Goh Chor is the Hokkien transliteration of Rochore, the name of the surrounding area in the mid 19th century, while Tua Pek Kong (literally 'Grand Old Man') is a Taoist deity widely worshipped by overseas Chinese across Southeast Asia. The temple's small scale, with a single forecourt, belies a wealth of detail. Built in the southern Chinese style, the low, tiled roof features ornate ridges decorated with prancing dragons, birds, fish, blazing pearls, phoenixes and flowers. The roof and brick walls are supported by timber beams, rafters and batens. Some of the granite columns were made by craftsmen from China.
Three stone plaques record the temple's establishment during Chinese Emperor Daoguang's reign, as well as subsequent renovations in 1920 and 1928. Today the temple, which is under the trusteeship of the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan, is still maintained by the descendents of the original keepers.
A notable feature of the temple grounds is a freestanding Chinese opera or wayang stage, one of two that has survived on the mainland of Singapore, built in 1906 by Tan Boon Liat. Teochew and Hokkien operas are still performed here during important festivals. In the past, many street hawkers would gather at the temple grounds during wayang performances to sell food and other goods.
Until the early 1990s, there was another popular Chinese temple located behind the Tua Pek Kong Temple called Tian De Gong. This temple has since moved to 95 Tampines Link.