This charming, heritage-rich 'hood has more than just laksa - there are also quaint cafes, fab restaurants, and quirky home decor stores
More than just an over-populated residential district, Katong rightfully earns its place amongst the most bustling neighbourhoods in Singapore. Steeped in history, the eastern neighbourhood of Katong is known for its colourful, picture-perfect shophouses, rich heritage, and dizzying array of fantastic local food. Take a walk around to discover both old and modern Singapore, and find out more about the Peranakan (Straits Chinese) and Eurasian cultures.
328 Katong Laksa
Slurp on laksa (noodles in coconut milk-based curry broth) the traditional way with just a spoon. This eatery is one of the stalls that claims to be the makers of the popular local dish.
328 Katong Laksa, 53 East Coast Road, Singapore 428771.
NineThirty by Awfully Chocolate
This majestic monochrome chocolatier in Katong certainly stands out. Try their Chocolate Cappuccino with cinnamon stick for a hug in a mug or the Chocolate Rum & Cherry for a cold cocoa brew. We personally love their White and Dark Chocolate martinis for drinks on Friday night – it’s a totally indulgent way to toast to the weekend.
NineThirty by Awfully Chocolate, 131 East Coast Road, Singapore 428816, p. 6345 2190.
Chin Mee Chin Confectionery
Known for its kaya (coconut jam) toast, this breakfast stalwart features décor typical of 1950s-Singapore, with retro marble top tables, floor tiles, and ceiling fans. Other must-tries include egg tarts, curry puffs, and sausage rolls.
Chin Mee Chin Confectionery, 204 East Coast Rd, Singapore 428903, p. 6345 0419.
Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice
You can’t argue about the best chicken rice in Singapore without Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice being thrown in as a contender. With three outlets around the island, Five Star’s East Coast outlet is the answer to all easties’ chicken rice cravings.
Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice, 191 East Coast Road, Singapore 428897, p. 6344 5911.
This cosy little cafe on East Coast Road champions the “made in Singapore” concept. They source their coffee beans from local roasters, serve bread baked fresh daily in the area, and often collaborate with local bakers. Solid choices like the Turkish eggs and the smoked salmon bagel cost just $8.
Penny University, 402 East Coast Road, Singapore 428997, p. 6345 9055.
Alibabar The Hawker Bar
Hit up Alibabar The Hawker Bar for local grub and craft beer, kopitiam style. This Katong gem is a crowd favourite amongst easties thanks to its diverse range of food stalls serving up a mix of Singaporean, French, Filipino, Japanese, and Western food, along with an impressive range of craft beers.
Alibabar The Hawker Bar, 125 East Coast Road, Singapore 428810, p. 6440 6147.
Carvers & Co.
Specialty coffee, hearty sarnies, and meat fresh off the grill – what’s not to love? Dig into mouth-watering roasts, like herb encrusted lamb shoulder and high grade wagyu striploin, alongside brunch options like farmhouse frittata, peanut butter and banana French toast and homemade gammon sandwiches.
Carvers & Co, 43 East Coast Road, Singapore 428764, p. 6348 0448.
Eng’s Noodles House
Eng’s Noodles House’s long history makes it one of the most endeared wanton mee stalls around. Warning: the extra spicy chili sauce is pretty potent.
Eng’s Noodles House, 287 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437070, p. 8688 2727.
Birds Of Paradise
Know what’s even better than ice cream? Super-smooth gelato (made fresh daily) at this new gelato house on East Coast Road. But what makes them truly special is their array of signature flavours – the gelato here is made using natural and botanical ingredients like basil and blue ginger, and is heavily influenced by Southeast Asian palates, creating a refreshing gelato experience with aromas close to home. Get the true taste of Singapore with its pandan-flavoured gelato!
Birds Of Paradise, #01-05, 63 East Coast Road, Singapore 428776, p. 9678 6092.
Kim Choo Kueh Chang
Choose from a wide array of bak chang (glutinous rice dumplings) at this specialty outlet. The pyramid-shaped dumplings come wrapped in bamboo leaves and are stuffed with various savoury fillings such as pork, chicken, and chilli prawn.
Kim Choo Kueh Chang, 60 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427784, p. 6344 0830.
With a Pinch of Salt
Popular with families, With a Pinch of Salt is a casual resto that keeps its menu focused on simple Western fare that the littles will enjoy digging into.
With a Pinch of Salt, 297 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437080, p. 6348 2297.
Rabbit Carrot Gun
Rabbit Carrot Gun serves up unapologetically English cuisine using seasonal and organic produce – and here’s the catch: they don’t use any salt! There’s an array of British classics for breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner. We also hear their locally produced beer, Buckshot Ale, is fast becoming a classic.What we love about the place? :et’s start with the amazing décor. It’s the perfect mix of modern and antique furnishings, with interior essentials like fresh flowers for ambience (tick), great light (tick), sweat-free surroundings (tick), and cute touches (mini chandelier, tick). There are also seven boutique suites upstairs which have been individually designed with Asian and European antiques – great for staycations or stopover travellers.
Rabbit Carrot Gun, 47-49 East Coast Road, Singapore 428768, p. 6348 8568.
Ampang Niang Tou Fu
You won’t get to choose your ingredients at this niang tou fu stall. Simply tell the folk at Ampang Niang Tou Fu how many are dining and they’ll serve up Ampang-style niang tou fu ingredients – including bitter gourd, soybean skin, tofu, chillis, and quail eggs – in a big dish of broth. Don’t forget to dip each piece into their homemade sweet sauce.
Ampang Niang Tou Fu, 225 East Coast Road, Singapore 428922, p. 6345 3289.
Mongkok Dim Sum
A sister outlet of the famed Mongkok Dim Sum in Geylang, this East Coast location lets you enjoy its signature handmade dim sum, hot selling Geylang Lorong 9 beef noodles, and Cantonese stir fry.
Mongkok Dim Sum, 197 East Coast Road, Singapore 428910, p. 9191 8829.
Tian Fu Hong Kong Steamboat
Promising to be ‘paradise on earth’ (translation from its name), Tianfu Hong Kong Style Steamboat is a perennially packed steamboat restaurant that is known for its selection of thick, flavourful broths and succulent meats.
Tian Fu Hong Kong Steamboat, 214 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437007, p. 6345 9272.
Ponggol Nasi Lemak
When it comes to nasi lemak, it’s all about perfecting the art of crisp chicken wings, flavourful coconut rice, and tantalisingly spicy sambal chilli. However you feel about Ponggol Nasi Lemak, you can’t deny that its rendition is a crowd favourite, and deserves its rep as one of the best on the island.
Ponggol Nasi Lemak, 238 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437026, p. 6348 3303.
Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup Eating House
A household name and winner of the ‘Singapore Prestige Brand’ award, Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup Eating House is famous for its Teochew style of bak kut teh (pork ribs soup) and selection of traditional Chinese teas.
Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup Eating House, 248 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437036, p. 6344 4537.
Lower East Side Taqueria
How hot can you go? Take on the Lower East Side Taqueria’s ultimate taco hotness challenge (at the risk of your taste buds) and the tacos will be on the house. This new Mexican joint hand-pickles their chillies, offers a selection of specialty salsas and guacamole, and even has home-made churros on their menu- we’re sold!
Lower East Side Taqueria, 19 East Coast Rd, Singapore 428746, p. 63481302.
You’d be forgiven for mistaking Zaffron Kitchen as a high-end gastropub. After all, with its sleek fixtures and cool downtown vibe, it hardly looks like your typical Indian resto. But rest assured, the menu serves the real deal with classic Indian fare that looks good but tastes even better. An absolute must-try is the dum chicken briyani, a seriously moreish dish with fluffy basmati rice and succulent pieces of chicken. Bonus: its East Coast outlet is kid-friendly too with a play area and baby-changing facilities.
Zaffron Kitchen, 137 East Coast Road, Singapore 428822, p. 6440 6786.
The Laneway Market
A great spot for a laid-back weekend, The Laneway Market is an all-day cafe that serves a varied menu of breakfast and dinner plates, as well as coffee and sweet treats. If you’re not already tempted by the food such as the mushroom risotto, beef chilli fries and its signature scrambled eggs with toast to accompany your brunch, the interiors are highly Instagrammable too!
The Laneway Market, 266 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437053, p. 6719 8832.
Besides the flavoursome menu of specialty coffees that will keep you up all day, Baker’s Well is also home to decadent in-house sweet treats like healthy muffins, strawberry yoghurt cakes, organic pandan cakes, puff pastries, and even a party platter of mini sandwiches if you feel like high tea! Plus, this cosy café houses chilled-out vibes that are superb for a long, lazy catch-up.
Baker’s Well, 35 East Coast Road, Singapore 428754, p. 6348 6864.
Housed within the former Joo Chiat Police Station, the neighbourhood 90-seater retains much of its colonial charm of the ’20s; white walls brighten up the cosy establishment, and homely, colourful motif-scattered tiles are contrasted against metal mesh sliding panels that are more contemporary than stifling. Stand-out dishes include the ayam buah keluak burger, beef short rib rendang, barramundi goreng chilli, chilli crab cake, and kueh durian. Check out the full review of Baba Chews here.
Baba Chews, #01-01 Katong Square, 86 East Coast Road, Singapore 428788, p. 6723 2025.
Little Ice Cream Kafè
After a day of exploring this photogenic ‘hood, settle for a soft serve at Little Ice Cream Kafe (aka LICK) to cool down. Its range of (at least) 25-flavoured ice creams are made in-house with the freshest ingredients, from fruity to nutty ones. Signature flavours include D24 Durian, Milo Dinosaur, kaya toast, Teh Tarik and even black sesame!
Little Ice Cream Kafè, 258 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437046, p. 6440 8526.
Katong Antique House
Owned by Peranakan history and culture expert, Peter Wee, this antique shop is housed in a beautifully preserved two-storey shophouse. Pay a visit to have a look at Peranakan artefacts, and discover the stories behind each item. A 45-minute tour costs $15; call ahead to book a slot (you must have a group of 6+ people).
Katong Antique House, 208 East Coast Road, Singapore 428907, p. 6345 8544.
Step into this quirky indie store for books, accessories, stationery, and other adorable knick-knacks. You’ll also find nifty, Singapore-inspired trinkets by local designers – they make great souvenirs.
Cat Socrates, 448 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore427661, p. 6348 0863.
Just across the street from 112 Katong is Rumah Bebe, a purveyor of all things Peranakan, including gorgeous traditional Nyonya kebayas and beautiful beaded slippers. Do note that while photography is strictly not allowed within the store, the exteriors are still worth snapping, thanks to the striking cerulean facade and Peranakan tiled flooring of its shopfront.
Rumah Bebe, 113 East Coast Road, Singapore 428803, p. 6247 8781.
Explore six levels of retail and lifestyle shops in this east-side shopping mall. Shop quirky home decor at Egg3, browse through movie memorabilia at Toy Outpost, or take the little ones to the wet outdoor playground on the fourth floor.
I12 Katong, 112 East Coast Road, Singapore 428802, p. 6636 2112.
For Instagram-worthy shots of Katong, walk around Joo Chiat Road and check out the many carefully-conserved Peranakan shophouses along the road, which have been around since the early 1900s. No Joo Chiat article is complete without a mention of the renowned shophouses along Koon Seng Road. Narrow and tall, these houses are adorned with the signature ceramic Peranakan floral or geometrical tiles and pastel faces. Look out for the Chinese couplets below the windows – these motifs are thought to bring good fortune.
Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple
Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple is another one of our historic treasures. Built in the 19th century, it’s one of the oldest Hindu temples on the island and has a distinct Chola-style architecture.
Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple, 19 Ceylon Road, Singapore 429620.
The award-winning Feet Haven is clearly not your everyday spa — it’s tricked out with cool lighting (hanging light bulbs and standing spotlights galore) and quirky furniture. Spacious and cosy, the value-for-money spa is staffed by experienced masseurs who will make your feet feel brand new. Great for a quick pop-in when you’re knackered after cafe-hopping around the Katong area – an hour’s body massage will only set you back $68.
Feet Haven, #01-01, 136 East Coast Road S428821, p. 65 6344 7311.
Teo Heng KTV Studio
Karaoke junkies should be more than familiar with Teo Heng KTV Studio. This family-run KTV studio boasts incredibly affordable KTV room rates, with equally pocket-friendly food and drink prices.
Teo Heng KTV Studio, #01-75-82/90/92, Katong Shopping Centre, 865 Mountbatten Road, Singapore 437844, p. 6345 6513.
Village Hotel Katong
Located in the Katong-Joo Chiat district, Village Hotel Katong defies cookie-cutter hotel designs with its Peranakan decor inspired by the heritage of its colourful surrounds. Bold, bright design accents feature heavily in its rooms – think cerulean, patterned carpets with matching throw pillows, and similarly brilliant colour hues for its headboard and window seat. The major bonus here is room size; even its smallest Superior Room flaunts a size of 29 square metres – a far cry from the standard 23 square metres. If you’re (reasonably) splurging, book the Peranakan Club which comes with an in-room tub for sumptuous soaks over your fave TV programme.
Village Hotel Katong, 25 Marine Parade, Singapore 449536. Prices start from SGD 170.