So umm, apparently, Tiong means “to die” in Hokkien, while Bahru means “new” in Malay. Which makes Tiong Bahru “new cemetery”, as it was home to many cemeteries until it was reclaimed in the 1920s.
There’s nothing gruesome or morbid about this neighborhood today, though. Amongst its distinctive art-deco style shophouses, you’ll find hipster spas, homey cafes, local gems and more.
Located near Tiong Bahru Plaza, kids are sure to love this playground’s central feature – a giant “tilting” train with ladders and slides in a sandpit. There’s even a mini flying fox playground and a merry-go-round.
Tiong Bahru Park and Adventure Playground
Tiong Bahru Rd, 168732
NEXT: We Need A Hero →
This super hip barbershop offers more than just haircuts (from $55). Think brow shaping and enhancement (from $11), waxing (from $9) and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) hair removal (from $500) as well as a range of post-care products just for the boys.
We Need A Hero
#01-86, 57 Eng Hoon St, 160057
NEXT: Nimble/Knead →
That’s not the only hipster hangout here – even spas are incredibly cool! Nimble/Knead is housed in several shipping containers and offers a wide range of hilariously named treatments. Treat yo’self to The Sculptor’s Handiwork massage, which combines firm strokes to ease sore muscles, a hot oil massage and a cold wrap, or the Rock-a-Bye Mummy prenatal massage.
#01-28, 66 Eng Watt St, 160066
NEXT: Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre →
One of Singapore’s top spots for local eats, this newly-renovated food centre is home to two Michelin Bib Gourmand awarded eateries. Chow down on one of the island’s national dishes at Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice (#02-82), or slurp down a hearty plate of fried Hokkien noodles at Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee (#02-01). Then, head downstairs to the wet market for some grocery shopping on a budget.
Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre
30 Seng Poh Rd, 168898
NEXT: Flock Cafe →
Walk around any corner in Tiong Bahru, and odds are, you’ll find a cafe to chill out in. One of our faves is the open and spacious family-run Flock Cafe. We heart its decadent Banana French Toast ($15) and Scrambled Eggs and Croissant with Crispy Bacon ($17.20).
#01-25, 78 Moh Guan Ter, Singapore 162078
NEXT: BooksActually →
It’s one of those bookstores out of a movie: super cosy, charming and chockfull of eclectic tomes, magazines and more. A vending machine outside vends “mystery” books (from $10). The independent bookstore has a special focus on Singaporean work, too. Look out for the resident cat that roams the store and often sneaks up for a quick rub or two.
9 Yong Siak St, Singapore 168645
NEXT: Bincho at Hua Bee →
By day, this 70-year-old coffee shop sells mee pok (minced meat noodles) and local coffee and toast. At night, it transforms into an izakaya (Japanese gastropub) with an omakase (chef-selected) set menu and a yakitori (meat skewers) bar. Enter through Hua Bee Restaurant, or look for the door in the back alley that leads straight to Bincho.
Bincho at Hua Bee
#01-19, 78 Moh Guan Ter, Singapore 162078
NEXT: Street art →
Find three wall murals, painted by Yip Yew Chong, that depict scenes in Tiong Bahru – the bird corner (71 Seng Poh Rd), a market and fortune teller scene (73 Eng Watt St) and one of a fl at’s living room (74 Tiong Poh Rd). Accompanied by poems giving insight into what life was like at Tiong Bahru some 60 years ago, they make Insta-worthy pics.
NEXT: Nana & Bird →
The range of independent retailers at Tiong Bahru includes nana & bird, which offers quirkily curated womenswear and accessories, and a laidback vibe. Owners Georgina Koh and Tan Chiew Ling aim to showcase designers and artisans from around the globe and often feature a Designer of the Month.
Nana & Bird
1M Yong Siak St, Singapore 168641
NEXT: Qi Tiang Gong Temple →
Did you know that this 90-year-old temple is dedicated to the monkey god Sun Wu Kong – which was featured in the novel Journey to the West Monkey King ‘Sun Wu Kong’. Within this temple alone, there are more than 10 monkey god statues – the oldest of which nearly one hundred years of history (not surprisingly, also the first statue in the temple!).
Qi Tiang Gong Temple
44 Eng Hoon Street, 169786
NEXT: Tiong Bahru Park and Adventure Playground →
By Andre Theng, The Finder (Issue 286), August 2017 / Updated by Melodi Ghui, May 2019
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