How much do you know about our local heritage and culture in the various heartlands of Singapore? If you have been living in a particular neighbourhood for a period of time, you would probably have the local knowledge. For those living in other parts of Singapore and international visitors, they might not know as much as those locals staying in that neighbourhood. Now, let’s travel to Katong-Joo Chiat district and explore the Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Katong-Joo Chiat.
Street Corner Heritage Galleries Scheme
For those who might not be too familiar or heard about Street Corner Heritage Galleries previously. What is the Street Corner Heritage Galleries Scheme all about?
The Street Corner Heritage Galleries scheme by the National Heritage Board (NHB) started off in Balestier in 2020, followed by Kampong Gelam in 2021, Little India in 2022 and Chinatown in 2022. The Street Corner Heritage Galleries scheme is an excellent way to celebrate and document the rich experiences of heritage businesses, this scheme aims to foster a deeper appreciation for heritage in everyday spaces.
Under this scheme, NHB works closely with interested owners of heritage businesses with at least 30 years of history to co-create “mini-museums” to showcase the history, heritage, culture and stories of their businesses and trades, through the displays of historical documents, photographs and artefacts.
A brief history of Katong-Joo Chiat district
You would probably know Katong-Joo Chiat from pictures of the colourful pre-war Peranakan shophouses, that attracts not only locals to head there for a photo shoot. Our international friends have also make their way into Katong-Joo Chiat district for its charm, beauty and colourful blend of old and new, from its colourful pre-war shophouses in the neighbourhood, the diverse communities co-existing with modern shopping malls and hip cafes.
There are rich history, heritage and culture elements in Katong-Joo Chiat, waiting for you to discover them behind those heritage businesses in Katong-Joo Chiat. Each has their own story of resilience, innovation and intergenerational piety. What are some of the stories and insights into heritage businesses in this vibrant Katong-Joo Chiat precinct? What are some of the lesser-known anecdotes behind those classic delicacies to inspirational tales of intergenerational support and cooperation?
Why not take a walk and explore Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Katong-Joo Chiat, discover and find out more about them?
Six Participating Businesses for Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Katong-Joo Chiat
NHB is launching Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Katong-Joo Chiat with six participating businesses:
- Kway Guan Huat Joo Chiat Popiah
- Joo Chiat Fei Fei Wanton Noodle House
- Kim Choo Kueh Chang
- Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant
- Sin Heng Claypot Bak Koot Teh
Our SG Heritage Plan 2.0 – Empowering the Community
This Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Katong-Joo Chiat is an expansion of the scheme, as part of the NHB’s ongoing efforts under the Our SG Heritage Plan 2.0, to empower more Singaporeans to get involved with the celebration of our heritage and support heritage businesses and crafts. The Street Corner Heritage Galleries scheme provides curatorial support and assistance in terms of research and content development, and funding for the fabrication of showcases.
NHB will also work closely with the heritage businesses to develop programmes that complement the showcases, and provide opportunities for them to participate in key NHB events to increase awareness of their businesses and offerings.
What can the public look forward to? From guided trails and workshops that will showcase the Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Katong-Joo Chiat during NHB’s inaugural Heritage Activation Nodes (HAN), that will be launched in Katong-Joo Chiat district and various precincts from this year as part of NHB Our SG Heritage Plan 2.0. The HAN provides opportunities for the community to develop and implement projects that will increase the number of heritage touchpoint in the heartlands and celebrate the distinctive heritage of their neighbourhoods.
Mr Gerald Wee, Director, Education and Community Outreach, NHB said: “We have been encouraged by the success of the pilot Street Corner Heritage Galleries scheme over the past three years. Feedback from the business owners has been positive and we hope this expansion of the scheme will allow more heritage businesses to showcase their stories and heritage, and to benefit from increased public awareness and support.”
A short tour of Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Katong-Joo Chiat
During the media session, we took a short tour of the Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Katong-Joo Chiat district. Starting off at Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant, next was Kway Guan Huat Joo Chiat Popiah, Joo Chiat Fei Fei Wanton Noodle House and Kim Choo Kueh Chang.
Although it was a short session at each location due to time constraints, we heard stories from the people behind the those heritage businesses. Although I had explored Katong-Joo Chiat quite a fair bit over the years for heritage, history and arts related events and activities, as well as doing photography shoots at various locations in the iconic Katong-Joo Chiat, hanging out at the Katong Square Lifestyle & Vintage Market by The Retro Factory, there were still many stories that I am hearing it for the first time about Katong-Joo Chiat district.
As I don’t stay in the east side of Singapore, and I am not too knowledgable about Peranakan cuisine, I didn’t know about the history and legacy of Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant until that day when I stepped into the premises for the start of the media event for Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Katong-Joo Chiat. I would love to visit and try their authentic Peranakan cuisine after trying out some of their delicious kueh and light bites that they prepared for the media event.
Next up was Kway Guan Huat Joo Chiat Popiah. I heard about them previously, now I got to visit their store and hearing them share their history, stories and journeys. I love to eat popiah, I am going to check out their website, see which popiah skin or popiah sets to order, and plan a popiah eating gathering.
Visiting Kim Choo Kueh Chang at Joo Chiat Place, the original location and also its main factory, it was not the same as their East Coast Branch where I visited a few times over the years whenever there were events held in the Katong-Joo Chiat district. We were given a tour of their factory during our media tour, hearing them share about KIm Choo Kueh Chang history, stories and journeys.
On a personal note, it was good to meet Mr Lim of Joo Chiat Fei Fei Wanton Noodle House again, I met him a few years back, thanks to Victor, a senior in Scouting, also a heritage enthusiast that I met at Katong Square Lifestyle & Vintage Market, for introducing him.
The four Street Corner Heritage Galleries in Katong-Joo Chiat district that we visited, all had their own unique history, stories and journeys, from one generation to the next. I would like to invite you to explore and check them out during your exploration of Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Katong-Joo Chiat, whereby you can learn more about their origins, how they continued to thrive and grow over the years.
For more information on Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Katong-Joo Chiat
If you like to know more information on Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Katong-Joo Chiat, please visit https://go.gov.sg/schgkatongjoochiat