Neighborhood Travel Guide: Jalan Besar, Singapore

Jalan Besar is a vibrant neighborhood located in the central region of Singapore. The area is known for its bustling streets, eclectic mix of cultures, and diverse array of food and entertainment options. The name “Jalan Besar” means “big road” in Malay, and the neighborhood is indeed home to many major thoroughfares, including Jalan Besar itself.

As you wander through Jalan Besar, you’ll see a fascinating blend of old and new. The area has a rich history and many of its buildings date back to the early 20th century, giving the neighborhood a charming, old-world feel. At the same time, the area has undergone significant redevelopment in recent years, with modern buildings and trendy cafes and bars popping up alongside traditional shops and eateries.

One of the highlights of Jalan Besar is its food scene. From hawker centers and street stalls to trendy cafes and upscale restaurants, there is no shortage of culinary options in the area. Whether you’re craving traditional Singaporean dishes like laksa and chicken rice, or you’re looking for something more international, you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes.

In addition to its food, Jalan Besar also offers plenty of opportunities for entertainment and relaxation. The neighborhood is home to several parks and green spaces, including the lush greenery of Farrer Park and the peaceful oasis of Mount Emily Park. There are also plenty of bars, nightclubs, and music venues in the area, making it a popular spot for nightlife.

There are several reasons why travelers should consider visiting Jalan Besar when exploring Singapore.

  1. Jalan Besar is a great place to experience the diverse cultural heritage of Singapore. The neighborhood is home to a mix of different ethnic groups, including Chinese, Malay, Indian, and European, and this cultural diversity is reflected in the area’s architecture, cuisine, and customs. As you wander through the streets of Jalan Besar, you’ll see a fascinating blend of old and new, traditional and modern, that gives the neighborhood a unique and vibrant character.
  2. Jalan Besar is a foodie’s paradise. The area is renowned for its hawker centers, street food stalls, and traditional eateries, where you can try a wide variety of local dishes and flavors. Whether you’re in the mood for spicy laksa, fragrant chicken rice, or crispy roti prata, you’ll find plenty of delicious options to satisfy your appetite.
  3. Jalan Besar offers plenty of opportunities for entertainment and relaxation. The neighborhood is home to several parks and green spaces, which provide a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Additionally, the area has a lively nightlife scene, with bars, clubs, and music venues that cater to a range of tastes.

Apartment Coffee

Apartment Coffee is a cozy and stylish cafe located in the heart of Jalan Besar, a vibrant neighborhood in central Singapore. The cafe’s interior is tastefully designed with modern decor and rustic elements, giving it a warm and inviting atmosphere.

One of the highlights of Apartment Coffee is its coffee menu, which features a selection of specialty brews made with high-quality beans sourced from around the world. Whether you’re a fan of espresso, pour-over, or cold brew, you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes at this cafe.

In addition to its coffee, Apartment Coffee also offers a range of delicious food options, including freshly baked pastries, sandwiches, and salads. All of the dishes are made with fresh and high-quality ingredients, and are prepared with care and attention to detail.

Another unique feature of Apartment Coffee is its location within a residential building. The cafe is situated on the ground floor of an apartment complex, giving it a cozy and intimate feel that’s perfect for a quiet afternoon break or a catch-up with friends.

Petain Road Terrace Houses

Petain Road Terraces Houses are a stunning example of Singapore’s historic shophouse architecture. Located in the Jalan Besar neighborhood, these colorful terraced houses date back to the early 20th century and are a testament to the area’s rich history and heritage.

As you approach Petain Road, you’ll immediately be struck by the vibrant hues of the terraced houses, which are painted in a variety of bright colors, from pastel pinks and yellows to bold blues and greens. The shophouses are arranged in a row, each with its own unique facade and decorative elements, such as intricate wrought-iron balconies and ornate moldings.

Walking through the narrow streets between the terraced houses, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to a bygone era. The buildings have been well-preserved and restored, and their original features have been carefully maintained, including the decorative tiles and intricate carvings that adorn their facades.

In addition to their architectural beauty, the Petain Road Terraces Houses are also home to a variety of businesses, including restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the row of shophouses, stopping to browse the wares or sample the local cuisine.


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Onlewo is a charming shop located in the Jalan Besar neighborhood of Singapore, offering a unique and authentic shopping experience. The shop specializes in locally designed and produced home decor and lifestyle products, featuring contemporary designs inspired by Singapore’s rich cultural heritage.

When you enter Onlewo, you’ll immediately be struck by the shop’s beautiful and colorful displays. From handcrafted cushions and table runners to wall art and tea towels, each item is a work of art in its own right, featuring bold prints and patterns that evoke Singapore’s diverse cultural tapestry.

What sets Onlewo apart is its commitment to promoting local artists and designers. All of the products sold in the shop are designed and produced in Singapore, with a focus on using sustainable and eco-friendly materials wherever possible. This not only supports local creatives, but also ensures that every item you purchase is a unique and ethical choice.

In addition to shopping, Onlewo also offers workshops and events where you can learn more about the history and traditions behind their designs. From block printing to embroidery, these hands-on experiences provide a deeper appreciation for the artistry and craftsmanship behind each product.

The Tiramisu Hero

The Tiramisu Hero is a charming cafe located in the heart of Jalan Besar, Singapore. The cafe is known for its delicious homemade tiramisu, which comes in a variety of flavors and sizes to suit every taste. The cafe also serves a range of other desserts and beverages, making it a great spot for a casual afternoon tea or a sweet treat after a meal.

As you step into The Tiramisu Hero, you’ll be greeted by a cozy and inviting atmosphere. The cafe’s decor is eclectic and whimsical, with colorful murals, vintage furniture, and quirky knick-knacks adorning the walls and shelves. The vibe is laid-back and friendly, making it a great place to hang out with friends or catch up on some work.

The menu at The Tiramisu Hero is centered around their signature dessert, the tiramisu. The cafe offers a variety of flavors, including classic, matcha, and earl grey, as well as seasonal options like Christmas and Valentine’s Day specials. You can order tiramisu by the slice or by the jar, and there are also mini tiramisu cups for those who just want a taste. The cafe also serves other desserts like cheesecake and brownies, as well as coffee, tea, and other beverages.

In addition to its delicious treats, The Tiramisu Hero is also known for its cute and Instagram-worthy decor. The cafe has a variety of backdrops and props that are perfect for snapping a photo or two, including a giant plush tiramisu slice and a colorful mural featuring the cafe’s mascot, Sir Antonio the Bear.

Hong Kong 88 Roast Meat Specialist

Roast pork lovers should not miss the sio bak (Chinese-style roast pork) at this street stall. Owner Martin has perfected his recipe over the years, including a two-hour variable-temperature cooking process. Result? Tender, melt-in-your-mouth pork covered with crispy, just-eaten skin. It’s best eaten straight from the oven, so try to get there when the stalls open at 11am and beat the midday crowds while you’re there.

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