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Dining Out 1 minute 22 October 2017

Breakfast Club: 5 Stalls for Handmade Paus

Here's where to get freshly steamed paus for your next breakfast get-together.

breakfast

Call them paus, baos or little purses or pleasure, it doesn't matter. What matters is how delicious they are. There are several pressure points to a pau: the fluffiness of the bun, the bun-to-filling ratio and of course, the filling itself. There aren't many hawkers dedicated to the art of pau-making these days but here are the few still left standing.

Teochew Handmade Pau
Blk 127 Toa Payoh Lor 1, #02-02
Opening hours: 6am to 2pm, daily. Closed on Mondays.

Run by a second-generation hawker who inherited the stall from his father, the owner has been hawking Teochew-style handmade paus in Toa Payoh since 1993. The bun is soft, fluffy and tasty; the result of caster sugar being added to the dough to prevent the skin from dimpling and lard for flavour. Business is brisk on the weekends with their popular items such as the char siu and kong bak paus selling out before they close at 2pm.
The savoury-sweet BBQ pork bun is a real crowd-pleaser
The savoury-sweet BBQ pork bun is a real crowd-pleaser
Tanjong Rhu Pau
389 Guillemard Road
Opening hours: 10am to 5pm, daily.

There's been complaints about their smaller-than-usual sized paus but there's also a snaking queue no matter what time you head down during their opening hours. The fact of the matter is that their paus, no matter how small, are simply delicious. A favourite among the regulars is the yin yang pau, which is stuffed with a salted egg yolk as well as the paste of lotus seed and red bean.

Nam Kee Pau
The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Road, #01-09
Opening hours: 10am to 10pm, daily.

Take a trip down memory lane when you pay Nam Kee a visit. The coffee shop resembles an old-school "kopitiam" with its bare-bones interior, signs and menus bearing the ubiquitous red and blue Mandarin characters, and large plastic containers of soy bean milk with only a plastic ladle to scoop the drink out with. The paus here are made fresh everyday with the same famous Nam Kee Pau recipe from Malaysia's Johor Bahru.
Buns fresh from the steamer
Buns fresh from the steamer
Teck Kee Tanglin Pau
180 Bukit Timah Road
Opening hours: 8.30am to 8pm, daily. Closed on Mondays.

What began as a rogue Cantonese chef who quit his job at Empress restaurant to strike it out on his own, hawking paus in the evenings off Koek Road in Tanglin (modern day Orchard Road), has grown into a four-store strong regiment churning out freshly handmade paus everyday. The 69-year-old business today is helmed by the members of the family's third generation who are as dedicated to the craft as they are to consistency.

D'Bun Pte Ltd
358 Joo Chiat Road
Opening hours: 8am to 10pm, daily.

Don't write them off as another newfangled café or bakery because of its name. D'Bun is dead serious about their paus. In fact, the bakery has been based in Katong since 1991, quietly plying its trade in the heritage zone of Joo Chiat. Their char siu filling is cooked slow and low over a charcoal fire, giving their bestselling char siu pau its delicious smokiness and char.

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