Joo Chiat/Katong

X July 07, 2012
 
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3.8
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3.5  (7)
Value 
 
4.0  (9)
Enjoyment 
 
4.0  (10)
Overall Experience 
 
3.9  (20)
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Ordering
Miniatures of the local delights.
(Updated: August 14, 2014)
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Service 
 
3.5
Value 
 
4.5
Enjoyment 
 
4.5
Overall Experience 
 
4.5
Joo Chiat area would be one of the most inaccessible areas to head to, especially if you stay out of the east cause there's no MRT station that goes "Next station, Joo Chiat". Think about Chicken rice, Laksa, and even Kaya toast, then the hassle of heading there would be clouded with thoughts of local food!

1. Chicken Rice - Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice
If I'm away from Home and someone mentions Singapore, the first thought that comes up is "Darn, where's my chicken rice". There's quite a number of chicken rice stalls down the road of Joo Chiat, but there's a specific store that I would go over and over again just for my chicken rice fix.

Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice (191/193 East Coast Road) - such tender chicken with the fragrance of the rice, tempts me want to grab a second bowl for it. The highlight of the store is that it doesn't just sell the chicken or baby kai lan or fried tofu, but it has wide variety of dishes, similar to the typical "zi-char" stores!

2. Laksa - 328 Katong Laksa
If you're a Singaporean, I'm pretty sure 328 Katong Laksa is no stranger to you. Some say that 328 Katong Laksa is "over-rated" or "nothing special", but to me, it's the place I'd head to just for my laksa (yes, i'm that specific that it's the only place I head to for a good laksa). Among the streets of Joo Chiat, there's two stores and it's both at different ends (51/53 East Coast Road and 216/218 East Coast Road)

3. Kaya Toast - Chin Mee Chin Confectionery
The only reason I'd get out of bed for in the morning and make my way down to Joo Chiat (mind you, I don't stay anywhere Joo Chiat area but I'd specially head down for this). The place has been around for almost 80 years, and it's the place is filled with nostalgic memories of how Singapore used to be in the early 1980/70s.

Trust me, the texture of the bread is how you'd describe falling in love with food at first bite, crispy on the out side where you'd feel the crunch grinding against your teeth and soft fluffy texture on the inside with the kaya spread evenly at the top of the bun with the piece of butter that sums up it's amazing taste. You've no idea how good it is till you've tried it (204 East Coast Road)

Even if you stay at the other end of Joo Chiat area, you've to head down just to grab a bite to know how good it actually is, at least once in your life time, because you're missing out if you have yet been there!
WC
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Joo Chiat lives! And how!
(Updated: April 02, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Enjoyment 
 
4.5
Overall Experience 
 
4.5
A walk through the Joo Chiat area is a walk through an amazing part of Singapore. Some claim it is Singapore’s most interesting area. I agree. Forget Tiong Bahru, Emily Hill, Ann Siang Hill and so on. This place is alive and (mostly) fascinating.

Intensive, tasteful and culturally sensitive renovations have been and continue to be made to the plethora of old Singapore houses in the area. What is specially worth seeing? 


Start from Payar Lebar MRT Station and wander down to the Joo Chiat centre at Geylang Serai. It is a Malay area. Thankfully, the old Malay Village has been demolished and a new 'attraction' is planned. No worries: the living Joo Chiat is much more interesting to see and experience. The textile markets opposite the wet market: both are fascinating.


Then wander down Joo Chiat Road, exploring the various side lanes and streets where mosques and temples abound to say nothing of meticulously and sensitively renovated homes. This is what Singapore was!

What to find? The renovated shop houses especially in Tembeling Road, Joo Chiat Place and Koon Seng Road. Check out
Kuan Im Tng Temple (Tembeling Road near the corner of Jok Chiat Lane). Be invited into the old Majid Khalid in Joo Chiat Road. Go a little further to Ceylon Road and visit 
Si Senpaga Vinayager Temple which dates back to the 1810s.

Joo Chiat Road is a work in progress. It contains some superb old buildings, tastefully and carefully renovated to look spanking new.


This area epitomises Singapore's multi-culturalism. Malay, Chinese, Indians, Eurasians and expatriates wander everywhere, to say nothing of more recent immigrants from ROC, Indonesia and Myanmar etc of the kind who hang round the KTV bars on Joo Chiat Road. Forget them. Joo Chiat bustles with activity both day and night.

Joo Chiat provides my favourite picture of old Singapore. I know that there are many other well preserved areas, but none have the bustle and life of this place. This is a living museum, not a place to observe from afar with a doctorate in mind. Most of the buildings were built during the prewar era, comprising shop-houses and five-foot ways. Today, even the annoying clutter that spills on to the footpaths and blocks your strolling is fascinating: key cutters, young ladies, commercial kitchen wares and even cars. Little alleys dart off left and right, each worth a detour.

So enjoy it. And if you need a rest, there are some wonderful cafes and restaurants. There is even a backpackers place (The Betel Box) at 200 Joo Chiat Road which serves reasonable coffee and peranakan food, and also offers walking tours. 


For my money though, if you want something different, walk over to the Eurasian Center in Ceylon Road on the corner of Dunman Road. It boasts an excellent bar and restaurant offering fusion Portuguese/ Asian food. Arguably the best in Singapore. And on the fourth floor is an interesting (free) museum of the history of Eurasians in Singapore.

Then when you have finished that, wander back to Geylang Road and stop off at Haig Road Market. There, at the 69 Soy Stall, you can find the best soy bean curd on Singapore. I know! The original soy bean places that don't add coffee mate are still the best, but when it comes to a cool, refreshing dessert, this is the best in Singapore.

Joo Chiat? In a word, wonderful.
LT
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Feast in the East
Overall Experience 
 
4.5
The Joo Chiat / Katong area is another charming bit of Singapore that offers an alternative to the shopping mall mold. That said, there is the spanking new 112 Katong mall development that sits quite nicely alongside the old world colonial shophouses that many famous food places are housed in.

I love the Katong Laksa kopi tiam with its rich broth and dollop of see hum (cockles). I also never fail to ta pow (buy takeaway food) kueh kueh (Peranakan cakes) and bachang (glutinous rice and pork dumplings) from the Nonya shop with the shop auntie dressed up like The Little Nonya.

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Roots
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Service 
 
4.0
Value 
 
5.0
Enjoyment 
 
4.0
Overall Experience 
 
5.0
If you're thinking of immersing yourself in rich culture, then the Joo Chiat/ Katong area is definitely the place to consider. I took a trip down memory lane whilst soaking up the familiar sights of Singapore in the olden days. Can't help to feel nostalgic driving on 2 lane roads, strolling along the shophouses and feasting on peranakan dishes.

Thing is, food choice there is in overabundance. Foodies would claim to love that place, but nobody would admit that one cannot simply taste everything in one day. Withing the confines of a 2-hour dinner timeframe, it is physically impossible to have Katong laksa and then Ponggul nasi lemak and then have some space in the tummy to settle down at Sin Hoi Sai for some hap chiong gai (prawn paste chicken) while fantasizing about ng ah sio's bak kut teh. I merely graced the tip of the iceberge but look at the first world problems we face, how more stressful can life get.

While you contemplate and then bemoan the foodie's paradox of choice, you'll realise that... there are very few carpark lots. A simple solution would be public transport. Enough said.

Do not arrive at 7pm and expect a red carpet to be laid out upon your arrival. Shophouses are small, if you're late, you'll wait.

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Good food abound!
Overall Experience 
 
4.5
One of my favourite food haunts in Singapore!!! I frequent the Katong area and have just about tried the more famous foods there. There is the iconic Katong laksa, Miki Tzi Char, Boon Tong Kee, Aston's, Sarpino's, Fatboy's, Al Forno, handmade noodles at Roxy Square... The list goes on. The recent opening of I12 Katong offers even more food choices.

For bubble tea AND animal lovers, there is even a bubble tea shop with a novel concept - for a small entrance fee and a cup of bubble tea, you get access to their second floor and play with the oh-so-adorable puppies they keep there, for as long as you want. But for the puppies' health, DO remember to wash your hands thoroughly before attempting to make any contact with them.

Katong gets crowded especially on weekend nights, so it is better to visit either earlier or later than the typical dinner timing.
S
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