Wondering where to live in Singapore and which neighbourhood will resonate with you? Every month, we cover a different part of the island in our Street Talk feature in the mag. Here we get the views of Rachel House and Sam Chapman from London, who work as a hairdresser and barber, about living on the East Coast.
What’s the name of the street where you live? Telok Kurau, Lorong N.
If it’s in another language, what does it mean? Telok Kurau means “mango fish bay” in Malay.
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home? “Telok Kurau, Lorong N, park connector side.”
What’s the name of your neighbourhood? East Coast. Closest MRT station? Kembangan MRT (East West Line).
How long have you lived here? We have been in Singapore more than two years now, but this condo for just over a year.
Why here? We love the East Coast – it’s convenient for everything. There are bars, restaurants, shops, parks and, best of all, the beach is within walking distance, which is something we never experienced living in London.
When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is: A green space with lots of trees and traditional Singaporean homes.
The closest store to your front door is: I think it’s a massage shop (haven’t tried it myself!) or the new 7-Eleven that’s a five-minute walk from our door.
Your street would make the perfect backdrop for a remake of: A Singaporean soap opera, if there is such a thing! Some of the houses look like they’ve been here for years and our road is a dead end, so I’m sure all the neighbours must know each other well. We have a good view from our fifth-floor apartment. People are always coming and going, decorating and sending children to school, so there’s always lots going on!
Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less: Door slamming. We have a neighbour who works late and they let their door bang shut on their return almost every day around midnight. Also, people that just let their bin shoot slam shut at any hour!
The unofficial uniform of your street is: Running gear and obviously the occasional vest and flip-flop combo. There’s always lots of activities going on along the park connector and Telok Kurau Park.
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you: Visit a hawker centre for dinner or do something touristy to remind us what an amazing city we are living in!
If you’re missing home, you: Visit Smiths for fish and chips or make a roast at home while catching up on some UK TV.
A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is: LeVeL33 is always where we take guests for their first dinner with a view. If they want to go all out, a night at MBS is a must. We’re still in awe of that place!
A common myth about your neighbourhood is: That it’s far from the city; but there are actually many buses that take you straight there in less than 30 minutes. If you feel like splashing out a cab, it’ll cost you around $13.
A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be: Nothing! It’s a really quiet place. You can often hear the late-night flights taking off from Changi but that’s really about it!
Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are: Oh Deli for the best lasagna we have ever had in our lives and Birds of Paradise for an ice-cream. I absolutely love The Nail Artistry too; it’s my happy place. Great service and amazing nails in such a relaxing and comfy environment.
You won’t find better local food than at: Chin Mee Chin Confectionery. The setting takes you back in time and the kaya buns are the best we have tasted in Singapore.
The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is: A huge black Labrador riding in a bicycle basket like ET; the dog is almost bigger than the lady that rides the bike!
We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are: Veggyya for the best fresh fruit and veggie at low prices, and a $14 curry from Pig’s Fly on East Coast Road – amazing for the price.
The guiltiest pleasure in your area is: Rental bikes when you’re feeling too lazy to walk – there’s always loads about. If I’m running late in the morning, jumping on one of those shaves at least 10 minutes off my normal 20-minute walk! If we’re talking food, then having a BreadTalk nearby is always tempting for picking up a treat for my walk home!
One thing you’d never change is: Being away from the busy city. The East Coast feels like a tranquil oasis and Telok Kurau even more so. The first thing that attracted us to our condo was the quietness of the street and everything being low-rise makes it feel so much more homely.
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is: The rubbish/recycling that neighbours leave at the communal bins instead of taking it to the basement and disposing of it correctly.
The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to: Bring forward the completion date for the MRT that is currently underway nearby so we can take advantage of the East Coast Line before relocating back to the UK!
For more helpful tips head to our living in Singapore section.
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This article first appeared in the January 2019 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!