Whether you’re already living in Singapore and looking to move to a new neighbourhood or moving here from overseas, nothing beats hearing from the residents themselves! We speak to Agata Blasiak, a Biomedical engineer from Poland, about the ins and outs of living in Tiong Bahru.
What’s the name of the street where you live? Kim Tian Road.
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home? “Kim Tian Road” – so far, everyone has known it!
What’s the name of your neighbourhood? Tiong Bahru.
Closest MRT station? Tiong Bahru (East West Line).
How long have you lived here? Eighteen months.
Why here? Great location and great vibes.
When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is: Shophouses, another condominium, palm trees and a construction site (in its final stage, fortunately!).
The closest store to your front door is: A small grocer, plus three or four restaurants and pubs; it’s super convenient!
Your street would make the perfect backdrop for: The Singaporean version of Notting Hill – it’s got that vibe.
Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less: Sometimes the smells in the wet market can be a little “pungent”.
The unofficial uniform of your street is: Boat shoes!
When you’re in need of a dose of culture: There’s a cinema, which is at Tiong Bahru MRT. Also, Books Actually bookstore holds readings and other events, though to be honest I’ve never been to any – the city centre, with all its cultural offerings, is too close!
If you’re missing home, you: Buy European produce in the Foodie Market.
A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is: A walk around the heritage area, lunch at the Tiong Bahru market (or in one of the cafes if the guests are not so adventurous), a visit to all the concept stores, and then more food on Yong Siak Street and Seng Poh Road.
A common opinion of your neighbourhood is: That it’s a great place to live – something that I can confirm!
A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be: A night at our local, Coq & Balls! It’s a great place for one, or a few, after work. Other than that, the neighbourhood is pretty quiet.
Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are: Open Door Policy, Bincho, Plain Vanilla, Bigmama Korean Restaurant – there are so many excellent ones!
You won’t find better local food than at: Tiong Bahru Market! No competition here.
The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is: Dressed-up small dogs – ballerina outfits seem to be particularly popular. Another unusual thing is a new place called Neat, which is a hairdresser combined with a bar.
We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are: Weekday lunch deals in the local joints – Open Door Policy and Flock Café both have pretty good ones. Tiong Bahru Market also has a few florists, where you can get bouquets of orchids for peanuts!
The guiltiest pleasure in your area is: Brunching, all weekend long!
One thing you’d never change is: The authentic low-rise architecture; just generally the blend of the new and the old, the local and the Western.
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is: No more construction sites and road closures, please!
The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to: Sustain and protect the heritage character of the area, and try and introduce some more greenery.
Name of condo: Regency Suites.
Facilities: Pool, gym, sauna, steam room, playground, barbecue pits.
Size: Medium – one building with 34 floors, with three flats on each floor.
New or old? New.
Within walking distance of a supermarket? The nearest grocer is literally downstairs, it’s five minutes to a big FairPrice at the MRT station, and ten minutes to Tiong Bahru Market.
What’s the community vibe? Not bad! We know some other people in the condo, and there’s an informal social club at the local pub, Coq & Balls.
Are the facilities kid friendly? There’s a playground by the pool, but I haven’t seen many kids around.
Like this? See more in our Neighbourhood Guides section:
What it’s like living in Ulu Pandan
Guide to living in Leedon Heights
“It’s not just families with kids here”
This article first appeared in the February 2018 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!