Straddling the line between old and new is the bustling enclave of Chinatown. The heritage-rich, kitschy tourist-chic spot has pretty much everything you can think of, from fascinating temples and souvenir shops to local food hawker stalls and cool bars. If you’re in town during the month of February, this is where to soak up Chinese New Year festivities. Plus, stay connected with free Wi-Fi available in the area.
1. Kong Chow Wui Koon
One of Singapore’s oldest Chinese clan associations, Kong Chow Wui Koon was founded in 1840 to promote the traditions of Chinese culture.
Kong Chow Wui Koon, 321 New Bridge Road, Singapore 088758, p. 6223 9806.
Chicken rice at Chinatown Food Street
2. Chinatown Food Street
Where can you tuck into signature homegrown dishes in one spot? At Chinatown Food Street, that’s where. Tasty delights worth trying include chicken rice, char kway teow (stir fried rice noodles), and roti prata (South Indian flatbread).
Chinatown Food Street, 335 Smith Street, Singapore 050335.
3. Mei Heong Yuen Dessert
Sweeten your day with traditional Chinese food at this heritage establishment. Order the bird’s nest soup, or pick something from the snow ice range.
Mei Heong Yuen Dessert, 63-67 Temple Street, Singapore 058611, p. 6221 1156.
4. Tong Heng
It doesn’t get more authentic than Tong Heng: since the 1930s, this renowned bakery is best known for having the best traditional Chinese pastries and desserts such as egg tarts and mooncakes in town.
Tong Heng, 285 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058833, p. 6223 3649.
5. Spring Court
This time-tested dining spot is known for its amazing Peking duck, but don’t forget to try other items like the steamed garoupa and double boiled prawn dumpling soup.
Spring Court, 52-56 Upper Cross Street, Singapore 058348, p. 6449 5030.
6. Enjoy Tea
Pick up tea and tea accessories at this retail store on Sago Street, which also offers tea demonstrations and tasting sessions. Choose from a range of Chinese teas alongside agarwood tea from Vietnam.
Enjoy Tea, #01-01, 18 Sago Street, Singapore 059017, p. 6221 7479.
Fancy chic dining in the heart of Chinatown? Book a table at LUXE, a contemporary Australian restaurant and newcomer to the hip Keong Saik strip. While you’re there, be sure to check out the adjoining The Working Capitol, a beautifully appointed co-working space.
Luxe, #01-04, 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109, p. 6221 5615.
8. Potato Head Folk
If you can’t get enough of Bali’s famous beach club of the same name, Potato Head Folk will certainly be up your alley. A crowd favourite with local scenesters, this hot spot houses a casual restaurant, swanky lounge, and rooftop bar across three floors.
Potato Head Folk, 36 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089143, p. 6327 1939.
9. Pince and Pints
Craving lobster? You’ll get plenty of it at this casual diner, which serves authentic Boston lobster rolls and other tasty renditions of the crustacean.
Pince and Pints, 32 Duxton Road, Singapore 089496, p. 6225 7558.
10. Chinatown Heritage Centre
Beautifully restored to recreate Chinatown in the 1950s, this heritage centre is where visitors can learn about the area’s colourful past and the lives of its early residents. It will be open to public from 9 January onwards.
Chinatown Heritage Centre, 48 Pagoda Street, Singapore 059207, p. 6224 3928.
11. Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum
Built in 1827, this national monument is Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple and is dedicated to the divine goddess Mariamman, who is believed to possess the power to cure illness and disease.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, 288 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058840, p. 6220 0220.
12. Sri Mariamman Temple
Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, built in 1827 and now a national monument, is a beautiful sight to behold. It’s dedicated to the goddess Mariamman, whose power is to cure illness and disease.
Sri Mariamman Temple, 244 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058793, p. 296 3469.
13. Chinatown Street Market
Spread over four streets, Chinatown’s main street market is where to shop for affordable souvenirs and knick- knacks. It is also home to the yearly Chinese New Year festive bazaar, which takes place from 15 January to 7 February.
Chinatown Street Market, Pagoda Street, Trengganu Street, Sago Street, and Smith Street.
14. Lomography Gallery Store
Photography enthusiasts, make a stop at this cool store. Browse the arresting shots taken by members of the local Lomography Society as well as accessories, bags and T-shirts.
Lomography Gallery Store, 295 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058838, p. 6223 8850.
Lomography Gallery Store
Pop into this multi-label fashion boutique for one-of-a-kind items by both established and up-and-coming Asian designers such as Shanghainese accessory brand, Josie Chen.
MYthology, 88 Club Street, Singapore 069456, p. 6223 5570.
16. Utterly Art
Art gallery and exhibition space Utterly Art hosts a diverse mix of works by local and regional artists. Most exhibits are free of charge, and shows change every fortnight.
Utterly Art, 3/F, 20B Mosque Street, Singapore 059500, p. 9487 2006.
17. Truefitt & Hill
The legendary British barbershop – and the oldest in the world! – takes pampering to a whole new level with a slew of indulgent grooming services like hot shaves, haircuts, and shoe shine for modern gentlemen.
Truefitt & Hill, 9 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069690, p. 6223 5263.
This article was published in Singapore Insider, a series of quarterly print guides produced in partnership with Singapore Tourism Board. Pick up a free copy at Singapore Visitor Centres island-wide, including Orchard (junction of Cairnhill Road and Orchard Road), orchardgateway, ION Orchard (Level 1 Concierge), and Chinatown Visitor Centre (2 Banda Street), or download the digital version.