Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chinese New Year 2015 | Family Walk in Chinatown

We visit Chinatown at least once a month {especially since I haunt for enamelware there & like to eat at Keong Siak}, and we'll definitely make a trip there during the Chinese New Year {CNY} season to soak in the festivities. It's kinda like our family tradition. You can read about our past family walks in 2013 and 2014 {included some tips when visiting}.

The shops usually sell the same food and goodies every year, and I don't usually buy anything because my father-in-law buys all our CNY goodies, but it's just fun to go looksy-looksy as a family and take some photos. It's much easier now that Lil Pumpkin is older and can walk around herself.

Bringing a stroller/ pram to Chinatown during CNY season is a death wish. Everywhere is just soooo crowded and you can barely move around with one! I thought the crowd wouldn't be that bad when we went last Saturday but apparently there was the Opening Ceremony for Chinatown's CNY festivities that night, so there were heaps of people and road blocks! 

Lots of CNY decorations, lucky plants, fruits, food etc all sold at the street bazaar. Lil Pumpkin happily helped herself to the food and nuts laid out for tasting haha.

I was rather tempted to get paper cuttings of our whole family {S$10/piece} but decided nahhh. We already have too many things to declutter at home! :P The shop is there all year round anyway, so no hurry.

I'm not that big a fan of 年糕 {nian gao, Chinese New Year cake} by itself, but I like to eat it when it's pan-fried with egg batter.

Every year during CNY, my sis will go down with my mum to Chinatown to buy 年糕 so that she would cook that. My mum only likes to buy the 年糕 from Tai Chong Kok {34 Sago Street}, a local bakery that's famous for its handmade Chinese pastries. She says that they are the freshest and most authentic since its made the traditional way.

I don't usually go with them but since my mum's health is failing, I made it a point to join them this year with Lil Pumpkin and found out about this shop. A few days later I told them I was going to Chinatown again with hubby and Lil Pumpkin, so they told me to get more 年糕 and kueh bangkit, which are like melt-in-your-mouth coconut sago cookies, so I went back to the shop.

Ended up tasting more CNY goodies there and spending nearly S$100!! hahaha.. Since its a heritage brand and the the pastries are handmade with good quality ingredients, the products there are more expensive than other supermarket-kind of CNY goodies. For example, a tub of kueh bangkit costs S$18.90, while you can probably get one from NTUC for S$8.

Bought a 年糕 to try and pan-fry at home with mum's recipe too :)

Lim Chee Guan's bak kwa {grilled meat jerky} is another must-buy for most people during CNY. Considered the one of best in Singapore, although I can't really understand why. Bak kwa tastes all about the same to me oops :P

If you do intend to buy, it's best to get them early to avoid the long queues and higher prices nearer to CNY. The price jump is pretty significantly, especially since people tend to buy a few kilos to eat at home and give to friends & family. You can get them now as unless you can't resist finishing them all, they are sure to be able to last the next 2 weeks in the fridge. Just warm them up in the oven to eat during CNY.

The popular branch is at People's Park Complex #01-25, but they now have a branch at ION Orchard #B4-37, which is much more convenient for most people I guess, especially if you don't want to fight with the crowd at Chinatown!

We'll probably avoid Chinatown for the next 3 weeks until CNY is over :P But do head down if you haven't yet to show the little ones how CNY is celebrated in Singapore, and to get all excited for the biggest Chinese holiday of the year! :)

I Blog on Tues with Essentially Jess.

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14 comments:

Min@WriteoftheMiddle said...

Some gorgeous photos showcasing all the beautiful vibrant colours at Chinatown Sakura! I've actually been there once, many years ago when visiting my sister who was living there as an expat. Lil pumpkin is such a cutie! :-)

Masshole Mommy said...

Sounds like a fun day in Chinatown! I love going into Chinatown in Boston - it's so much fun!

indah nuria Savitri said...

look like fun...and lil pumpkin is ready for a new dress :). We'll have a big celebration here as well..but it's sooo cold..

Susan said...

We haven't been down to Chinatown yet and can so imagine the crowd. But what a fruitful trip for you.

Theresa Mahoney said...

I have thought about going to Chinatown in Illinois one day. I would love to experience seeing the fun, cultural items there!

Bec @ History of Parenting said...

It looks like a wonderful riot of colour! Thanks for sharing:-) #TeamIBOT

alissa apel said...

I'd love to go to that! I love those dragons. It looks like there's great food everywhere.

Ai Sakura said...

Min: Thank you! Chinatown has changed quite a bit in recent years so hope you've the time to visit again soon.

Masshole Mommy: Especially during CNY!

Indah: Yeah hahaha... keep warm and safe!

Susan: Had fun but will be avoiding it for the next 3 weeks :P

Theresa: Oh you should!

Bec: No worries, thanks for dropping by!

Alissa: there's great food everywhere in SG!!

Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life said...

Sounds like a fun family tradition to have.

Fabulousandfunlife said...

Sounds like a fun family tradition to have and continue.

Stephanie Jefferson said...

Can't believe it's almost Chinese New Year again Ai, You've just reminded me to check out the activities that are going to be held for this year!

Sweetday said...

It was really crowded! We were there too on last Saturday!

Malinda Brown said...

China town is always fun to visit, even more so with CNY celebrations underway!

L Lee said...

大中国is where they sell the awesome traditional mooncakes!

I went for a stroll in Chinatown recently too, after not having been for many CNYs, and am gonna publish a post on it tmw! Such great atmosphere. :)