Formerly a nutmeg estate dotted with bamboo trees, Selegie has evolved into one of SG’s busiest stretches.
In Malay, a selegie is a “fire-hardened wooden spear” – the weapon of choice by a pirate people called the Orang Selegie.
Today, residential buildings, historic structures plus little shops and eateries line the streets in this bustling neighbourhood – a popular place for expats to live, too, thanks to its central location.
Selegie was once a Jewish enclave in Singapore and the Star of David is still prominent on the David Elias Building. This three-storey neo-classical building was completed in in 1928, and was gazetted for conservation in 1994.
The building looks vacant today but you can get Thai food, bean curd, chicken rice, frozen custard, ramen and Japanese food, and confectionery on the first floor.
A lot of history lingers along this road starting with the two-storey Ellison Building built in 1924. Parts of this heritage building will be torn down and later rebuilt to make way for a new underground highway. Sigh. For now, you can still visit Colonial Bistro Cafe and Nasi Lemak Kukus here.
Next to it, Selegie Court houses boutiques specialising in gorgeous traditional Indian costumes such as Jinders and Libas Fashions. Drop by the aptly named Cups N Canvas cafe for some coffee and art jamming sessions.
Across the street, Village Hotel Albert Court is home to restaurants with cuisines from around the world including North Indian, Nepali, Mexican, Italian, and Mediterranean food.
A little further down, Autobahn Ten Square is a standalone building home to Rayz Bistro. And most people probably don’t know this but there is a student hostel with a lot of affordable dining options.
One of Singapore’s vanishing trades is still alive and well outside Peace Centre! Take your pick of nuts (pictured) from the humble pushcart and watch as he fills them in the iconic cone-shaped paper container. We couldn’t resist stopping by for a dose of nostalgia.
Located along Mount Emily Road and Upper Wilkie Road is a tranquil green space with a lot of mature trees to give you a hilltop escape from the city. There’s a playground for the kids, and I love seeing so many red saga seeds on the ground. Take a walk and try to spot and the Coat of Arms for Singapore Municipal Commission (pictured), which was granted in 1948 in the park.
Selegie is home to not one but two historic Sikh temples in Singapore.
Gurdwara Sahib Sri Guru Singh Sabha was established in 1918 and has been at its current location along Wilkie Road since 1932.
Over at Niven Road, Gurdwara Khalsa Dharmak Sabha (pictured) started in 1923.
For etiquette on visiting a gurdwara (Sikh temple), check out some useful information here.
Calling itself a “mallternative”, PoMo is one of the newer malls in the area, replacing Paradiz Centre. Drop by Montana (pictured) for coffee and waffles, indulge in some yummy sweet treats at the various cafes, or pick up new dance moves at Danz People.
PoMo also occasionally holds outdoor events and performances (Check their Facebook page for updates.)
This stretch of road is famous for delicious chicken curry puffs and halal duck rice at Selera Restaurant. You can also find a Thai restaurant, a steakhouse, and a seafood restaurant here.
Wedged in between and Selegie Road and Prinsep Street (kinda similar to the Flatiron Building, perhaps?), Selegie Arts Centre survived demolition in the 1990s while many shophouses and old buildings in the area had to make way for newer developments. Today, the Photographic Society of Singapore and Mr Bean’s Cafe call it home.
Selera Restaurant has been serving up its famous curry puffs ($1.20) since Singapore’s independence. Similar to Portuguese empanadas, the flaky, deep-fried crust contains chicken, mutton or fish and veggies seasoned with a spicy rempah (paste).
Sweet tooth? Head to Rochor Original Beancurd for a bowl of silky smooth soy beancurd (tastes like a tofu pudding) for just $1.20 and pair it with a refreshing glass of soymilk and youtiao (Chinese dough fritters). Or, try fried savoury buns like haam chim peng (salted fried bread) or Macanese-styled egg tarts.
15 Mackenzie Rd, Singapore 228677
Rochor Original Beancurd
2 Short St, Singapore 188211
Spend whole afternoons playing board games at this cosy cafe with a friendly staff who will recommend and teach you games for any group size.
Check out the popular local card game called Let’s Eat Durian.
60A Prinsep St, Singapore 188664
Formerly the Kampong Kapor Methodist church serving the Straits Chinese community, this colourful compound is now home to a centre for photography and film.
View exhibitions, watch films or even sign up for a workshop to sharpen your camera skills.
155 Middle Rd, Singapore 188977
By Muneerah Bee, August 2016; additional reporting by Joshua Tan / Updated March 2019
Photos by Muneerah Bee