If you’ve never been to Katong in Singapore, perhaps it’s time to take a trip down to the well-known Peranakan enclave in the East. Contrary to popular belief, it has a lot more than just laksa.
Although Katong has now evolved into a more modern residential and commercial area, the district is still full of Peranakan influences which can be seen in its architecture as well as the food offerings available.
For those who are not really familiar with this unique ethnicity, Peranakan refers to a locally-born individual who is typical of mixed Chinese and Malay heritage with familial origins dating from the 15th century. As Katong and Joo Chiat were once Peranakan strong districts, here are five ways to explore and experience the rich culture!
Photo Credit: Go Katong
Marvel at Peranakan Architecture
A marked conservation site and a well-known tourist attraction, you simply can’t miss the colourful houses along Koon Seng Road.
These pre-war shophouses of Koon Seng Road show hints of Peranakan heritage which bear distinct trademarks of traditional Peranakan culture, such as the floral motifs and mythical creatures, in its exteriors and facades. Plus, it is a great place to take your OOTD photos!
Koon Seng Road
(Near the intersection of Joo Chiat Road and Koon Seng Road)
Photo Credit: The Wacky Duo and Chihiro Asano
Discover Peranakan Culture
Apart from the Peranakan Museum that’s in the city, Katong is home to two mini Peranakan Museums, which allows you to view an authentic set-up of a Peranakan home.
Located at Rumah Kim Choo and Katong Antique House, each mini museum invites you to step into the past and witness how a living quarter, decked with Peranakan-inspired furniture, would look like during their hey-day.
Rumah Kim Choo
111 East Coast Road
Daily: 9am – 9pm
Katong Antique House
208 East Coast Road
Call +65 6345 8544 for tours and appointments
Photo Credit: Kim Choo Kueh Chang
Dress like a Peranakan
A unique aspect of Peranakans are their traditional kebayas which often come in bright colours. An interesting way to experience the Peranakan culture is to slip into their Nonya wear.
A good place to visit is Kim Choo Kueh Chang where you can find Nonya Kebayas and heritage items. If you are interested in getting a Kebaya, the team at Kim Choo Kueh Chang offers a free fitting session where you can find a Kebaya that best represents your personality!
The shop also holds a Peranakan beadworks workshop where you can learn basic beading techniques and take home a small piece of beaded work by the end of the session.
Kim Choo Kueh Chang
111 East Coast Road
Daily: 9am – 9pm
Photo Credit: House of Peranakan
Savour Peranakan Cuisine
If you’re looking to try some of the good and authentic Peranakan dishes, set aside time for dinner at one of the oldest Peranakan restaurants around – Peranakan Inn.
Run by the House of Peranakan Group of Restaurants, this restaurant is home to a variety of old-school Peranakan fare such as the Nonya Ngoh Hiang, Ayam Buah Keluak, and Itek Sioh, at wallet-friendly prices.
210 East Coast Road
Daily: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm
Photo Credit: Hotel Indigo
Spend A Night At A Peranakan-Inspired Accommodation
Staycations are common activities that locals engage in and if you’re not living in the East, perhaps a night at a Peranakan-inspired accommodation might be right up your alley.
Located within great proximity to two different shopping malls is Hotel Indigo, a Peranakan-themed hotel that is filled with old-school fixtures and decors reminiscent of the strong Peranakan culture.
In addition to the well-designed old-school hotel rooms, Hotel Indigo also houses an all-day dining restaurant aptly named Baba Chews Bar and Eatery within the historical Old Joo Chiat Police Station Building, which pays tribute to philanthropist Chew Joo Chiat and serves up traditional and modern Strait of Malacca dishes such as Ayam Buah Keluak Burger, and Chill Crab Cakes!
86 East Coast Road