Fabulous roti prata, Thai wanton noodles, and a slew of trendy cafes: these places offer the best food in Upper Thomson.
In late 2022, the northeastern neighbourhood opened up more to the rest of
Singapore thanks to the launch of the Thomson-East Coast MRT line. The area also borders MacRitchie Reservoir, so hikes in the tropical forest can end with a great meal.
Probably the most famous eatery along Upper Thomson Road is The Roti Prata House, but arguably, it has been surpassed by Sin Ming Roti Prata. Other long-serving yet immensely popular dining establishments include Nam Kee Chicken Rice Restaurant and Ming Fa Fishball.
Recent newcomers are also drawing crowds. The famous Beach Road Scissor-Cut Curry Rice has an outlet here, and Daawat serves excellent examples of North Indian cuisine. Tomyum Mama has since surpassed its neighbour as the place to go for Thai wanton noodles, while Nummun trods a similar path with
Thai street food. Next to Nummun is the Japanese steakhouse Rubicon, then go back to Xiang Hao Chi for Taiwanese desserts – they also have lu rou fan – and Salted Caramel for ice cream.
Upper Thomson cafes have also gotten in on the food game. Head to Columbus Coffee for a cheesy chicken stew and truffle fries, or cross the road to Hello Arigato and their sandos. A few doors down is One Man Coffee, which serves a hearty big breakfast, and State of Affairs provides fuel and smoked croquettes for early morning starts. Check them out below.
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14 restaurants and cafes in Upper Thomson for the best food
Beach Road Scissor-Cut Curry Rice moved to a new spot on Upper Thomson Road in 2023, but the relocation has not dampened diners’ moods for them. During peak hours, the
restaurant sees a constant line of people waiting to point at the galaxy of food, including pork cutlet, braised cabbage, fried egg, and ngoh hiang. The ingredients are then given the requisite snip, served with rice, and doused completely in a curry made with 15 spices and the restaurant’s own coconut cream.
(Image credit: Beach Road Scissor Cut)
The queue for Scissor-Cut Curry Rice regularly stretches past Columbus Coffee, but the cafe should not be overlooked. In the morning, they do brunch staples like marmite mushroom avocado toast and berry French toast, before turning to mains such as a hearty chicken and gruyere stew, seafood pao fan, cereal prawn aglio olio, and unagi don. Take the edge off with natural wines while lining the stomach with truffle fries.
(Image credit: @columbuscoffeeco / Instagram)
Diners after Indian food in the Upper Thomson area tend to flock to one of two roti prata places, but Daawat should be on their list. The North Indian restaurant has been a reliable haunt for aloo gobi, palak paneer, rogan josh, and butter chicken for years. Pair the curries with their aromatic garlic naan or biryani, and wash it down with a creamy mango lassi.
(Image credit: @onekuehatatime / Instagram)
For a country overflowing with Japanese restaurants, Upper Thomson strangely lacks them. Hello, Arigato makes up for it with Japanese-inspired bites such as a three-egg tamago sando, chilled tom yum somen, and tater tots with shio kombu and nori mayo. While the cafe is primarily a brunch spot, they have an extensive selection of naturally-fermented, easy-drinking ciders, as well as sakes and wines with a progressive bent. You might have to knock those back quickly, however: Hello Arigato has a 90-minute seating policy.
(Image credit: Hello Arigato / Facebook)
Together with Hello Arigato, the neighbouring One Man Coffee is one of the two cafes along Thomson Ridge that draws a long queue. And for good reason. Their French toast, decked out with caramelised banana, strawberries, blueberries, candied walnuts, and salted caramel is a crowd favourite, joined by the equally popular all-in brekkie, hefty with egg, tater tots, bacon, mushrooms, chorizo,
salad, and sourdough.
(Image credit: One Man Coffee / Facebook)
Since 1946, Ming Fa has grown from a pushcart in Chinatown to a third-generation family business with locations islandwide and overseas. But expansion has not given the affected quality. The signature fishball is still made with 100-per cent yellowtail amberjack, giving it a soft, bouncy bite, and the eatery offers similar styles like sambal shrimp balls and stuffed Fuzhou fishballs. If you are after meatballs, the bak chor mee presents them with springy noodles and tender slices of pork liver backed by the heady aroma of pork lard.
(Image credit: @captaingreedyghost / Instagram)
Faded art, lighting as harsh as a surgery room: Nam Kee is a step back into Upper Thomson’s past. Opened in 1968, little has changed at the chicken rice restaurant – they took down orders by pen and paper right up to the start of covid. While the needle has moved slightly – there’s now a tablet – the signature Hainanese steamed chicken has remained juicy, smooth, and tender for decades, compounded by the slick, fragrant rice. Nam Kee has grown the menu to include Thai-style dishes and mapo tofu but sticks to the classics like Hainanese pork chop.
(Image credit: @namkeechickenrice / Instagram)
For Thai food in the area, cross the road from Nam Kee to Nummun. Even outside of peak dining hours, the walk-in-only restaurant sees legions of diners waiting for its street food-style dishes. When your turn finally comes, get the crab meat omelette featuring generous tubes of meat, as well as the grilled pork neck. Supplement with skewers of moo ping, mango salad, and the punchy clear tom yum soup.
(Image credit: @doudoupea / Instagram)
Address 200 Upper Thomson Rd #01-03, Thomson Imperial Court, Singapore 574424
Website Website here
Phone 8886 8699
The crowd milling outside Numnum has not affected the popularity of its neighbour, Rubicon. The steakhouse has been a mainstay in Upper Thomson for years with its winning combination of
Hokkaido-bred Wagyu at affordable prices. Choice of cuts include lean, tenderloin, and ribeye, and portions range from as dainty as 250g to a substantial 1kg. A side of roasted garlic helps to cut through the buttery beef, and if you’re there at the right time, the Japanese chef might come out to hand out more garlic bulbs.
(Image credit: @miya_sgfood / Instagram)
Address 200 Upper Thomson Rd, #01-04 Thomson Imperial Court, Singapore 574424
Website Website here
Phone 8303 4075
After a hike at MacRitchie Reservoir, ice cream from Salted Caramel is practically mandatory. Despite next-door competition from Udders, Salted Caramel’s version is arguably smoother and creamier. Strangely, the crowd is also lesser. A scoop of Earl Grey ice cream has a balanced contrast between sweet and earthy, while blue milk is a touch of saline like the sea. Salted Caramel also does local flavours like pulut hitam, which can be turned into a soda float and scooped on top of waffles.
(Image credit: Salted Caramel / Facebook)
The (missing) elephant on this list is the venerable Roti Prata House, now dethroned by Sin Ming Prata. Housed off the main strip at Block 23, the hawker stall does a rendition that is good enough to be considered one of the country’s best, a quality that extends from the crispy coin prata to the regular, stretchy kind. Don’t sleep on the nasi biryani either, and go back for regular top-ups of the fish curry. If the queue is too long, neighbouring hawkers like Ru Lai Vegetarian and the charcoal toast from the drinks stall are just as good.
(Image credit: @feedmethatnow / Instagram)
Address 24 Sin Ming Rd, #01-51, Singapore 570024
Phone 6453 3893
Cafes have a strange way of opening rather late for coffee, but the State of Affairs does away with this habit. They start as early as 6 am on the weekends – you might have to jostle with the lycra-skinned cycling crowd – but the single origin and house blend brews are worth waking up for. From the kitchen, a selection of sandwiches and small bites like grilled cheese and smoked croquettes line the stomach before the ride. If you find yourself in the vicinity later in the day, Woodlands Sourdough does sticky loaves that sell out fast, and King of Wagyu has attractively-priced Japanese beef to cook at home.
(Image credit: @stateofaffairssg / Instagram)
For a while, Soi 19 eatery was the go-to for Thai-style wanton
noodles along Upper Thomson Road, but Tomyum Mama has pulled far ahead. It’s customisable, and the winning combination is springy egg noodles backed by slivers of pork sausage, crispy pork lard, tangy black sauce, and a runny onsen egg for richness. The seafood clay pot is a tart and fiery affair, and the fried chicken wings have a crunch that the owner described as “going through in your head.”
(Image credit: @esth3r_esth3r / Instagram)
For the longest time, I wrote off Xiang Hao Chi for only selling desserts, but I was terribly wrong. They have more savoury options than sweets, ranging from a lu rou fan surrounded by fat slabs of pork belly to an intriguing mee sua with discs of pork intestine and crunchy fried chicken. For sweets, it’s bowls of beancurd and green jelly topped with sticky rice cake, fruit, beans, and yam, and creamy milk tea.
(Image credit: @tonguedynasty / Instagram)