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Tiong Bahru: Singapore's Most Charming Neighborhood


Over the past year, the low-key residential district of Tiong Bahru has taken on a stylish new persona as a crop of edgy tenants—galleries, boutiques, coffee shops—move in. BY LIANG XINYI

Published on Oct 19, 2011

+40 Hands
In a snug, neutral-toned coffee shop, Australian owner-cum-barista Harry Grover brews aromatic flat whites and ristretti using fair-trade beans and a Synesso Cyncra espresso machine. Snacks include the Ang Mo Classic, a cheese-topped sausage-and-gherkin sandwich. 78 Yong Siak St.; +65 6225 8545;; drinks and snacks for two S$30.


+ BooksActually
This indie gem stocks an impressive range of books, from classic novels to cult magazines and titles by emerging local authors. Owners Kenny Leck and Karen Wai have strewn the light-filled store with literary bric-a-brac—hand-stitched notebooks; Ladybird postcards—while two resident felines roam between the bookshelves. 9 Yong Siak St.; +65 6222 9195;

+ Strangelets

Three architects and one design addict are behind this sleek, whitewashed design store. Recent product highlights: paper by Tokyo’s Postalco and ceramic tableware by Paris’s Astier de Villatte. 7 Yong Siak St.; +65 6222 1456;



+ Nana & Bird
Store founders Tan Chiew Ling and Georgina Koh once displayed their pick of pretty apparel, accessories and knick-knacks in a monthly fashion pop-up shop. In September 2011, they launched a permanent boutique: look out for Made by Hand, the duo’s own jewelry line. Block 79, Chay Yan St. #01-02; +65 9117 0430;

+ White Canvas Gallery
Art-lover Maria Ng’s industrial-chic gallery space shows emerging Southeast Asian artists such as Vietnam’s Tung Yue Nang and Philippines’ Fernan. On permanent view: “Tiong Bahru Sketches,” a collection of ink, pen and watercolor paintings of the neighborhood by local artists. 78 Guan Chuan St. #01-41; +65 6220 8723;

+ The Orange Thimble
Founded by White Canvas’s Ng, this former shop house is now a cozy café serving both coffee and art photography. Order an ice-cold frappe and admire framed prints showcasing Tiong Bahru’s pre-war architecture. Block 56 Eng Hoon St. #01-68;; drinks and snacks for two S$20.


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Tiong Bahru, Singapore
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