While bagels can be traced back to Jewish communities in Poland in the 17th century, the doughy delight has grown increasingly popular outside of Europe — thanks to the large Jewish populations in North American states like New York and California.
The bagel itself boasts a distinct flavour, satisfying chewiness, and a slightly crispy exterior, making it the perfect vessel for ingredients with softer textures. The most classic pairing is ‘lox and a schmear,’ which sees the addition of brined salmon fillets and cream cheese. Sliced tomato, cucumbers, and capers are also typical accompaniments.
Recent years have seen an influx of local establishments offer the versatile bread in a multitude of forms and flavours, so read on for our roundup of the best bagels in Singapore.
Two Men Bagel House has been in the bagel business for a long time. The brand was first founded in 2014 and has three outlets to date. It owes its cult following to spinning, hand rolling, slow proofing and baking its bagels daily. The menus differ per location, with highlights including the classic option of smoked salmon, cream cheese, and dill (S$5++); the Novena-exclusive ‘Bobow’s that’s packed with two fried eggs, bacon, and guacamole (S$12++); and ‘Cheetos,’ a Tanjong Pagar-exclusive with two types of ham and cheese (S$12++). Be sure to plan your visit accordingly as the bagels can sell out as early as noon.
NYC Bagel Factory offers authentic New York City-style bagels that are baked daily in Singapore. They’re dense, chewy, and boast a slightly crunchy exterior, thanks to the use of high-quality ingredients, such as high protein wheat flour and brown sugar. Choose between six flavours (think whole wheat, blueberry, and cinnamon raisin) and be sure to accompany it with the brand’s own cream cheese.
Artisanal bakery chain Baker & Cook offers an extensive range of freshly made bread, and its bagels are no exception. Choose from the range of plain, onion, and blueberry flavours and savour your pick with a side of cream cheese and jam. The brand’s founder Dan Brettschneider also has a baking school — perfect for those who want to learn more about he bread they’re scarfing down. Bagels are available at all outlets.
Local restaurant chain Wild Honey is known for its extensive all-day breakfast spread. Kickstart your morning with an order of ‘I Love New York,’ which comes with a hand-rolled sesame bagel, smoked salmon, caramelised onions, and scrambled eggs with sturgeon. If that isn’t enough for you, head down to the Scotts Square outlet for the New York smoked fish and bagel platter. The three-tiered serving features generous portions of smoked salmon and salmon pastrami; hand-rolled sesame bagels; two types of cream cheese, and more.
Sesame & Bagels is a central kitchen offering hand-rolled bagels made from scratch. Savour variants such as sea salt and pepper, blueberry, and onion (S$2.50 each), and enjoy with your choice of schmear (think salmon cream cheese and avocado and feta). Other highlights include the pillowy, homemade milk bread loaf (S$6) and zesty carrot cake loaf (S$16). The establishment only takes bulk orders of at least 50 bagels, but fret not, there’s the option to share the order with others as well.
Can you call yourself a sandwich lover if you’ve never been to Sarnies? We think not, but that’s not all the cult favourite along Telok Ayer Street has to offer. Bagels are also part of the deal here, each made in-house and generously layered with classic fillings like Mortadella with basil pesto or smoked salmon and cream cheese. Pair with one of the establishment’s famous cuppas — made with freshly roasted blends or single origin beans — and you’re good to go.
It’s not everyday you’ll come across a nasi lemak bagel sandwich but if it’s unorthodox you want, homegrown ‘bagelry’ Able Bagel will oblige. The above-mentioned bagel is a cheeky rendition of the local classic, with ikan bills, sambal chilli, fried egg, and a juicy fried chicken cutlet sandwiched between a delightfully fragrant Lemak coconut bagel. If you’re strictly into classics though, you’ll love the Love you Lox!, a hearty sandwiched layered with cured salmon, scallion schemer, picked red onions and capers. Otherwise, order a box of bagels — flavours range from Cinnamon Raisin to Furikake — and you’ll have breakfast sorted for a week.
This bagel house is well-loved by SMU students for a reason, and it’s not just because it’s located right within the campus. The latest bagel house to join the scene has become known for its extensive menu of hearty sandwiches, which includes Deviled Spam (a sinful marriage of spam, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and mashed devilled eggs), as well as the Bogogi Beef (a Korean-inspired meal comprising Bulgogi beef, sunny side-up, and Korean slaw). Vegetarians aren’t left out either; Porter’s Belly and Jam & Nutty are excellent options for any afternoon lunch fix.