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Tanjong Rhu Road, Singapore: Guide to living, eating and shopping in this East Coast neighbourhood

 

Name: Chris Tucker

From: South Africa, Ireland – it’s complicated

Occupation: Banking consultant and casual observer of idiosyncrasies

The Specifics:

What street do you live on?

Tanjong Rhu Road

What does it mean?

Tanjong is the Malay word for a point, while Rhu is the informal name for the casuarina littoria variety of tree that grew along the shoreline. So I guess it translates to ‘Tree Point’.

How do locals pronounce it?

Tan-Jong-Ru-ah.

Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home?

“Tanjong Rhu please, Uncle…”

Ah…Tanjong-ru”

“I don’t care which way you go, as long as it’s the fastest way.”

What’s the name of your neighbourhood?

Tanjong Rhu

Closest MRT station?

Stadium MRT on the Circle Line.

How long have you lived here?

Just over a year.

Why here?

Having spent twelve years living in congested London and then moving to the even smaller island with lots of people that is Singapore, we wanted some open space around us. It’s also really easy to get into town and to work – which gives me more time in bed in the morning.

 

The Scene:

When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is: 

Rich expat mums in their Chelsea tractors, even richer locals in their luxury German sedans or Porsches, helpers walking Huskies (smart choice of dog for the Equator, right?), pavements filled with small kids waiting for school buses that are choking the thick morning air with diesel, and the continual battle between expats trying to outsmart each other to secure a taxi.

The closest store to your front door is: 

A vending machine that sells bread that remains fresh for a remarkably long time; I’m suspicious about just what kind of preservatives they’re using…

Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less of:

The guy who coughs and snorts half his lungs out every morning, or the guy who sneezes so loudly that I swear the pod windows on the Singapore Flyer must rattle.

When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you:

Jump on one of the modes of public transport to experience the hustle and bustle of this cosmopolitan city, only to get run down by a stampede of people with the same idea, then missing my exit because I had no chance to alight.

If you’re missing home, you:

Head down to Boat Quay and drop in at any of the fine establishments that line the river.

A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is:

Any hawker centre, to experience the flavourful local cuisine and atmosphere.

You’d swap houses in a second with:

I wouldn’t, unless they have a bigger gym. And bigger rooms…

A common myth about your neighbourhood is:

It’s full of rich expats. It can’t be; I live there.

If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to:

The little dog from downstairs whose masters have inexplicably not yet grasped that Fido has to pee every day at 6.30am.

A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be:

My pre-teen daughter.

 

The Superlatives:

Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are:

Brewerkz Indoor Stadium, tucked away behind the Indoor Stadium with fantastic vistas over the Kallang River, and with great beer and ale on the menu. The Old Airport Road Food Centre because it is arguably the best purveyor of local food on the island. Arab Street and the surrounding area for loads of small and quirky bars and restaurants that sell great food at reasonable prices: a good atmosphere and a nice change if your usual haunts tend towards swanky. The new Botanic Garden that opened recently at Kallang Riverside Park and remains relatively unknown; this hidden gem features winding walkways and cycle paths with unspoilt views of the Kallang Basin and city skyline.

You won’t find better local food than at:

Old Airport Road Food Centre.

The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is:

It’s not that kind of street, fortunately. Or unfortunately, I am not sure.

We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are:

The triple-combo offers at the cinema, ice-skating or ten-pin bowling at Kallang Leisure Park – all very affordable and great fun for families.

The guiltiest pleasure in your area is:

The Marble Slab Creamery at Kallang Leisure Park, or the Brewerkz bar at Indoor Stadium, depending on the mood of the moment.

One thing you’d never change is:

The public open spaces in my neighbourhood where plenty of informal recreation activity takes place every day – from old mates playing football after work in the evenings, to kids playing cricket, riding their bikes and flying kites. I get a kick seeing the old Indian lads playing cricket on a Sunday morning.

But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is:

Those thieves who nicked three of our bikes from Stadium MRT station – I hope your karma catches up with you one day. Yes, petty crime does exist in Singapore!

The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to:

Set up a ferry service from Tanjong Rhu to Harry’s Boat Quay that runs from 12pm to 6am and offers jet-skis as personal water-taxis. After that, if I had any leftover cash, I would also consider setting up a bus service that actually goes into town and not just to Paya Lebar.

 

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