Juicy Hainanese chicken rice? Sign me up!

34 – 35 Seah St

Seah Street is no stranger to Hainanese chicken rice. It is deemed as the island’s chicken rice haven. This fragrant dish was introduced to the country by Hainanese immigrants who settled along Seah St and Purvis St. It gained national popularity in the 1950s.

20 steps away from Heritage Collection on Seah, you’ll find Sing Swee Kee Restaurant. It welcomed its first customer in 2001. While it has retained a cosy charm, the restaurant is bright and spacious. Chicken rice enthusiasts can choose to dine indoors or alfresco.

The juicy Hainanese blanched chicken, accompanied by the fragrant sesame oil rice and ginger sauce is tantalising and keeps you wanting more. The menu boasts a wide variety of sides and accompanying dishes, so get ready to be spoiled for choice. 

Don’t wait till your last day to have a go at Sing Swee Kee! You will be tempted by the aroma each time you make your way back to our hotel.

Get your hands on a range of fresh baked treats like no other

749 North Bridge Rd

Head over to this Halal homegrown bakery to get your hands on a range of fresh baked treats like no other. The brainchild behind this indie style bakery is head baker, Naadhira Ismail who mastered her bread making skills in New York and later returned to open Mother Dough Bakery in Singapore.

Photo courtesy of Mother Dough Bakery
Photo courtesy of Mother Dough Bakery

Mother Dough offers a variety of fresh baked goods to satisfy every customer’s palate. One of its specialty bakes, the almond croissant, is acclaimed to be light and crispy – which explains why it is the people’s choice! You can expect the almond croissant to be generously topped with almond flakes, and filled with marzipan. We can already smell the buttery goodness, can you?

You can have a go at other freshly baked croissants that come in a delightful range of flavours as well. How about getting a Persimmon danish with ginger-lime pastry cream & caramel? While you’re at it, you can also get a cup of coffee to go along with the pastries for a hearty breakfast or afternoon tea!

Photo courtesy of Mother Dough Bakery

We suggest you take a look at their instagram feed before heading down as you may be overwhelmed by the choices available. Tuck into them – and you’ll taste what the hype is all about!

Round off Kampong Glam with Zam Zam!

697-699 North Bridge Rd

Zam Zam restaurant is one of the most popular Indian-Muslim restaurants in Singapore, well known for its murtabak and biryani. It opened its doors in 1908, and is housed within heritage shophouses along North Bridge Road. Its setting is just like other familiar local eateries – cosy, and suitable for a casual meal with friends and family.

One of the must-try dishes from Zam Zam is its murtabak. A murtabak is a fried, crispy stuffed dough, which hailed from the Arabian peninsula. Singapore’s version of the murtabak is a magical hybrid of Arab and Indian flavours and spices. 

It is typically stuffed with a mixture of minced meat, eggs, and onions. You can also opt to add cheese into your murtabak. Zam Zam’s comes in 5 different sizes and meat options, including Rusa (Deer). The murtabak is then cut and served into bite-sized pieces, and tastes best when dipped in curry. We recommend pairing your murtabak with a cup of teh tarik (pulled chai) to complete the entire experience.

If you ever order the super super large size, be sure to share and tag us in your posts! Don’t forget to include #StaywithHC.

Another in-house favourite would be the biryani. It is also one of the best you can find in Singapore. We recommend getting your hands on the Chicken biryani. The flavourful curry gravy really elevates the dish. Your taste buds will be tantalised with its well-spiced and tender chicken, and fragrant basmati rice. The dish might be too spicy for some, and the portion is really generous. So if you are not a big eater, you may want to share a packet of biryani with your travel buddy!

Some might say that Singapore is one of the most expensive cities, but you’d never think that when you eat at Zam Zam.

They also serve a variety of other dishes apart from the murtabak and biryani. If you’re looking to round off your Kampong Glam adventures on a high note, Zam Zam Restaurant is definitely a must try!

Get to know more about the Peranakan Culture

39 Armenian St
**Museum is currently closed for revamp. It is slated to be open again in mid-2021

The Peranakans are a sub-ethnic group in Singapore. They are defined by their genealogical descent from Chinese immigrants who settled in the Nusantara (maritime Southeast Asia) region. The Peranakan culture is an interesting hybrid of ancient Chinese culture and the local Nusantara cultures. This ethnic group is predominantly found in Malacca, Penang, and Singapore. 

If you would like to find out more about the unique Peranakan community – amalgamation of distinct cultures in the region – head on down to the Peranakan museum. Immerse yourself in the world’s finest and most comprehensive collection of Peranakan objects.

This historic building that houses the Peranakan Museum was previously home to the Asian Civilisations Museum. The building was constructed in 1912, and it was the site for Tao Nan School – Singapore’s first modern Chinese school.

While the museum is currently closed for major redevelopment works, it still makes for a great stop for your Instagram #ootds – be sure to tag us in your post!

After a trip to the museum, hang around the newly revamped Armenian street, and indulge in some Peranakan kueh (desserts) before making your way to the next To Do on your itinerary.

Step inside Singapore’s largest street market

3 New Bugis Street

Bugis Street was internationally known for its al fresco dining, bazaar atmosphere, and infamously known for its notorious nightly cabaret shows and parades from the 1950s to 80s. However, the street’s famed flamboyance is now a thing of the past. The once gritty district has been transformed to the new Bugis Street.

If you do not fancy the glitz and prices of traditional, then head down to Singapore’s largest bazaar-style shopping zone and be spoilt for choice! You can find all the things you never knew you needed at Bugis Street. 

Choose from clothes, tech gadgets, and cute little souvenirs to bring home. Ladies, you can also get your nails and lashes done. And the best part? They are very affordable (by local standards)! 

Be sure to walk through the entire maze of Bugis Street at least once before purchasing. 

Tip: Try to remember a distinctive feature of the stall you are interested in (or snap a picture) as they may all look the same to you after awhile. For all you bargain shoppers, try to haggle for the best price.

Calling all aspiring Van Goghs and book lovers

231 Bain St

If you are a crafts or book enthusiast, Bras Basah Complex is the place for you! The Bras Basah Complex is the hub for all things books, stationery, and craft supplies. Built in 1979, it became home to the bookstores that were operating along North Bridge Road and Bras Basah Road. It quickly became a centre for bookstore owners and gained itself the name ‘city of books’.

Before you venture into the Complex, be sure to look at the building from a distance. Sitting above the 5-storey complex is a 25-storey residential block. Bras Basah Complex is an example of a mixed-use building in Singapore – it houses both commercial and residential units. 

An interesting feature of the residential block is its open space, called a void deck in Singapore, is located on the 5th floor. You can venture up to the 25th floor for a bird’s eye view of a Civic & Cultural District.

Today, the Complex houses stores like Popular and Art Friend – store names that are familiar to most in Singapore. For our avid bookworms, there is a little gem on the second floor that sells preloved books at very affordable prices. We’ll leave you to seek them out, and remember to tag us when you find it! 

So, if you want to travel back in time to catch a glimpse of Singapore 80s-style, Bras Basah is worth checking out. For those of you who can’t resist books and crafts supplies, we suggest setting a spending budget before you explore this paradise.

Catch the glamour of theatres past here at the Capitol Theatre

17 Stamford Rd

If you want to catch a glimpse of what going to the theatres was like back in the day, make sure to put the Capitol Theatre in your To See list. It was revered as one of Singapore’s finest theatres in the 1930s. 

Photo from Jay Phagan

Capitol Theatre was first built in 1929. Its design and layout were inspired by the Roxy Theatre in New York, and the theatre could house 1,600 people. Movie stars of that era, like Charlie Chaplin and Ava Gardner, set foot in the Capitol Theatre to promote their movies when they were in Singapore. 

After World War II, the theatre and its surrounding buildings was purchased by Shaw Organisation for $3 million, and became its flagship cinema. The Capitol Theatre and the adjacent Capitol Shopping Centre were gazetted for redevelopment in February 1984. The theatre screened its last film, Soldier, on 29 December 1998 before it officially closed the following day. 

Today, the Capitol Theatre can only hold up to 977 people. The seats are now “smart seats” allowing for that space to be transformed and made more suitable for large-scale functions and other uses such as seminars and MICE events. 

The Capitol Theatre has definitely evolved from being your ordinary, mundane cinema, to a high-end arts venue. Before you visit, be sure to check out the different events that you can catch at the theatre! You can also find the Capitol Piazza next to the Theatre, which houses a number of eclectic shops that are worth checking out. 

Be a “Crazy Rich Asian” for a day at CHIJMES

30 Victoria St

CHIJMES – say it with us, ‘chimes’. Yes, like wind chimes! 

The compound was once a girls’ school known as Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) and was established by French Catholic nuns in 1852. This historical building stands on a land area of 154,063 sq ft, and the compound also housed an orphanage, a nuns’ quarters, and a chapel. 

As you explore the compound, you’ll also walk through the beautiful white cloisters. These are covered walkways typically found in convents and cathedrals. There are also plenty of spiral staircases along the corridors. These are perfect for your Instagram #ootds (remember to tag @hericollectionsg in your posts!)

The Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus was gazetted as a Singapore national monument on 26 October 1990, and subsequently underwent extensive restoration. When it re-opened officially in 1996, it was renamed CHIJMES to pay respect to the school. ‘MES’ was deliberately added as an onomatopoeia (formation of a word from a sound it’s associated with) to make it sound like chimes.

CHIJMES’ 19th-Century Gothic Chapel Architecture

For those of you who don’t know, CHIJMES was actually featured in the Hollywood blockbuster movie Crazy Rich Asians. The 19th-century gothic chapel is now a function hall called the CHIJMES Hall and served as the wedding backdrop for the movie’s glamour couple Colin Khoo (played by Chirs Pang) and Araminta Lee (played by Sonoya Mizuno). Who knew you could step foot on the actual set of a Hollywood movie in Singapore!

Here’s a screen grab from the movie!

There are plenty of things to see and eat within the complex itself – you’ll need at least an hour to walk the entire area, and you’re bound to find something.

The complex has been restored to house mostly bars and restaurants. So if you’re looking to include a fancy dinner in your trip itinerary, CHIJMES is the place for you!

What’s that gleaming in the distance? It’s Masjid Sultan!

3 Muscat St

The Masjid Sultan is the national mosque of Singapore. It is a must-see landmark when you are in the Cultural & Civic District. The mosque’s iconic golden dome glows under the sun, and it’s hard to miss!

Masjid Sultan was first built in 1824 as a single-storey building with a double-tiered roof. It was later demolished and rebuilt in 1932, and has undergone multiple refurbishment works ever since. The mosque that you see today has a prayer hall which can accommodate up to 5,000 people in its glorious pre-Covid days.

The mosque lies in the heart of Kampong Glam – a dynamic enclave where you can find a good mix of traditional trades with modern bars, cafes and boutiques. We recommend setting aside half a day to venture around Kampong Glam.

This religious building earned its national monument status on 8 March 1975 for its historical and cultural significance, especially for the Malay/Muslim community in Singapore. 

As you take a step closer to its doorstep and look up, the base of each golden dome is embellished with glass bottle ends! Back in the days, these were collections of the Sultan, donated by the lower-income Muslims who wished to contribute in the reconstruction of the mosque. Everyone in the community – not just the rich – had a part to play in Masjid Sultan’s reconstruction. 

Walk-in visits are available at the mosque at selected times. Be sure to check their official website for more detailed and updated information.

Discover the unexpected just round the corner

The upper end of North Bridge Road is commonly referred to as Kampong Glam. Kampong means ‘village’ while glam refers to ‘gelam’, the name of cajeput trees that once populated the area. It is located in close proximity to the greater area of Bugis. In the 1980s, the area remained clustered with shophouses, parting ways for a few sporadic skyscrapers dominating the skyline.

This was what it looked like in the past
Today, Kampong Glam is popular for its murals and eclectic stores

Within Kampong Glam, lies Arab Street which serves as one of the main thoroughfares for the eclectic and rejuvenated Kampong Glam. It used to house many entrepreneurs with wooden shacks peddling their wares to passing pedestrians. Now, many people consider the Malay conservation district to be the most vibrant among its peers, for it has successfully found a delicate balance between its youthful vibrancy – through its artistic diversity – and its historical heritage. 

Those that are looking to spruce up their Instagram feed or soak in the artistry of the district can find plenty of inspiration in the whimsical backstreets of Kampong Glam. Through the efforts of Gelam Gallery and One Kampong Gelam, artists and students have been commissioned and given space to allow their artistic talent to flourish.

As you head further down on North Bridge Road, you’ll step into the Bras Basah precinct –  home to a number of temples, museums, artistic practices, shopping districts and dining establishments. You can be sure of surprises on every corner! In the 1970s, congregations of book lovers used to frequent the bookstores that were distributed along Bras Basah and North Bridge Road. With the completion of Bras Basah complex in 1979, the bookstores are now consolidated in the single mixed-use development.

Scroll down to see what this neighbourhood has to offer!

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