A DAY IN TIONG BAHRU

DestinAsian - - THE GUIDE SINGAPORE -

While its retro Art Deco–like struc­tures and res­i­den­tial blocks have long lured de­sign and ar­chi­tec­ture buffs, only in re­cent years has the old hous­ing es­tate of Tiong Bahru—just to the west of Chi­na­town—emerged as Sin­ga­pore’s coolest stomp­ing ground, thanks to an in­flux of trendy bars, cafés, and art spa­ces. It’s an ideal place to spend a day on foot, es­pe­cially if you fol­low this tried-andtested itin­er­ary.

9 a.m. Treat your­self to one of French baker Gon­tran Cher­rier’s rich al­mond­choco­late crois­sants or a per­fectly crisped kouign-amann pas­try at Tiong Bahru Bak­ery ( tiong­bahrubak­ery.com), still one of the neigh­bor­hood’s most beloved cafés some five years af­ter its opening. For some­thing more sa­vory, try the squid-ink baguette with smoked salmon, as­sum­ing it’s not sold out al­ready.

10:30 a.m. There’s a re­mark­able col­lec­tion of rare and signed books to browse at quiet

Book­sAc­tu­ally ( book­s­ac­tu­allyshop.com), which is also one of the bet­ter places to find works by Sin­ga­porean po­ets and au­thors. Of par­tic­u­lar note, the shop’s own im­print, Math Pa­per Press, pub­lishes a se­ries of ti­tles filled with fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries from lo­cal res­i­dents about the neigh­bor­hoods they’ve called home for at least a decade. 12:30 p.m. Fol­low the locals’ lead with a casual Sin­ga­porean-style lunch at Tiong Bahru Mar­ket, the huge open-air hawker cen­ter that re­opened in May fol­low­ing a three-month clo­sure for sig­nif­i­cant ren­o­va­tions. Join the lengthy queue at 178 Sharks Meat Lor Mee for a hot bowl of sticky noo­dles topped with fried shark meat—it’s worth the wait.

3 p.m. Es­cape the mid­day heat in­side a few of Tiong Bahru’s best bou­tiques. Vin­tage and al­ter­na­tive vinyl hun­ters could spend hours ri­fling through the more than 1,000 records at Cu­rated Records ( fb.com/cu­rat­e­drecords). If you’re more in­ter­ested in de­signer fash­ions, head to Nana & Bird (nanaand­bird.com), a one-time pop-up run by two Sin­ga­porean women with keen eyes for style.

5 p.m. At­tend a cur­rent events dis­cus­sion, join a hands-on work­shop, or just browse the cu­rated gal­leries at Grey Projects ( greypro­jects.org), a non­profit plat­form for all things art. Two- to three-month stu­dio res­i­den­cies for emerg­ing Sin­ga­porean artists en­sure a steady sched­ule of new and in­ter­est­ing ex­hi­bi­tions. 6:30 p.m. Kick back with a cold sun­downer at Booze Pharma-C ( fb.com/boozephar­mac), a new bot­tle shop with a few street-side tables out front. It’s one of the only places in the area ex­clu­sively of­fer­ing im­ported and lo­cal craft beers. Look for bot­tles from Brew­lan­der & Co. ( brew­lan­der.com), a lo­cal brew­ery that launched in March. Its Wild IPA, a hoppy, some­what funky ale fer­mented with wild yeasts, is ex­cep­tional.

8 p.m. Though do­mes­tic veg­eta­bles and herbs un­for­tu­nately re­main few and far be­tween in Sin­ga­pore restau­rants, Open Door Pol­icy ( odpsin­ga­pore.com) bucks the norm by grow­ing its own greens in its in-house ver­ti­cal gar­den. Chef Ryan Clift’s menu fea­tures full-fla­vored dishes like pan-seared crispy quail and king crab orec­chi­ette—you’d never guess ev­ery­thing is dairy- and gluten-free. 10:30 p.m. Head through the non­de­script door in the back of an old con­verted ko­pi­tiam to Bin­cho ( bin­cho.com.sg), a multi-con­cept eatery that by night morphs into an Osakanstyle iza­kaya. Go for one of the bar’s Ja­panese cock­tails or rare whiskies; if you’re still hun­gry, chef Asai Masahi’s yak­i­tori should do the trick.

Door seatin­gatOpen Above:Counter bar. Bin­cho’syak­i­tori Pol­icy.Right:

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