bao er cafe review

Balestier’s Bao Er Cafe lands a killer combo with Singapore’s best kaya toast & a wok-hei-filled Hokkien Mee

There was always little reason to go to Balestier during the day. It’s a different scene when the sky turns dark though, as the litany of beloved Bak Kut Teh eateries come to life and a lingering peppery scent spices up the vicinage and sedices hordes of supper seekers like a siren song.

bao er cafe review

However, that was before Bao Er Cafe — nowadays, Balestier Plaza is suffused with a rich toast aroma. It’s a stark contrast as hawker enthusiasts flood the sleepy mall long before the arrival of lunch hour.

There may be no drop-dead gorgeous decor but barebones and unassuming as it may look, the eatery has magically captivated Singapore’s social media. Convincing claims of “best kaya toast in Singapore” essentially meant the queues never floundered as guests stacked onto the line that held strong way past lunch hour.

One of the best Kaya Toast

best kaya toast singapore

Thundering crackles serenaded me while incessant crumbs from wafer-thin toasts rained all over the plate — Bao Er Cafe’s Kaya Butter Toast Set ($5) might be the manifestation of our most nostalgic idealisation of Ya Kun’s toasts sets.

Unlike the former though —now a mixed bag of inconsistency and hard-to-swallow price hikes— this kaya toast is built on greater finesse, showcasing immaculate texture and a careful ratio of butter and kaya. 

balestier best food

That’s the crux of Bao Er Cafe’s kaya toast: It’s not focused on merely perfecting the toast’s delicate crunch, their house-concocted kaya is equally remarkable.

Light green and glossy, the pandan concoction is intoxicatingly fragrant, luxuriously velvety, and meticulously balances the sweetness — simply euphoric and everything is simply on point.

bao er cafe hokkien mee

On top of the toast, Bao Er Cafe also touts another familiar comfort food as its signature, Hokkien Mee ($7) — fried till sloppily drowning in rich prawn stock.

Even with its nascency, this plate matches up against multitudes of Singapore’s top Hokkien Mee with oodles of springy noodles and an exuberant stock, brimming with seafood umami and a delectable prawn sweetness.

Building on the exceptional base, Bao Er Cafe also piles on the indulgence as each plate is embellished with crunchy pork lard, tender pork belly, fresh and plump prawns and the feistiest sambal that will please all masochistic spice lovers

balestier food

Realistically, an eatery in Balestier specialising in both kaya toast and Hokkien Mee is unusual: These dishes are at their best in specialist joints or when prepared by hawkers with decades of experience.

But trust me, as someone with the most overwhelming limerence for these two hawker classics? Bao Er Cafe is the irrefragable real deal.

Bao Er Cafe

  • Address: 400 Balestier Rd, #02-01 Balestier Plaza, Singapore 329802
  • Hours: (Monday to Sunday) 8am to 8pm


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