Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Where are the bananas?

Jalan Pisang, where you can find interesting gables such as this one with a wall mural of a girl cuddling a marmalade cat. 
A nice shady walk along Victoria Street towards Arab Street.

Chemistry, cafe along Jalan Pisang.
I've seen these interesting shophouses along Victoria Street --  from the bus -- most of the time. But just recently, I had the chance to take a nice walk as I alighted from bus 51, heading towards Arab Street to look for doll-making materials.

Except for bananas, Jalan Pisang (which means Banana Lane), has a lot of interesting stuff -- from quirky gables (like those shown in the pictures) to a range of eateries like the Michelin guide Maimunah Restauran famed for its nasi padang and Fluff where you can find the fluffiest cup cakes with interesting salted caramel toppings -- as well as Royals Steakhouse that also boasts homemade pumpkin soup (according to their website) and other goodies. Pity I just had lunch. Next time.

The area is rich in history, of course, being part of the vast garden belonging to Malay royalty -- once upon a time. Jalan Pisang must once have been the spot for banana trees in the garden.

According to the book, Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics, the street was named during the Municipal Council meeting on Boxing Day in 1860 (well, they met even during festive season, these hardworking people!).

The Hokkiens called it "buan a thiong cheng thau tiao" which means "the first street in front of the Malay cemetery" (at Jalan Kubor), the book went on to say. Well, I didn't know it was the "first street".  Google map shows that indeed it is, if you are heading towards Jalan Sultan from Victoria Street.

There aren't many nuggets on Jalan Pisang's past, though of course, the history of Kampong Glam has been written about, extensively. Here's something that you could read up on: https://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/conservation/conservation-xml.aspx?id=KPGL
Pink flowery heart gable, belonging to a nightclub (I believe). Postnote added 15 March: I was there again last Friday with a friend to taste that beef steak at Royals Steakhouse when I noticed that this wall has been white washed! Blank now. So that flowery heart has vanished, I guess, for good. 


streetsing said...

This area used to have many hardware shops catering to the engineering workshops in the vicinity and to the marine sector :)

Lo Tien Yin said...

I see. Yes, there was the shipbuilding industry in nearby Kallang River. Do you remember when these workshops started disappearing?

streetsing said...

A lot of double stories shop houses were demolished in the seventies/eighties. These shops moved to other areas :)