Eclectic Peranakan Heritage in Joo Chiat


Take a walk with me down the streets of Joo Chiat, and there we will discover glimpses of a bygone era, a hybrid of Chinese, Malay traditions with a touch of Portuguese, Dutch and Indonesian influences.

A street once known as Lorong E East Coast Road, this road was named after a man, who was a wealthy 2nd generation Straits born merchant from Malacca.

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The two rows of pre-war terrace houses along Koon Seng Road are a distinct part of Joo Chiat’s identity and are one of the finest examples of Peranakan architecture in Singapore.

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The most outstanding feature of the late styled (1900-1940) houses is the narrow and intricately embellished facade of the entrance.

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The main face of the house is decorated in plaster and tiles, often, these fine ceramic tiles with floral or geometrical designs were imported from France, England and Belgium.

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The external walls of these houses are decorated with Chinese couplets of good fortune, health and happiness adorning the front windows, similar to the traditional residences in China. These motifs are derived from mystical dragons, deer and dogs, symbols of good fortune and long life.

Other motifs like flowers are bird act as accompaniments to the decoration, which reflected the wealth and status of the owners.

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With its rich architectural heritage, I can only imagine the many intriguing stories behind these homes and their old owners who used to lived there.

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I will be taking a walk down Katong Road next to discover more of the Peranankan culture in this part of Singapore, look out for my upcoming posts!

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  1. Amazing photos, and it must have been a lovely walk.
    agy´s last blog post ..Milk Carton Coin Pouch

    Rachel Reply:

    Thanks Agatha, it was, despite the heat

  2. Looking forward to more pictures taken by you. Love the colorful buildings you captured.
    Dominique Goh´s last blog post ..My $200 Mother’s Day Giveaway- (US) ends 8th May

    Rachel Reply:

    The stretch of Koon Seng houses are really beautiful… can’t see much of these sights in singapore these days, sad…

  3. I love love love love LOVE shophouses. I feel such a great sadness to see them being taken away and transformed into 7-elevens :(
    Adora´s last blog post ..Standing Up to Parental Inconsistencies

    Rachel Reply:

    Totally agree with u, I detest the pace of development in Singapore. Too many of these precious memories of old Spore have made way for too much modernization :(

  4. Colourful shophouses are my kind of thing! I would love to live in one if I can afford it. Haha.. Great photos!
    Kless´s last blog post ..Update On The Injury

    Rachel Reply:

    Yeah, me too. Must be so expensive though cos I think renovating the place and changing the piping for the shophouse will probably kill

  5. When you get to East Coast Road let me know 😀

    Great photos!
    Regina´s last blog post ..Wordless Wednesday : Slam Dunk!

    Rachel Reply:

    Going to go to the stretch near your MIL’s house for the next couple of posts 😛 Thanks Reg!

  6. You were in my neck of the woods! I drive past the painted ladies every morning on my school run. :)
    Jean´s last blog post ..The magic of hope.

    Rachel Reply:

    U are living in Joo Chiat Jean? Then u must know this place well! I am still discovering

  7. Love the colourful shop houses!~
    cre8tone´s last blog post ..The Croods

    Rachel Reply:

    Thanks cre8tone