Chinatown Street Corner Heritage Galleries Tell The Stories Of Longstanding Businesses

Mei Heong Yeun
Image: National Heritage Board
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The stories of 11 heritage business gets told as part of the Street Corner Heritage Galleries: Chinatown, recently launched by National Heritage Board. Amongst them are familiar names like Eu Yan Sang, Tong Heng, Spring Court Restaurant and others like Tin Sing Goldsmiths and Pek Sin Choon.

Street Corner Heritage Galleries is an initiative by National Heritage Board to raise awareness of heritage in everyday spaces. It was first launched in Balestier in 2020 and has been also been extended to Kampong Gelam and Little India.

Here are some of the stories behind the latest set of businesses that have been inducted into the scheme.


Chinatown Street Corner Heritage Gallery

Eu Yan Sang

Chinatown Street Corner Heritage Gallery Eu Yan Sang
Image: National Heritage Board

The story of Eu Yan Sang starts in 1873 when Eu Kong, an immigrant from Guangdong, China, arrived in Perak, Malaya where he observed that tin miners often turned to opium to ease their pains. 


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Convinced that traditional Chinese medicine could provide better pain management and treat ailments, Eu opened a medical hall in Gopeng, Perak in 1879, naming it Yan Sang, which translates to “caring for mankind” in Cantonese. 


Chop Wah On

Chop Wah On
Image: National Heritage Board

Founded by Tong Chee Leong in 1916 at 67 Pagoda Street, Chop Wah On is one of the oldest medicated oil and balm companies in Singapore. 

Reputed for its quality yet affordable products, Chop Wah On was a popular stop for Chinese coolies and Samsui women returning to China to stock up on gifts, in particular its Red Flower Oil.


Spring Court Restaurant

Spring Court Restaurant
Image: National Heritage Board

One of the oldest restaurants in Singapore, Spring Court was established at Great World Amusement Park in 1929 by lorry driver turned restaurateur Ho Loke Yee.

Originally named Wing Choon Yuen (“singing in a spring garden” in Cantonese), the restaurant was reputed for its localised Cantonese fare, which incorporated ingredients from Malay, Indian, Hokkien and Teochew cuisines.


Mei Heong Yeun

Mei Heong Yeun
Image: National Heritage Board

The business was founded by Lee Chit Heng, who worked in the roasted peanut industry in Menglembu, Ipoh, before relocating to Singapore in the 1940s. Lee established Mei Heong Yuen, which sold Menglembu peanuts on Pagoda Street before relocating to Temple Street. It marketed the peanuts under the name Farmer Brand.

These are just some of the stories of the businesses found around Chinatown. More businesses can be found here.


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