Before Tiong Bahru, there was Haji Lane – Singapore’s original hipster neighbourhood that's peppered with charming boutiques, watering holes, cafés, and restaurants.
Actor and father of three, Aaron Aziz may have travelled the world but his heart always returns to Singapore. And nothing gives him more joy than when his friends come over – he gets to share with them his favourite spots and show them the Singapore he grew up in.
First things first, food!
“We are basically simple people; we go for simple food. When it comes to food, I like to bring friends to places where you can try more food for less and you can’t possibly do that in a 5-star restaurant. That would cost you a bomb. So probably nasi sambal goreng or nasi padang at Hjh Maimunah. If it’s a budget of SGD100 or even SGD50, you can have 10 different dishes.”
“Or Tambuah Mas at Tanglin Shopping Centre for their authentic Indonesian home-style food – the tauhu telur is so good!”
“We also love Singapore Zam Zam’s chicken murtabak. It’s the most amazing chicken murtabak! And of course you have to try the soup tulang. Adam Road is known for their nasi lemak.”
“When we’re craving for a great snack, we’d go to this new place our friend just opened. It’s called Chulop and it’s in Simpang Bedok. It has the best churros with chocolate and caramel dips! In Malay, celop means dip so churros + celop = Chulop!”
“But if you’re looking for higher end, fine dining, I’d recommend Royal Plaza on Scotts – it’s Chinese halal food. I love the laksa there.”
“Of course, when our friends come to Singapore, we have to bring them to Orchard Road. We can shop, jalan-jalan and stop by the many eateries along the way – we love the bustling energy and diversity of the shops.”
“Kampong Glam is another favourite of ours. Back then, it was just a place to go for carpets, textiles and Middle Eastern cuisine, but now it has so many other things to see and do!”
“There are plenty of trendy cafes, boutiques and art galleries along Haji Lane, so we would bring friends who are into these sort of things here. We'd rent a bike from Tokyobike and ride around. They always get a kick out of looking at the gorgeous murals along the street.”
"For an adrenaline rush, I like bringing adventurous friends to MegaZip in Sentosa. Such an amazing feeling racing down the 450-metre zip line at 60kmph. Woohoo, what a rush!"
"My friends and I love toys, so we'd explore places like MINT Museum of Toys (Seah Street) and Children Little Museum (on Bussorah Street) - looking at those toys. The last time we went, we spoke with curator, Richard Tan - it must be so much fun working in a place full of toys!"
“We also like bringing friends to Katong and admire the colourful heritage shophouses. Great for friends who are into history (and taking selfies). When we have the time, we’d go on a group tour in Katong Antique House or drop by Rumah Bebe.”