Heritage Gardens - Malay Garden

A traditional kampung (village) house takes pride of place here, and offers visitors much needed respite from the mid-day heat.

Kampung house in the Malay Garden Kampung house in the Malay Garden

Many plants in the Malay Garden tell the story of our local cuisine! Plants such as coconut palm, galangal and pandan produce the key ingredients of many delicious dishes that are enjoyed by Singaporeans young and old.

Coconut Palm

Milk made from the white flesh of the coconut fruit gives nasi lemak (coconut rice) its characteristic flavour. Sweet and savoury foods close to the hearts of various ethnic groups in Singapore such as kaya (coconut jam), putu mayam (rice flour noodles) and laksa (spicy noodle soup) all contain coconut!


This fragrant cousin of ginger imparts a sharp, citrusy dimension to rempah (spice paste) which forms the base of many mouth-watering Malay and Peranakan dishes.


Pandan leaves have a distinct scent, forming a wonderful aroma in savoury dishes such as nasi lemak and rendang (meat curry). Its extract is also used to flavour a plethora of kuih-kuih (bite-sized desserts)!

Take a moment to think about these plants the next time you tuck into our local delights!

Written by: Stephanie Dhillon, Assistant Director (Education, Programming & Events)

Stephanie is apparently a millennial but feels more like a Gen-Xer. She spends most of her days designing education programmes for the young and young at heart and the rest of her time running after her brood of children.

This article is part of our Guide to the Gardens - Heritage Gardens series.