Peranakan Culture In Singapore – Where To Eat, Play, and Sleep

The Peranakan culture can quite often fall between the cracks of the larger racial groups that make up Singapore; when you have a large number of people identifying with a single race, being part of an inter-racial community tends to get you overlooked.

The Peranakans, however, are a big part of society here with their history stretching back to the 15th century when Chinese immigrants that first settled in Malaya formed relationships with the local Malay community.

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The Peranakan people and culture got catapulted into mainstream via the Little Nyonya, arguably one of Singapore’s best Chinese dramas to date. Its renown grew beyond the borders of Singapore and China has decided to produce a remake of the show with a new cast and bigger budget.

While we wait for China’s remake, there’s actually have a quite a number of places and eateries that you can explore in Singapore to understand and learn more about Peranakan culture.

1. Visit The Peranakan Museum

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One of the best (and perhaps fundamental) places you have to visit if you want to learn more about Peranakan culture in Singapore is the Peranakan Museum – a gallery exhibition that covers broadly the history and story of the Peranakan people.

The museum houses a myriad of documents and artefacts from traditional wedding garbs to the most everyday objects. They have a mixture of permanent galleries and special programmes which can feature educational workshops like Nyonya embroidery and beadwork.

2. Join A Tour Of The NUS Baba House

With a façade reminiscent of the famous Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion in Penang, the NUS Baba House is a three-storey shophouse along Neil Road.

Previously owned primarily by the Wee family, the building was acquired by the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2006 and has since undergone a restoration to become the NUS Baba House today.

Retrofitted with intricate details and ornaments to better reflect the upperclass Baba-Nyonya life during the early 20th century. You can book a tour or sign up for a self-guided visit to admire the Baba House and advance bookings are recommended!

3. Explore The Katong and Joo Chiat Districts

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Walking across time

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While both the Peranakan Museum and NUS Baba House seek to retell the history of the Peranakan people, it’s still quite distant connection to their actual past.

The Peranakan legacy could perhaps be best experienced in the districts of Katong and Joo Chiat. Named after a wealthy Chinese landowner, Chew Joo Chiat, you’ll find the area inundated with beautiful and bright Peranakan homes. The Chinese Peranakan traders in the past were extremely wealthy and the façade of these homes were how they flaunted their wealth.

Within the Joo Chiat district also lies the The Intan, a private home cum museum that seeks to celebrate the Peranakan way of life. The Intan also serves as a space venue for events up to 40 people that can include wedding photoshoots and corporate meetings.

4. Dine In One Of The Many Peranakan Restaurants In Town

Peranakan (or Nyonya) food is in my humble opinion, the best aspect of the culture. To be fair, I think food is the best aspect of any culture and the easiest way to bridge the gap when it comes to experiencing new cultures.

Thankfully, there are tons of restaurants in Singapore that feature Peranakan food. One of the most affordable Peranakan restaurant chains would be IVINS Peranakan. Their curries are often cooked piping hot and served in a claypot which helps to lock in all the spices into the gravy or broth. Prices of individual dishes are all below SGD$10 so it won’t break a hole in your wallet by the end of the meal.

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𝗩𝗶𝗼𝗹𝗲𝘁 𝗢𝗼𝗻 𝗦𝗮𝘁𝗮𝘆 𝗕𝗮𝗿 & 𝗚𝗿𝗶𝗹𝗹: 𝗖𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗯𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗠𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿'𝘀 𝗗𝗮𝘆 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗮 𝗡𝘆𝗼𝗻𝘆𝗮 𝘀𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗱 | Indulge Mum with a sumptuous spread even if you aren't able to dine together this Mother's Day. Delivery slots for Mother’s Day from Bukit Timah are now sold out but we are still accepting bookings for Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill. Choose from our Peranakan signatures, chargrilled favourites, and more!⁣ ⁣ 𝗘𝗻𝗷𝗼𝘆 𝗳𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘃𝗲 $𝟭𝟬𝟬! To order, please ring/WhatsApp 9138 3592. ⁣ ⁣⁣ First image: @saraannk1⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ #violetoonsingapore #WineandDineCares #savefnbsg #SGUnited #loveyourlocalsg #supportlocalsg #supportlocalrestaurants #fooddeliverysg #discoversingapore #sgmakandiary #straitstimesfood #sgeats #localdelights #sambal #wheretoeatsg #chopesg

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Violet Oon Singapore is yet another popular chain that serves up all the classic Peranakan fare you can think of. Unique to the Jewel Changi outlet is the Nyonya Poh Piah Party which is a fun little DIY dine in kit for you to craft your very own poh piah with a mixture of ingredients that includes Chinese sausages and steamed prawns.

A one-Michelin Star restaurant, Candlenut is helmed Malcolm Lee, who was heavily influenced by his mother and grandmother.

Candlenut offers up a balance between the traditional recipes of Peranakan cuisine and a contemporary touch to keep things fresh and different. Serving a more refined menu than many out there, Candlenut promises a unique Peranakan dining experience you won’t easily forget.

5. Sleep In A Peranakan Hotel

To have a complete experience of the Peranakan culture, you can choose to stay at Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong over the many business hotels in town.

The hotel pays tribute to the Peranakan culture through its varied motifs and designs, something you’ll notice right as you enter the lobby. From ornate Peranakan ceramic patterns to colourful lanterns, Hotel Indigo is full of vibrant colours and intricate designs.

The hotel has a natural upbeat vibe and is a fitting modern touch to the historical Peranakan district it’s in. With a Peranakan-inspired restaurant Baba Chews Bar & Eatery to boot, Hotel Indigo is truly one place to stay to complete your Peranakan experience in Singapore.

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