10 Must-Visit Places In Singapore’s Kampong Glam

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Once an ethnic enclave for the Muslim community including Arab and Bugis traders, Kampung Gelam or Kampong Glam has since evolved to become a hip neighbourhood that houses boutiques, cafes, restaurants, bars, lifestyle stores and eye-popping street art.

A place where age-old traditions meet modernity, this Malay Heritage District brims with cultural and culinary gems.

Here are 10 places you’ve gotta check out when you’re in the neighbourhood.

EAT
1. Alaturka Mediterranean & Turkish Restaurant

15 Bussorah Street
Open daily from 11.30am to 10.30pm

This restaurant has been serving authentic Turkish Mediterranean dishes since 2005. It was awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand award in 2016!

Its extensive menu features made-from-scratch flatbreads and traditional dishes like İncik Pilaf, traditional broth of lamb shank, carrots, onions, potatoes and bell pepper, served with pulse salad and rice pilaf, and Hünkâr Begendi, an Ottoman-style beef stew served over creamy smoked eggplant purée.

10 Must-Visit Places In Singapore’s Kampong Glam - Alaturka Mediterranean & Turkish Restaurant
Photo: Alaturka Mediterranean & Turkish Restaurant

Kebab fans must try the Karisik Kebab Deluxe (for two persons) which comes with a classic mix of flame-licked kebabs. Enjoy your meats with accompanying dips like Hummus and Babaganoush.

Cold appetiser choices include Havoc Salata, grated carrots sautéed in butter, then tossed in yoghurt and garlic, and Çoban Salata, a healthy bowl of diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, olives and feta dressed in a pomegranate dressing.

Round off your meal on a sweet note with some Baklava, crisp filo layers filled with pistachio, walnut and syrup, and Künefe, baked buttered pastry shreds encased with soft cheese, served with cream.

2. HJH Maimunah

11 Jln Pisang
Operating hours: Monday to Saturday – 7.30am to 6.30pm

One of Kampong Glam’s heritage eateries is the renowned HJH Maimunah, a family-owned Muslim eatery which serves traditional kampung-style Malay dishes.

Founded in 1992, the restaurant is named after founder Mahiran Abdul Rahman’s late mother, Hajah Maimunah Abdul Karim. It is now run by Mahiran’s daughters Mastura, Maria and Maryam.

10 Must-Visit Places In Singapore’s Kampong Glam – HJH Maimunah
Photo: Singapore Tourism Board

This well-loved eatery serves nasi padang (Indonesian dishes flavoured with spices, served with rice). Crowd favourites include Beef Rendang, Sundanese Grilled Chicken, Tahu Telor (Indonesian-style tofu omelette) and Siput Sedut Lemak (needle snails in coconut sauce).

Serving over 40 dishes daily, the restaurant earned a place on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list in 2021.

3. Mother Dough Bakery

3 Jalan Kledek
Operating hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm

Famed for its variety of freshly baked croissants, baguettes, brioche and quiche, this cosy halal bakery takes its name from the fermentation starter or sourdough culture used in bread making.

Founder Naadhira Ismail spent four years in New York City perfecting the art of bread-making before setting up her shop in Kampong Glam in 2018.

10 Must-Visit Places In Singapore’s Kampong Glam – Mother Dough Bakery
Photo: Mother Dough Bakery

Aside from a rotating menu of quiches and cakes, one of the bakery’s bestsellers is the Almond Croissant which is sticky, sweet and delightful all at the same time. Another gem is Sticky Date, a moist honey pound cake that’s glazed with buttery caramel.

Some of the bakes sell out by midday, so be sure to head to the bakery early to get your hands on your favourite breads and pastries. Alternatively, pre-order your favourite items online and have them delivered or pick them up from the bakery.

4. Box n Sticks

28 Kandahar Street
Operating hours: Sunday to Thursday – 11.45am to 3pm & 6pm to 10.30pm; Friday & Saturday – 11.45am to 3pm & 6pm to 11.30pm

This humble izakaya has held its weight for close to a decade. Thanks to its pocket-friendly Japanese rice bowls, bento boxes and pasta, the restaurant has successfully lured in crowds of hungry diners over the years.

Its interiors exude a retro charm, complete with Showa era posters, swaying lanterns and warm wooden furniture.

If you’re a fan of spice, go for the Spicy Aburi Seafood Maki, a delish bowl of prawn tempura, crabstick and torched salmon, served with a house-made sauce made with a chilli blend.

10 Must-Visit Places In Singapore’s Kampong Glam – Box n Sticks
Photo: Box n Sticks

For steam bun lovers, there’s the Signature Buta Kakuni Buns, pillowy white buns served as threes on a skewer, with chunks of tender pork belly placed in the middle. What makes it even tastier is a bowl of thick, caramelised sauce served on the side to slather on the buns for an extra burst of flavour.

If you’re planning to have a beer or two while you’re there, be sure to check with the staff on its latest beer promotion.

5. Bhai Sarbat Singapore

21 Bussorah Street
Open daily from 6.30am to 1am

This traditional teh tarik (pulled tea) stall, tucked in one of Kampong Glam’s alleyways, serves over 70 drinks including refreshing picks like iced lemon tea, sugarcane and soda lemon.

10 Must-Visit Places In Singapore’s Kampong Glam - Bhai Sarbat Singapore
Photo: Bhai Sarbat Singapore

If you’re ordering teh tarik, stick around to watch how it’s prepared. See how the black tea  is pulled or stretched with milk, from one stainless steel mug to the next, until a frothy texture is achieved.

It is believed that the technique of stretching the tea helps it to mix well with another essential ingredient which is the evaporated milk. Stretching the tea also brings out the strong aroma and subtle taste of the tea, and helps the tea to cool down faster.

EXPLORE

6. Sultan Mosque

3 Muscat Street
Visiting hours: Saturday to Thursday – 10am to 12pm & 2pm to 4pm (closed on Friday)

Also known as Masjid Sultan, the impressive Sultan Mosque is an iconic landmark that cannot be missed. Its massive golden domes are eye-catching from afar.

Built in 1824 for the first sultan of Singapore, the mosque is one of the city’s most impressive religious buildings and also one of the most historic focal points for the Muslim community.

10 Must-Visit Places In Singapore’s Kampong Glam – Sultan Mosque
Photo: Hosanna Swee

A hundred years later, the mosque was in desperate need of repair. The present mosque was designed by Denis Santry from Swan and Maclaren, Singapore’s oldest architectural firm, and rebuilt in 1932.

Take a closer look at the onion-shaped domes and notice that each dome base is decorated with glass bottle ends, donated by lower-income Muslims during its construction so that all Muslims, not just the rich, could contribute.

Enter the mosque through Gate No. 5 (facing Bussorah Street). Be sure to remove your footwear, maintain silence and dress modestly (long-sleeved tops and long pants or long skirts for women; sleeved tops and long pants for men).

7. Sifr Aromatics

42 Arab Street
Operating hours: Tuesday to Saturday – 11am to 8pm, Sunday, Monday & public holidays – 11am to 5pm

Founded in 2010 by a long line of perfumers, Sifr is a third-generation independent perfume shop specialising in small-batch luxury perfume oils, soy-wax candles and essential oil blends.

Blending ancient and modern techniques into each concoction, the scents can be customised for individual preferences.

10 Must-Visit Places In Singapore’s Kampong Glam - Sifr Aromatics
Photo: @carlowsorryha / Instagram

If you like perfume oils, go for Patchouli Rose which is light, yet earthy. There’s also Sage Tea, with a hint of sparkling citrus, for those who prefer a more delicate and fresh scent.

If you’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to be a perfumer, sign up for Sifr’s Language of Perfume Workshop that’s priced at $100 per person. You’ll get to bring home a 5ml perfume oil after the workshop.

8. Vintage Camera’s Museum

8C & 8D Jalan Kledek
Open daily from 10.30am to 7.30pm
Admission: $20 adult, $15 senior citizen/child below 12 years old

This one-of-a-kind museum, housed in a building that resembles a massive Rollei camera, boasts over 1,000 vintage cameras.

Besides cameras, the museum also displays archival photographs of key historical moments like the moon landing as well as wartime images.

10 Must-Visit Places In Singapore’s Kampong Glam – Vintage Camera’s Museum
Photo: Vintage Camera’s Museum

Some novel camera models to look out for include the massive 6m-long mammoth camera from the 1800s, as well as toy or spy cameras used by Japanese troops in the past.

9. Gelam Gallery

Once a dull space devoid of colour, Kampong Glam’s backlanes are now vibrant Insta-worthy spots. Besides graffiti-filled walls, spot other unique art transformations such as repainted dustbins and drain covers. 

 

10 Must-Visit Places In Singapore’s Kampong Glam - Gelam Gallery
Photo: Color Inc Pte Ltd

The gallery showcases a range of murals and framed works of more than 30 artists from all walks of life. These artists include fresh graduates from art schools like Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), Lasalle College of the Arts, as well as experienced local and foreign artists. 

 

Entrance to the outdoor gallery is free. If you prefer diving deeper into the projects with the help of a guide, sign up for a free guided walking tour conducted by Monster Day Tours.

10. The Kampong Gelam Mural

92 Arab Street

Don’t leave the area without checking out Kampong Glam’s latest mural which depicts the history and culture of the area. Painted by local self-taught artist Yip Yew Chong, The Kampong Gelam Mural can be found at the side of a shophouse at 92 Arab Street.

On one wall, it depicts Kampong Glam’s early days by the seafront while the lower parts showcase trades such as textile and diamond trading, book printing, tombstone engraving and iron smithing.

10 Must-Visit Places In Singapore’s Kampong Glam - The Kampong Gelam Mural
Photo: Yip Yew Chong

Kampong Glam was also once a Haj hub where pilgrims from neighbouring countries transit before taking the steamships to Mecca. Pondok Jawa served as one of the boarding houses for the pilgrims, as well as a centre of entertainment, wayang kulit performances and food fairs.

At the bottom left corner is the depiction of the iconic Gedung Kuning (Yellow Mansion). Next to the doors are two maps – an old map and a 2023 map, painted side by side, giving an interesting perspective.

*This article has been edited and adapted with permission from Now Boarding by Changi Airport’s “10 best places to explore and eat at Singapore’s Kampong Glam