The Joo Chiat/Katong neighbourhood is a beloved gem in the East, and it’s easy to see why. The heady mix of old and new draws you in as you spot traditional shophouses alongside chic yoga studios and traditional coffee shops beside hip cafés that crank out cold-brewed coffees. At every turn, you’ll be met with a unique take on local heritage. Visit Peranakan (Straits-born people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage) shop Rumah Bebe to pick up rich fabrics and embroidered pouches, and then head over to Cat Socrates. This charming shop, founded by Hellen Jiang, specialises in Singaporean literature and quirky local-inspired bric-a-brac—think cushions that resemble kueh tutu (steamed cakes with crushed peanut or grated coconut filling), terrariums, feline-related merchandise and Singlish (a colloquial form of English) postcards.
Take home quality threads, artisanal wares and quirky books from local brands as unique mementos of your visit to the island-city.