It’s no secret that Singapore is just a little bit weirdly obsessed with Peranakan culture. From entire street festivals celebrating Straits Chinese traditions, to buffets and afternoon teas themed in honour of their tasty culinary heritage, our island has proven that it really has a penchant for the Peranakans. With The Peranakan Museum currently closed, some might have been left scrambling as to where to get their
cursory dose of culture. But fret not; a new addition along Orchard Road looks set to fill the Baba-shaped hole in your heart.
Now open, The Peranakan Gallery prides itself as Orchard Road’s only gallery space dedicated to an authentic showcase of traditional Straits Chinese heritage. From the moment you enter, you’re greeted by a classic Peranakan shophouse façade, complete with an ornately carved Pintu Pagar (fence door) traditionally used as a privacy screen in front of the home’s main door. Take a stroll inside and you’ll see a table set up for a round of Cherki—an old-school card game; the rest of the space features traditional embroidery art and the beautiful garments and beaded slippers worn by Peranakan women.
This may be the only gallery where you can eat inside too. Opened by the same people behind local restaurant The Peranakan right next door, The Peranakan Gallery’s main exhibit is a 20-seater Tok Panjang table that beckons visitors to sit down and feast. Tok Panjang, which translates directly to ‘long table’, refers to a grand spread of dishes laid out for both happy and sad occasions. Here, you’ll be served an actual spread of 12 signature items cooked up by the restaurant—to be enjoyed on the exquisitely crafted ceramics and crystalware Peranakan families once used.
Of course, there’s no such thing as a free meal—especially one steeped in so much heritage. Entrance to The Peranakan Gallery (and the feast) is $15 a head, though that’s waived for anyone with a hotel key card or receipt from an outlet at Claymore Connect. The project between The Peranakan and Claymore Connect Mall is here to stay, and in all fairness, will probably bring in the much-valued tourist dollar Orchard Road so loves.
The Peranakan Gallery is located at Level 2, Claymore Connect Mall, 442 Orchard Road, and is open from 11am-10pm daily. More information available here.