With its majestic temples, bustling hawker centres and streets decorated with red lanterns, Chinatown is truly a sight to behold.
Beside its iconic attractions and places of worship, Chinatown is an ever-evolving space, with hidden gems and exclusive establishments that are well worth uncovering. Here’s what you may have missed on your first visit to the neighbourhood.
Dining with a twist
If you dread eating alone and love the atmosphere of communal dining, drop by Don Ho—Social Kitchen & Bar. Accessible from the back of The Working Capitol, this charming establishment places as much focus on the social aspect of dining as it does on the creation of its dishes.
The restaurant’s playful, Hawaiian-themed décor is as inspired as its menu, which include a range of sharing platters like Crispy Eggplant, Black Bean Hummus and Herb Fries. The restaurant’s hip crowd and communal dining tables are bound to spark scintillating dinner conversations.
The Working Capitol. 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109. +65 6223 5001.
Mon-Fri 6pm-midnight; Sat 10am-midnight; Sun 10am-4pm.
Nestled on the second floor of a heritage shophouse along Telok Ayer Street, Kabuke combines the arresting aesthetics of kabuki (traditional Japanese performance that fuses drama, music and dance) with a curated menu of sake and Japanese comfort food.
In homage to the colourful theatrics of kabuki, the bar food at this establishment is equally playful. Expect to feast on fusion dishes like foie gras in teriyaki sauce, breaded Japanese oysters in honey yoghurt, and Iberico ham with onsen eggs.
If you’re looking to refine your palate for alcohol with a taste of the Far East, we recommend ordering the Wagoto Flight, which comprises generous pours of full-bodied, fruity and easy-to drink sake.
Kabuke. 200A Telok Ayer Street Level 2, Singapore 068638. +65 8822 5525.
Mon-Thu 11.30am-2pm, 6pm-11pm; Fri 11.30am-2pm, 6pm-midnight; Sat 6pm-10pm.
Ann Siang House
Ann Siang House’s electric blue colonial exterior is hard to miss as you make your way up Ann Siang Hill. Besides housing a restaurant and bar, it’s also a boutique hotel for travellers looking to immerse themselves in this beautiful district.
Besides its obvious charm, Ann Siang House is home to two charming establishments that you may not be aware of—White Label Records and Pandora’s Garden. The former is a vinyl record store, bar and communal space for music lovers all in one. Live DJ sets, parties and music-themed powwows can be expected on any given night, making this venue an awesome place to expand your social circle.
If you’re craving a tranquil night out instead, spend your evening relaxing at Pandora’s Garden. Climb up a set of narrow stairs at the back of the building, and you’ll find yourself in a hidden courtyard, bedecked with twinkling fairy lights. The bar specialises in an extensive selection of rosé wine that connoisseurs are bound to appreciate.
Ann Siang House. 28 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069708. +65 6202 9377.
White Label Records at Ann Siang House. 28 Ann Siang Road #01-01, Singapore 069708. +65 9742 4819.
Tue-Thu noon-midnight; Fri & Sat noon-1am; Sun noon-5pm.
Pandora’s Garden at Ann Siang House. 28 Ann Siang Road Courtyard, Singapore 069708. +65 8427 1232.
Bookworms will be over the moon when they visit this quaint establishment along Mosque Street. If you’re the sort who travels the globe with a book in hand, browsing this bookstore and cafe’s collection makes for the perfect (occasional) wet-weather plan in tropical Singapore.
You’ll find titles reminiscent of a well-read friend’s book collection: the selection here includes an eclectic mix of modern literature, fantasy chronicles and children’s titles.
The establishment’s founder, Sarah Naeem set up the space with a tightknit community in mind, and you’re bound to find likeminded lovers of the literary at its monthly yoga sessions, readings and recitals.
The Moon. 37 Mosque Street, Singapore 059515.
Mon-Thu & Sun 11am-9pm; Fri & Sat 11am-midnight.
Le Bon Funk
Despite being a newcomer to Singapore’s vibrant food scene, Le Bon Funk has already drawn a loyal following of aficionados who’ve fallen in love with their natural wine selections.
Headed by sommelier Josee Yeomans and chef Keirin Buck, this wine bar and kitchen may be easy to overlook amidst the hustle and bustle of Club Street. The establishment is helmed by chef-owner Keirin Buck—former sous chef of Michelin-starred Burnt Ends—and offers a menu that changes daily, based on the freshness of produce.
Le Bon Funk. 29 Club Street, Singapore 069414. +65 6224 1490.
Tue & Sat 5.30pm-midnight; Wed-Fri noon-2.30pm, 5.30pm-midnight.
The Singing Bowl Gallery
You don’t have to be an archaeologist to excavate fascinating facets of the past. Instead, drop by The Singing Bowl Gallery—a repository of Tibetan and Buddhist spirituality.
As its name suggests, the establishment sells a range of beautiful singing bowls, inverted bells used in Tibetan Buddhism as part of religious rituals and practice. The establishment also holds a range of workshops for those looking to learn more about sound therapy and meditation.
The Singing Bowl Gallery. 33 Erskine Road #01-05, Singapore 069333. +65 9477 7533.
Mon-Sat 11am-7.30pm; Sun 11am-3.30pm.
Anthony The Spice Maker
Singapore’s food paradise can be hard to part with, even if this isn’t your first visit. Thankfully, you’ll be able to bring home a taste of our island’s cuisine with the wares at Anthony The Spice Maker.
Tucked away in Chinatown Complex’s wet market, this third-generation spice shop specialises in handcrafting different spice blends that evoke some of Singapore’s most beloved dishes, ranging from fish head curry to laksa.
Chinatown Complex. Block 335 Smith Street #B1-169, Singapore 050335. +65 9117 7573.
For a full list of outlets, click here.