Madam Foo See Yap, 66, has lived in Tanjong Pagar for over 40 years, but rarely ventured into the food and beverage enclave that is Duxton Hill, just a five- to 10-minute walk from her flat - until now.
She was one of 10 seniors living in the Housing Board flats at Tanjong Pagar Plaza who were invited to the launch of Golden Treats yesterday at Lucha Loco Mexican Restaurant.
It is part of the community project by Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru Citizens' Consultative Committee to show appreciation to pioneer generation residents in the area.
The seniors are treated to a meal every month at a sponsoring restaurant in the constituency.
"This area was quite notorious in the past for gangs, and people would tell us not to take this road," said Madam Foo, who has been to Duxton Road 10 times in 40 years. She lives with her husband in a three-room flat.
"The area has changed so much," said the cook, who works for a hotel. It was her first taste of Mexican street food, such as tacos and quesadillas, which she enjoyed and finished with the others.
"Our division has a lot of hip and happening eateries," said Ms Indranee Rajah, MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC.
"As I thought about it, I realised that many of our elderly have never had the chance to eat at these places."
Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru constituency has about 8,000 pioneer generation residents.
"This allows eateries to give back, and many of them want to," said Ms Indranee. "If not, the conversation becomes commercial use versus residential use. It's a question of how you can make it a community, and that's what this is about."
Said Mr Lionel Ang, Golden Treats' organising chairman, who owns participating outlet Afterglow in Keong Saik Road: "We hope that this will spark off conversations in the whole of Singapore. Anyone can give a treat."