Sep 14, 2009

2nd Shot: Peranakan Place at Orchard Road

Peter was kind enough to share with me a 1948 photo of Orchard Road at the junction with Emerald Hill Road. Following his suggestion that I do a 'then and now', I made a trip to Orchard on a Sunday morning. I suppose this is one 'mission' oldies like Chun See, Peter, Victor or YG will loathe to undertake.
Peranakan Place at Orchard Road
Foreground shows an itinerant fruit hawker, an interesting sight for me because I've read about roaming hawkers of yesteryear selling Laksa and Nasi Kandar but not fruits. I see pears, bananas, cut watermelons and what I think is a chopping board on the pushcart. I wonder whether the cut watermelons are plastic-wrapped like today.

Background shows the original double-storey shophouses dating back to 1902 that would become, through URA restoration, Peranakan Place in 1985. A pity the 'now' version is too heavily decorated with banners and a sidewalk cafe occupies what was once Emerald Hill Road. So I searched and found the following from the archives. Peranakan Place in her stark naked form:

Peranakan Place

The restored facade can be seen clearly and note the facade in the 1948 photo is very similar (other than the roof). You can see on the Emerald Hill side, the third and fourth porticoes (sorry, what's the proper architectural term for that structure along the walkway?) are higher than the first three. I love such nitty-gritty details.

The archive photo should be dated around 1985. You can see Centrepoint Shopping Centre (opened 1983) in the background. By then, bus lanes had been introduced.


peter said...

Did you know how my generation tested the fruit quality or whether the fruit was ripe for eating - see how many flies "hang around". The more it means the fruit is good quality. Same with ice kachang. If you try the same test today, I am sure as a member of the opublic you sure complain to the environment ministry.

Anonymous said...


The signboard "Framroz's" sure brought back memories.

During Christmas each year, for a number of years I recall, a family friend, would present us with two cases of Framroz aerated drinks.

It was a delight to receive this gift, for such drinks were then considered a luxury.

However, the drinks were only reserved for guests. We, children,(then) could only hope that there were balance left in the bottles after the guests' glasses were filled.

I recall that we served drinks to our guests in glasses, one glass per guest, and not filled to the brink, unlike the days of plentiful today. Nowadays, we say "Help yourself to whatever you want ... don't be shy." Imagine the amount of wastage! We have indeed come a long way...

Anonymous said...


Obtained this meaning of portico from the Internet : a roofed area, opened to the air on one or more sides, typically supported on one side by the facade of a building and on the remaining sides by columns or arches. I guess you are referring to the supporting arches.

Lam Chun See said...

1985. I was working in the nearby Cuppage Centre then. That was where NPB used to be located. I would have thot that photo was earlier than that. During my time in Cuppage, I remember Orchard Rd was already very busy with lots of decorations and banners on buildings; and people selling stuff along the walkways; including one chap who sold 4D lottery tickets. I see in you photo the walkway is rather empty.

Victor said...

So Peranakan Place was where the 1948 photo from Michael Frost was taken. I have been wondering about this for quite a while. Thanks for solving the mystery, Icemoon.

Icemoon said...

oh gosh, i've been kept in the dark about this Michael Frost picture. what's the story; Victor, Peter?

Icemoon said...

Chun See, I suppose that was when your love-hate relationship with Orchard Road started, haha. Photo could be between 1983 and 1985 then, if Centerpoint was indeed built by 1983.

Icemoon said...

Hi Anon!

I thank you for visiting and leaving your memories. How can I address you? You must be the same Anon on portico, thanks.

A pity I'm born around time of centerpoint and I've not tried Framroz, only Kickapoo. :(

Icemoon said...

Peter, I hope the fruit seller doesnt push his cart along Albert Street or Sago Lane.

I wonder did they ever carry a blender, can sell fruit juice.

yg said...

those days, hawkers didn't sell fruit juice but they sold drinks with strips of coconut flesh or pineapple cubes in them. today, you can still get this type of 'fruit drink' at some places.

peter said...

Micheal is an oldie Englishman who passed his entire colleciton of photos to me. I spent an investment (not really and also depending how you look at $$$) producing the hard copies from 10 X 12 negatives taken with a Kodak Brownie camera. I send the railway forum folks a steam engine taken in the now KLO site - the angmos themselves also could not put a clue to the date of the steam loco. One thing nice came out though; someone in Penang recognize the old Georgetown photo I send him. The old buildings still there. Come to think of it, I should be going back to Penang - Gurney Drive and the old fairy tale canon.

Yeha I remmebr what YG says about the coconut strip in ice cube juice. Reminds me of lychee drink also.

Icemoon said...

Somehow coconut, pineapple and lychee are very local or Chinese fruits to me. I wonder whether they had strawberry, avocado, banana, kiwi and peach drinks last time. Me thinking of milkshakes now.

Icemoon said...

Peter, looks like you are beneficiary of many important heritage artefacts. No wonder Michael Frost sounds familiar, Victor has a 'second shot' of Sultan Mosque from one of Frost's photos.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I recall the drinks with pineapple cubes. When I was in primary school, there was this 'famous' pineapple cubes drink seller. He was always playing 'Hide and Seek' with the school authorities. Although, there was a sign at the front gate stating "No Hawkers Allowed", he would aways station his cart in the school grounds, when the course was clear. Upon seeing any teacher or prefect, he would quickly push his cart out of sight. Anyway, his drinks were tasty, especially the pineapple cubes, and some students did not mind breaking the school rules by patronising his stall, during recess time. In later years, they closed the gate with a long metal chain, to prevent hawkers getting into the school grounds. Yet, during recess, whenever the prefects were not around, some students bought his drinks through the 'gap' between the gates. The enterprising drink seller stationed his cart just ouside the gate. Hahaha!

I also recall a travelling drink seller who used to pass by my house, in those old days. He sold a kind of Chinese pear fruit juice. I believe it was called 'Buah Lye Chwee'. He stored it in a wooden bucket and would scoop the drinks out with a wooded ladle. He also sold some cut fruits but I cannot remember the kind of fruits he sold. All I can recall is the delicious taste of the Buah Lye Chwee!

BTW, Icemoon, you can address me as Anonymouse. Hehehe!

PChew said...

Anonymous, the pear fruit drink is not called Buah Lye Chwee. The correct name is Ham Sah Leh Chwee. You may still find such drink at a cut fruit shop. The last one I know was at Queen Street opposite the community centre (now demolished).

Icemoon said...


Buah Lye Chwee sounds like Hokkien-Malay for Pear Water Fruit.

Ham Sah Leh Chwee sounds like dunno what sand Pear Water .. haha.

Icemoon said...

Anonymouse, are you sure you are not Anonymous? How about micky mouse?

Very interesting story. Today the only travelling hawker I know is the ice-cream seller. I hope they have a permit to 'paddle their pop'.

Anonymous said...

Philip, thanks for your comments. I am actually hopeless when it comes to the Chinese language/dialects...(a hint).

Icemoon, you can call me Mighty Mouse or Mickey Mouse, it does not matter, but please not Goofy. Hahaha!

Going back into the past, I can recall many travelling hawkers that used to pass by my residence, like clock-work. Each one had his/her own specific spot to station his/her stall, if even for a brief moment. In the mornings, there were chee cheong fun, chay tow kway, prawn mee, laksa, steamed sweet potatos and yam, bread, ma kok kueh (bowl cake steamed with brown sugar in small clay pots), etc. In the afternoons and evenings, there were satay, yong tau foo kukus (steamed type), buboh kachang (mongo beans cooked with coconut milk), Chinese rojak, ice kachang man, etc. In the nights, there were tahu goreng, mee goreng, chicken porridge, etc. More than forty such hawkers used to pass by. It makes one wonder why they chose to pass by my house when it was situated on a side road and not the main road. Moreover, there were many other side roads in the surrounding area.

I would like to highlight these three vendors.(Hope the names of these desserts are proper - correct me if I am wrong)

a)The 'chinchang popiah' man - pale white honeycomb-like cruncy sweet wrapped in popiah skin.

b)The 'Bengali biscut' man - very tasty bread-like biscuits in different shapes, alike bangles, guns and balls.

c) The 'kachang tumbuk' man - rolled-up grounded peanuts. The authenticity was in the hawkwer rolling the grounded peanuts with a bottle, right in front of you.

It was indeed like a 'Food Paradise'.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Philip, you are correct. I checked with my sources and they told me that the drink is indeed Ham Sah Leh Chwee. They told me that the fruit looks like a plum but smaller. However, I cannot recall how it looks like. Maybe, you can.

Anonymous said...

Chun See, I passed by Peranakan Place, last week. The Big Sweep tickets' stall is still there. It is situated on the walkway in Centerpoint, nearest to Peranakan Place. One of the persons, manning the stall, was an elderly Indian man who had a walking stick. He could be the same person you saw in 1985.

Dogcom said...

Pardon my late participation here. The term Ham Sah Leh Chwee sounds familiar but I do remember the pear fruit drink was called Buah Lye Chwee where I grew up. Yes all the traveling hawkers usually passed by our house like clock work too. Usually one serving is shared among siblings and it was a treat.

I've found on the internet another shot of that corner shop which is probably older which might be of interest to all. This area holds special memories for me as I spent much of my childhood there. My aunt's house was at 5 Emerald Hill and my maternal grandma at Killiney Road.

Subina Arora Khaneja said...

Dear Friends,
I am doing a book on the Parsi community and your memories of "framroze' drinks are very interesting. I would truly appreciate if you could share these with me over an email or phone. These anecdotes would add to the book about the community (Framroze was a Parsi gentleman. The other one I was looking for was Phoenix Water.
My email is and I would really appreciate it.

Thanks & Regards,