Get your fill of heritage, architecture and fresh discoveries with our one-day guide to Singapore.
1 Katong-Joo Chiat
Gain a deeper appreciation of Peranakan* culture with a morning stroll through the districts of Katong-Joo Chiat. The latter derives its name from a now-extinct species of turtles, and the rippling effect of a sea mirage. These days, the neighbourhood is famous for its unique blend of old and new, with cool hipster cafes nestled amidst conserved Peranakan shophouses.
Architecture buffs hoping to admire the subtleties of Peranakan design should begin their exploration of the area at the pastel-coloured stretch of shophouses along Koon Seng Road.
*The term is an Indonesian/Malay word that means “local born”, which generally refers to people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage.
2 Group Therapy Katong
A favourite among east-siders for its brunch menu offerings, Group Therapy is the perfect place to start your morning. Grab a piping hot cup of joe, and indulge in some comfort food like pancakes, truffle fries and bagels.
3 Rumah Bebe
This charming Peranakan shophouse has an equally charming origins story: Its founder, Bebe Seet, decided to make her own footwear after being unable to purchase a pair of kasut manek (beaded slippers worn by Peranakan women). What started out as a personal endeavour ended up evolving into a much-beloved business.
You’ll be able to find traditional ceramics, beaded slippers and racks of kebayas (traditional nonya dress) here, and embark on a learning journey into the rich culture of Singapore’s Peranakan community with the establishment’s range of beading workshops. Culture lovers who’d like to get an insider’s perspective on Peranakan history should sign up for an in-house tour, which will bring them through the culture’s hybrid heritage.