The Peranakan Gallery is a dual concept space that brings an immersive experience of Peranakan culture right to the heart of Orchard Road.
First, a quick primer for those who may be unfamiliar with Peranakan culture. The name describes people of mixed heritage — usually Chinese and Malay — who were born into the British-ruled Straits Settlements, which Singapore used to be a part of. Also called the Straits Chinese, Peranakans developed a distinctive culture and cuisine that, passed down through generations of their people, have become pillars of modern Singapore’s cultural identity and heritage.
Through its visually immersive displays of traditional artwork and artifacts, the new gallery aims to give guests a glimpse into the everyday lives of the Peranakan people of generations past. At the entrance, visitors are greeted with a pintu pagar, an intricately-carved door which served as the traditional entrances into Peranakan shophouses.
Inside the gallery, there’s a game of cherki set up. The card game, which was once a favorite pastime of Peranakan women, is similar in concept to mahjong, and is sometimes said to be an offshoot of the classic tile game.
For those curious about Peranakan fashion and accessories, the gallery’s section devoted to embroidery would be a good place to start. If artisanal crafts are more your thing, then good news — there’s also a section displaying wares like Nyonya ceramics, Chinese porcelain pieces, and Waterford crystalware.
The gallery also serves as a gateway to Peranakan cuisine — the adjoining restaurant, called The Peranakan, makes traditional dishes such as Nonya Chap Chye, Ayam Buah Keluak, Assam Pedas Fish head, and Peranakan-style beef rendang.
Currently, there are 12 signature items on the menu, as well as a traditional tok panjang spread of shareable food and drinks, priced at $48 (lunch) and $68 (dinner) per person. If you’re there in the daytime and hankering for sweets, then there’s also a Peranakan High Tea that runs from 11am to 5:30pm, with platters of savory snacks and traditional sweets paired with tea, for $30 a person (weekends are priced at $35 per person).
As for the location — yes, Orchard Road is an ideal location for businesses hoping for high-volume foot traffic, but there’s also historical significance to it. Apparently the Orchard area also used to be the epicenter of Singapore’s first Peranakan communities — an ideal spot for a gallery that traces the community’s 500-year-history.
“We hope the gallery inspires each visitor to discover more about our unique hybrid culture that embraces East and West, and to be an active advocate for all things Peranakan. Our efforts in encouraging people to participate in and promote Singapore’s Peranakan culture stems from a passion to preserve our ancestral heritage for generations to come,” says Baba Raymond Khoo, the gallery’s founder.
Entry fees into the gallery are priced at $15 a ticket for adults, and $8 for children. Ticketing costs are waived for visitors who present a hotel keycard or a receipt from a Claymore Connect mall merchant, or by making a purchase at The Peranakan restaurant.
The Peranakan Gallery is at Level 2 of Claymore Connect Mall, 442 Orchard Road Singapore 238879
Open from 11am to 10pm daily for self-guided tours
Phone: (65) 6262 4428
MRT: Orchard MRT