Living Large


Keppel Land Live: Thinking Unboxed

Tiong Bahru has always been a place of secrets. Whether as a place for rendezvous in the past, or the preferred place for hipster cafés to set up shop in the present, the neighbourhood has plenty of surprises to offer. Here, we reveal the five best-kept secrets of Tiong Bahru.

Secret #1

We start the list with Secret Fine Food, which deserves a mention not just for its name but for its use of exquisite ingredients, which are used in some of the top restaurants in Singapore.

Ever since it opened its doors in November 2015, the gourmet store by French national Stephanie Duriez may have attracted hordes of loyal (and hungry) fans, but it curiously still remains under the radar – which is just the way we like it.

Grab your epicurean essentials, such as the luxuriously creamy burrata found at Osteria Mozza, the hand-churned, lip-smacking French Bordier butter at Les Amis, the intense, seasonal jams of Christine Ferber that complement the cheese platters served at Joël Robuchon… the list goes on.

Here’s another secret: Order your goodies online. Delivery is free for orders above $120.

Secret Fine Food
55 Tiong Bahru Road
Closed Mondays

Secret #2

This is not quite a secret – not for locals anyway. But for at least one tourist, the Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre has earned the title of “Best kept secret in Singapore” by an Australian visitor who gave the popular eatery a five-star rating on Trip Advisor.

The Melbourne native described the food as “ffffffrreesshh and yummy”, a compliment locals are sure to endorse. Some of the popular dishes here include chwee kueh (Jian Bo Chwee Kueh, #02-05), wanton mee (Zhong Yu Yuan Wei Wanton Mee, #02-30) and handmade fishballs (Teochew Fish Ball Noodle, #02-13).

You may not think of this food haven as a secret. But did you know that it was the first modern market built within a housing estate in 1955?

Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre
30 Seng Poh Road

tiong bahru market, tiong bahru, hawker center, food, heritage, neighbourhood

Tiong Bahru Market

tiong bahru market, tiong bahru, hawker center, food, heritage, neighbourhood

Tiong Bahru Food Centre

Secret #3

It’s no secret that Tiong Bahru is home to a number of art galleries and design studios, but did you know it attracts artists from across the globe who visit the neighbourhood for its old-school charm?

Some, like HOLYCRAP, an offbeat art collective family, visit Tiong Bahru for creative inspiration. Others come with their sketchbooks in hand, ready to illustrate the day’s unscripted moments within the estate’s five-foot paths and alleyways.

Read more about what artists have to say about revisiting the memory lanes of the estate here.

Secret #4

Even if you’re not an artist, you can still flex your creative muscles. All you need is a smartphone and an Instagram account. The hashtag #tiongbahru has almost 40,000 posts on the popular photo-sharing app, featuring all aspects of life in the neighbourhood.

While that may not surprise you, consider this well-kept secret: Shutterbugs who come to snap pictures, including wedding photographers, say its environs make for beautiful romantic photographs. Says photographer Samuel Goh, “Tiong Bahru is the perfect combination of quirkiness nestled within old-school shophouses. The many nooks and crannies make every session fun and unique.”

Secret #5

If you’ve been to Tiong Bahru, chances are you’ve seen and know about the Dancing Girl sculpture at Seng Poh Garden.

What you may not know is that the sculptor, Lim Nang Sang, is the same man who created the famous Merlion at Fullerton Bay. Dancing Girl was completed in two weeks and cost about $2,000. Completed in 1972, it was Tiong Bahru’s very first piece of public art. More than 40 years on, today, it still remains the estate’s only public work of art.