Looking to move to a new neighbourhood? Nothing would be better than to hear from the residents themselves. We speak to Amy McCuaig about the ins and outs of living in Tiong Bahru.
Name: Amy McCuaig
Occupation: Interior designer
Check out all the scenes from the neighbourhood above, plus head here for heaps more guides on cool places to live around Singapore.
What street do you live on?
Tiong Bahru Road.
What does the name mean?
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home?
Tiong Bahru Road please. No… T-On-G, Ba-Roo Road, opposite Link Hotel. Yes, by the seafood place.
What’s the name of your neighbourhood?
Closest MRT station?
I’m exactly in between Tiong Bahru and Outram Park stations.
How long have you lived here?
Two glorious years.
It has one of the oldest HDB estates in Singapore, so it has a lot of history and charm and a real feeling of community. It almost feels like it’s a town, set apart from the city.
When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is:
Busy Tiong Bahru Road in front of the Link Hotel.
The closest store (of any type) to your front door is:
Sin Hoi Sai Seafood Restaurant. Apparently, it’s “famous” in Singapore.
Your street would make the perfect backdrop for a remake of:
The TV show Three’s Company… Come and knock on our door!
Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less:
Chinese drumming around the neighbourhood at 9am on a Sunday morning.
The unofficial uniform of your street is:
Casual weekend wear – sunglasses and flip-flops.
If a celebrity moves in next door, it will most likely be:
Ryan Gosling or Zooey Deschanel; any artsy hipster who appreciates character over modernity.
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you:
Talk to one of the uncles who have lived and owned shops in the neighbourhood for years.
If you’re missing home, you:
Get together with other Canadians in the area for brunch and a catch-up.
A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is:
A tour of the neighbourhood, hitting some of my favourite shops like Books Actually, Flea & Trees and, of course, the Tiong Bahru Market.
You’d swap homes in a second with:
One of the units with an open balcony.
If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to:
Noisy cars racing down the road.
A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be:
A live band playing at the rooftop bar of the WANGZ Hotel.
Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are:
Tiong Bahru Bakery for a weekend brunch, because everything there is delectable. Two Face Pizza and Taproom for a hawker-style atmosphere, great pizzas and beer and cider at good prices.
Open Door Policy for a fine-dining experience.
Social Haus, a relaxed place for drinks with friends.
The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is:
Hundreds of birds in hanging cages for a bird-singing competition.
We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are:
At Tiong Bahru Market. It’s a great place to do early-morning shopping for delicious fruit and vegetables.
The guiltiest pleasure in your area is:
Picking up a yummy morning pastry at the Tiong Bahru Bakery. (A guilty pleasure I indulge in almost daily!)
One thing you’d never change is:
The historical walk-up buildings; they have so much beauty and character.
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is:
I don’t want to see any of it go. I love everything, good and bad, that makes this community what it is.
The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to:
Refurbish all apartment blocks while retaining their historic elements.
Why should your neighbourhood be featured in a guidebook?
It’s a great representation of how the old and new Singapore have come together to create a place that is loved by all those who live here and visit.