Singapore’s Peranakan Heritage: Joo Chiat Trail

Unique to the Nusantara region, the Peranakan culture is birthed through the intermarriage of Chinese settlers and local Southeast Asians.

The apex of Peranakan culture leads to an inspiring blend of colorful architectures, eye-catching crafts and mouth-watering food which combines not only the best of both culture, but transgresses into its own singular expression of life.

This post will guide you through the Peranakan heritage which can still be found alive in the Joo Chiat area. For its outstanding cultural identity, Joo Chiat was also declared as Singapore’s first Heritage Town in 2011.

How to Get to Joo Chiat

To get into the starting point of your hike, alight at Paya Lebar MRT station Exit A. From there, it is just a short 10-minute walk to the Joo Chiat complex. See directions in Google Map.

There is also an underway plan to build Marine Parade MRT station near the other end of the Joo Chiat Road. Once it opens in 2024, access to both ends of Joo Chiat will be a breeze.

Sweetestchoice by Yatie Karim

Onde-Onde, Sweetestchoice by Yatie Karim, Joo Chiat, Peranakan Trail, Singapore

[Image Credit: Robijuniarta]

This halal bakery serves scrumptious modern and traditional pastries. Definitely try the onde-onde, made using pandan-infused dough filled with gula melaka (palm sugar) and rolled with steamed grated coconut. The sweet goodness truly befits the store name!

60 Joo Chiat Rd, #01-02, Singapore 427726

Kway Guan Huat Joochiat Popiah

Pie Tee, Kway Guan Huat Joochiat Popiah, Joo Chiat, Peranakan Trail, Singapore

[Image Credit: Aunty Nat]

Popiah is a Teochew equivalent of spring roll, and with over 70 years of family tradition with secret recipe handed down from China’s Fujian province, this homemade popiah is as authentic as it can get in Singapore. Witness the Popiah Masters twirl the doughs and work the pans, or you can also participate in the DIY session.

Another specialty they serve is Pie Tee, a distinctly Peranakan-styled crispy pastry tart filled with shredded turnips, vegetables and prawns.

95 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427389

The Intan

The Intan, Joo Chiat, Peranakan Trail, Singapore

[Image Credit: Anton Diaz]

Step into this award-winning house museum to imagine living in a Peranakan household’s shoes. The curator has put into one place numerous Peranakan artefacts, including jewelries and pots among other cultural treasures.

Entries are strictly by appointments only, so make sure you call +65 6440 1148 or email to arrange your viewing beforehand.

69 Joo Chiat Terrace, Singapore 427231

Kim Choo Kueh Chang

Nyonya Rice Dumpling, Kim Choo Kueh Chang, Joo Chiat, Peranakan Trail, Singapore

[Image Credit: Choo Yut Shing]

One of the oldest heritage family business in Singapore operating since 1945, this establishment has been making Nyonya-styled glutinous rice dumplings famed for its rich epicurean taste with just a slight hint of spiciness. This cuisine is traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival

60 Joo Chiat Pl, Singapore 427784

Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant

Ayam Buah Keluak, Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant, Joo Chiat, Peranakan Trail, Singapore

[Image Credit: Choo Yut Shing]

Not only is this one of Singapore’s oldest Peranakan restaurant still operating, it is also the personal favorite of the late former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

You will be spoilt for choice of authentic Peranakan dishes here, but first-timers looking to dive head in to unique Peranakan-specific taste should definitely give ayam buah keluak (chicken and pangium nuts in tamarind gravy) and babi pongteh (braised pork) a try.

38/40 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427764


Batik Sewing, Cocoonese, Peranakan Trail, Singapore

[Image Credit: Pxfuel]

Admire the collection of hand-stitched bags with intricate Batik and Asian fabrics. If you fancy a hands-on experience, they also conduct 3-hour workshop on how to make a clasp cotton handbag, bookable at +65 9004 8317.

176 Joo Chiat Road, #03-01, Singapore 427447

Koon Seng Road Shophouses

Koon Seng Road Shophouses, Joo Chiat, Peranakan Trail, Singapore

[Image Credit: Basile Morin]

No trip to Joo Chiat is complete without the requisite Instagram shot among Singapore’s most colorful row of shophouses. Some of these houses are even still inhabited by the original family lineage who moved here circa the 1920s!

Koon Seng Road, Singapore

Shopping Time

Joo Chiat Road is also known for its unique merchandises. Here, we pick the most interesting shops worth checking on your route to your next stop.

The Cheese Shop

A wide selection of award-winning gourmet cheese is available from the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and Holland. Whether you are looking for mature or well-aged or chili-flavored options, there is something for everyone.

267 Joo Chiat Rd, #01-01, Singapore 427521

Singapore Trading Post

Inspired by Sir Stamford Raffles and the Spice trading routes, this chic stop displays colonial-inspired furniture ranging from pineapple-shaped laps, tropical print cushion covers and inspiring wall decors!

426 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427644

Cat Socrates

A quirky indie designer shop selling everything from paper paraphernalia, home deco, fabrics, plants, fashion and vintage memorabilia. Don’t forget to say hi to Zoo-Zoo and Chestnut, the two cat shopkeepers on your way in!

448 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427661


For music aficionados, Retrocrates is keeping vinyl music alive with its enviable collection of jazz, rock and pop records. There are also plenty of audiophile electronics to keep the culture geek inside you satisfied.

450a Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427663

Sinpopo Brand

Putu Piring, Sinpopo Brand, Joo Chiat, Peranakan Trail, Singapore

[Image Credit: Nasuru]

Take a quick break to sip gourmet coffee or the popular sng muay pop (sour plum) in this atmospheric Joo Chiat eatery. If you have a sweet tooth, pair it up with sexy handcrafted desserts like putu piring or durian pengat made with coconut ice cream and browned butter croutons.

458 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427671

Rumah Bebe

Rumah Bebe, Joo Chiat, Peranakan Trail, Singapore

[Image Credit: Vladimir Varfolomeev]

This 1928 shophouse has stood through the evolution of Peranakan gentry. When it opened doors again as Rumah Bebe in 1995, visitors are delighted with the mesmerizing collection of traditional kebaya dresses, beaded shoes, jewelleries, porcelains and heritage books.

Rumah Bebe also conducts DIY beading classes and private in-house tours. Prior reservation via +65 6247 8781 or is required.

113 East Coast Road, Singapore 428803

The Red House

Micro Bakery & Kitchen, The Red House, Joo Chiat, Peranakan Trail, Singapore

[Image Credit: The Smart Local]

It is hard to miss this 1960s striking red building with its antique floral tiles and wooden furnishing. Today, it is a hip bakery offering small batch, handmade loaves run by Micro Bakery & Kitchen.

63 East Coast Road, Singapore 428776

328 Katong Laksa

328 Katong Laksa, Joo Chiat, Peranakan Trail, Singapore

[Image Credit: ProjectManhattan]

Awarded Michelin Bib Gourmand for two consecutive years, this eatery once famously won against Gordon Ramsay on a public taste test!

It’s easy to understand why once you slurp the thick vermicelli, cockles, shrimps and fish cakes soaked in creamy coconut gravy goodness!

51 East Coast Road, Singapore 428770

Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple

Sri Senpaya Vinayagar Temple, Joo Chiat, Peranakan Trail, Singapore

[Image Credit: ScribblingGeek]

Erected in 1875 by an early Ceylonese Tamil pioneer for Lord Vinayagar (Elephant God), this 21-metre high Rajagopuram is one of Singapore’s tallest Indian temples. This Dravidian masterpiece has been inscribed as a historic site by the National Heritage Board in 2003.

19 Ceylon Road, Singapore 429613

Katong Antique House

Peranakan Kebaya, Katong Antique House, Joo Chiat, Peranakan Trail, Singapore

[Image Credit: Su–May]

Here is another house museum to visit in case if The Intan is fully booked out. Owned by a Baba Peranakan family, it is wonderfully well preserved with Peranakan wall prints and portraits, while displaying artefacts painstangkinly curated for decades such as crockeries, costumes, furnitures and other antiques.

Make sure you reserve by calling +65 6345 8544 beforehand.

208 East Coast Road, Singapore 428907

What do you think about the Peranakan culture? Which Peranakan heritage and cuisine impresses you the most?

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