While my mom was visiting back in April, we took a day to explore the areas of Katong & Joo Chiat. A melting pot of Peranakan (Straits Chinese), Eurasian, Malay, Indian and Chinese, we learned that coconut plantations went from Geylang River to Siglap Road.
Joo Chiat Road was named after Chew Joo Chiat, a wealthy land owner and philanthropist who bought large plots of land in Katong and was known as the “King of Katong” (“Katong” refers to a species of sea turtle that was found in Singapore at the time).
Our first stop was to walk along the rows of conserved Terrace Houses (150 East Coast Road). Single-story terrace houses stand beside a former sea wall where the beach used to be. The living area is built on raised ground to protect against the rising tides then. They held a certain charm and their varied pastel palette of colors was really pretty!
Next up was a visit to the Chin Mee Chin Confectionary (204 East Coast Road), one of the last remaining Hainanese coffee shops.
I’d definitely say that it has retained its authentic 1950s ambience! If you go, try the very strong coffee (and very sweet!) and hot kaya toast (traditional jam made from eggs, sugar and coconut juice).
The pastries? So great!
When we first walked in, we noticed there was nowhere to sit, but we asked these two girls if we could share their table. They were more than happy, and we ended up talking all through breakfast!
Feeling rather full, we then walked two doors down to the Katong Antique House (208 East Coast Road), a museum of peranakan artifacts, collected by Peter Wee.
Not that we were hungry, but next up on the itinerary was a visit to the Nonya Laksa Stalls, (75 East Coast Road). As we walked in, this guy says “Hungry?” to which we responded yes, and received a “Sit!” command.
Just around the corner is the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple (19 Ceylon Road).
Its history dates back to 1875 and was built by a Ceylonese Tamil pioneer as a hut under a Senpaga tree. It was said that a statue of Lord Vinayagar (Elephant God) was found there.
Reaching 21 meters high, it is one of the tallest Indian temples in Singapore.
Starting to run out of time at this point, we quickly made our way to Kim Choo Kueh Chang (besides Rumah Bebe). Step into the back to watch a quick tutorial on how to make dumplings!
Our itinerary took about three hours, but you could definitely speed it up or linger more, depending on the time you have available. Go and explore!