We chat to KEN WATT from Vancouver, Canada about living in Tiong Bahru, and some of his favourite things, like Ah Chiang’s Traditional Charcoal Porridge and the Little Elephant Thai Bistro.
What’s the name of the street where you live? Kim Tian Road.
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home? “9 Kim Tian Road, Highline Residences.”
Name of your neighbourhood? Tiong Bahru.
Closest MRT station? Tiong Bahru MRT (East West Line).
How long have you lived here? We have been living in this condo since October 2018, after living in a serviced apartment for four months.
Why here? An agent took us on a tour of the city shortly after we arrived. We immediately liked the neighbourhood because of its modern Art Deco architecture. Tiong Bahru has a diverse mix of cool shops, bookstores, coffee shops, ice cream parlours, a record store and restaurants. It also has one of the best markets and hawker centres in the city, and there’s a mall across from the station. It’s a great mix of old and new, with all the services you need and easy access to the CBD.
When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is: The historic Art Deco housing estate of Tiong Bahru and a large playground for children.
The closest store to your front door is: FairPrice, just across the street.
The unofficial uniform of your street is: For expats, the most popular accessories are baby buggies and dogs.
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you: Head to the National Library. I can get any cultural fix I want and there is a great section for kids.
If you’re missing home, you: Check the weather in Vancouver to confirm that it is cold, dark and raining. Then look out the window and smile.
A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is: A stroll through the historical housing estates of Tiong Bahru to see how locals live there. You can see that several apartments have been renovated, and many are also left as they were. It’s an interesting mix and covered walkways provide shade. Prince Charles came to visit not long ago, so it must be worth a look!
A common myth about your neighbourhood is: That it’s only a place to come and eat. There are lots of other things to see and do, and it’s a very family-friendly place.
Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are: Cheng’s @ 27 and Little Elephant Thai Bistro.
You won’t find better local food than at: Ah Chiang’s Traditional Charcoal Porridge where there is a long procession of Mercedes dropping off families for $4 fish congee every weekend. Also, Long Ji Zi Char on Outram Road, which our Singaporean friends tell us has the best salted egg prawns in town.
The guiltiest pleasure in your area is: Bakalaki Greek Taverna when we want a break from Asian cuisine.
One thing you’d never change is: The charming, historical and residential vibe of the neighbourhood.
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is: The older estate sidewalks, which aren’t particularly pram-friendly.
The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to: Add a children’s waterpark to the newly opened Kim Pong Park.
For more helpful tips head to our Living in Singapore section: