After several prolonged months of staying home in an effort to curb the pandemic, few Singaporeans will approach the idea of exploring their neighbourhoods enthusiastically. On the flip side, Tanglin Halt residents are taking time out to embrace every moment they have left in their estate.

Announced in 2014, the Tanglin Halt estate is set for demolishment in 2021 under the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS). To that end, we urge you to visit this quaint estate as soon as you can. If it’s your first time heading down, here are some interesting facts and key places that we recommend visiting whilst you’re there.

HDB Flats

Blocks 47,51, 71-73 SIT Flats

Image: Shariffah Nadia/ Butler Singapore

Venture into the back alleys of the estate, and spot these three-storey flats, the only remaining flats designed by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT). Snap a quick #OOTD against the pristine-looking brick walls, a sight that you’ll rarely find on a Housing Development Board (HDB) flat facade due to building enhancement techniques.

*To note: Bushes and grass in the area are unkempt so do mind your steps.

Chup Lau Chu (Blocks 70-80)

Image: MyCommunity

Ask any taxi driver, and they’ll recognise Tanglin Halt for its “Chup Lau Chu” (10-storeys in Hokkien) flats.

Built along Commonwealth Drive, Blocks 70-80 were the prime location in the ’80s for factories such as Nippon Paint and Van Houten. Besides being the face of Housing Development Board’s (HDB) public housing efforts, these blocks were also featured on Singapore’s first one-dollar note and the Marine-series one-cent coin.

To note: these blocks were demolished in 2015 but to get a closer look on the flat features, do drop by Museum @ my Queenstown, located at block 46-3!

Read more: Next stop, the museum station!


The $1 Dessert stall

Image: Shariffah Nadia/ Butler Singapore

Being the world’s 4th most expensive city, you’ll probably be amazed at the fact that it’s definitely possible to indulge in a bowl of local dessert — for a dollar. Consider this an essential pitstop to quench your thirst, especially after a humid day spent exploring the neighbourhood.

Location: Tanglin Halt Food Centre

Hock Ann Confectionery

Image: Shariffah Nadia/Butler Singapore

Operating since the 1970s, this particular bakery located alongside Museum @ My Queenstown bakes fresh bread and pastries daily. Starting from just 80 cents, we guarantee you that the treats here are the best cheat day delights that you dough-not want to miss.

Location: Block 46-3 Tanglin Halt

Peking Room Biryani

Image: Shariffah Nadia/Butler Singapore

It’s time to put on your kiasu Singaporean shoes and queue for one of the best biryani stores in the neighbourhood. This particular store is so popular to the point where people working in the offices nearby often go on an early lunch break just to avoid disappointment.

To note: the store opens at noon but a queue is formed as early as 11am

Location: Block 49 Tanglin Halt Road, store is located by the road alongside Tanglin Halt Food Centre

Kian Seng Incense & Provision Shop

Image: Shariffah Nadia/Butler Singapore

What started as a religious paraphernalia store selling joss sticks and incense papers went on to be a full-fledged provision shop in 1976. As residents back then were not very well to do, the store owner allowed them to pay on credit. This meant that residents could get their groceries first and pay once they have obtained their paycheck. With an array of childhood snacks sold for just $2, trying to narrow down your choices will prove to be a tough decision.

Location: Block 49, Tanglin Halt Road just a few shops down the Biryani store

Special Features of Tanglin Halt

Tanglin Halt Community Plaza

Image: MyCommunity

Located next to the food centre, this open piazza serves as a platform for community celebrations, which includes Queenstown’s 60th birthday as well as National Day Celebrations. Occasionally, movie-screenings are held here and residents gather to bond over a cup of kopi from the food centre.

Tanglin Halt Food Centre

Image: MyCommunity

The hexagonal-shaped layout of the food centre in Commonwealth Drive is what sets it apart from other food centres. You’re likely to get a 360-degree view of all the stores, no matter where you’re seated. For those who are ambivalent when it comes to choosing your feast options, this view will certainly spare you some time!

To note: Do adhere to safe distancing measures and sit on separate tables if your group exceeds five pax.

Green Corridor

Image: Shariffah Nadia/Butler Singapore

Back in the day, residents would hear the deafening Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) trains passing by the back alley of the former Chap Lau Chu blocks. Today, the former tracks are repurposed into a green corridor where residents could go on walks/jogs in their free time.

Location: behind the 3-storey SIT flats, spot a walking path that leads you in

To get a bird’s eye view of the estate, head up to the 40th storey of blocks 89-91!

Image: Shariffah Nadia/Butler Singapore

We do hope you would make time to drop by the nostalgic neighbourhood before its demolishment.

Due to a rental hike up in the new estate, many stores might not be moving over. It’ll be nice if you could show your support for these stores whilst exploring all the old-age charm Tanglin Halt contains!

READ MORE: The ever charming Queenstown