The idyllic stretch of Joo Chiat Road has a unique appeal. Originally a coconut plantation owned by Singaporean philanthropist Chew Joo Chiat, it transformed into a residential suburb in the early 20th century, predominantly populated by the Peranakan and Chinese community.
This Nonya influence still permeates the neighbourhood today, landmarked by the row of Peranakan shophouses defined by their vivid hues, ornate tiles and elaborate structures. Filled with hip eateries and quaint shops, Joo Chiat lives up to its long-held reputation of being a haven in the midst of a bustling city.
Dotted in between popular eateries and chic cafes are a number of hidden gems—like the hole-in-the-wall that is Kōhī, a takeaway coffee bar specialising in pour overs. With a medley of old and new, the contrast between its beautifully-preserved architectural heritage and contemporary storefronts is what gives Joo Chiat Road its unmistakable je ne sais quoi.
Traipse down the street on a weekend, and you’ll find company in locals and tourists alike, many with furry friends in tow. Here, find Vogue Singapore’s definitive guide to discovering—or rediscovering—this cherished part of the city. If you’re anything like us, it’ll soon become a regular haunt you faithfully return to each weekend.
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If you’re looking for a dessert stop as you eat your way through Joo Chiat, head to Apiary. Known for its creative flavours, this gelato parlour proves its might with its signature Blue Milk, a dreamy, pastel-hued treat that is equal parts sweet and salty. Those who prefer earthier flavours in their ice-cream may opt for the nutty Sicilian Pistachio or the Classic Earl Grey instead. Our ultimate tip? Pair your desired scoop with a crispy waffle base for a heartier sweet treat.
Apiary, 81 Joo Chiat Rd, #01-01, Singapore 427725
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Eat: Common Man Coffee Roasters
Common Man Coffee Roasters’ chic shophouse corner on Joo Chiat Road is hard to miss, and it is a dependable spot for a solid cuppa and great brunch fare equivalent to the standard of its pours. If you’ve worked up an appetite with a long stroll through the neighbourhood, tuck into the signature Organic Eggs Benedict, or the Turkish Common Man Breakfast—a delectable combination of phyllo-wrapped soft-boiled eggs, pumpkin seeds, feta and a velvety spread of hummus.
Common Man Coffee Roasters, 185 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427456
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Eat: Hello Arigato
With the ethos of pairing Asian comfort food with a well-balanced cup of coffee, this Japanese-inspired cafe opened its second outpost in Joo Chiat last year to a welcome crowd. Its front window allows anyone a peek into gorgeous open shelves, which stock the likes of non-alcoholic wines, coffee table books and artful kitchenware. The light-filled space attracts a particularly hip crowd, who flock over for a taste of their gyu sando or HCG (har cheong gai, which translates to prawn paste chicken) sandwiches. Hello Arigato’s pasta and noodles are also flavourful hits; their Udon BKT (bak kut teh) features a homemade bak kut teh reduction, dark soy caramel pulled pork and Inaniwa udon.
Hello Arigato, 314 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427565
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If its street-facing production kitchen is anything to go by, Forma is certainly one trattoria that takes its artisanal pastas seriously. Masterminded by The Cicheti Group and pasta artisan Ben Fatto, expect a seasonal selection of pasta shapes finessed with the flavours from North to South of Italy. Come lunch, tuck into their summer tasting menu with mouthwatering options that include a seafood stew, cacio e pepe, linguine with Amalfi lemon and more.
Forma, 128 Tembeling Rd, Singapore 423638
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Eat: Petit Pain
If you’re wandering in the neighbourhood on a weekend, it’s hard to miss the snaking queue outside Petit Pain, as many eagerly wait to get their hands on the pastry shop’s famed viennoiseries. The time spent is easily justified upon first bite of its signature croissant—delicately crisp on the edges while soft, flaky and buttery on the inside. Also on the menu, you will find other mainstays like pain au chocolat, apple danish and canelé—all of which are freshly baked and served in a limited roll out of three batches a day.
Petit Pain, 315 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427566
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Eat: Humble Origins Coffee Roasters
Amongst the handful of stylish cafes that stand out on Joo Chiat Road is Humble Origins, a fairly recent addition to the neighbourhood that has been open only for a year. Here, you’ll find specialty coffee that the owners meticulously source from the Shan Hills in Myanmar. Pair your strong, fruity cup of Burmese coffee with the plethora of sweet and savoury plates available—our pick is the moreish Carrot Cake, layered with cream cheese and finished with candied walnuts.
Humble Origins Coffee Roasters, 475 Joo Chiat Rd, #01, Singapore 427682
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Eat: Dickson Nasi Lemak
Housed in a minimalist shophouse, this takeaway-only stall is where you’ll find some of the best Malaysian-style nasi lemak in the city. The star item on the menu is the Ayam Goreng Berempah—perfectly-spiced chicken cooked to crisp, tender perfection, atop a bed of fragrant coconut rice. As with all good nasi lemak stalls, the sambal here is outstanding. Like every other component on the plate, it is freshly made in-house, with 18 ingredients to strike the perfect balance between spicy and sweet—elevating the dish to a whole new level.
Dickson Nasi Lemak, 320 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427571
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Eat: La Bottega Enoteca
Chef-owner Antonio Miscellaneo’s European-style restaurant La Bottega Enoteca remains a true gem along Joo Chiat Road, worth a visit for life-affirming mouthfuls of authentic Italian dishes—all made from raw, unprocessed ingredients and produce. Miscellaneo makes and ages his own salumi, fresh pastas, signature pizza doughs and gelatos, which is a tradition from his hometown of Belluno, Italy. His new menu features wondrous dishes, such as sweet flavours from the Calamaretti Alla Griglia, essentially grilled baby calamari paired with the freshness of pea, mint and lemon zest. Call for his new Mortadella pizza—a nod to Emilia-Romagna’s best—which is crafted with parmesan fondue, silky mortadella, red pesto, crunchy pistachios and sweet potato chips. To finish off, you’ll have to try his Seadas, a Sardinian delicacy of deep-fried ravioli with cow’s cheese and honey. It is a worthy, mind-bending creation that you’ll think about for days after.
La Bottega Enoteca, 346 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427596
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Local label Sojao might be best known for its artisanal organic cotton bedding, but its flagship home goods store offers much more than that. Alongside the brand’s wide array of luxury sheets, loungewear, bath products and home decor, the store also carries an array of fellow Singaporean indie labels. Here, browse handmade ceramics, clean skincare essentials and artisanal candles and diffusers. For anyone looking to refresh their living space, this is the place to head to.
Sojao, 251 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427505
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Shop: Crane Living
Homeware haven Crane Living is an extension of co-working member’s club Crane. The Joo Chiat outlet is particularly charming, situated in a three-story shophouse and stocked full of minimalist furniture, wabi sabi décor and quirky knick-knacks for the home. Working with a range of independent design labels and creatives to curate their collections, the brand believes strongly in upcycling and circularity—making for a feel-good shopping experience whenever you step into the store.
Crane Living, 281 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427535
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Shop: Choice Cuts
A record shop that holds the oldies and the goodies—varying from old-school hip-hop, funk, electronic and more. Music events regularly line the roster at this resident vinyl store, whether it be live gigs or local album launches. It doesn’t hurt that the space also doubles up as a cafe with a menu reminiscent of a New York-style deli. Think coffee, bagels and recently, homemade pizzas with a signature thin crust.
Choice Cuts Pizza & Records, 446 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427659
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Shop: Cat Socrates
Step into Cat Socrates, and you’ll find a patchwork of unique craftsmanship—formed by bringing together diverse independent labels, quirky knick-knacks and beautiful works of art. Amongst its eclectic curation of products, you’ll spot everything from books and stationery to household items and even homemade jams. Fashion accessories and vintage memorabilia line the shelves too—and if those aren’t enough to make you smile, the store’s adorable, feline shopkeepers surely will.
Cat Socrates, 448 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427661
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Shop: Little Farms
Little Farms along Joo Chiat Road is a fabulous pit-stop for anyone looking to pick up last-minute groceries or healthy snacks for the household. Its aisles are lined with a hefty selection of all-natural items and organic produce from Australia and Europe—who can resist buying one of their glistening blocks of cheese, or specialty pastas? If you’re a one-stop shop kind of person, slip into their cafe and order yourself a coffee and one of their generously-sized plates of fish and chips or avocado toast. Loaded up with the freshest of ingredients, you’ll feel like you’re back in the heart of Sydney or Melbourne.
Little Farms Katong Point, 451 Joo Chiat Rd, #01-01, Singapore 427664