Waterloo Street in Singapore is a must visit
From quirky galleries and studios to historic temples, there are a number of treasures waiting to be uncovered in this hip-meets-heritage neighbourhood.
- August 2019
A stroll down one of Singapore’s oldest streets lets you experience the city’s vibrant indie arts scene, multicultural identity and the locals’ favourite pastime: eating.
Sri Krishnan is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Lord Krishna; Im Thong Hood Cho is one of the city’s oldest Buddhist temples. For more than 130 years, the two ornate temples have stood side by side, resulting in interesting cross-worshipping rituals – it’s not uncommon to see Buddhist worshippers placing joss sticks in the giant urn outside the Hindu temple.
In the daytime, people head to this nondescript building to buy Buddhist artefacts or tuck into affordable vegetarian fare (try the vegan breads from Mama Patisserie and wholemeal tortilla wraps with curry potatoes from New Green Pasture). At night, however, the centre becomes a hotspot for specialty Japanese restaurants such as Kappou Japanese Sushi Tapas Bar – a tiny, one-woman sushi bar with a focus on aged fish – and Motsu-ya, which serves mainly offal dishes.
This non-profit arts space is dedicated to photography and film. The pretty canary-yellow chapel building regularly hosts exhibitions and film screenings, while in an adjacent building, you can buy prints and books by Singaporean artists.
When I was Four
Tucked away on the second floor of the Waterloo Centre is this quirky design opens in new window studio and shop that celebrates homegrown designers and regularly hosts craft workshops. The collection of jewellery, notebooks, homewares, clothing and tote bags inspired by childhood memories will make you feel warm and fuzzy, plus they make for quintessential Singapore souvenirs.
Sumo Bar Happy
Maybe it’s the playlist of Japanese hip-hop, the effortlessly cool vibe or the fact that everything that comes out of the kitchen of this modern craft noodle restaurant is made from scratch (even the togarashi spice mix is a house blend)... Whatever it is, Sumo Bar Happy has the recipe for a great night out.
Art lovers should make a beeline for the 222 Queen Street/51 Waterloo Street block, where a former Catholic school has been transformed into a lively arts centre housing galleries and dance and music schools. Head to the Waterloo Street side to fill your Instagram with shots of six interactive murals by artists Yip Yew Chong and Yuen Kum Cheong, depicting nostalgic scenes from Singapore’s past.