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$1m refurbishment and furnishing fee: Inside the heritage house used for The Little Nyonya spinoff drama Emerald Hill

$1m refurbishment and furnishing fee: Inside the heritage house used for The Little Nyonya spinoff drama Emerald Hill
The mansion loaned to Mediacorp for the filming of the drama Emerald Hill.
PHOTO: AsiaOne/Yeo Shu Hui

The cameras have started rolling for the new local drama Emerald Hill and AsiaOne was invited to tour the opulent film set for the Zhang residence today (June 7).

When we saw the heritage house managed by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and currently loaned to Mediacorp for the filming, all we could say was: "Wow".

The property, with a history dating back to the late 1800s, will house the stories of the Zhang family members, played by actors including Zoe Tay, Jesseca Liu, Romeo Tan, Chantalle Ng, Tasha Low and Taiwanese actor Hsiu Chieh-kai.

Mediacorp said it constructed an additional outdoor kitchen for filming purposes and also refurbished the building, including repainting the interior and exterior, adding gold embellishments to the staircase, rewiring the electrical system, stickering the entrance's flooring, tinting and replacing windows and adding embellishments to the door frames.

Adding in the loan of antique furniture, the total cost of construction and refurbishment came up to a jaw-dropping $1 million.

Here is the first look at the mansion.


Walking in through the intricately designed front gate, the two-storey building stood majestically in sight with jade green and gold iron columns and two staircases leading to the grand entrance.

Living hall

Stepping into the living hall, the first thing we noticed was the large wooden signboard hanging on top of the altar, which carries the Zhang family motto He Shun Qi Jia (harmony and unity in the family).

The original hardwood floorings and backdrop provide a comfortable and homely feeling. The furniture in this room are sourced from Malacca with the round wooden dining table the most expensive, costing $50,000.

Dining hall

Those who have watched The Little Nyonya (2008) would be familiar with the term tok panjang, which refers to a grand and elaborate feast laid out on a long table.

Tok panjang will be held again in this dining hall, which is furnished with a long table covered in a white lace tablecloth and 10 chairs.

Besides feasting here, the family will also hold ronggeng, which refers to a music and dance event hosted at Peranakan family events.

Outdoor kitchen

One of the most important parts of the mansion is the kitchen, where many iconic Pernankan dishes would be prepared by the majies (domestic helpers).

Peranakan celebrity chef Philip Chia has been engaged by the production team as the main chef preparing all the dishes during filming. Chef Chia was also the sole food consultant for The Little Nyonya (2008) and the China remake of the drama, which aired in 2020.

About the drama

Emerald Hill centres around Zhang Xinniang, who roams the streets with her adoptive mother Ah Zhu (Chen Liping), cheating others to survive.

When Xinniang is around 10 years old, Ah Zhu brings her to the wealthy Zhang family living on Emerald Hill and claims that she is Li Shuqin's (Jesseca) long-lost daughter Anya.

As Xinniang (Tasha) grows up in the family, she secretly remains in contact with Ah Zhu, sometimes stealing things for her, unaware that Shuqin knows of her deeds and she is not the real Anya.

The drama, which had begun filming in May, also stars Ferlyn Wong, Elvin Ng, Zhang Yaodong, Priscelia Chan, Seow Sin Nee and Jernelle Oh, with Jeanette Aw reprising her role as Yamamoto Yueniang from The Little Nyonya.

It is expected to premiere in the first half of 2025.

Look out for our E-Junkies video of the set tour and interviews with Sin Nee and Jernelle!


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