The Tuckshop, Geylang

The Tuckshop Singapore
The decor was industrial meets Singapore retro, cosy and fun with secondary school tables and rattan chairs. The servers were impatient young girls in shorts. PE shorts? No GST, no service tax.

The Tuckshop Guillemard - Roast pork
Roasted Pork Belly

Only 1 out of the 10-page menu was on food (the rest on alcohol). While the food choices were limited, the Singaporean food was rather good, contrary to the reviews we read.  At first we thought the food, so tasty, was bought from a nearby market and sold here at 4 times the price but it was not. Every dish was made in the kitchen.

The Tuckshop sg - Beef
The Mains
: The Northern Indian-styled curry chicken ($12) was kick-ass spicy, tasted like it’s made from traditional recipe. The roasted pork belly ($12) was crackling, well-marinated, not at all greasy, and had a nice proportion of fat to meat. The ribeye tataki ($16, pictured above) was a tad too thin, but big on flavors, rare on the inside–Huccalily’s favorite dish of the night.

The Bar Grub: The bar grub, however, wasn’t as good as the mains. The chunky truffle fries ($7) were dry and not very truffly and the chicken mid-wings ($10 for 6 pieces), or known to us as har cheong gai (prawn-pasted marinated chicken), weren’t thoroughly marinated. According to my friend the Boss, they had to tone down the prawn-paste to suit the angmohs‘ palates.

The Tuckshop Geylang - Spam Fries

The Off-the-Menu: My friend recommended us two items off the menu: a very addictive tempura-like spam fries ($7, above) with curry-mayo dip; and cubes of fried carrot cake ($8, below) topped with hae bee hiam (spiced shrimp), the dim-sum kind, not the hawker-centre kind, which was a tad tough and smelly to me (“like a wet dog”) but Huccalily and Ms Atas disagreed, they liked the taste and texture with sparse shredded raddish.

The Tuckshop Singapore Guillemard - Fried Carrot Cake

An issue I find with the glorified kopitiam is the subtitle: “The Tuckshop – Made by Locals.” 3 out of 5 owners are white men. A bit misleading like TWG using the year 1837. But my friend explained the angmohs think they are localized. I am not sure if they are quite localized if the har cheong gai had to be toned down for them.

Still a comfortable place with surprisingly good food to hang out on a weekend night. We spent $104 for four (two of us had beer). The ambience was comfortable; the food was excellent and of good value even although the focus of this eatery was on alcohol; but the service could be less condescending.  The next day, Huccalily woke up, craving for the pork belly.

The Tuckshop Singapore

403 Guillemard Road Singapore 399795
T: 6744 8441 (no reservation)
5pm-1am daily

Rating: 3.219/5 stars

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9 replies »

  1. Love this place! Oh, but I am an angmoh so I guess that is obvious because the flavours have been toned down for me?? haha I think you guys maybe don’t understand the different kinds of angmohs that live in Singapore. I guess like I don’t understand the different ‘locals’ that live in Singapore. Anyway some of us do like some spice, although you still maybe right that they’ve toned it down to cater for a larger audience. And it’s funny about the term local, cos Singapore is a bit like Australia and the ‘locals’ have all come from somewhere too… so when does one truly become a local? It’s an interesting topic, maybe we should discuss some time?


    • Actually, I’ve met a few angmohs who live and eat like locals. Hungry Ang Mo is one of them, and I’d consider him (and the few others) locals. But if an angmoh doesn’t get out of his/her comfort zone, hangs out with other expats, and doesn’t eat at hawkers, then I cannot think s/he is localized. From my personal experience, the latter far outnumbers the former, but the latter still imagine they are localized. I think a willingness to try is the key factor for what I look for in a localized migrant or expat. If a person lives in a country with 99% Asians, then I’d expect a localized angmoh to have 99% Asian friends and 1% angmoh friends. But this is not the case in most cases. I know a few expats who don’t eat Chinese restaurants in Singapore because they are scared that meats may be from dubious sources. That’s extremely ignorant and racist. It makes me wonder why they come to Singapore in the first place. “Localized” is a term similar to “earnest,” “down-to-earth,” and “innocent”; only others can tell you you have that trait, you cannot say it yourself. Because the moment you say you’re “earnest” etc, you’re no longer “earnest.” Likewise, the moment you say you’re “localized,” you’re not.

      I understand some people cannot take spiciness but har cheong gai isn’t spicy, it is marinated in a prawn paste that might have a fermented taste. I understand some people may not like the fermented taste but a local should be able to accept the dish as it is, and leave it alone. Honestly, I’ve not eaten har cheong gai at any other eateries that tone down the flavors.


  2. The term ‘local’ is indeed a curious one, given that Singapore is a British-founded tiny Chinese enclave in a massive sea of Malay Muslims, leading one to question who exactly ‘the locals’ might be.


  3. As regards ‘Tuckshop’, I was tempted by the descriptions and prices of the main meals but immediately put off by the revelation that service is condescending. From my point of view, the service in Singaporean venues of this type really needs to improve – I wonder what kind of client can be actually enjoying arrogant and dismissive treatment, currently so widespread and perhaps even faddish? (Also I’m a bit over all the cold light and “industrial” decor, which is certainly faddish and equally certainly not cosy.)


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