This charming, heritage-rich '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.
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, 51 E Coast Rd, Singapore4289770
NineThirty by Awfully Chocolate
This majestic monochrome chocolatier in Katong certainly stands out. Try the chocolate banana cake and salted butterscotch brownie, you won’t regret it. The eatery also offers a mean weekend brunch featuring the likes of steak and eggs, crepes and rosti.
NineThirty by Awfully Chocolate, 131 East Coast Road, Singapore 428816
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
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 are the Turkish eggs and the smoked salmon bagel.
Penny University, 402 East Coast Road, Singapore 428997
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
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 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
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
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. 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
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
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
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
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
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, 238 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437036
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 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, 19 East Coast Rd, Singapore 428746
One of the pioneers of the coffee movement in Singapore, Forty Hands has opened its 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
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
This kitschy café-slash-bar that exudes nostalgic, old-school vibes offers local dishes such as nasi lemak and 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
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
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
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, #01-01 Katong Square, 86 East Coast Road, Singapore 428788
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 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
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
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
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, 136 East Coast Road S428821
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, 865 Mountbatten Road, #01-83B, #01-77 to 82, Katong Shopping Centre Singapore 437844
Explore six levels of retail and lifestyle shops in this east-side shopping mall. Shop quirky home decor at Egg3 or catch the latest blockbuster at the cinema.
I12 Katong, 112 East Coast Road, Singapore 428802
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
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
Heritage and Art Trail @ Katong Joo Chiat
We were super stoked to find out that there exists a heritage trail in this 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 will be murals for you to stop by and check out – it’s the perfect photo op. Learn more about the trail here.
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