5 little bears is a Taiwanese cafe serving authentic Taiwan street food with a good affordable price to boot. Let’s check them out with a simple dinner dine in today.

The store entrance of 5 little bears Taiwanese cafe at Paya Lebar Square
The store entrance of 5 little bears Taiwanese cafe at Paya Lebar Square.

The store is a small cozy shop tucked in the first basement of Paya Lebar Square shopping center. It sits opposite the entrance of the basement Kopitiam food court. Also, going in tradition of most Taiwan and Japanese food stores, they are like a hole-in-the-wall eatery with an ordering counter at the entrance.

Authentic Taiwanese quick dining

Of course nothing can be as Taiwanese if it were not for their typical Chinese-style decorations. The cafe has a section of small tabled seating which can house groups up to 4 pax at best. Furthermore, this is limited by the small physical size of the dine-in area. Having said that, the seating area in 5 little bears is tight and lit by a mix of paper lanterns and flying “wishing” lanterns typically used in Taiwan for festive occasions.

Try their Taichung braised pork rice

Moreover, the main selling proposition of 5 little bears is authentic Taiwanese food at cheap prices. Menu recommendations here include Taichung braised pork rice ($5) or also known as Lu Ruo Fun (literally translated to black sauce meat rice). The meat dish is garnished with generous seeing so minced meat and sauced, topped with a half hard boiled tea egg.

5 little bears Taichung braised pork rice ($5)
Taichung braised pork rice ($5).

Also, you can’t go wrong with the Taiwanese staple meat dish and is possibly their most filling dinner offering on their menu, with the exception of other noodle dishes. The meal dish reminds me of the meals served at Taiwan high speed rail terminals, where stores sell these very affordable yet tasty meat rice dishes you can quickly pick up, pay and board on the high speed rail to consume your meal. Other Taiwanese staple dishes includes Beef Noodles ($9.50) and Oyster Mee Sua ($5).

Dining area
Drinks
Cafe entrance

Additionally, you place your order before dining. Also the crowds in the tiny cafe/restaurant are much more manageable now post pandemic measures. Moreover, I remember the place always packed with the safe distancing measures in place. Also, a meal here is quick, and with its small portions you be done with your meal under 30 minutes tops.

Fried side goodness

Furthermore, on side dishes you can’t go wrong ordering their extra-large fried chicken cutlet or the chicken notes as a side for sharing. They are a staple in the Taiwanese street food scene and best paired with a cool refreshing drink or bubble tea. Also, if the XL fried chicken is too much for you, other recommendations include salted crispy chicken ($4.50) which is great for sharing.

5 little bears Fried salted chicken sides ($4.50), a Taiwanese staple which is more manageable than their large XL chicken cutlet
Fried salted chicken sides ($4.50), a Taiwanese staple which is more manageable than their large XL chicken cutlet.

You can option an additional selection of drinks for a dollar extra with every main course. Options includes Jasmine tea, melon tea served in plastic bubble tea cups for a $1 a pop add-on with a meal.

Moreover, strangely, there is no breakfast yutiao (dough fritters) and soya bean in the menu, which is also another Taiwanese breakfast delicacy. Guess 5 little bears  is not quite the breakfast place.

Quality wise, food at 5 little bears just works. The food is neither the most flavourful nor the healthiest in offerings, considering that most of their dishes are either high in salt or fired. But that is what you typically get with Taiwanese food anyway. Also, you can give it to them for the authenticity of the store layout, ambience and offerings.

Snack store

Moreover, adjacent to the food ordering counter is another connecting store. Also, there is also a second takeaway take-out counter dedicated just for Taiwanese snacks. Here, like the touristy spots in Taiwan, you can find wall shelves of Taiwan confectionery and condiments. It has the authentic Taiwan tourist trap feel. Also the exterior of the store houses a small food kiosk. It hawks varieties of Taiwan snacks and hot such as Xiao Mantou (mini buns) and Fried crisps and chips.

5 little bears Store lanterns at the snack corner of the store where you can dine-in too
Store lanterns at the snack corner of the store where you can dine-in too.

All in all, 5 little bears Taiwanese cafe is an authentic spot to get your Taiwanese food fix, especially with travel restriction in place. It is a small dine-in restaurant and snack cafe serving contemporary Taiwan Street food and snacks which is usually cheap and good, without the frills.

Verdict:

Must Go! | Actually pretty Good | Worth Trying | Shortlist Optionally | Should Avoid

5 Little Bears Taiwanese cafe Locality Map

Paya Lebar Square Unit #B1-09
60 Paya Lebar Rd, Singapore 409051
Opening Hours: 11:30am- 8:30pm

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