SG50 Day 1 – Tian Kee & Co

Singapore celebrates her 50th birthday and what better way to soak in the atmosphere then to walk off the beaten path to discover hidden gems.

Our 90s generation are a bunch of kids who grew up with a touch of old tradition fused in new technology.

And while we have not experienced the hardship of our ancestors, we grew up at a time where the old was constantly being mixed (and pushed out) with the new – and thus understand and appreciate any forms of inkling that takes one down memory lane.

With that in mind, we decided to check out Tian Kee & Co – a defunct provision shop turned artisan cafe located in the heart of one of Singapore’s oldest estate, Dakota.

Singapore kick-started her celebrations with an influx of downpour but no stormy weather could dampen our adventurous spirit.

Drowned chicken looks meh

Still retained of its former glory, we arrived at Tian Kee looking like drowned chickens but could not contain our excitement at the discovery of this beauty.

Stepping into Tian Kee can be best described as that feeling when you’ve been away from home for a long time and everything feels different from whence you left; yet every touch jolts a memory of linger long forgotten.

 Tian Kee & Co, 12 Dakota Crescent

What I like about Tian Kee is that it offers a distinctive menu that sets it apart from other mainstream cafes.

Bobz and I were immediately attracted to their bestselling Salted Caramel Latte and Rainbow Yoghurt Cheesecake.

 Rainbow Yoghurt Cheesecake & Salted Caramel Latte

The Salted Caramel Latte is a nice change from the regular latte one usually gets. The richness of the latte was not reduced with the addition of the salted caramel. Instead, the taste blended well without overpowering both flavours. Highly recommended!

Another of its bestseller is the Gula Melaka Cheesecake, a dessert that is starting to gain popularity on this little red dot. We opted for the Rainbow though as it was more instgram-worthy. :p

With that said, I have friends who can vouch that the Gula Melaka Cheesecake and Ugly Nutella are strong contenders and taste pretty sublime.

Tian Kee offers all-day breakfast but as we had our meals before arriving, we opted for sides instead.

The Clam Chowder was savoury and generously filled with bite-sized clams. It was a pity though that our soup was not warm enough when served. It would have comforted our senses in such dreary weather.

The Buffalo Chicken was also a tad disappointing and I would not recommend to anyone. Like the soup, the chicken seemed to have been cooled off for quite some time before serving and though the marination was quite tasty, lacked the oomph factor.

The rain finally relented as we were finishing our meal.

Adventure time!

Dakota estate is one of Singapore’s oldest public estate and hold fragments of a past era. It is a quiet neighbourhood filled with rental tenants putting up in 1-room flats.

Bobz was drawn to the cats who were so tame and looked remarkably well-fed. They openly displayed their affections for us, quite a difference from the cats in my estate.

Ah how I miss them already.

 This girl ran off halfway to chase some birds… Y.Y

My love for dilapidated buildings continue to grow.

There is this wondrous feeling of being in forgotten places, contemplating and spewing ideas of its history in an attempt to restore it to its former glory. All these untold stories and voices yearning to be heard but chained in silence, hidden and exiled.

Does anyone else experience the exact same exhilarating feelings as I do when they step into old buildings?

That gush of air out your lungs and the only sound you hear is the shovelling of your feet. The way your eyes hear the memories of people screaming to be remembered.

It sends chill down my spines, but I seek that thrill.

Bringing back to the crux of this post, Happy 50th Birthday Singapore!

I am so proud and thankful to be a Singaporean. For the opportunities presented that allow me to progress and pursue my many goals and interests – all these benefits I enjoy because our forefathers once toiled hard to build a better life for themselves and their young ones. We must never forget our roots.

Home is where the heart is, and Singapore is the heart of where we build our homes. 🙂

– e.s.


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