Tiong Bahru has become one of the hippest hang outs in Singapore. Trendy cafes, unique stores and lots of history makes this enclave a perfect mix of old and new for you to explore.
Developed in the 1920’s by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), the Tiong Bahru vicinity is now the oldest housing estate on the island. This enclave has stood the test of time with its beautiful art-deco architecture, history and cultural significance, merging old and new to become one of the trendiest spots in the city. Cool cafes, quirky stores, bakeries and lush green parks, there’s lots to be explored in this historic neighbourhood!
Things to do in Tiong Bahru
1. Pamper yourself at Nimble/Knead
This spa in Tiong Bahru is housed in several shipping containers and offers a range of treatments with really fun names! The Swede and Sassy full-body aroma massage Massage starts at $79 for 60 minutes and the Chocolicious Body Scrub ($69) uses a body scrub made of ingredients that include 100-percent chocolate powder, cocoa seed scrub and jojoba oil. Body masks, foot massages and other treatments are also available.
Address: 66 Eng Watt St., Tiong Bahru Estate, #01-28, 160066
Tel: 6438 3933
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Daily)
2. Check out the cool street art
Artist Yip Yew Chong describes Tiong Bahru as his childhood playground and remembers fondly how he used to run around the estate with his siblings and cousins to hunt for Saga seeds. The murals depict historic scenes that will take you right back to the Singapore of yesteryear. A great way to see what the vicinity was like back in the day!
Yip Yew Chong Murals
Address: Multiple locations (See below)
Bird Singing Corner: 71 Seng Poh Ln.
Home: Tiong Poh Road/74 Eu Chin St.
Pasar and the Fortune Teller: 73 Eng Watt St.
3. Visit Qi Tian Gong The Monkey Temple
The history of Tiong Bahru Qi Tian Gong dates back to 1920, first located in the ‘taro garden’, which is the present Tiong Bahru estate. The original site is an attap hut located across Eng Hoon Street. In 1938, the temple moved to the current location. Dedicated to the Monkey God, there are more than 10 Monkey God statues in the temple, the oldest of which is nearly one hundred years old.
Qi Tian Gong Temple
Address: 44 Eng Hoon St., 169786
Tel: 6220 2469
Opening hours: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Daily)
4. Visit the Dancing Girl Sculpture at Seng Poh Gardens
Created by Sarawak-born sculptor Lim Nang Seng, this 1.2-metre high concrete sculpture was sculpted in a car park in Orchard Road and was completed in just two weeks. It now sits in Seng Poh Garden for the public to enjoy an interesting bit of abstract art in the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood.
Seng Poh Garden + Dancing Girl Sculpture
Address: Seng Poh Rd., 168898
6. Take a stroll in Tiong Bahru Park
Tiong Bahru Park was developed in 1967. Its existing structure blends itself with newer facilities to cater to different groups of park users. Various fitness and exercise stations are available for fitness enthusiasts to warm up before a jog or you can also walk on the foot reflexology paths for a relaxing foot massage. Not up for a workout? Sit on one of the benches and relax in the shade of the many trees that dot the park.
Tiong Bahru Park
Address: 1 Henderson Rd., 159561
7. Enjoy greenery and design at Kim Pong Park
Inspired by the art deco architecture of Tiong Bahru Estate, the pathways form a circular motif allowing for visitors to navigate easily through the park. The wide pathways and space beside the terrazzo benches were put in place to accommodate wheelchairs and prams. Another cool feature of the park are the old-school garden swings!
Kim Pong Park
Address: Kim Tian Pl., 168898
8. Admire the architecture
In the midst of the skyscrapers and towering HDBs step back in time and explore the beautiful Streamline Moderne (a late development of the art deco movement) architecture of Tiong Bahru Estate. Designed by architect Alfred G. Church, these insta-worthy buildings will give you a glimpse of the architectural landscape back in the 1936, when the first block in the estate, block 55, (located at the junction of Tiong Bahru and Tiong Poh Roads) was completed.
Where to eat + drink in Tiong Bahru
*Disclaimer: At the time of publication, in view of the Phase 2 Heightened Alert measures, dining in is prohibited at all eating establishments until 18 August 2021. Take outs, however, are still allowed. We’re doing our best to be accurate, but please double check with the restaurants before you visit.
1. Merci Marcel Tiong Bahru
A bohemian style cafe with a French Balinese vibe, Meri Marcel Tiong Barhu features a main dining area and a lush glasshouse garden patio alongside a lovely roadside terrace – perfect for an end of day apéritif. Its menu is split into five categories: Breakfast (8 to 11 a.m.), Daytime (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Afternoon Break (4 to 6 p.m.), Dinner (6 to 9 p.m.) and Brunch (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and features items such as Marinated Crab Tartine ($20), Cod Fish Gratin ($39) and Buckwheat Noodle Salad ($16).
Merci Marcel Tiong Bahru
Address: 56 Eng Hoon St, #01-68, 160056
Tel: 6224 0113
Opening hours: 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (Daily)
2. The Butcher’s Wife
Everything is gluten-free at this cosy bistro in Tiong Bahru that serves up sharing plates, sides and desserts. The hearty menu features mains such as Crispy Skin Barramundi ($29) with salted egg, calamansi hollandaise, heirloom zucchini and crispy curry leaves and Chargrilled Australian Wagyu Picanha ($40) with burnt lady fingers and heirloom tomato salsa (dairy-free). There are also vegan and vegetarian options like the Fermented Black Bean Falafel ($23) with carrot and lentil hummus and smoked baba ganoush (vegan) and Sweet Potato and Buckwheat Gnocchi ($24) with shiitake, king oyster mushroom and rosemary butter. This spot is definitely a crowd pleaser if you ever need one!
The Butcher’s Wife
Address: 19 Yong Siak St., 168650
Tel: 6221 9307
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (Tues. to Sun.)
3. BAKALAKI Greek Taverna
Craving some Greek food? Whisk yourself to BAKALAKI Greek Taverna. This bright and breezy restaurant serves up authentic Greek fare and seafood specialties like Grilled octopus with lemon, oregano and Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($32.90), Grilled Sea Bass served with lemon sauce and boiled vegetables ($69.70) and Mixed Grilled Seafood Platters ($118.90). You will also find a unique selection of Geek wines, beers and even Greek herbal drinks and coffee on the menu to enhance your Mediterranean culinary experience.
BAKALAKI Greek Taverna
Address: 3 Seng Poh Rd., 168891
Tel: 6836 3688
Opening hours: 5 to 11 p.m. (Mon. to Thurs.); 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and to 11 p.m. (Fri. to Sun.)
4. Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream and Coffee
For some lush handcrafted ice cream head down to Creamier. Its all natural ice-creams are crafted daily in the on-site kitchen and ingredients are sourced from all over the world. Its bestselling Roasted Pistachio ice-cream for example, is made with 100-percent pure pistachio nut paste from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region with a generous sprinkling of roasted pistachio nuts. Chocoholics can try its Richest Dark Chocolate Ferrero ice cream that features deep, dark chocolate with crushed roasted hazelnuts and a splash of rum!
Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream and Coffee
Address: 78 Yong Siak St., #01-18, 163078
Tel: 6221 1076
Opening hours: 12 to 10 p.m. (Tues. to Sun.)
At TIANN’S, everything is made from scratch without the addition of refined sugars or gluten. Its Chocolate Coconut Waffles ($19) are a vegan option topped with flaked almonds, dark chocolate chips, raspberries and organic maple syrup. This is also a great spot for breakfast or brunch. You can get dishes like the Sausage and eggs ($24) that includes scrambled eggs, natural pork farmer’s sausage, house made passata (tomato puree), house salad and cherry tomatoes with an option to add Paleo Toast at $2. If you like lots of options to choose from you could try building your own breakfast plate with its My Favourite Breakfast option.
Address: 71 Seng Poh Rd., #01-35, 160071
Tel: 6222 1369
Opening hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Tues. to Sun.)
6. Tiong Bahru Market Food Centre
One of Singapore’s popular spots for local fare, the food centre houses two Michelin Bib Gourmand awarded eateries. Try one of Singapore’s national dishes, Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice (store #02-82) or tuck in to a hearty plate of fried Hokkien Noodles at Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee (store #02-01). Want something sweet? Try some Tau Suan (a sweet split mung bean soup topped with pieces of fried dough fritters called you tiao) at Tiong Bahru Tau Suan (store #02-55).
Tiong Bahru Market Food Centre
Address: 30 Seng Poh Rd., 168898
Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mon.); 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Tue.); 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Wed. to Sun.)
7. Tiong Bahru Bakery
Founded by master baker Gontran Cherrier, this popular artisan bakery sells viennoiseries, pastries, breads savoury sandwiches and quiches. However, it is most famous for its buttery, light and flaky croissants ($3.50). You can get a classic plain croissant or try some of the other flavours like Almond, Almond Chocolate and Green Tea Almond.
Tiong Bahru Bakery
Address: 56 Eng Hoon St., #01-70, 160056
Tel: 6220 3430
Opening hours: 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mon. to Sun.)
8. Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry
Want to try something more local? Check out Galicier Pastry. This family-run business is one of the few traditional confectionaries left in Singapore. It sells a variety of old-school cakes, cookies and pastries alongside traditional Nonya kueh. Try Ondeh Ondeh ($0.60), made with a mixture of sweet potato and glutinous rice flour, filled with molten gula melaka or soft crepes filled with coconut called Keuh Dadar ($0.90)
Tiong Bahru Galicier Pastry
Address: 55 Tiong Bahru Rd., #01-39, 160055
Tel: 6324 1686
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mon. to Sat.)
9. PS.Cafe Petit at Tiong Bahru
Unlike its other outlets PS.Cafe Petit at Tiong Bahru has a self service/takeaway concept where you collect and pay over the counter so there is no service charge. Everything is served in a takeaway box for either dine-in or to eat at home. The stunning cafe is reminiscent of the French cafes of yesteryear and it serves up some awesome artisanal pizzas and all day brunch fares alongside freshly baked loaves of bread and cakes. You can also get an extensive range of wines from around the world.
PS.Cafe Petit at Tiong Bahru
Address: No. 41, 78 Guan Chuan St., 160078
Tel: 6708 9288
Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (Daily)
10. Caffe Pralet
Caffee Pralet serves up gourmet sandwiches, delish quality premium rice bowls, pastas and fusion mains amongst other things. Try some of its in-house breads like the Sourdough Multigrain ($5) or its signature 3 Musketeer Bread ($5), a tricolour bread coloured with all natural ingredients like carrot, spinach and beetroot. It also sells flavoured butters ($10-$11) to pair with the breads.
Address: 17 Eng Hoon St., Eng Hoon Mansions, #01-04, 169767
Tel: 6223 5595
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Daily)
Where to shop in Tiong Bahru
1. Heveya by European Bedding
Looking for a better night’s sleep? Pop over to Heveya by European bedding. Having won the Gold and Bronze Award in Expat Living’s Reader’s Choice Award 2021 for Best Mattress and Best Linen and Bedding respectively, its bamboo duvets are sustainably made from soft breathable bamboo Lyocell on top of being antibacterial. Its organic latex mattresses provides good back support for all ages and the brand is focused on creating a customisable sleeping system catering to various builds, sleeping positions and personal preferences. It even has a 100-night free trial.
Heveya by European Bedding
Address: 32 Eng Hoon St., 169780
Tel: 6735 6658
Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.); 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Sat. to Sun.)
2. Tiong Bahru Bookstores
Established in 2009, Woods in the Books is an independent bookshop in Tiong Bahru that specialises in picture and other illustrated books. Step through the green door to discover a myriad stories for kids of all ages. If you’re looking for French language books, The French Bookshop is the place for you. From general literature, to science fiction, history and even second-hand books, this store is brimming with over 3,000 books for you to explore.
Woods in the Books
Address: 3 Yong Siak St., 168642
Tel: 6222 9980
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Mon.); 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Tues. To Sat.); 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sun.)
The French Bookshop
Address: Tiong Bahru Rd., #01-53 Block 55, 160055
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Weds. to Sat.); 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sun.)
3. Nana & Bird
Nana & Bird is a hidden gem in Tiong Bahru that carries chic, stylish curated womenswear, kids wear, accessories and homeware (amongst other things!) with just the right sprinkle of quirky for that unique edge! Products are sourced from designers and artisans from around the world and it even does gift cards.
Nana & Bird
Address: 1 Yong Siak St., 168641
Tel: 9117 0430
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Mon. to Fri.); 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Sat. to Sun.)
4. Leo’s Indian Grocery Store
These traditional minimarts are a huge part of Singapore’s neighbourhood culture. Leo’s functions not only as a convivence store but it also sells a variety of Indian groceries! Great for when you’re planning to do some Indian cooking at home.
Leo’s Indian Grocery Shop
Address: 126C Kim Tian Rd., 160116
Tel: 6684 5915
Opening hours: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Daily)
For unique outfits, head over to OliveAnkara located on Chay Yan Street. The brand blends African fabrics with modern designs to create stunning pieces to fit and flatter every woman. The bright, bold, beautiful prints are sure to make a statement at whatever event you may need to attend.
Address: 79 Chay Yan St., #01-02, 160079
Tel: 8606 7673
Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. (Tues. to Fri.); 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sat. to Sun.)
6. Tumbleweed Plants
This plant boutique is a great spot if you’re looking to get some chic and stylish indoor plants for your apartment. You will have the biggest selection of planters and indoor plant care essentials available to choose from. Plus, you can get these delivered to your doorstep.
Address: 55 Tiong Bahru Rd., #01-02, 160055
Tel: 9639 1914
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Tues. to Fri.); 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Sat. to Sun.)
7. Tiong Bahru Wet Market
Well known for being one of the markets for the freshest produce in Singapore, Tiong Bahru Wet Market is popular among international residents. You can find a variety of western fresh produce available here as well. Particularly Australian and New Zealand beef at half the price of supermarkets! Fresh flowers such as orchids and orchid plants can also be found here at reasonable prices. Depending in the variety, a branch of orchid can cost from $0.40 to $1.20.
Tiong Bahru Wet Market
Address: 30 Seng Poh Rd., 168898
8. Cat Socrates
A great spot for quirky gifts or to do some shopping for yourself, this independent lifestyle shop brings creations from brands and designers all over the world to Sngapore. It carries a collection of books and paper paraphernalia, home deco, fabric and sewing accessories, plants and bots, bags, fashion accessories and vintage memorabilia. It also provides a platform for local artists to present their work.
Address: 78 Yong Siak St., #01-14, 163078
Tel: 6333 0870
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Mon.); 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Tue. to Thu.); 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Sat.); 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sun.)
Orignally by K Praveena