Sin Po Po Bar is last Chinese hostess bar here: 6 old eateries you can still visit in Singapore

Malaysian Seow Lam Seng and his accomplice were shot and killed after they were seen behaving suspiciously near Sin Po Po Bar in Tanjong Katong Road.
Malaysian Seow Lam Seng and his accomplice were shot and killed after they were seen behaving suspiciously near Sin Po Po Bar in Tanjong Katong Road.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Last month, perhaps for the first time in years, a nondescript night lounge in Tanjong Katong found itself in the news again.

Sin Po Po Bar, said to be the last Chinese hostess bar of its kind in Singapore, was mentioned in news reports about Malaysian Seow Lam Seng, who fled Singapore in 1980 after being spotted by police officers allegedly carrying a pistol in his back pocket.

He and his accomplice, who was shot by a police officer in defence and killed, were seen behaving suspiciously near Sin Po Po Bar in Tanjong Katong Road.

The Straits Times takes a look at some old-school eateries that you can still visit.

1. Islamic Restaurant, from 1921

745 North Bridge Road

6298-7563

http://islamic.sg/


Islamic Restaurant prides itself on its Turkish-Indian version of nasi briyani. PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

This 97-year-old restaurant has served a fusion of Arab and Indian cuisine for decades, and prides itself on its Turkish-Indian version of nasi briyani.

It also serves Roti Mariam, a cross between naan and prata that can be eaten with sugar, condensed milk or curry.

It is said to be created by a woman of the same name who reportedly sold the unique roti or bread from a pushcart in Kampong Glam.

She is said to have been hired by the Islamic Restaurant, which put her dish on its menu.

2. Chin Mei Chin Confectionery in East Coast Road, from 1940

204 East Coast Road

6345-0419

The Hainanese-style coffee shop is known for its traditionally designed interior, kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs.

It serves lavishly buttered toasted buns, egg tarts and other pastries, along with local breakfast staples of soft boiled eggs with tea and coffee.

The 78-year-old shop sits at the edge of a row of shophouses, with neighbours such as the 328 Katong Laksa.

In 2013, the owner of the shop came out to quash rumours that it would be closing.

3. Hainan Chicken Rice Ball in Jalan Besar, from 1945


Hainan Chicken Rice Ball's signature chicken rice balls cost $4.50 per plate. PHOTO: ELLIOTT DANKER

3 Dickson Road

8314-0228

Third-generation owner Ba Chin Fong, 58, told The Straits Times that the shop has its beginnings from 1945, when the Japanese surrendered.

Regular chicken rice costs $3.50, while its signature chicken rice balls cost $4.50 per plate.

Located in Shing Boon Hwa Food Centre, a small coffee shop in Jalan Besar, the store sells hand-moulded balls of chicken rice, with Hainanese steamed chicken lashed with dark soy sauce. The shop also sells braised pork dishes.

4.Heap Seng Leong in Lavender, from 1974


Heap Seng Leong, known for its butter coffee, also serves kaya toast and boiled eggs. PHOTO: ST FILE

10 North Bridge Road

6292-2368

Heap Seng Leong, located in a sleepy housing estate in Lavender, is an old-school coffee shop known for its butter coffee.

The Chinese-style coffee is served with a thick slab of butter in it.

The dimly lit shop also serves kaya toast and boiled eggs, and there is another stall inside the shop that sells epok-epok or curry puffs.

5. Mariner's Corner in Tanjong Pagar, from 1984


Mariner's Corner serves dishes like colonial oxtail stew, lobster bisque, escargot and cuts of steak. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/MARINER'S CORNER RESTAURANT

120 Cantonment Road

6224-9928

Western restaurant Mariner's Corner has a distinctly 80s vibe, with its checkered tablecloths and oldies music.

It serves dishes like colonial oxtail stew, lobster bisque, escargot and cuts of steak.

Among the restaurant's clientele are seafarers who visit the Singapore Mariners' Club, which is housed in the same building.

6. Shashlik Restaurant in Orchard Road, from 1986


Shashlik Restaurant is known for its borsch, a sour beetroot soup, and shashlik or skewered kebabs. PHOTO: ST FILE

545 Orchard Road

6732-6401

https://www.facebook.com/pg/shashliksg/

Russo-Hainanese diner Shashlik Restaurant was reportedly opened by nine waiters, cooks and bartenders from another restaurant who pooled their life savings together to open it.

They had all lost their jobs when Troika, which also served Russian dishes by Hainanese chefs, closed suddenly.

The restaurant had closed temporarily and reopened in 2016, with minor renovations.

It is known for its borsch, a sour beetroot soup, and shashlik or skewered kebabs, and also serves flambed desserts.

SOURCES: The New Paper, The Straits Times archives