Standing distinct from the rows of restored pre-war shophouses, Berseh Food Centre has been quietly serving locals since 1975. The two-storey centre is quite an underdog, rarely making it into tourists’ guides for the best grub in town, but is home to nostalgic flavors that’ll take you back to any Singaporean’s childhood.
Jalan Besar as a whole is a cultural gem, with the area given conservation status on 25 October 1991. Formerly a swampland, sons of an East India Company army officer Richard and George Norris took over the land for a measly 113 rupees (SGD 4 million in today’s conversation rates) and turned it into a betel nut plantation and fruit orchard. This essentially sparked the area’s beginning as a satellite township, and was eventually named Jalan Besar in reference to the “big road” (in Malay) running through the plantation.
Despite modern housing developments, you’ll still find remnants of its past with the surrounding architecture sporting characteristics typical of the late 19th-century and early 20th-century, with colors popular with the Malay and Straits Chinese population living there. Taking a leisurely stroll along the road to the centre definitely amps up the old world, old-school charm that locals love and know Jalan Besar for.