Neighbourhood 15: The Best of Local Katong

By September 13, 2017 No Comments

Top Left Hand: Edmund Wong from Kim Choo Kueh Chang Top Right Hand: Street Art by Ernest Zacharevic Bottom Left Hand: Chin Mei Chin Confectionery Bottom Right Hand: Katong Antique House

A wander around Katong is a trip back in time to a kinder, more leisurely era. Step back from the downtown whirl, and dive deep into the landscape of old Singapore. Feast on Peranakan sweets, explore traditional houses, catch street art or shop for the perfect souvenir. Whether you’re looking for iconic outdoor hawker stalls, quirky design or even to learn a new craft, Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong has you covered — all within just 15 minutes’ stroll.

Kim Choo Kueh Chang and Rumah Kim Choo

Back in 1945, Lee Kim Choo set up a little stall selling Nyonya-style dumplings under a banyan tree on Joo Chiat Place. Today, her grandsons, Raymond and Edmond Wong, continue her legacy. Swing by Kim Choo Kueh Chang for its legendary cakes, coconut jams and sambals, as well as its rice dumplings. Or pop next door to Rumah Kim Choo for gorgeous kebayas (traditional blouse-dresses), beaded shoes and accessories. Mrs. Ho Ching, wife of Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, once gifted Michelle Obama with one of Raymond’s Peranakan creations.”

Katong Antique House

Looking for a guide to Peranakan culture? Look no further than Peter Wee, who is a walking encyclopaedia. His home, inherited from his grandfather, is a living museum, full to bursting with antiques, heirlooms and vintage photos. Call ahead for an appointment.

Chin Mee Chin

You can’t say you’ve visited Singapore until you’ve eaten the local breakfast of champions: kaya (coconut jam) toast with the traditional side of runny soft-boiled eggs. Chow down at this authentic Hainanese coffee shop that’s been dishing up custard puffs, egg tarts and cakes for over 90 years.

Style Wars

When you think of pristine, law-abiding Singapore, street art probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. But Lithuanian-born graffiti artist Ernest Zacharevic visited Katong in 2013, and created this vibrant — and Instagram-worthy — mural of jousting painters.

Mosaic Workshop

Singaporean Nanette Zehnder fell in love with mosaic on a trip to Australia, and then turned her passion into her vocation. Join one of her workshops to design, tile and finish your very own artwork, all in under three hours.

328 Katong Laksa

Celebrity chef and TV personality Gordon Ramsay once faced off against the family that runs this East Coast hawker icon in a cook-off — and lost. One slurp of their fragrant, spicy laksa will tell you exactly why.

Sin Hoi Sai

Seafood comes super-fresh in Singapore, and the island’s chili crab is so iconic there’s even a cocktail created in its honor. Swing by this unassuming zi char (cook-fry) joint for some of the nation’s best.

Cat Socrates

This funky indie gift outlet boasts its own resident feline: Lychee. The shop is a slice of gifting heaven, where books by local authors and finds from Singapore designers nudge up against stationery and trinkets.

Koon Seng Road

Singapore hardly gets more Instagrammable than these gorgeous, candy-colored houses with their ornate facades and traditional swinging front gates, also known as pintu pagar, dating back to the late 1920s.

Church of the Holy Family

The roots of this Catholic church lie deep within Singapore’s Eurasian community, and Sunday Mass has a distinctly Peranakan flavour. Don’t miss the sculptures at the front, created for the original, much smaller chapel in 1923.