Sometimes, travelling within your own country can be pretty compelling. Different neighborhoods can transform themselves to become a time capsule of history and heritage, and in turn nurtures the soul of a country for generations to come. In our post today, the Tripeon brothers went on a walking tour around Joo Chiat, an estate known for its strong Peranakan roots.
So before we begin, you may ask… who is Joo Chiat? He is a trader and harvester known for his humility and generosity. With his wealth, he acquired large parcels of land within the area and was said to have paved the main estate road. The British government then, recognising JC’s generosity, named the road and various public buildings after him.
As we walked the streets, rows and rows of shophouses form the backbone and soul of this beautiful estate. In particular, the two rows of colourful pre-war terrace houses at Koon Seng road (featured image) stood out as a picture-perfect spot. Currently serving as the residential units of several families, these brightly coloured houses are some of the finest examples of Peranakan architecture in Singapore. An elaborately embellished front facade belies the depth and spaciousness of the residences, as they stand side by side, a durable testament to time itself.
Along the way, we noticed several wall murals ( it is worth noting that Singapore has a strict stance towards vandalism and graffiti), which truly livened up the atmosphere of our walking tour. There were also ex-opium dens, chinese signboards, coffee powder stores, book store,temples etc. In land scarce Singapore, a nearby 100 year old abandoned mansion, known previously as the Grand Hotel, has even been refashioned into a chidren’s pre-school. For a taste of Peranakan’s culture at its best, visit the Peranakan Heritage Home at Rumah Bebe where Kebayas, beaded items , exquisite chinaware are on display!
When in Joo Chiat, one must go with an empty stomach, as the variety of food here is extensive, to say the least. Whether you are looking for cafes, desserts, local delicacies, anyone will be spoilt for choice here. We at Tripeon love our laksa, yong tau foo and confectionery, hence a special mention goes out to the famous Katong Laksa, Ampang yong tau foo and Chin Mee Chin confectionery.
We hope this quick guide had been a succinct summary. Joo Chiat is truly a neighbourhood where the old meets the new, and a wonderful place to spend a relaxing afternoon in. Do you have any favourite food stalls or tips to recommend? Leave us a comment !