Joo Chiat and Katong are traditional Peranakan districts, and you will find many nice, restored shophouses along this neighborhood walk. And don't forget to sample some laksa if you dare!
The Start: Geylang Serai
Start at Paya Lebar MRT and head southwest towards the newly-renovated Geylang Serai Wet Market and Food Centre. This relatively new building may have lost a little of the charm of the original wet market but it is still a good place to get an introduction to the Malay culture through the wide variety of Muslim cuisine and clothes found here.
Joo Chiat Road
From the wet market, cross Changi Road and you will hit the start of Joo Chiat Road. Head south along Joo Chiat Road for about 400 metres and you will see Khalid Mosque on your left. Admire the durability of the structure which has been kept original in spite of its growing congregation while you get a firsthand glimpse of a Muslim place of worship to complement your introduction to the Malay culture.
After this stop, continue south along Joo Chiat Road until you come to the junction of Joo Chiat Road and Koon Seng Road. Turn left along Koon Seng Road to reach the Peranakan Terrace Houses that line both sides of the road. These distinctive houses still retain the traditional Peranakan house designs of having stucco dragons, birds and crabs.
East Coast Road
Having whet your appetite about the Peranakan culture, head back to Joo Chiat Road and continue heading south to discover more about the Peranakans. Continue south along Joo Chiat Road until you reach the junction of Joo Chiat Road and East Coast Road.
Cross East Coast Road and turn left. After about 500 metres along East Coast Road, you will reach Chin Mee Chin Confectionery at the corner with Chapel Road. This is one of the last few traditional coffeeshops in Singapore, and the marble-top tables, wooden chairs and mosaic tiles bring back a sense of nostalgia.
Just six houses further on East Coast Road is 328 Katong Laksa. Stop here to have a taste of one of the better versions of laksa, which is a local spicy noodle soup dish. It is also a popular Peranakan dish. Entertain yourself by the numerous photos of local celebrities who have frequented this outlet while you dine.
After getting a taste of the Peranakan culture, it is time to learn more about the Peranakans so turn around and head back westwards along East Coast Road until you reach Kim Choo Kueh Chang, which is on the right hand side of East Coast Road, just a few metres after Joo Chiat Road. This is a one-stop location where you can learn brief details about the different aspects of the Peranakan culture. Walk through the second level museum and purchase some Peranakan accessories at the small retail shop found on the second level if you wish to. Head back downstairs to sample some traditional Peranakan snacks and purchase a packet or two if you want to. Also take a look at Rumah Bebe next door.
Having had an overview of the Peranakan culture, continue west along East Coast Road for about 100 metres to reach Ceylon Road on your right. Turn right on Ceylon Road and you will immediately see the eye-catching structure of the Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple on your left. End your tour by entering the temple and admiring the beautiful artwork and carvings that decorate the temple. Be sure to keep an eye out for the impressive five-tiered entranceway tower of the temple though.