Nostalgic Cuppa – A Chin Mee Chin Experience

Nostalgic Cuppa – A Chin Mee Chin Experience

Located at 204 East Coast Road, it’s a stone’s throw away from all the hustle and bustle of Katong, sits Chin Mee Chin Confectionery. In the heydays of the 1950s, it was a magnet for ordinary folks to convene over simple joys such as kaya, toasted bread, and a locally-brewed black coffee. More importantly, it even handled a bread delivery service!

Chin Mee Chin’s present-day facade – its turquoise walls

Today, many people still love its old-school vibe of old kopitiam chairs and marble-top tables, intricate tiles on the floors, and the slow spinning ceiling fans that channel a time we once remembered. For history fans, the establishment opened in 1925 and started as a bread service for homes in the vicinity. The shop was founded by Tan Hui Dong, but it was his eldest son Tan Joo Ling who was instrumental in buying over the shop’s premises from its original Peranakan owners in the early 1950s. Joo Ling then really pushed the business further.

Retro charm – Chin Mee Chin’s nostalgic interiors

Its food was indubitably homemade – everything from the custard jam called kaya, was executed over slow-burning hot coals as the coconut milk, egg yolk, sugar and pandan flavouring had to be slowly churned. The complementing toasted bread would accompany this delicious, gooey condiment which locals and tourists alike still relish it. Their range of popular confectionery items included sugee cake, Swiss rolls, cream horns and delectable custard puffs. Currently, the shop still preserves its tradition of baking is own bread by hand – a painstaking effort which the owners still stick by it.

Chin Mee Chin’s accordion gate and old-school tiles form up its architecture

During Singapore’s pre-independent days, the Eurasian community would make this their daily stop for breakfast or just catching up with friends over their delectable range of baked goods and locally brewed coffee or tea.

Breakfast spread at Chin Mee Chin – image by Buro 24/7

Diehards of Chin Mee Chin are nevertheless Katong folks and church-goers of Church of the Holy Family, whose frequent Sunday visits throng the shop and inject a feeling of the good old days where patronage was deeply moving for the owners.