A feast for the senses. Not only is Joo Chiat a gastronomic hub, it also houses many important cultural sites and shops that offer interesting weekend workshops.
Do you ever wonder why a search on ‘What to eat in Joo Chiat?” will bring you a list filled with different cuisines ranging from Malay to Chinese to Pernakan. Well, this is due to the majority of residents in the area back in the day.
The neighbourhood was named after Chew Joo Chiat, a wealthy businessman in the 19th century who owned several plots of land at Joo Chiat and Katong. Seeing a potential in residential real estate, he developed the area and sold them to families that are Chinese and Malay.
Today, this neighbourhood is blessed with a cultural identity and rich food history heritage, making it one of the most eclectic neighbourhoods in Singapore.
Things to do in Joo Chiat
1. Snap an #OOTD in front of the colourful shophouses around the neighbourhood.
2. Experience local culture by heading to local markets like the Dunman Food Centre.
3. Take a stroll and spot murals and art installations.
4. Go on a food tour and treat your tastebuds to traditional dishes.
5. Head for a cooking class and try your hand at preparing traditional Peranakan dishes.
Katong Antique House
208 East Coast Rd, Singapore 428907
Take a sneak peek into this private collector’s collection of Peranakan antiques. Operated by Mr Peter Wee, get ready to travel 100 years back in time and bask in nostalgia. From vintage picture frames to Peranakan porcelain ware and ornate furniture, hear all about the stories behind each piece through a private tour.
P.S.: Be sure to contact Katong Antique House for a slot before heading down as they are appointments-only and do not entertain walk-ins.
East Coast Park
1220 East Coast Park, Singapore 468960
Located along the east coast of the island, this park covers an area of 185 hectares and boasts a stunning 15-kilometre stretch of coastline. Other than cycling along the coast, there are also park connectors that bring you to central Marina Bay Sands and slightly west to the Southern Ridges.
You will not never run out of things to do as East Coast Park provides you with plenty of choices to pick from. This includes a cable ski park, kayaking, windsurfing, cycling, rollerblading and fishing, you’ll soon find more reasons to pop by this oasis every so often.
Also, if you’ll truly like to experience the culture, pop by East Coast Lagoon Village, a hawker centre seated along the park that is renowned for barbecue seafood and other local delights.
69 Joo Chiat Terrace, Singapore 427231
Other than Katong Antique House, here’s another Peranakan antique museum to visit whilst you’re at Joo Chiat. At The Intan, an award-winning museum, you’ll be able to get a private tour conducted by the collector himself, Mr Alvin Yapp.
If you'd like to get full hands-on experience, The Intan also offers a range of activities from cooking classes to beading workshops and cultural performances.
Sri Seepage Vinayagar Temple
19 Ceylon Road, Singapore 429613
Built in 1930, this Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity who is widely revered as the remover of obstacles and the god of wisdom and success. Apart from admiring the elaborate carvings of the temple from the outside, you can also head inside to bask in the beauty and intricate details of the temple.
As a visitor, you may choose to participate in traditional Hindu rituals and prayers, by offering your own prayers and offerings to Lord Ganesha.
If you’re living at Hmlet 467 Joo Chiat and are looking to volunteer, consider doing so at the Sri Seepage Vinayagar Temple. Help is always needed as the temple provides free meals for the needy and also organises education events for children.
Must Eat and Drink:
315 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427566
You know a bakery is good when the regulars know which time of the day to pop by to get their bakes. Run by a couple, their French-style bakes like ciabatta, croissants and canele will have you wanting for more.
Sticking to their ethos of making small batches from scratch, you’ll catch many trying to stock up as many bakes as possible. This had led to a limit of bakes being imposed (yes, you read that right!) to 3 loaves and/or 8 croissants per person. If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat or just indulging in some really good bread, you should definitely make a visit to this hole in the wall bakery in Joo Chiat.
Pro-tip: Come early and come on time to avoid disappointment!
Katong Mei Wei Chicken Rice
865 Mountbatten Road, Katong Shopping Centre, Singapore 437844
Serving up one of Singapore’s national (and most delicious) dishes: Hainanese chicken rice. This particular store stands out from the rest with its tender chicken drenched in secret sauce, alongside flavourful jasmine rice cooked in homemade chicken stock. On top of it, they also serve it up with their own achar, a South Asian dish of pickled fruits and vegetables.
And if you’re looking for more dishes to complete the meal, this store offers a medley of side dishes like soup of the day, braised bean curd, egg and chicken feet.
328 Katong Laksa
51 East Coast Road, Singapore 428770
If you’re a foodie, you must’ve heard of laksa: a hearty bowl of rice noodles served with fish cake and fresh cockles swimming in an aromatic spicy coconut broth made with a blend of spices and hae bee (dried shrimp). For additional flavour, it is usually served with a side of sambal (for an added kick) and topped with fragrant laksa leaves.
And no one does laksa like 328 Katong Laksa does. Apart from the taste, what separates this store from the rest is the way it is eaten. No chopsticks are involved here as the vermicelli noodles are finely cut, making it easy to slurp up with a soup spoon. And if you find yourself here, complete your meal with an order of their homemade otah (mackerel fillet wrapped in banana leaf).
Oh, and did you know that this store took the spotlight years back when their recipe beat Chef Gordon Ramsay’s take on laksa in 2013 on Singtel Hawker Heroes Challenge? Well, now you do.
Hjh Maimunah Restaurant
20 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427357
Here’s a classic if you want to try out ‘Nasi Padang’ (Malay rice with an assortment of dishes). Having been around for more than 25 years, Hjh Maimunah Restaurant is where you can get delicious and authentic Malay cuisine. Other than the usual suspects like nasi lemak (coconut rice served with roasted nuts, egg, ikan bilis (anchovies), and slices of cucumber), rendang (dry curry) or sambal goreng (stir fried spicy fermented soybeans), do try their signature ayam bakar (grilled chicken served with rice).
For the full experience, we suggest coming with a large group of friends so that you guys can try out more dishes.
AlibabaR: The Hawker Bar
125 East Coast Road, Singapore 428810
Originally a coffee shop named Alibaba Eating House, the new owners decided to pay homage to the OG (Original Gangster) while adding a modern twist by having craft beers (some even on tap) and having dedicated sports night from Fridays to Sundays, allowing fans to watch football and UFC matches.
Apart from liquid gold, there’s a range of cuisines for you to choose from that are helmed by four different owners. This is a great spot if you have friends who have different food tastes as you get to pick from Thai, to Turkish, to Singaporean and Western cuisines.
Joo Chiat is the place to be if you’re looking for a vibrant and bustling neighbourhood filled with activities to do, eat and see. If you’re interested in immersing yourself with the rich culture of Singapore, consider Hmlet 467 Joo Chiat where you’ll get a chance to co-live with other like-minded individuals like yourself.