The heritage-rich Joo Chiat 'hood has more than just laksa - it’s also home to quaint cafes, fab restaurants and historic architecture.
More than just an over-populated residential district, Joo Chiat rightfully earn 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.
Where to eat in Joo Chiat
1. Tok Tok Indonesian Restaurant
As its name suggests, this is where you go for much-loved Indonesian cuisine. With an extensive menu, it’s best to bring your friends and family along so you can have a taste of its many signature dishes. Conceptualised from original family recipes, must-try items include udang bakar bumbu bali (grilled marinated tiger prawn with Balinese spices), ayam bakar betutu (Balinese spiced chicken), soto betawi (Jakarta-style aromatic beef soup) and buntut bakar saus kacang (grilled oxtail topped with homemade peanut sauce). Of course, pair them all with the fragrant coconut rice also known as nasi uduk — no regrets! So go ahead and make a reservation with Tok Tok Indonesian Restaurant; you can easily do it through Quandoo.
Tok Tok Indonesian Restaurant, 467 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427678
2. Little Farms
Enjoy the best of both worlds with Little Farms Grocer and Bistro right next to each other. Stock up on groceries and savour delicious mouth-watering bistro food and bespoke cocktails right after! Little Farms is located right along Joo Chiat Road at Katong Point. Its extensive range of all-natural, organic produce, fresh poultry and gourmet groceries will wow you with its freshness and quality. Wanna recreate the dishes you enjoyed at Little Farms Bistro? Some of the ingredients can be found at its grocery store, too. Try the air-flown Australian avocados, boasting a soft and creamy filling that will taste amazing on toast (no nasties, ever)! Need help? Ask away: Little Farms’ friendly team members will gladly assist you.
Little Farms, 451 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427664
3. 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 claim to be the makers of the popular local dish.
328 Katong Laksa, 51 East Coast Road, Singapore 4289770
4. The 1925 Brewing Co
Amazing craft beers paired with Teochew delicacies? Who would’ve thought! The 1925 Brewing Co offers modern Teochew dishes with a nudge to its own craft beers. You can expect dishes like garlic fried rice with wagyu fat, crispy chicken cartilage and so much more.
The 1925 Brewing Co, 261 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427515
5. Petit Pain Bakery
The smell of freshly baked goods reeled us into this quaint bakery. This local hidden gem churns out crusty French loaves, flaky croissants and other small batch pastries that your heart desires. Oh, and did we mention they’re free of improvers, preservatives and artificial flavours? It’s so good, they even put up batch timings (three batches daily) so you can grab your faves before they sell out.
Petit Pain Bakery, 315 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427566
6. Loving Hut
Going vegan in Singapore can be a struggle especially if you can’t resist local food. Fret not, Loving Hut offers vegan alternatives to local delicacies such as banana leaf nasi campur, Nyonya laksa, Teo Chew mee pok and more.
Loving Hut, #01-01, 229 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427489
7. Awfully Chocolate Bakery & Cafe
This lovely cafe concept by the Awfully Chocolate folks features chocolate taps tempering fresh cocoa, an array of pastries and pies baked in-house, and a scrummy brunch and dinner menu. If you’re popping by in the afternoon, try the brunch set for two with fruit and muesli, truffle cream eggs, flatbread with roasted aubergine, and chocolate milk. Dinner comes with options like French onion soup and angus brisket.
Awfully Chocolate Bakery & Cafe, 131 East Coast Road, Singapore 428816
8. 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
9. The Cheese Shop
No diet is going to stop us from entering this shop. The speciality store offers an award-winning selection of artisanal cheese from the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Holland. Creating an IG-worthy cheese platter or just need to satisfy those cravings? This is the place to be.
The Cheese Shop, #01-01, 267 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427521
10. Penny University
This cosy little cafe on East Coast Road champions the “made in Singapore” concept. These folks source their coffee beans from local roasters, serve bread baked fresh daily in the area, and often collaborate with local bakers. Solid choices are the Turkish eggs and the smoked salmon bagel.
Penny University, 402 East Coast Road, Singapore 428997
11. 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
12. 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
13. Birds Of Paradise
Know what’s even better than ice cream? Super-smooth gelato (made fresh daily) at this 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, 63 East Coast Road, Singapore 428776
14. Rabbit Carrot Gun
Rabbit Carrot Gun serves up unapologetically English cuisine using seasonal and organic produce – and here’s the catch: the kitchen doesn’t use any salt! There’s an array of British classics for breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner. What we love about the place? Let’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 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
15. 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
16. 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
17. Ampang Niang Tou Fu
You won’t get to choose your ingredients at this niang tou fu stall. Simply tell these folks how many you’re dining with 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 the homemade sweet sauce.
Ampang Niang Tou Fu, 225 East Coast Road, Singapore 428922
18. Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata
Once you’ve taken some amazing shots of the Peranakan houses at Koon Seng Road, adjourn to Tin Yeang Restaurant. It’s more of an old-school eatery with various options to choose from. Go ahead and order Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata. Look past the long waiting time, and you’ll be rewarded with some of the crispiest – and fluffiest – roti prata in Singapore.
Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata, Tin Yeang Restaurant, 300 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427551
19. 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
20. Lower East Side
How hot can you go? Take on the Lower East Side’s ultimate taco hotness challenge (at the risk of your taste buds). This Mexican joint hand-pickles its chillies, offers a selection of specialty salsas and guacamole, and even has homemade churros on their menu- we’re sold!
Lower East Side, 19 East Coast Road, Singapore 428746
21. Forty Hands
One of the pioneers of the coffee movement in Singapore, Forty Hands has a second branch in the east. Enjoy a cup of joe – you know you’re getting quality brews made with freshly roasted beans here. Plus, the brunch menu includes har cheong gai (prawn paste fried chicken) waffle, smashed avo on toast and the popular big boy breakfast platter.
Forty hands, 226 East Coast Road, Singapore 428923
22. Smokey’s BBQ
Opened by true blue Americans in 2009, the meats here are smoked in custom-made smokers, using a unique blend of hickory and mesquite wood chips. Get your hands messy with the baby back pork ribs and buffalo wings. On Wednesdays, the wings go for a dollar – order by the half dozen!
Smokey’s BBQ, 73 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427790
23. Sinpopo Brand
This kitschy cafe-slash-bar that exudes nostalgic, old-school vibes offers local dishes such as nasi lemak and wagyu beef hor fun, but the highlight of this place has to be the desserts. All of the cakes are truly exquisite, though we’d suggest you try the ondeh ondeh and gula melaka ones for a modern twist on familiar flavours.
Sinpopo Brand, 458 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427671
24. Zaffron Kitchen
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.
Zaffron Kitchen, 135/137 East Coast Road, Singapore 428822
25. Baker’s Well
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 cafe has chill vibes that are superb for a long, lazy catch-up.
Baker’s Well, 35 East Coast Road, Singapore 428754
26. Baba Chews Bar & Eatery
Housed within the former Joo Chiat Police Station, the restaurant 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 and assam curry mackerel.
Baba Chews Bar & Eatery, #01-01, Katong Square, 86 East Coast Road, Singapore 428788
Where to shop in Joo Chiat
27. Cat Socrates
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
28. Rumah Bebe
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
This multi-label boutique celebrates #shoplocal in style with a bevy of homegrown gems and sustainable businesses. Splash your cash on everything from resort wear and skincare to kids’ apparel and home accessories. The brands rotate regularly so you’ll always find something new.
TheAC, 420 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427641
30. Feet Haven Reflexology
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.
Feet Haven, 136 East Coast Road, Singapore 428821
So you’re a vinyl lover? Go crazy with an extensive collection of pre-loved and new records spanning various genres like pop, rock and jazz at RetroCrates. That’s not all. Looking for speakers, turntables and amplifiers? You can find ‘em right here.
RetroCrates, 450a Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427663
32. Singapore Trading Post
Singapore Trading Post is like your Pinterest board titled “home decor inspiration” come to life. The store is peppered with colonial-inspired furniture and home decor. Think intricately carved sideboards and shelf units, pineapple-shaped lamps, cushion covers decked in tropical prints, gorgeous art and wall decor… we could go on all day.
Singapore Trading Post, 426 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427644
Where to explore in Joo Chiat
33. 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. Call ahead to book a slot.
Katong Antique House, 208 East Coast Road, Singapore 428907
34. The Intan
Curious about Peranakan culture? You’ll want to check out The Intan. It’s the private shophouse home of Alvin Yapp, who welcomes guests into his abode. This is where you’ll get a glimpse of Peranakan culture, tradition, food and lifestyle with a collection of artefacts, embroidery crafts, knick knacks and furniture pieces.
The Intan, 69 Joo Chiat Terrace, Singapore 427231
35. Heritage shophouses
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 adventure is complete without a stroll past 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.
36. 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
37. Heritage and Art Trail @ Katong Joo Chiat
We were super stoked to find this heritage trail in the Peranakan enclave. It stretches all the way from East Coast Road to Joo Chiat Terrace, so come ready with your walking shoes. As part of the self-guided route, there’ll be murals for you to stop by and check out – it’s the perfect photo op. Learn more about the trail here.
Where to stay in Joo Chiat
38. 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
Bookmark this guide for fun times in Joo Chiat!