Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Chinese New Year 2014 | Family Walk in Chinatown

It's become our yearly family tradition to go down to Chinatown to soak in the festivities for Chinese New Year {CNY}. I don't go there to buy anything in particular as we usually get our CNY goodies from the comfort of our friendly NTUC supermarket hehe. It's just a lovely time to walk through and enjoy the bustling sights and sounds.
2014 is the Year of the Horse. If you believe in fengshui, it's supposedly a good year for the boy, who is born in the Year of the Snake. Not so good for Rats like me :P

Photo of the boy and Lil Pumpkin taken during our CNY family walk in Chinatown last year. Amazing how she looks more matured after just a year!

Chinese New Year is really, a time for feasting!! All diet plans just fly out of the window :P Some CNY goodies are actually sold all year round...

But there are some rare ones like arrowhead chips that are sold only around the CNY period. These are my fave CNY goodies and I can munch on at least 2 containers full heh.

Lots of CNY decorations to buy..

Lim Chee Guan is, as usual, mad crowded. This is just the tip of the ice-berg! The long queue spills over to the other store selling bak kwa next door. If you are a tourist to Singapore, you should try Lim Chee Guan bak kwa at least once. They say it's one of the best.

Bak kwa is a Chinese salty-sweet dried meat product similar to jerky, which you can get all year round but is a must-eat during Chinese New Year. Prices rise pretty exorbitantly during this period too due to the high demand... at least S$50/kg.

Mini Chinese lion toy... a very nice souvenir actually! Most of the shops were selling one for S$10.

A big-head doll leads the way in a traditional Chinese lion dance and you can purchase one in Chinatown too just for fun.

We walked all the way to Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum which was gorgeously decorated! I think there are special prayer ceremonies held on Chinese New Year Eve and the first few days.

Family photo just outside the temple.

I love the cute children ang paos! :)

There are many shops selling hand-written auspicious CNY greetings for good luck.

You can't miss buying cheongsams or traditional Chinese costumes for you and your kids either. Large variety of designs. I've another list of places you can buy adult cheongsams for yourself all year round here.

You can also see lots of traditional auspicious food sold to bring good luck and prosperity for the rest of the year. For example, pomelo symbolises family unity while bottle gourd represents longevity {not bitter gourd! that's a taboo food during CNY}.

Blooms and blooms of fresh & fake flowers to decorate the home!

I'm not a fan of waxed meat, but if you're looking.. you can find all sorts here. Sausages, pork legs, fish, duck etc. Contrary to its name, there is actually no wax used in its preparation at all. Salt is used in the preservation of the meat.

  • Don't bring your stroller / pram as it is tooooo crowded! Use your baby sling / carrier instead.
  • No need for umbrellas either as there's shade from the buildings and using it just gets in the way of shoppers.
  • Prepare your children for the crowd and remind them to keep close to you. 
  • Keep your belongings and valuables properly as well in case of pickpockets.
  • For great bargains, visit Chinatown on Chinese New Year's eve as the vendors will be slashing prices of goods since they will be closed for the first two days of the new year.
  • Chinatown Food Street is currently closed for renovation but I suggest you eat away from the shopping streets due to the large crowd. ChinaTown Point is a good place to go with many clean, air-conditioned restaurants.
Just wanted to end off this post with a picture of Sri Mariamman Temple {the oldest Hindu temple here}wishing all a healthy and properous Chinese New Year. Such a fantastic example of racial and religious harmony in Singapore :)

Check out the rest of our Bub & Me activities or list of kid-friendly places in Singapore :)


Lydia C. Lee said...

I'll admit I am jealous of this. I have friends that went last year and I loved her photos. I have seen the lantern festival decorations in Chinatown and they were brilliant.
I have not enjoyed the snake at all so I have high hopes for the horse. Not that I'm Chinese (Vietnamese or Korean), but I'll embrace anything that's festive...

Lydia C. Lee said...

Also pickpockets?? I didn't know there were any in Singapore?!

~Summer~ said...

Love the pics, Ai! I love the feeling of walking around aimlessly in Chinatown too and just immersing in the joyous CNY mood and listing to the dong dong qiang songs. =) And yes, Lil Pumpkin looks so big already! =p We should catch up soon, girl! Have a great CNY with your loved ones! Hugs!

Sally@Toddlers on Tour said...

Chinese new Year is a really fun festival and hugely celebrated here in Perth as well.

Some great tips for taking the kids to festivals.

An Apel a Day said...

I love everything about this post. My favorite has to be the Mini Chinese lion toy! How fun! I want one.

Unknown said...

Oh so festive is CNY. We are hoping to get to chinatown in Sydney to have a look! Happy Chinese New Year Ai!

Twitchy Sharon said...

So much colour, I love it! I admit I've always wanted a cheongsam- there's just something about them. Lil Pumpkin, as always, is super cuteness. #teamIBOT

oomph. said...

i love going to chinatown for the new year. especially love all the good food, lol! but it's so crowded!

$600 in Amazon gift cards Giveaway!

EssentiallyJess said...

Wow she has changed a lot in a year hasn't she? So grown up! Looks like a great way to celebrate. Though I will leave the beef jerky to the more adventurous, and just stick with browsing all the cute clothes :)

Sweetday said...

Omg! I didn't know there are arrowhead chips! Thanks for recommending!

Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit said...

Oh wow! Gorgeous pics. I am in Melbourne and they have a few Year of the Horse decorations at the Crown Casino. HUGE statues. Love it!
Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

Grace said...

I LOVE Singapore's chinatown. I bought a batik dress there that I wear constantly. I knew I should've bought two! Heh.
Gosh, Lil Pumpkin is just growing up so fast!

Stacy said...

I like that you have zodiac animals in the background of your comparison pics! Take one every year to make a collection? :)

Great pics, as usual.

Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me said...

I really hope I can experience such a festival in Singapore one day, just so beautiful and the colours are lovely! Bet you had a ball, Happy New Year to you lovely xx

Indah Nuria Savitri said...

colorful celebration! and I love your shots...

Madeline Heng said...

I live really close to Chinatown so it has become sort of "nothing special" to me since we go there every week haha. We usually avoid it during CNY because there was once we were caught in a human jam on CNY day 1 for hours and by the time we got out, we vowed never to go back there during CNY again! Haha.

Deb @ inner compass designs said...

fabulous photos thanks for sharing - you look amazing in that family photo - have not been here in a while so wishing you a happy new year now plus a happy chinese new year xx