Tiong Bahru isn’t just a hipster hangout you know mamas, it has been well and truly colonized (probably much to hipster chagrin) by the yummy mummy gang, and is in fact so packed with family-friendly (or at least, mama-friendly) haunts, that we’ve put together our very own Sassy Mama guide to the unmissable spots to hit up!
No visit to Tiong Bahru is complete without popping into the Wet Market. It’s one of our Singapore faves for fresh fruit and dried goods, and there’s an awesome little stall upstairs in the hawker section which sells the best pau. Nope, they’re not even remotely healthy but kids will absolutely gobble them up. Just look for Tiong Bahru Pau (stall #02-18/19). Also look for Zenxin Organic (stall #01-194/195), which sells organic veg.
One of our favourite Singapore indie businesses, Woods in the Books, is an absolute must-visit on Yong Siak Street. This children’s bookshop has all of your adored picture book titles, plus lots of new discoveries to make. Check out their notice board or like their FB page as they also run fun workshops and play sessions for kiddos. Love. We like to follow up some exhausting book-shopping with a stop by Vanilla Bakery (see below) as they’re pretty much next door to each other.
Flea & Trees is our go-to little secret for bagging cool vintage finds that set you apart from the other mamas at the school gates. Their blingy jewellery hails from Korea and their imported fashions are mostly Japanese. We’re crazy about their latest range of folk-style embroidered cotton tops and dresses and recommend following them on Instagram so you can spot (and snap up!) new arrivals quickly.
Hands down our fam-friendly favourites in the ‘hood are the classic Tiong Bahru Bakery and relative newcomer, Plain Vanilla Bakery. Tiong Bahru Bakery will please the hungry early-rising hordes (don’t miss the almond croissants) on Sunday mornings with strong coffee, while they put a pep in your step with their funky music and buzzy atmosphere. Plain Vanilla Bakery is our go-to for a chilled out afternoon cupcake session (the best in Singers? We’re putting it out there…) and a little play with their wooden toys in the outside courtyard area.
Other honorable mentions go to The Dispensary, a cool café that’s perfect for a longer hanging out session, Po-tea-to if you want to feed the kiddos actual food rather than just baked goodies (why?!) and PS Café Petite to grab a take-out pizza on a Sunday evening if you can’t face cooking. Pssst… If you’re looking for a sans-kids cool spot, Bincho is the new hot table in town and Coq and Balls has an impressive craft beer selection despite its snigger-worthy name!
To book Bincho, click here:
To book Coq and Balls, click here:
Schooling options in TB are pretty limited (surely a huge opportunity for some entrepreneurial person!) but ArtsKidz which is located just above the community centre is a preschool option worth checking out if you’re local to the area. A fave with Japanese and Korean mamas for its fab language and music programme (every kiddo gets given their own violin) it’s not fancy but it has charm and warmth in spades.
If you’re feeling a bit creaky and in need of some TLC, take yourself down to Nimble & Knead for some massage therapy. We love their innovative no-frills approach to spa-ing and you can check out our full review here to get the full scoop! If you’re more the traditional type and just want a good ol’ fashioned reasonably-priced foot massage, we’d recommend hopping to Foot For Thought for a bit of reflexology. Harnn has also moved into the area recently with a boutique that feels a little swish for the laid-back surroundings but which is a good pitstop if you’re looking to pick up a gift.
Don’t be fooled by the name – Tiong Bahru Park with its fantastic train climbing frame and sandpit is a good 10 minutes walk (or 15 minute toddle) from all the other spots we’re mentioning in this piece as it’s located on the main Tiong Bahru Road itself. If we’re not up to the trek but still want to burn off some energy we seek out the playground located along Tiong Bahru Road (a short walk away from Tiong Bahru Plaza) instead for some easy climbing and sliding fun!
How to get there?
Most of the places mentioned above are about an easy 10-minute stroll from the Tiong Bahru MRT. If you taxi, make sure to give your driver an easy landmark (like the wet market) as many uncles don’t know the individual backstreets. If you drive, make sure to park in a white-marked spot as red ones are for residents only.