Katong Antique House is pure living memory. This Peranakan house has been perfectly preserved as it was in the old days, and is filled with heirlooms and artefacts including traditional Peranakan crockery, jewellery, beaded slippers, costumes, furniture and photographs of Singapore's earlier generations of Babas and Bibiks. The vast collection can be credited to 40 long years of effort by Mr. Peter Wee, a fourth-generation Peranakan who inherited the house from his maternal grandfather in 1966. Himself the great-grandson of philanthropist Tan Keong Saik, Baba Peter Wee bought, restored and sold Peranakan-related items from 1971 and eventually turned his inheritance into Katong Antique House in 1979. Although he has since passed on, his legacy, alongside Peranakan culture and heritage, continues to live on in this irreplaceable private museum. Read our interview with the new guardians of the museum, Eric Ang and Angeline Kong, here.
Before being crowned Singapore’s first Heritage Town in 2011, Katong and Joo Chiat were known for something else. Short for Tanjong Katong, Katong was named after an exotic species of sea turtle, now extinct. Joo Chiat, on the other hand, was named after philanthropist Chew Joo Chiat. Both areas were once a small village of seaside retreats for the wealthy.
Today, this Peranakan enclave in the east is synonymous with Peranakan cuisine, particularly a spicy Straits Chinese noodle soup called Katong Laksa. It has also gained traction over the years for its blend of attention-grabbing shophouses, diverse dining options, and indie retail stores. Is it any wonder, then, that Katong has been named one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world? Rediscover this charming hood for yourself, here are the places you should know to get started.