Literary Trail: In Search of the Missing Heirloom in Katong

This is a monthly post on 'Educational Places'. Every 4th week of the month I will post on local educational places we have brought AJ to.

Jan - The Coins & Notes Museum
Feb - The NEWater Plant
Mar - Gardens By The Bay - The Cloud Forest
Apr - Gardens By The Bay - The Flower Dome
May - The Changi Museum
Jun - Human Body Experience & Nature's Design Exhibition @ Singapore Science Centre

I believe learning is reinforced by practical, after theory.  So when National Library Board (NLB) organised this trail, I quickly clicked on the registration button.

AJ loves the series of story on Sherlock Sam, & when he was reading 'Missing Heirloom in Katong' (the 1st book), we did make an effort to bring him to Chin Mee Chin Confectionery in Katong to help him associate with the story better.

We went for the trail on 12 July.  The 2nd one is in Sep & is already fully booked.

So on 12 July, the enthusiastic boy went to Marine Parade Public Library to meet up with his idol author - Adan Jimenez.

Father, son & Adan

Former Renaissance Grand Hotel

The 1st stop of the trail was Renaissance Grand Hotel

The legendary Renaissance Grand Hotel was originally the Karikal Mahal, a large mansion that wealthy cattle merchant Moona Kader Sultan built in 1920.  It was a complex of 4 houses with luxurious gardens, fountains & beautiful angel sculptures by an artificial lake & by the actual sea (now reclaimed land).

In 1947, the estate was sold to Lee Rubber Company, who renovated the mansions into a 20-room hotel called the Renaissance Grand Hotel.  It is now a temporary warehouse for unwanted furniture. :( 

Nonya Laksa Stalls

Visiting 328 Katong Laksa, which ranked no. 1 on a list of things to do in Singapore by Lonely Planet Travellers

Nonya laksa, also called laksa lemak, is the Peranakan version of the dish.  It is unique in Singapore.  Most of the famous nonya laksa stalls are found in Katong, where the Katong Laksa War still rages.

Katong Antique House

Mr Peter Wee inherited this shophouse from his grandfather in the early 1980s & began filling it with the Peranakan furnishing immediately.  It now houses 1 of the largest collections of Peranakan artefacts in Singapore.

Chin Mee Chin Confectionery

Always crowded, as usual

This old-school coffee shop has been around since 1925, & is famous for having some of the best-tasting breakfast food.  It is both a mini-restaurant & a bakery where hot buns, cream cones, cupcakes, & egg tarts are freshly baked every day.  It is 1 of the last remaining Hainanese coffee shops of old, & still retains an authentic 1950s ambience, with ceiling fans, marble-top tables, wooden chairs & floor tiles.

It is still so popular that by 12 noon, there's very little left.  It closes at 4pm & is closed on Monday.

Conserved Terrace Houses off East Coast Road

These single-storey terrace houses used to stand beside a sea wall where the beach used to be before all that land was reclaimed.  Because they were next to the sea wall, this are often flooded, so the living areas of the houses had to be built on raised ground to protect against rising tides.

Rumah (House of) Kim Choo

Kim Choo serves 1 of the BEST Nonya rice dumplings I have ever tasted.  I am honest about it.

House of Kim Choo was originally opened by Madam Lee Kim Choo in the 1940s.  She made & sold her traditional Nonya rice dumplings & they became a hit.  The business is now taken over by her daughter-in-law, Helen Lim.  House of Kim Choo also showcases Peranakan museum of sorts, full of Peranakan antiques, music, clothings & 1 of the largest Peranakan porcelain plate collections in Singapore.

AJ & I were there when we were filming with Rediffusion just last month.  You may read more about it here.

Not forgetting a group photo!

Haven't read the book yet?  Please do.  The series even got me hooked.  I only get my chance to read after the boy has finished reading each book.  Here's the boy's book review on 'The Missing Heirloom in Katong' & 'The Vanished Robot in Penang'. 


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