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This might sound a little bit unusual, but arm candy designer and Central Saints Martins’ alumni LING WU has a rather keen sense of touch. Her super chic bags – buttery soft, supple and light – must be the result of extensive handling of skins, from python to various leathers, and she chooses the most luxe of them for her namesake bag label. 

But where does she find her inspiration? We discovered – on a trip around Kampong Glam – that it’s her Asian heritage, coupled with a signature minimalist aesthetic, which gives her designs a distinct LING WU look. Here, a list of her favourite spots in the neighbourhood.

Guide to Kampong Glam with Ling Wu

CAD Café

Short for Coffee, Art and Design, this quaint little café also serves good sandwiches – the Cajun prawn baguette is a must-try – and craft beers. I love the how the eclectic space mixes cool contemporary art, vintage furniture and industrial fittings together – it’s like being in a hipster’s apartment!
CAD Café, 23 Haji Lane, Singapore 189216. Open Tue-Wed 8am-10pm; Thu-Fri 8am-12am; Sat 10am-12am, Sun 10am-10pm.

Visual Orgasm

Joseph and Kelvin, the two talented tattoo artists helming this well-known establishment, are popular names in the local tattooing field. Both have different styles: Joseph is perfect if you’ve got a thing for stunning, realistic portraits, and Kelvin’s the man for vibrant, old school type tattoos. Whatever your preference, rest assured you’ll be in good hands!
Visual Orgasm, 2 Haji Lane, Singapore 189195, p. 6336 5884.

Shopping in Kampong Glam

Malay Heritage Centre

I realised how little I know of Singapore’s Malay community when I visited this place. The museum houses a collection of historical artefacts and exhibits to showcase the Malay heritage and culture, as well as the history of Kampong Glam as a thriving port town back in the day. Not to mention the building and its surrounds are beautiful and so Instagram-worthy.
Malay Heritage Centre, 85 Sultan Gate, Singapore 198501, p. 6391 0450. Museum is open Tue-Sun 10am-6pm (last admission 5:30pm) ; Compound is open Tue-Sun 8am-8pm, Fri-Sat 8am-10pm. Closed Mondays. 

SingJazz Club

Jazz is one of my favourite music genres to wind down to after hours, and SingJazz Club (the old Sultan Jazz Club) caters specifically for that, with live performances by international and local artistes. The ambience is intimate, sexy and moody, just like the type of sound it showcases.
SingJazz Club, 101 Jalan Sultan #02-00 Singapore 199002, p 8139 9059. Open Wed-Sun 9pm-1am.

Kampong Glam | Hounds of the Baskervilles

Hounds of the Baskervilles

A barbershop and tattoo parlour rolled into one, Feroze McLeod’s dandy establishment is where real men, like my husband, go to get spiffed up and inked. Despite the Victorian aesthetic of the place and a heavily tattooed crew, there’s a sense of old-school authenticity about the place you won’t find anywhere else.
Hounds of the Baskervilles, 24 Bali Lane, Singapore 189860, p. 6299 1197. Open Mon to Fri 11am-10pm, Sat 11am-7pm.

Bumbu Restaurant

When I can’t decide between Peranakan, Indonesian and Thai food, this is where I go for all three cuisines. The tau hu telor is to die for, and I never leave without having the beef rendang. With antiques all around, it’s almost like dining in a cultural museum.
Bumbu Restaurant, 44 Kandahar Street, Singapore 198897, p. 6392 8628. Opening hours Tues to Sun: 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm. Closed Mondays. 

Thanks Ling!