Well well well, it is the time of the year we got our lazy bums to Chinatown again! I visit Singapore Chinatown like, twice a year. Once for Chinese New Year and once for Mid-Autumn Festival. These are the times when the lighting and decorations go up, drawing locals and tourists alike to the area. Other times of the year, I don’t know.. It seems like Chinatown is a place for old people and tourists.
This year, we started our walk around Chinatown from Chinatown Point.
At the huge junction in front of Chinatown Point lies the centrepiece of the Chinese New Year decorations: A peach blossom tree with lots of monkeys.. erm.. monkeying around. Because this year is Year of the Monkey!
As we were crossing the junction, the lights were switched on! I don’t have a habit of wearing a watch, but thanks to the lights coming on, I knew the time then was 7pm.
See the pavilion in the photo below? That’s the Garden Bridge which is the best vantage point for the lighting.
So up we went to the Garden Bridge before hitting the street market.
After spending some time on the bridge, we started our walk around the street market.
Lanterns that look like they have been recycled from last year hung over the rows of street market stalls to bring on the festive spirit. We were there on an exceptionally quiet evening – probably because it had been raining all day. Usually the streets are packed to the brim with people, but this time round we actually had space to walk casually!
The boys insisted on taking some been-here-done-that shots with the lanterns, so here we go:
We browsed through the stalls briefly while looking for interesting photo stops to remember this year’s Chinatown New Year street market by. Our first photo stop was this sign that said, “Chinatown Singapore Welcomes You” with two cute monkeys next to it.
The next stop we found was at Chinatown Food Street.
MF had a fun time pretending to be a hawker cooking char kway teow.
And MY looked like he wanted to eat the whole wok of char kway teow.
That (fake) wok of char kway teow made our stomachs growl. Instead of eating at Chinatown Food Street, we crossed the road over to my favourite egg tart stall – Tong Heng.
I bought 4 egg tarts, one for each person. And I think I should have ordered more! The boys kept asking for more after they finished theirs because.. these are 著名蛋撻 (famous egg tarts) okay? But since they were so 著名 (famous), plus it was Chinese New Year period, there was a queue and I was too lazy to queue again for round two. Heck it, I’m not a tourist and I can come back anytime when it is less crowded and buy a dozen without queuing.
After the short egg tart break, we crossed the road back to where the Chinese New Year stalls were.
We reached the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum but didn’t go in because… I’m not a tourist nor a Buddisht?
I remembered when we were here last year, the stalls around the temple were SUPER crowded. But I guess the rain washed away the crowd. I couldn’t believe how empty the street was.
Usually we would have just been pushed along the streets with the crowd, but this year we could just stop and wander around. The boys took their time to check out the items at the various stalls.
MY was particularly intrigued by the non-Chinese New Year souvenirs. He could recognize the places on the Singapore magnets and kept going, “We go there before! We go there before!”
We reached the centre of the Chinese New Year stalls and took a mandatory shot with the chibi Fortune God that stood at the same spot every year.
It’s moments like this where I decide to do a quick check to see how much I have aged. Here’s a photo at the same spot from 2013:
Okay.. I think I look the same. Still as unglam as ever. The boys have obviously aged though (DUH). And I’m SO glad MF has outgrown his insisting-he-wore-pink-clothes stage. Moving on moving on… What good is a street market without food.
We went around the snack stalls – who were pretty generous with their samples.
But okay, when it comes to sampling, please only take the small pieces from the bowls. I can tell this stall owner was somewhat frustrated with people who decided to take a huge piece to sample.
Before we left, we bought some Chinese New Year decorations to decorate our house.
This has been the least tiring year for us visiting the Chinese New Year stalls at Chinatown! Usually we would be exhausted from squeezing through the crowds. I think we chose a pretty good day to go since it was raining all day and were super lucky that the rain decided to stop in the evening, allowing us to enjoy the walk without the crowd and rain!
Information on Singapore Chinatown CNY Street Market:
Date: 15 Jan – 7 Feb 2016 (Festive lighting will be lit till 8 March 2016)
Time: 6pm – 10.30pm (daily) / 6pm – 1am (Chinese New Year’s Eve)
Venue: Pagoda, Smith, Sago, Temple and Trengganu Street
Getting There: Chinatown MRT (DT19 / NE4)
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