The distinctive charm of Katong can be traced back to its Peranakan roots. A quiet residential area formerly dominated by wealthy Straits Chinese families or the Peranakans, many of the older Peranakan homes in Katong, once seaside villas, still stand tall and picturesque. Katong is the place to go for colourful Nonya kebayas (traditional dress of female Peranakans), exquisite beaded slippers and handbags, and of course home-made Peranakan cuisine like ayam buah keluak.
Along East Coast Road, you will find three retail-cum-cultural establishments showcasing the many facets of Peranakan culture – Katong Antique House, Rumah Bebe and Kim Choo Kueh Chang.
Set in an elaborately-designed Peranakan ‘house’, Rumah Bebe not only sells Nonya kebayas and accessories, it also offers classes in Peranakan cuisine, beadwork and traditional embroidery. Visit the upper floor to view a display of a Peranakan bridal chamber and learn more about the life of a typical young Peranakan lady.
Founded over 40 years ago, Kim Choo Kueh Chang is where patrons can savour its famous sweet rice dumplings as well as learn the art of wrapping Nonya dumplings at organised demonstrations and live classes throughout the day.
The 25 year-old Katong Antique House is filled with every type of traditional Peranakan costumes, crockery and furniture. Meet Mr Peter Wee, a fourth generation Baba Peranakan who will regale you with stories of his heritage. A little gallery sits on the top floor of the two-storey shophouse, which Mr Wee inherited from his maternal grandfather, Mr Tan Cheng Kee.
The Eurasians are another ethnic group whose roots are in Katong. The Eurasian Heritage Centre, located at the Eurasian Association’s community house, offers fascinating insight into the Eurasian culture, from music, local celebrities and even language. Visitors can also sample delicious Eurasian fare at the Association’s very own Eurasian restaurant – Eddie’s Place.
In the same vicinity is the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple, with stunning architecture and murals definitely well worth a visit. For something more modern, Parkway Parade is the shopping mall of the east. But ultimately, Katong is best known for Singaporeans favourite pastime food!
Katong Antique House: 268 East Coast Road Singapore 428907
Tel:(65) 6345 8544
Fax:(65) 6345 1220
Rumah Bebe: 113 East Coast Road
Tel: (65) 6774 3652
Kim Choo Kueh Chang: 109/111 East Coast Road
Tel: (65) 6440 5590
Eurasian Heritage Centre: 139 Ceylon Road
Parkway Parade: Take SBS Transit bus 14 or 16 from Orchard Road.
Eurasian Heritage Centre: Take the MRT to Bugis Station (EW12) and take SBS Transit bus 12 from opposite Bugis Junction. Alight at Katong Swimming Complex.