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Reviewed December 6, 2012

For reviews and more pictures, visit my blog @ Ms-Skinnyfat

The cosy first floor of the shophouse houses the Bistro, which has been opened for 17 months. A little more about Betel Box- it started out as a backpackers hostel 10 years back, providing a good night's rest and activities for their guests. What started as just dinner with backpackers, eventually became a 7 hour tour of the Joo Chiat; consuming over 30 dishes of food and learning of the Peranakan lifestyle and culture. Their tours got more popular and they are licensed as a travel agency, providing walks for tourists and Singaporeans alike. The restaurant venture is a natural progression of the mission to promote heritage and conservation of the area.

If you stay here, make sure you give their peranakan fare at the Bistro a try. The food is rather authentic and very tasty. Grab a few of your new found friends and give the dishes a go.

Kacang Botol ($6) is a Peranakan favorite: Four angled beans tossed with Betel Box Bistro's spicy sambal sauce. Very refreshing cold salad with a light bitterness from the vegetables and acidity of the piquant chili.

My favorite fish dish was the Ikan Sumbat (market price). Our $20 stuffed red snapper fish with meat and prawns fed the entire table and left us craving for more. The meat was really dense and juicy. The stuffing has the fragrance of otah without the spice and is also lighter on the coconut milk.

Dry Beef Curry Ribs ($15 onwards) is Uncle Ben's specialty. The braised beef ribs are seasoned in a dry curry sauce aka rendang. Our $35 9inch rib was absolutely tender and the meat fell apart with the tug of a fork. The rendang was a little mild, possibly due to the creamy coconut milk but it was still fantastic.

Date of stay: November 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
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Thank ms-skinnyfat
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2012

I had a great time at this place, the staff were always helpful and had heaps of local knowledge, it's an interesting area to explore with lots of good places to eat and the breakfast is great, thanks for the extra muesli and fruit Tony!

Room tip: Stay in the 6 bed dorm or 6 bed single room, it's only a couple of dollars more than the 20 bed dorm and you'll get a better night's sleep
Date of stay: July 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
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1  Thank Daniel d
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2012

My wife and I decided to try this place as we didn't want to pay for a hotel with high prices so we booked in at the double room here. The bonus was that it was a family room as well so we had plenty of space and a couple of extra beds to chuck our stuff on!

The shower was good, air con worked very well in the room and the bed was pretty comfy too. And of course included in the price is breakfast which you grab downstairs in the cafe - nice bit of choice which was great. I liked the pancakes...

The hostel itself was great with everything you need and expect at a good hostel - free wifi, lots of guides, sofas to chill out and DVDs to watch etc - not that we spent much time at the hostel itself as there was so much to see and do.

The place felt safe and was in a well lit area with a secure entry code to get in the main door. There was also free lockers to use so we could safely lock our valuables away - just make sure you bring your own padlock.

Location was fine. It wasn't in the centre of town, but there are plenty of amenities nearby if you need and the regular bus service went just past the hostel and straight into the city for little over a dollar. It was really wasn't that far out.

The hostel provides a pickup service from the airport, but at $24 minimum, if there's a group then great, if there's only a couple of you, you're probably best getting a taxi as it will probably workout cheaper.

Finally, the staff themselves were so helpful with advice and guidance on seeing the city. Use them as a starting point, grab a map and go explore!

Room tip: Our double room was huge as it was family room (sleeps 4) good AC and quiet most of the time.
Date of stay: August 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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1  Thank sandyandlydia
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2012

My brother picked this place to start our travelling adventure. Not a bad place to start to be fair. Free wi-fi, computer access available but for a short time unless you want to pay and the free breakfast included was excellent.

The beds in the dormitory were ok, comfortable and clean. It is quite a large dorm so there is always people coming in and out. Which i suppose can't be helped but it does affect your sleep. The bathroom and showers could have been cleaner as they were pretty grubby in relation to other hostels i have stayed at.

Overall it's not bad but i have stayed at better.

Date of stay: July 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
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1  Thank MikeyMike89
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2012

Travel is about people, and the betel box has some of the nicest and most informative staff you can find in singapore. The owner, Tony, is extremely approachable and knowledgeable. I cannot re ommend unequivocally enough his food tour on Thursday nights. I stayec an extra few nights just to do it, and it didnt dissapoint. Six plus hours of culture and a look into Singapore`s oft overlooked murky social underpinnings provide fascinating insight into life in Singapore, culminating mid way with a food extravaganza containing some of Singapore`s best dishes. Astonishingly good value for only 30$ SPD. The rooms are so-so, but have a pleasant social quality, are relatively inexpensive and often full with people travelling to, or from, other destinations, using Singapore as a hub for further adventures. My only criticsm is the showers. They are very ordinary. At least consider adding some rails high up to keep our clothes from getting wet, Tony!

Room tip: Whatever you choose, bare in mind how much time you actually spend in the room, then choose appropriatly. Always take earplugs, available on the cheap from reception, and a sleeping mask to block out night readers and you`re god to go.
Date of stay: June 2012
Trip type: Traveled solo
1  Thank GnosticNomad
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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