East Coast Staycation
Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy

Sometimes we need a break but we don't have time to travel. That's why Singaporeans love a staycation. Typically our staycations are at Sentosa, or Orchard Road, but for a taste of local food, heritage and culture you can't beat Katong.

Katong is a foodie heaven. It's rich with history and Peranakan culture. Fortunately it's all within reach of this month's featured hotel, the Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy, Marine Parade.

The Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy has been renovated recently. It's a favourite with regular visitors to Singapore. Check out this glowing review from the West Australian newspaper: A Singapore hotel worth a visit.

Katong Laksa
Katong is famous for laksa and other nonya food, such as homemade kaya, fresh kueh-kueh, and the ornate architecture of Peranakan shophouses.

One of my favourite laksa is Janggut Laksa, the Original Katong Laksa, at Roxy Square. The coconut curry is creamy and delicious. The sambal is applied to the side of the bowl in a delicate painterly fashion. Cockles add the distinct Katong flavour and there is a sufficient serve of noodles.

The Katong style is eaten with only a spoon and no chopsticks. Don't miss out on the otah which can be purchased from the next stall. The complex flavours of the fresh otah complement the Original Katong Laksa perfectly.

Janggut Laksa is a hidden gem. You wouldn't know it's there on the other side of East Coast Road directly opposite the more visible 328 Katong Laksa. It's hidden away in Roxy Square shopping centre behind the escalator next to Wahiro.

Incidentally, Wahiro has what I consider to be the best Japanese set lunch in Singapore. The quality of sashimi, sushi, tempura, miso, dished up for $15++ is absolutely outstanding. You can't go wrong selecting from the lunch specials. I prefer the sushi set, the sashimi set, the tempura set or the kushiyaki. Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy Lobby

There is plenty to do in Katong during an East Coast staycation. There is a newish shopping centre 112 Katong mall within walking distance of the Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy. You'll find a host of dining options, homewares, and a movie theatre. While on the other side of Marine Parade, opposite the hotel, is Parkway Parade shopping mall where you can buy all your necessities without heading in to town.

A comfortable king deluxe room at the Grand Mercure Roxy. Picture: Niall McIlroy

But honestly if you want to spend time in Katong, it isn't about shopping malls. Katong is about food, heritage and culture. Of greater interest are the shophouses on East Coast Road and Joo Chiat Road selling Peranakan wares from beaded slippers to kueh kueh to freshly-made kaya coconut jam.

Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy food and beverage outlets
WAVE cafe, lobby level
Jia Wei Chinese Restaurant, level 2
Feast@East Buffet Restaurant, level 3
breez bistro.bar, level 4

Janggut Laska, The Original Katong Laksa, Roxy Square.
Wahiro: for the set lunch
Rabbit, Carrot, Gun: for drinks and casual dining.
Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant: old school Peranakan food.
Casa Bom Vento: 477 Joo Chiat Road. Eurasian-Nonya-Halal restaurant.
Beach Road Prawn Mee Eating House: 370 E Coast Rd. Famous prawn noodle.
Penny University, Oh Deli! and The Laneway Market: for Australasian style espresso coffee.

The Contest to Win 2 Days 1 Night at
Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy
closed at midnight 31/08/15.
The winner was Ling Hong Yao of Singapore.
Grand Mercure Roxy logo