Let’s squeeze in for some new year shopping!
Singapore Chinatown Chinese New Year shopping is completely different from its usual days. The streets are overly crowded. Shoppers buying bags of candies and cookies ready for Chinese New Year celebration.
Every year, a month before the Chinese New Year, locals and foreigners alike will flock to Chinatown for the Chinese New Year vibe.
If you haven’t been to Singapore Chinatown during the Chinese New Year period, or yet to do any festive shopping there, let’s bring you around now!
Let’s Start Our Night Shopping!
A month before any Chinese New Year, roads in Chinatown will be closed for stalls to set up and people to shop. The whole area will also be decorated with red lanterns and designs depending on the year.
We visited Singapore Chinatown in year 2012, which is welcoming the year of the Dragon. You will see lots of pictures, models and figures of the mighty Dragon around Chinatown. Some even glowing brightly at night! (You will see photos of them later.)
We never thought of driving to Chinatown during this period, as it will simply be too crowded, and too troublesome to find a parking lot there.
Taking the MRT to Chinatown station is easier, and more convenient. Once you exited the station, your night tour begins!
People usually do their Singapore Chinatown Chinese New Year shopping on weeknights or weekends. Though we can shop in the day, we chose the night as it will be more lively, more shops, and more crowded!
We rub our shoulders with lots of people (literally!) and wriggle through huge crowds to get out of a stall. It can be quite uncomfortable, but that’s what thebuzz of Singapore Chinatown Chinese New Year is all about!
Many stalls set up to sell all kinds of things.
What you see above is one of the favorite Chinese New Year foods, the chinese sausage, otherwise known as lap cheong in Cantonese. You hardly eat it raw like that, but it is used for Cantonese dishes like Lap Mei Rice (Waxed Meat Rice) .
Lap Cheong symbolizes wealth, as it cost a lot more than ordinary meats.
You can also see fruit stalls selling Pomelos only! Wonder why pomelos are so popular during this period?
Pomelos symbolize abundance, prosperity, and “having children”. They are usually bought as gifts for friends and relatives during house visits.
As we walked along, we saw more and more food stuffs.
This stall sells melon seeds. Look at the variety of melon seeds! There’s so many to choose from. If you’re unsure which ones are nice, the stall owner will pass you some seeds to try them out.
We loves to eat them. These melon seeds suit all kinds of occasions, not only for Chinese New Year.
Melon seeds symbolizes “having lots of children”. In Chinese, it’s called 子孙满堂.
(So if you want lots of children for that year… I think you should now know what to eat!)
Another popular item during this festive season is Candy! Look at the variety of candies that is being offered there.
Families love to host guests with candies during house visits. Most of the candies seen here are Taiwan and Japan brands, which are very popular among Singaporeans.
As we walk along the Singapore Chinatown Chinese New Year streets,we noticed this big crowd.
When we moved nearer, we saw food! This stall owner offers her customers samples of different candies she’s selling.
Those are soft ‘Taiwanese marshmallows’. Looking at the number of people sampling, you can roughly know how popular these candies are.
We tasted each and every flavor of the marshmallows before deciding which one to buy.
Don’t be shy. Go sample one if you’re there! Though we started our tour after dinner, we become hungry after our walk.
Little did we know we our Singapore Chinatown Chinese New Year tour has been more than an hour!
Coincidentally at that time, we found a dessert shop! We decided to get it for some rest, and also tried some of our favorite desserts.
If you have not been to Chinatown for desserts, then let Valerie introduce some of the desserts you must try. She ordered this “almond & sesame” paste which she liked it a lot. It’s a mixture of Almond and Sesame paste.
In Chinese, it’s called 黑白 (black white). Almond paste in Chinese is 杏仁露 while Sesame paste in Chinese is 芝麻糊.
Alternatively, you can order other desserts which you like too. They taste delicious as well.
Touring Singapore Chinatown, even though at night, can just be hot and humid just like the day, except without the sun. If you perspire a lot, then go get a cold dessert to cool down!
If having a dessert is not enough for you, have a taste of local food!
We decided to get ourselves an egg tart each before we began our ‘second half’ of the Singapore Chinatown Chinese New Year tour.
(Actually, we are not that hungry, but we are craving for tasty foods in Chinatown!)
Now you know our Singapore Chinatown Chinese New Year tour is not only about shopping, but about eating too!
Second half begins!
We continue our Singapore Chinatown Chinese New Year tour after our food. We are energized!
During this period, Chinatown sells all sorts of things, not only food which we saw earlier. Some of the things sold there really amazes us, even as locals.
Now, if you want to see your fortunes that coming year, you can try the services of this fortune teller from China, Liao Ning.
As written on his stall, he provided fortune-telling services in which he can tell your fortunes by reading your palm, your face, and even by analyzing your name.
We didn’t tried it ourselves, but kudos to have him traveled all the way from China to provide his services here.
If you’re unsure of your fortunes, you can simply try him out.
Who knows, it might change for the better? 🙂
Some really nice drawings over there. The artist could really draw faces of famous people, including Michael Jordan, Jackie Chan, and Chinese pop singers like female band S.H.E. and Jay Chou.
If you like, you can even get a drawing of ‘you’ right on the spot!
This is one little cool and funkysouvenirshop along one of the streets for tourists.
It sells all sorts of t-shirts and accessories about Singapore.
Look at those T-shirt names and wordings. They absolutely represent the uniqueness of Singapore, don’t they?
(Don’t worry, wearing the ‘Singapore is a Fine City’ T-shirt won’t get you fined!)
If you want to get some gifts for your friends or family, you can consider getting some ‘funky’ t-shirts for them here!
We spent almost 2 hours walking around the streets of Chinatown.
Other than just shopping, what interest us are also the decorationsaround Chinatown.
As 2012 is the year of the Dragon, you can see decorations of the celestial and majestic Dragon everywhere!
So just before we end our Singapore Chinatown Chinese New Year tour, we had a shot with one of the many dragons there.
We then made our way back when we saw crowds gathering outside this stall, which is just outside Exit A of Chinatown Station.
At one glance, they look like some form of colourful drawings.
But at a closer look, they aren’t!
They are Name Paintings!
Try to recognize the names as much as you can.
If you haven’t recognize what are the words and characters there, let me give you a clue.
Of the 5 paintings there, there are 3 English Names: JOHN, ADELINE and EMILY.
Tips of Shoppers
How To Get There?
If you plan to do your Singapore Chinatown Chinese New Year shopping, or simply get into the mood by touring around, we wouldn’t recommend you to drive there.
You might spend huge amount of time to park your car, as parking lots are always full during that period.
Instead, hail a taxi, or take the MRT to Chinatown Station!
Look out for Pagoda Street/Temple Street exit, or Exit A, and take the escalator up. Once you exited the station, your Singapore Chinatown Chinese New Year tour begins!
Don’t worry! Chinatown station is linked to many other lines in the MRT system. Follow the signs and you can easily make your way back to your home or hotel!
For specific directions to and fro Chinatown, click here!
When to shop?
The stalls at Singapore Chinatown began their business as early as a month before the Chinese New Year.
Roads are closed for shoppers to walk around. Businesses run every day and night, and will be the busiest on Chinese New Year’s Eve, even after midnight.
However, on the first and second day of Chinese New Year, many shops areclosed, and there won’t be much action on the streets.
Singaporeans will be busy visiting their friends and relatives, or away for a short family vacation.
Prices May Vary Depending On The Day
Today you see, tomorrow you don’t.
Prices might not stay the same throughout the festive period. Prices might even plummet further when nearer to Chinese New Year.
However, that doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute to travel to Chinatown to get your new year goodies, as things might just get sold out!
However, if you’re lucky, you can get additional goodies at a fraction of their prices, especially on the Chinese New Year’s eve!
Careful Of Your Belongings
That label says it all!
Always be careful of your bags and belongings when you’re in crowded places.
When there’s a lot of people, anywhere in the world, it’s always advisable to keep your things tight to you.
Singapore is kinda safe, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Also, please don’t commit any crime there.
Low crime doesn’t mean No crime!
Yay or Nay?
Why you might love Singapore Chinatown Chinese New Year shopping:
- Do your shopping once and for all
- Great Variety. You can find all sorts of goodies
- You can get good prices by bargaining
- Get into Chinese New Year mood!
- Plenty to see and walk
Why you might not love Singapore Chinatown Chinese New Year shopping:
- VERY crowded, especially nearer to CNY
- You have to squeeze with people to get through
- You may experience the kiasu attitude(fear of losing) of some Singaporeans
What Say You?
We definitely hope you had lots of fun in Chinatown during Chinese New Year, even though we had to squeezeeee with the crowds. If you haven’t been there, go!
On the other hand, you can also visit Chinatown on a heritage tour too!
So how was your Singapore Chinatown Chinese New Year tour? Share it with us below!
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