The intersection of East Coast Road and Joo Chiat Road is the heart of Katong, a district steeped in the culture of the Peranakans, the descendants of 17th-century Chinese and Indian immigrants who married local Malays. This part of town is where you will find the island’s largest assortment of local shophouses, which are often decorated with pastel colors and engraved statues.
Many locals make their way here for traditional bites to eat, including several stalls selling laksa (rice vermicelli in a spicy coconut-based broth) and sweet treats from the 80-plus-year-old Chin Chee Chin Confectionary. The Betel Box hostel and bistro is known for organizing informative food tours of the neighborhood. Nearby, running along the southeastern coast, is East Coast Park, the biggest park in the city.