certainly be back!

Five outlets across Singapore (I tried the one at Liang Seah Street)
Open daily, noon to 6am



  1. dont u think that its expensive to dine at tong shui?

    in my opinion, i think its not worth the money. food is so so... i can do the bread too

  2. Dictator, what's really not worth the money is Garibaldi over at the next lane! LOL

    No lah, Tong Shui seems OK to me but then again, perhaps I ventured in with the lowest of low expectations. I don't think much of the cha chan tang cuisine to begin with, as mentioned.

  3. I actually visited 2 nights ago. I had the dry beef brisket noodle and some french toast with bananas and maple syrup. I didn't really like the food there.

    I thought Garibaldi is pretty good though.

  4. Liquidshadow, the noodles didn't look very appetising to me, which is why we went for the baked rice. It still has this "rough around the edges" feel but I didn't find that disagreeable. To each his own. My hubby hates Tong Shui Cafe (well, he hates HK food in general).

    Garibaldi - well, the only thing I really liked about it was the complimentary bread. Rest of its offerings didn't blow me away for the price they charge.

  5. i think Garibaldi is horrible too! The shops are opened there to ride on the "opening food stalls" wave and the perceptions "people are flocking to that area, lots of money there" at thomson.

    If u dropped by the area again, i recommend u to buy cheese brownie from baker's story, sin ming centre. Thats really good, though i feel that their standard has fallen.

    Try iceskimo too. they sell ice cream and i like their jasmine ice cream. Quite special

  6. Thanks for the recommendations, Dictator! Thomson indeed has sprung up as a makan hot spot. Would like to explore it some more. I rarely get to go there...

  7. I like the peanut butter toast - it's much better than the Hong Kong Cafe and Xin Wang ones! It is pretty ex if you are comparing to food court/hawker centre prices, but for cafes, I think it's very reasonable. Especially if you can vegetate there in aircon comfort, and you won't reek of rancid food oils after tt :D

  8. Wow..the toast looks absolutely delicious! Must try one day ..must say that the prices are abit steep though.

    Have very fond memories of cha chan teng experiences in HK ..Love their milk tea and polo bao..Tried some versions of milk tea in sg and still searching for that "wow, this is good" feeling : )

  9. I'm still a bit puzzled as to why people think TSC is expensive - it's a sit-down cafe, with air-con and waitstaff service plus SOME ambience (whether you like it or not is another question).

    I'm not defending TSC but I agree with m that it's fairly reasonable for that alone. Vegetate in air-con and not smell like a foodcourt after that. Glad to know the toast is better here than elsewhere too!

    Mimosa: yeah, I doubt the cha chan tangs in Singapore can ever match those in HK.

  10. hahaha. i also got the impression that hk cafe in singapore are overpriced and expensive.

    take the famous dish, instant noodle with egg and luncheon meat, such a cheap dish but sold so ex. lol

  11. cha chan tangs in singapore are like priated version of the hks. a true hongkongers can testify this. these cafe merely borrowed the name


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