I love a good Peranakan meal and when I heard news of a popular Peranakan restaurant from Novena Church cafeteria opening just a stone throw away from my hood, I was pretty excited to try them out. Back to today, that was many years back when they first shifted to their current location and I have ate there multiple times. I have not reviewed them as they just felt like ‘the’ neighbourhood restaurant and it feels weird to review them but finally I decided to do it.
Teck Neo started out specialising in Nonya cakes, tarts, biscuits and desserts and one of their most famous item is the homemade pineapple tarts which is widely popular during the Lunar New Year. These tarts come in small pop in your mouth sizes and is great as afternoon snacks. Either than pineapple tarts, Teck Neo also has fabulous Peranakan favourites like dry Mee Siam and Nasi Lemak. Their current location is nestled in a row of shophouses in the Telok Blangah residential area and features both indoor and outdoor seating. There are limited seats indoor but there is air conditioning to avoid the heat.
The outdoor seats has more of a lush garden atmosphere with lots of potted greenery and mix of wooden and marble tables. As the restaurant faces the wet market of the neighbourhood, they made a conscious effort to put up blinds and a barricade of tall fern and palm plants to create a barrier with the wet market so customers can dine in ease without the view of raw meats from the market. It is pretty cooling and windy to sit outdoors during the afternoon and they even have coolers ready for those hot afternoon.
You can see the various write ups about Teck Neo proudly decorating the walls and customers are also allowed to write their messages on the tiled walls
Their menu is quite concise with a few signature dishes and Peranakan favourites. You have to place your order at the cashier and make payment before they start to prepare your dishes. They only accept cash or nets and no credit cards.
You can also find a variety of their Nonya cakes and tarts at the counter which can be sold out pretty fast.
The ngoh hiang ( deep fried prawn roll) came prettily plated on fresh greens and there were about 6 pieces served and good for sharing. The rolls were well fried with a very crispy skin and the meat roll inside the skin was very juicy with a nice texture and crunch from the spring onions. The chilli provided was sweet and spicy and went well with the rolls.
This next dish is a must order for Peranakan meals and it is the braised stir fry cabbage called Chap Chai in Teochew. Their chap chai came with medium sized prawns and generous gravy which was full of umami flavours. The best part of the dish is that all the ingredients like the cabbage, black fungus, vermicelli and bean curd were so well braised that they were soft and have fully absorbed the flavours of the dish. This dish is so palatable it could help you finish a plate of rice on its own.
The chicken rendang serving was good for sharing for 2 to 3 persons and was full of gravy which complements white rice very well. A whole chicken leg and tight meat was served and the meat was very tender and juicy with the strong rempah flavours infused into both the meat and the gravy. As Teck Neo makes their rempah paste ( chilli paste ) from scratch, it was a very authentic Peranakan taste found in Peranakan home cooked meals.
Some other dishes worth trying will be the dry Mee Siam, kueh pie ti, Itek Tim ( duck and salted vegetables soup) and buah keluak which I have tried in my other occasion. This is the first time I am ordering their Chendol dessert which was quite nicely presented ( my picture was taken after I happily dug into it while forgetting to take a picture). Basically, the chendol has chunky shaved ice which is similar to those found in traditional ice kachang stalls. The flavours of the coconut milk and palm sugar is quite strong and fragrant which makes it a nice dessert. However, I would not classify it as one of the best chendol as there are others which are better.
Overall, the food at Teck Neo has very authentic Peranakan flavours and is very tasty which is apparent in the crowd dining during meal times. Personally, I think their price point is slightly on the high side especially when they are located in a not expensive neighbourhood area and not a mall.
Address: 35 Telok Blangah Rise, #01-303, Singapore 090035
Operating hours: 9.45 am to 9 pm