October is not only knocking on the door – it’s already in. It snuck in while I was busy editing my photos from Singapore and our summer trip to London. To continue in my ignorant bliss I chose this week to write about some of the best memories from our recent trip. We took a nice walk in Tiong Bahru, which is an interesting neighborhood for architecture geeks, food lovers and history buffs alike. There is something for everyone, and its a perfect way to spend a half day in Singapore.
Tiong Bahru is a cute neighborhood in Singapore. It was built in the 1920’s as a housing estate consisting of over 30 residential buildings. There are high-rises and lower buildings. The style is minimalist with rounded balconies and pastel colors. It kind of reminds me of art deco.
Start your walk by picking up a cuppa at 40 Hands Coffee. Its a local specialty coffee roaster with a cafe and shop at the beginning (or end) of Yong Siak Street. Both filter and milk based coffees are good here. And try the banana bread, its thick slices are moist and not too sweet – just like a banana bread should be.
Grab your coffee and stroll around the corner towards Seng Pog Street, where you can find Seng Poh Tea Garden. Its a small park with benches and local art. The most interesting thing at the garden is the centerpiece statue, which is made by the same sculptor as the famous Merlion statue, Mr Lim Nang Seng.
In the center of it all is Tiong Bahru Market. Its Singapore’s first modern neighborhood hawker center. Known back in the day as Seng Poh Market, the new building was a solution to the semi-legal street hawker problem that plagued Singapore’s streets in the past. The market was rebuilt from scratch in 2004 to clean up the area. This hawker center has a wide array of yummy local foods. Try out traditional Chwee kueh, a type of steamed rice cake in the Michelin-recommended hawker stand Jian Bo Shui Kueh, or Harriann’s Delight serving also vegetarian glutinous rice. I like hanging around here. Observe how there are a lot of elderly people also sitting, enjoying each other company and picking snacks to eat from the stands. There is also a playground in the center court for children. Its not only a food court, its a meeting place for all ages and generations.
Before stuffing yourself at the food market, make sure you leave a little bit space for dessert (yes, I know its another stomach), because you should not miss out on the french style pastries at Tiong Bahru Bakery on Eng Hoon Street. I am not so much for Asian desserts, so I am was so happy to find this cafe with some amazing almond croissants and cinnamon buns – the Swedes would be jealous. I recommend sitting on the terrace to see how locals go about their day in the neighborhood. If you are not in the mood for French goodies, stroll back to Yong Siak Street for delicious cupcakes at Plain Vanilla.
Before heading for sundowners at Omakase style Bincho, stop by Books Actually, a shop that sells literature by Singaporean authors.
And one more thing – don’t forget to take your camera!