Five types of people you’ll meet in Balestier

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Balestier is a sub-zone of the Novena planning area, known for its quirky, eclectic character. Nestled right next to its more reserved and upmarket main planning area Novena, and mere minutes away from Orchard Road by car, Balestier is one of those unpolished and ever-so-slightly seedy pockets of Singapore beautifully cobbled together from different walks of life.
Take a stroll through this — admittedly — mildly congested, busy part of central Singapore, and you’ll soon come across five types of folk who frequent the vicinity.

1. Home renovators

Singaporeans going through home renovations may be familiar with the names Lian Seng Hin and Hafary. Photo credit: Ruth Loh Xiu
A quick drive through Balestier Road will have you thinking the patron saint of toilet bowls and faux-crystal chandeliers undoubtedly dwells here. Two of Singapore’s most popular tile purveyors, Hafary and Lian Seng Hin, each cap one end of a short stretch of shophouses, while interior design companies and lighting stores line up along the road from top to tip, jostling for attention. If you’re looking to remodel your new pad, you’ll probably be frozen into indecision at the onslaught of possibilities that hits you from the get-go.

2. Durian lovers

Combat Durian is well-known islandwide. Photo credit: Loh Xiu Ruth
Combat Durian, always exceedingly popular, has its roots in Balestier. Plenty of durian-hunters milled about the piles of spiky fruit on a sun-drenched Sunday afternoon, while a couple more durian stalls lurked down the road, largely ignored. If you get sick of the queue at Combat, you can always pop...