Originally posted on https://www.kingsmaker.co/posts/top-15-must-visit-singapore-katong-edition-2019
Katong is not necessarily the first location you’d think of when you’re visiting Singapore but peer closer and you might find all the hidden gems we have hidden in the Katong neighbourhood. While it might be a slightly smaller neighbourhood, there is less human traffic and it is absolutely packed with foodie finds, comfy accommodation and fun activities and that’s why I will be discussing the Top 15 places to visit in Singapore, Katong! Come explore what Katong has to offer!
Holiday Inn Express is an affordable hotel for smart traveller. It has everything you feel like a hotel should have and everything you’re already used to – free breakfast, free wifi, incredible customer service, a laundromat, a gym and many more. What’s special about Holiday Inn Express is that they try to make everything more affordable for your travels. If you’re a youth travelling with your friends or even a business traveller who doesn’t need too much, this is the hotel for you. Holiday Inn Express is for those seeking a smart, simple and affordable travel experience and while it has everything you ever need, it might not have every luxury you want, because of its insanely reasonable price. They promise a clean, consistent and comfortable stay.
While you aren’t sacrificing quality, you might find that most activities carried out in the hotel will be self service. While they don’t have room service, they do have a menu you can order off where you can then go down to the lobby to pick up your food when they have prepared it. They also have delivery services on their television where you can order takeaway from fast food restaurants or foodpanda, a food delivery service, to order food to the hotel. Not to mention, they also have several vending machines in the lobby. This is one of the examples Holiday Inn Express has gone off the beaten track, in a bid to lower prices for their consumers. While you don’t expect to be waited on hand and foot, you needn’t worry that you will be devoid of any services you might find in other hotels. For many, these minor “inconveniences” seem reasonable, especially for the price.
At Holiday Inn Express, it’s a no-frills experience. You don’t get all the fancy add-ons and luxury but you do get a solid and enjoyable stay.
At Holiday Inn Express, they only have one type of room. Most of the rooms have two single beds or a double bed. The room is clean, simple and consists of a closet, a table and a decent sized bathroom with a shower head and a toilet. It’s comfortable, functional and honestly, adequate for the smart traveller who requires a smart and simple stay. They don’t have a minibar and don’t include snacks in the fridge with hidden costs. Instead, they leave the mini-fridge empty for their guests to use and fill out if they see fit. This seems to be one of their many efforts to lower the costs and it’s quite well thought-out because most guests don’t tend to go for the chargeable snacks in the mini fridge if they’re trying to save costs.
While Holiday Inn Express aims for the no-frills experiences, they do still have a good range of facilities for the guests. They have a decently sized gym for guests who wish to keep themselves fit, a laundromat for guests who need to wash their clothes, a forex exchange and a business centre for fax and income. It’s great to note that all these facilities are open 24/7 and are all self-service, for the guests to use at their own time and at their own discretion.
They do provide complimentary breakfast and the spread is nothing to scoff at. They have cereal, toast, warm local food, pancakes, yogurt and many more. While they might change up the breakfast menu, you needn’t be afraid that you won’t fill yourself up for breakfast. It’s a buffet-style open concept where you can grab whatever you want. Breakfast starts at 6AM and end at 10:30AM. They would clear up the breakfast dining area after that and transform it into a communal area for guests to chill out, hang around and plan their travel. On special occasions, they might even set up a projector to screen football matches.
Also, guests can actually top up a little bit more to enjoy breakfast at Baba Chews. Baba Chews is a restaurant that serves modern cuisine with Asian influences along with quality brews from Common Man Coffee Roasters & TWG Tea. There, you can get more breakfast items like Eggs Benedict and Nasi Lemak, while also providing a buffet spread of toast, cheeseboards, juices and more. Baba Chews is located right downstairs the hotel, on the first level.
Holiday Inn Express
88 E Coast Rd, Singapore 423371 (Dakota MRT)
Baba Chews Bar & Eatery is an all-day dining restaurant serving modern cuisine with Asian influences, paired with quality brews from Common Man Coffee Roasters & TWG Tea. Head by Chef Alvin Leong, the culinary direction at the restaurant aims to make dining out a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone.
Baba Chews decor is classy yet homey. The restaurant is quite large with counter seats, booths and tables and but seatings can get quite limited during busy timings such as breakfast or dinner. Since Baba Chews provides a small buffet corner during breakfast, the place can get quite cramped with people trying to get at the buffet selections but that’s typical of buffets.
Baba Chews’ menu is familiar and extensive. They serve a wide range of dishes, from local delights to breakfast favourites such as the Eggs Benedict.
Their Nasi Lemak was fragrant with coconut infused steamed rice and a variety of toppings, a sunny-side up, fried chicken wing and some anchovies with peanuts and sambal. A local favourite, the Nasi Lemak is a safe choice to go with for breakfast.
Their Eggs Benedict had perfectly poached eggs, served precariously on top of some english muffins with ham, grilled tomatoes and baked beans. It’s always fun to break the yolk and watch the glistening yolk envelop the muffins. While aesthetically pleasing, it’s also extremely delicious. The hollandaise sauce goes perfectly with the egg and ham, while the muffin gives the dish a great mouthfeel.
I also tried their Butter Brioche French Toast. While the previous two dishes were on the savoury side, this was on the sweeter side. The Brioche was fluffy and paired really well with the whipped cream and mixed berries sauce. It tasted really similar to a sugar donut and the extra crunch from the almond flakes made it even better!
With a buffet corner for breakfast where they have cheeseboards, toast, juices and others, all of their a-la carte servings are slightly smaller so that you won’t be too full up to enjoy the buffet spread as well.
86 E Coast Rd, Katong Square, Singapore 428788 (Dakota MRT)
Sun – Thurs: 6:30AM – 11:00PM
Fri – Sat: 6:30AM – 12:30AM
First opened in 1971 at Orchard Road, GoldLeaf is a family-run business that serves up authentic Taiwanese cuisine with minor tweaks to suit the local tastebuds. Taiwanese chefs were invited down by the owner to develop the menu together with him, and ensure that Taiwanese flavours were infused in every nook and cranny of their menu for the locals to appreciate and enjoy. After so many years in the business, their menu is still as authentic and curated as before, serving up only love and warmth.
The decor of GoldLeaf seems homey with the iconic lazy susans decorating every round table tops, paired with ornate brown woodcraft chairs. Entering the restaurant, you immediately feel very welcome and at home, like you’ve been transported to your Grandmother’s place and she’s just prepared food for you. It’s a great place for families to come together to enjoy a meal, reveling in each other’s presence. Corporate groups can also visit and bond over a hearty meal, reflecting on past achievements, readying themselves for the upcoming challenges or just to enjoy the friendships created within the confines of the office.
There are huge round tables and intimate 4-seater tables for smaller groups, ready to cater to any group that enter.
GoldLeaf’s signature is their Taiwanese porridge, accompanied by a wide variety of side dishes. Porridge is a versatile dish that caters to both the young and the old and not forgetting the in-between as well, and maybe that’s why diners always feel welcome and at home in the restaurant. With side dishes such as their Chye Poh Omelette, Fried Minced Pork with Olives and Volcano Bean Curd with Prawn, every mouthful of porridge can be a different adventure all together. Want savoury this bite and sweet the next? Just pick your choice of side dish and pair it with the fragrant porridge. With porridge being such a light carb, it’s pretty easy to just scarf down mouthful after mouthful paired with the side dish of your choice. The variety is exciting and every dish brought something to the table.
All the recommended dishes are immortalised as pictures on their menu and the food all looks amazing. They made their menu with the goal of creating dishes that feel, look and taste like home-cooked food. They do not use MSG in their food and are all skilfully seasoned by the chefs, keeping in mind to always opt for healthier choices when whipping up their dishes.
Of course, they aren’t lacking in the dessert department as well. Their creamy yam paste with gingko nut is a splendid end to the meal. The mild sweetness cuts all the savoury dishes you’ve had before and truly acts as the perfect end to a comforting meal.
GoldLeaf is truly worthy of your patronage and serves up love and warmth in a bowl; a must-try for the foodie.
86 E Coast Rd, #01-02, Singapore 428788 (Dakota MRT)
Mon – Thurs: 11:00AM – 2:30PM, 6:00PM – 10:00PM
Fri – Sun: 11:00AM – 2:30PM, 5:30PM – 10:00PM
Rakuya means “楽” (“House of Fun”) and when diners enter this establishment, they can expect a fun-filled dining experience.
Omakase means “I entrust you” in Japanese. This phrase really sums up the concept of omakase and is true to their motto, “Don’t ask for a menu because we don’t have one”. With no fixed menu at Rakuya, chefs whip up dishes based on what they decide is best or based on the seasons. Leave your order in the trustworthy hands of the chef and allow him to showcase his creativity and individuality through his dishes and create a memorable dining experience that is sure to leave you wanting more.
Besides omakase, Rakuya also offers a wide selection of sake from various regions. There are over 50 types of carefully curated sakes, and a range of seasonal sakes that change in line with the different seasons. Sip on delicious sake as you savour the interesting flavours of every dish.
Rakuya is tastefully decorated and it’s the perfect setting for an intimate dining experience. There are counter seats that seat you right in front of the chef as he prepares the dishes and he can personally pass you the food when he’s done. At Rakuya, you’re encouraged to talk to the chef and forge friendships, and where else better to do that than in those counter seats.
Other than counter seats, there are also tables for bigger groups.
If you’re indecisive like me, this place is heaven on earth. Chef presented us with an 8-course meal that was creative, unique and mind-blowing. Every dish was as delicious as the next and every ingredient had its place on the plate, as decorative as it looks.
There was Wagyu beef A4, Bak Kut Udon, Matcha Tiramisu, fresh sashimi and many more. The Wagyu beef A4 was served medium rare; a beautiful gradient of red to brown, coupled with mizuna leaf and Japan corn. A dollop of wasabi and a generous portion of garlic chips was provided at the side. Taking a bite of the wagyu beef, the flavour was rich and the meat was tender. This would make any meat-lover very happy.
Chef recommended that we tried it with garlic chips and a generous amount of wasabi. I obliged, not thinking much, but the difference in flavour was amazing and extremely confusing to me. With just the addition of garlic chips and wasabi, the flavour profile of this dish was instantly transformed. The fatty oily fragrance of the beef was accentuated by the garlic chips and the wasabi mellowed the surfeit factor, bringing the aroma up your nose cavity.
Special mentions definitely go to the Japan corn. Everyone has had corn before, and there shouldn’t be anything amazing about corn but this one had a mild sweetness and freshness that cleansed my palate and allowed me to have more of the heavy tasting beef. Chef later told us that one stalk of that Japan corn cost $7SGD! Can you imagine?
Every dish served brought something to the table which was unexpectedly delicious. Every dish was my favourite! Every time I tried a dish, I though that nothing would trump that, until chef served us the next dish. Rakuya was truly a memorable dining experience.
89 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428790 (Dakota MRT)
Tues – Sun: 12:00AM – 3:00PM, 6:00PM – 9:30PM
Established in 1988, the Five Star brand is known for their mouth-watering “kampung” (free range) chicken rice. As a Singaporean, you grow up with chicken rice and Five Star is a great outlet to come back to and get your chicken rice fix. After all, there is a reason why they’ve been around for so long. Recently Five Star went through a brand overhaul, and have now come to include other local favourites in their menu, such as the Curry Fish Head and Braised Pork. They’ve even released an app where diners can order takeaways or advanced orders; a convenient tool to have for such a popular restaurant. That way, you’d never have to worry about waiting for seats. There’s even a drive-thru station next to the restaurant where drivers can pick up their takeaways and go! Five Star is innovative in every aspect, except their menu. Their food is simple, solid and good enough just the way it is and just the way their regulars like it. This is chicken rice, in its simplest and best form.
Five Star’s exterior is deceivingly simple. Nostalgic coffee shop tables and plastic chairs litter the street side. A few fans hang over the table so that diners won’t suffer from Singapore’s heat. Entering the restaurant, the place is air-conditioned but can be a little cramped and looking around, a beautiful kampung mural adorn the walls.
While simple, the place evokes comfort and truly feels like a place where everyone is welcome. It truly lives up to the “Kampung” name. In Singapore’s past, a Kampung was a village where people lived in and the Kampung Spirit is the bond and social cohesion between the neighbours in the Kampung, despite their differences, be it race, circumstances or language. Entering Five Star, I felt like everyone had a bond – the love for our local food.
Kampung chickens are leaner, healthier and tastier. The meat of kampong chicken has a more full-bodied flavour than those of non-free-range chickens and they’re less fatty! The chicken, despite its familiar flavour had a better texture than other chickens out there and was delicious when paired with the sauce. Trying the chicken with their chilli and ginger was a different experience altogether. While good on its own, the chilli added a spicy kick and the ginger had a savoury aroma that wafted up your nose.
Other than their chicken, they also served Braised Pork Belly, Curry Fish Head, Hometown Tofu and Chinese Spinach with 3 Assorted Egg. While all were good, the one that surprised me the most was the Braised Pork Belly. Served in thick and slightly larger pieces on a bed of gravy, most would expect it to be chewy and a little tough. Surprisingly, it was delightfully tender and melted in my mouth. Furthermore, the flavour of the gravy had permeated into the meat evenly. It was so sinful but so good.
The Curry Fish Head was another honourable mention. With the curry being so good, it was really difficult to decide if I wanted the rice plain to enjoy the fragrant rice that is synonymous with chicken rice or if I wanted it doused with the curry. The fish was fresh and the curry wasn’t too surfeit. The Hometown Tofu and Chinese Spinach were slightly lighter in flavour, compared to the chicken and the Curry Fish Head but provided a nice little break to cut the heavy flavours of the two. GoldLeaf did their Hainanese Kampung Chicken Rice well but they certainly did not spare efforts with their other dishes as well.
Five Star Hainanese Kampung Chicken Rice
191 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428897 (Dakota MRT)
Mon – Sun: 10:00AM – 2:00AM
The founders of Nuodle started as humble street hawkers in China and amassed a loyal following of customers who absolutely loved their beef ramen. Eventually, they got so popular that they opened their first outlet and established themselves in 1915, where they retain the rich heritage of hand-pulled fresh Chinese ramen goodness. A local favourite, beef ramen is a staple in Chinese cuisine and having brought it to Singapore, Nuodle wishes to share the warmth and comfort derived from their steaming hot bowl of noodles.
Nuodle is located in SingPost Centre. A cozy restaurant, there’s a counter for patrons to order their dishes and a separate one for them to pick up their orders. There is a small partition between the kitchen and the rest of the restaurant, where the skilled chefs are put on plain view to display their skilled noodle pulling and plating. Customers can watch as the chefs work with their hand-pulled noodles with incredible dexterity. It’s a fun sight to see as you enjoy your meal.
Nuodle serves a variety of ramen – beef ramen, seafood ramen, dry ramen and more! Their signature is of course, their Beef Ramen. With over a hundred years of experience selling authentic Lan Zhou Beef Ramen, they have perfected their recipe and it clearly shows in their food. First of all, the soup base tasted amazing. It was hearty, savoury and extremely comforting. With the ramen cooked al dente, there was a chewy mouthfeel that paired very well with the hearty soup. It was very easy to slurp down. You could even add some chilli into your soup to give it a little spicy kick. While the soup is good on your own, the chilli is good for days when you want to mix it up a bit. While still comforting and familiar, the chilli does add a new flavour profile to it. You can also pick from a variety of side dishes that they can choose from including potato salad, pickled cabbage, pickled cucumber and pickled radish, that you can pair with your noodles.
10 Eunos Rd 8, #01-136 Singpost Centre, Singapore 408600 (Paya Lebar MRT)
Mon – Sun: 10:00AM – 10:00PM
Chalk Farm is the brainchild of Bryan Koh, a self-published author of three cookbooks on different Asian cuisines, and was later joined by his sibling, Dawn Koh. One of Bryan’s cookbook was even awarded third in Best Asian Food Book by Gourmand International in Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. He once spent 4 years travelling to and fro Myanmar just to finish 1 cookbook, which really showcases his strong passion and dedication to food. At Chalk Farm, he seeks to create artisanal and gastronomic delights in the form of cakes. After three long years of developing their menu, the siblings finally decided to open the doors to allow their customers to try their creations.
Chalk Farm has a minimalist design and the ever typical glass display, filled with beautiful cakes. The decor is simple, clean and sleek and it works so well because then, all the spotlight falls on the cakes. The cakes speak for themselves, each beautifully made and ornately decorated.
Chalk Farm has an extensive menu of cakes and cupcakes. Each and every of their creation have their unique charm and allure. They have the more common flavours such as Blackforest and Red Velvet to the decadent such as the Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Cake and finally the exotic, such as the Pulut Hitam Chiffon, Kueh Salat Cake and Carrot Whiskey Sultana.
As expected of a man who loves food, the cakes he creates are amazing. Sweet, but not overly so, the cakes are fluffy and melted in my mouth. Cakes can get surfeit really fast but with Chalk Farm, it’s the right mix of light and creamy that just keeps you wanting more.
290 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238859 (Orchard MRT)
Mon – Sun: 10:00AM – 9:00PM
Founded by Jerry Liao, Delibowl is the result of a simple thought – Why isn’t there affordable yet premium Chinese food in the market? Aspiring to bring together the best parts of every style of Chinese cuisine, Delibowl aims to fulfil its goal of being “one exquisite bowl”. Food is an integral part of Chinese culture and at Delibowl, their philosophy is built upon a strong desire to bring quality food and unparalleled dining experience to a new dimension, and to this end, they ensure that all of our dishes are prepared daily using the freshest of ingredients, and are uncompromising on quality. They also do not use MSG and prefer to let the natural freshness of their ingredients shine.
Delibowl’s interior can be described as “modern meets traditional”. A cozy enclave in a mall, it screams quick and easy dining. The seatings can be quite limited so I suggest that you go during non peak hours so that you won’t have to fight for seats. Otherwise, the decor is comfortable and a pleasant place to dine at.
Their menu is quite interesting. I had the Mala Beef Brisket Noodles, Fried Beef Pancakes and Delibowl Dumplings. Their Delibowl Dumplings were great. The dumplings were drowning in what seemed to be a chilli oil and vinegar mix, or at least that was what I thought it was. Popping a dumpling into my mouth, the soft skin broke apart revealing the juicy minced meat. This was especially delicious paired with the mystery gravy in the bowl and super addictive! The Mala Beef Brisket Noodles came steaming hot and while it looked intimidating with the red coloured soup base, it wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be. In fact, it was just right. While there was a slight little spicy, the soup was still comforting and matches the al dente noodles really well.The Fried Beef Pancakes were amazing and unlike normal fluffy pancakes that you’d be more used to. The pancakes were crisp, flaky and filled with minced beef. Biting into it, the aroma of the minced beef paired with the crispy pancake was amazing. It was a snack that could easily be eaten within seconds and leave you wanting for more.
10 Eunos Rd 8, #01 -150 SingPost Centre, Singapore 408600 (Paya Lebar MRT)
Mon – Sun: 10:00AM – 9:30PM
Luxury, yet homey. Hawker, yet restaurant. East meets West cuisine. Walaku is home to many contradictions but their aim is simple – to showcase their love for food. Walaku was not started by someone who had experience in the F&B industry. In fact, it was just started by a guy who loved food and found his passion in it. He loved it so much that he gave up his high paying job and jumped right into this.
Entering Walaku, it’s a cozy and simple cafe. The place is nicely decorated and may seem unassuming… until you try their food.
Walaku serves staple local dishes with slight tweaks and efforts to modernize the dishes. Examples are their Nasi Lemak with Cheesy Garlic Lobster, Moza Leleh Burger, Squid Stuffed Risotto and their Cempedak Creme Brulee.
The Nasi Lemak is a Singaporean staple that most are aware of. They used basmati rice for its healthier qualities and wrapped it with banana leaf before grilling it to really give the texture and aroma of the rice an oomph. While unconventional, the Cheesy Garlic Lobster goes really well with the Nasi Lemak. Despite Nasi Lemak being paired with fried chicken usually, the cheesy garlic lobster changed the flavour profile of the dish. Even though it is still savoury, the garlic adds on to the fragrance before revealing the natural sweetness of the lobster itself. Nasi Lemak can be a heavy dish but the lobster manages to make it less surfeit and makes me feel like having more and more.
Their Moza Leleh Burger was a monstrosity. When it came to the table, it almost looked like it was falling apart, and rightfully so! “Leleh” actually means “dripping” and the dripping cheese really lives up to its name. The burger was perfect, just the way it is – messy, juicy and hearty with double patties. Their patties come from grass fed beef too!
Their Squid Stuffed Risotto was interesting too. It’s everything an italian risotto should be, except they’ve incorporated a little bit of local twang to the dish by using lemak chilli! It was slightly spicy, yet creamy and extremely difficult to put down. Again, the chilli makes the dish less surfeit and it tasted quite comforting.
A Cempedak is a Jackfruit and this dish blew my mind. While creme brulees usually come plain or with chocolate, this was different and has real bits of jackfruit in it. Creamy and eggy, the jackfruit cuts through and gives it a naturally sweeter taste. When coupled with the caramelised sugar on top, the mouthfeel of this dish is addictive and it tastes great.
As you might’ve imagined, this menu took a whole lot of experimenting and travelling for research before they could come out with such intricate recipes and this isn’t even half of the menu!
102 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427396 (Dakota MRT)
Tues – Sun: 11:00AM – 9:30PM,
Golden Moments was the brainchild of 3 friends who absolutely loved durian. As you might know, there are only two types of people in Singapore – people who hate durians and people who love them, and I would say that the latter makes up a large majority of our population, so many of us jumped for joy when Golden Moments decided to bless us with the creation of Mao Shan Wang Durian Mooncakes and another product that they call The Golden QQ, which is essentially Mao Shan Wang Durian encased in soft gooey mochi! Their mooncakes has no preservatives, no added sugar, no cream and uses only 100% pure Mao Shan Wang. Mao Shan Wang is considered the king of Durians, so you can imagine how deliciously creamy it is!
Golden Moments is usually bought online and the special thing about them is that they are available all year round, despite their product being a mooncake, which is usually only available on Mid Autumn’s Festival.
The mooncakes almost looked too good to eat; the charcoal bamboo snow skin had edible gold dust sprinkled on top and on the snow skin, the Chinese character ”金“, meaning “gold”, was delicately engraved on it. Upon slicing it open, the fragrance of durian immediately overtook the entire room. The yellow contrasted against the black beautifully and exuded luxury.
The mooncakes were as good as you’d imagine! It was creamy, fragrant and had a great mouthfeel thanks to the charcoal bamboo snow skin. Another variation of this amazing snack, The Golden QQ, was equally as good. While similar to the mooncakes, it had a different mouthfeel. If you popped the entire thing in your mouth, the durian would explode and ooze out of the mochi in your mouth. It was equally as delicious but a different experience altogether.
The Wyld Shop was opened by Kara Bensley-Austin, an Australian woman that simply wanted to bring in Australian brands that she loved for her friends. She wanted to give them accessibility to all the brands that she felt her friends would love. She started selling glasses online but slowly started to include more brands. The Wyld Shop ended up housing Australian brands, local brands and some Malaysian brands and became a sort of paradise for women, having found a home at 412 Joo Chiat Road. Most brands are exclusive to them as well and reasonably priced for the exclusivity and quality. They bring in new stuff every two to three weeks and they define themselves by the word “fun”. After all, their motto is “Live Wyld. Live Free. Be Who You Want To Be”.
Here at The Wyld Shop, they’re more than just a fashion boutique where you try to find something you like. Instead, they want you to come in and just enjoy yourself. You might come in trying to find something you like but come to find something unexpected, like friendship instead! The owner and her partner man the shop themselves and are always down to meet to new people. At times, they even pop out some champagne to share.
They usually have a girls’ night out every quarter where they invite VIPs to come in and attend an exclusive launch to peruse all the new stuff that they’re bringing in. After, they take them out to a bar or a club to party, chill and spend time together.
In this cozy enclave, a wide variety of clothing, accessories, shoes, furniture and other products such as tampons and vibrators can be found throughout the store. Colours and patterns litter the place. The style of the clothing in the store is slightly bohemian and range from size 6 – 14, keeping in mind that women come in all sizes. They hope that everyone can find a fit here and have taken in sizings that are smaller and larger than the conventional. Going further in, a couch is placed in the middle, right outside a couple of fitting rooms, perfect for customers to discuss if they liked what they tried on or not.
The Wyld SHop
412 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427637 (Dakota MRT)
Sun – Mon: 12:00PM – 5:00PM
Tues – Thurs: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Fri: 10:00AM – 6:30PM
Sat: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Orchard Road is known as the go-to destination for all your shopping needs and houses many brands, from international brands to household brands. While local brands can be found littering Orchard Road, it can be difficult to discern just exactly where they are and inconvenient to travel between locations just to find a brand. Hence, Design Orchard was birthed with the sole purpose of housing all local brands, allowing Singaporean creators and designers to showcase their creativity and individuality.
A breath of fresh air, Design Orchard holds meticulously crafted pieces of treasures, all by our Singaporean locals. Located in the heart of Orchard Road and designed by local award-winning architecture firm WOHA Architects, this beautiful space houses over 60-homegrown designers, ranging from fashion and furniture to food and artisanal wares. Bring a piece of Singapore back with you, be it in the form of a beautiful blouse, a perfume with the nostalgic scent of your memories here or a jar of Singapore’s addictive chicken rice chilli.
Each and every brand housed in Design Orchard have their merits and unique story or concept and there is something for everyone.
Other than a one-stop destination for all things local, Design Orchard also comprises of an incubation and co-working workspace exclusively for designers, and a public amphitheatre on the rooftop where events may take place.
While this 2.5-story building might not seem like a lot of space, the first floor is strategically utilised to house its 60 brands. The moment you enter, you almost feel overwhelmed. Every turn presents you with a different product and every brand has something to offer. Neat rows of clothing hang from hangers, beautiful accessories are placed on display inside glass displays, unique and delightful treats line the shelves and fragrances and skincare are displayed on booths. There’s so much to discover.
Oo La Lab
Oo La Lab is a cruelty-free craft fragrance lab with a curated selection of perfume. What’s unique about them is they allow you to create your own signature scent using a mixology kit that is currently on sale at Design Orchard. They recognise that everyone is unique and that should be reflective in their scent. 1000’s of unique combinations can be crafted and it is entirely up to you. Fancy sporting another scent for another event? Just create one.
Ever wanted matching mother-daughter outfits with your toddler? Chubby Chubby was created by advertising graduate Nix Deng, who had a passion for designing clothing and lifestyle products for babies and children. Peruse the selection of cute matching apparels and pick one that both you and your kid adore.
Wet Tee Shirt
Wet Tee Shirt prints t-shirts, tote bags and caps with puns and quirky graphics inspired by multicultural influences in Singapore. Fun, offbeat and comical, display our Singaporean lingo and style on your apparels.
Pew Pew Patches
For those who loves crafting and have a creative soul, peruse Pew Pew Patches’ wide selection of iron-on patches that you can attach on practically anything you want! It can be on your cap, your bag, your shirt or your shorts. You name it! They have Singapore themed patches but also extend their designs to cute ones like a unicorn or Japanese inspired patches.
And these are just a few of the brands in Design Orchard!
After your shopping experience, head up to the rooftop with a drink (I recommend bubble tea), find a comfy spot and watch the city in all it’s glory; feel the electric pulse of Orchard Road from the heart of the shopping district. Concrete slabs contrast against the lush greenery on the rooftop with plenty of seating space on the steps. Design Orchard truly is a versatile place; you can hang back with some friends or family, enjoy the wonderful atmosphere and engage in some shopping.
250 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238905 (Somerset MRT)
Mon – Sun: 10:30AM – 9:30PM
Ashi means “foot” or “leg” in Japanese and they are focused on one thing only – providing the best service and giving customers a complete, satisfying and relaxing experience. Ashi Foot Reflexology was started by Paul Ng. The idea was simply to run a proper foot reflexology outlet with additional focus on targeting acupuncture points relieve customers of their aches and sore feet.
While Ashi’s focus is on the skills and knowledge of their masseuse, they also offer additional essential oils to choose from; all of which help in varying ways to improve the effects of the treatment. The Ginger oil treatment helps to warm the body and improve blood circulation. The Lavender oil treatment helps to relief tension and relax your body. The Eucalyptus oil is antiseptic and helps to energise you. These are just some of the many essential oils available as an add on.
Here at Ashi Foot Reflexology, the entire experience is tailored towards providing a sensory adventure for their customers, with their highly skilled masseuse and the relaxing ambience created by relaxing music playing in the background paired with the subtle fragrance of Ashi’s essential oil. Soft lighting is accompanied with beautiful paintings on the walls, while massage chairs line the place. Upon entering the place, the quiet and serenity immediately gets to you.
134 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428819 (Dakota MRT)
279 Bishan Street 24 #01-56 570279 (Bishan MRT)
Blk 163 Bukit Merah Central #02-23609 (Redhill MRT)
Blk 452 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10 #01-1781 (Ang Mo Kio MRT)
61 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8 #02-06 Jubilee Square S(569814). (Ang Mo Kio MRT)
Blk 415, Yishun Ave 11, #01-317, Singapore 760415 (Yishun MRT)
Mon – Sun: 1100AM – 10:00PM
3 Must Buy Gifts from Singapore 2020 (Bonus)
Singapore is home to many interesting souvenirs and delicious food and when you come here, it’s no wonder that you’d like to bring back a little something for your friends, family or even yourself to enjoy later on! No trip would be complete without bringing back memories in the form of souvenirs and I know just the things to get!
Choco Express is a sweet treat lover’s paradise and holds over 60 global brands from Belgian to Japan. Whether it’s for self indulgence or gifting, Choco Express is the one-stop shop for all things sweet. Recently, I tried 3 of their products – Werther’s Original Caramel Popcorn, Nasi Lemak Chips and Baileys Truffle Chocolates, and they were all amazingly good in their own unique ways.
Werther’s is a brand that’s been around for over a 100 years and they’re known for their caramel and their butterscotch which are both extremely yummy as well. Probably a take on innovation, they’ve come out with a Caramel Popcorn flavour that’s reminiscent of popcorn you munch on when you visit the movies. One of popcorn’s greatest appeal is its crunch which is why it’s so mind-blowing to me how this Caramel Popcorn flavour works so well! The crunch has been replaced by this creamy and smooth sensation and it goes so well with the distinct sweetness and almost burnt flavour of caramel! It’s not too sweet as well and it’s extremely addictive so buy at your own risk!
The Nasi Lemak chips were an ode to the local flavours of Singapore and as with any local delight turned into a different type of food, I was skeptical and dubious but surprisingly, the chips were good. It had the fragrance of the pandan rice that is synonymous of Nasi Lemak and the savoury spiciness of the sambal! For those who aren’t able to take spicy, you can rest assured because it wasn’t too spicy. The spice builds up as you eat but it’s so addictive that you can’t seem to bring yourself to stop. If you’ve come to Singapore to try our Nasi Lemak and absolutely loved it, the Nasi Lemak chips are a great substitute to bring back home and revel in the fragrance and deliciousness of our Nasi Lemak.
Finally, I had the Baileys Truffle Chocolates as well and those little tiny balls of happiness bring me so much joy. The outside is a slightly dense shell of chocolate that melts fast in your mouth to reveal the soft and fragrant salted caramel. The salted caramel mixes with the chocolates to bring you this sweet and burnt marriage of salted caramel and chocolate. It’s no surprise that these two go together so well and it should be a crime for Baileys to give us bite sized pairings of these two because it’s so difficult to stop! What’s the kicker is this little tinge of alcohol that cuts through the sweetness and makes it less surfeit but goes so well with the creaminess of this treat. It’s really a great treat to bring back home and enjoy.
Why I’d recommend this as a must buy gift is not only because of its amazing taste, but also because it’s a great sharing snack. Mooncakes are a great snack to have while spending time with the family or friends. You can slice it up and divide it amongst yourself and indulge in the luxury and richness that is durian mooncake or revel in the Golden QQ together. Also, with Golden Moments, you can order these mooncakes and their other products anytime because they aren’t limited to only Mid Autumn Festival unlike other mooncakes! What are you waiting for?
Marketing themselves as “The World’s Strongest Truffle” and claiming that nothing comes close, they really take their truffle seriously! They seal in the Black Truffle’s rich, earthy and aromatic flavors into their special house recipe, before glazing them onto their hand-cooked chips, giving you their amazing truffle chips.
If you think you know truffle, you haven’t tried Aroma Truffle yet! As soon as you opened the bag, the rich aroma of truffle immediately spilled into the room. I get it, sometimes truffle smell stronger than they taste but trust me when I say that it tastes as good as it smells! Honestly, I don’t have much to say about this snack except you absolutely have to try it and buy some back for your friends or family to share. I understand your doubt but there really is no way to describe or show you the intensity of the flavour of these chips. It’s so incredibly rich and addictive!
Do yourself a favour and just get these if you’re in Singapore. You won’t regret it.
And these are my top 15 favourites of Singapore, Katong! I can’t choose a favourite among all the places I’ve mentioned. All of them are amazing in their own way and a definite must-try if you’re ever in town!