Showing posts with label chinatown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chinatown. Show all posts

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Chinese New Year 2018 | Family Walk in Chinatown

Counting down to Chinese New Year {CNY} next week!! For some reason I feel that it's coming by really fast this year? Do you feel the same way?

I mean, not that I'm complaining as I love all the joyous celebrations but it seems like Christmas wasn't too far away, then it was New Year's and now at the blink of an eye it's Chinese New Year!!

Anyway last weekend we went down for our annual family walk in Chinatown to soak in the festivities and nom on our fave local snacks and CNY goodies.

This year, the Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations adopts the theme “Blossoms of Happiness & Prosperity” and will see celebrations taking place around Eu Tong Sen Street, New Bridge Road, South Bridge Road and other streets at the historic Chinatown precinct.

From now until Thu 15 Feb 2018, visitors can feast on mouth-watering New Year delicacies, enjoy the brilliant lights and decorations of the stalls and shop for the many CNY traditional goodies from cookies, decorative items, waxed duck and preserved fruits to potted plants and clothing at the street bazaar shops that are open 6pm-10pm daily {extended hours until 1am on CNY Eve}

Lil Pumpkin and I wore our matching modern cheongsams by local boutique, Glitter Glam {see their full CNY collection on Glitter Glam website!}. We're wearing different colour combinations of the same design and I really like the sweet duo colours and simple, yet intricate flower embroidery in the front. Nothing too flashy and so so comfy even when walking about outdoors in the crowd...

It was also kinda bittersweet knowing that she's wearing the largest size {size 14} in their kids collection now #wheredidmybabygo

She can probably still fit in it next year when she's 10 years old.. but after that, she'd probably has to start wearing adult sizes?? But that's if she still wants to twin with mummy!! As it is, although she still likes the clothes that I choose and buy for her, our little fashionista prefers to dress up herself and choose her own accessories.

Will she soon find mummy too "uncool" to wear matchy-matchy clothes with??! hmmm... 

人山人海!We went on a Saturday evening and yes although it was crowded, it wasn't a stampede and there was still space to walk around without getting shoved and pushed {toooo much}.

Plenty of families and small kids around, but I'd still recommend not bringing your stroller / pram though and to avoid peak periods.

Must-do shot of Lil Pumpkin and her daddy in front of the hand-made sculpted lanterns of the Chinese zodiac animal of the year - which happens to be the Dog for 2018.

Love seeing how much Lil Pumpkin has grown when comparing photos like this but where did our baby go?? Missing photos from 2016 and 2017...

The CNY street bazaar may end on Thu 15 Feb 2018, but the lantern decorations will last until Fri 16 Mar 2018. The daily light-up will take place from 7 pm to midnight from Sundays to Thursdays, and be extended till 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays. On CNY Day 1 and 2 {16 & 17 Feb 2018}, the light-up will continue overnight till 6 am the next morning.

Managed to get a bag of delicious roasted chestnuts too... Mmm love those! I used to eat so much of it but since we only buy it in Chinatown and we don't go there that often nowadays, I haven't eaten that in over a year I think??! #sodeprived

Since the boy and Lil Pumpkin don't like to peel and eat the chestnuts, I finished that whole bag of 500g chestnuts all by myself in 2 days hahahaha...  #donttellmytrainer

We spent about 1hr walking through the street bazaar and small shops.

It's usually the same CNY food and products recycled from year to year, but it still puts us in a cheerful, festive mood nonetheless. Can't wait until our long Chinese New Year weekend break next week!!

Night shot of the lighted-up Dog lanterns.

I was standing on the bridge between Chinatown Point and People's Park Centre trying to get a good shot on my mobile with a crowd of people who obviously had the same idea when the boy said, "You know we can just google for a good image and it'd be much better than whatever you take, right??"

Roll eyes. Yes yes... we can.... so in the end I gave up and we just took a selfie instead because you can't just randomly google a shot of that on the internet, right?? haha.

More Chinese New Year posts:

P.S. Last day to use my promo code of 10% OFF Peas and Plums modern cheongsam pieces for mums & kids! Check out the rest of our Bub & Me activities or list of kid-friendly places in Singapore too :)

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! :)

Rediscover old Singapore heritage playgrounds & 

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 :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chinese New Year 2014 | CNY Festive Treats from Smoulder Softcore Bakers + Promo Code

We love the variety of molten lava cakes from Smoulder Softcore Bakers and they just launched a special edition for the Chinese New Year period - Dark Chocolate Mandarin Orange lava cakes! Using rich dark premium Belgium chocolate, they've blended it with oozing mandarin orange molten lava filling for a lovely decadent dessert that's not overly sweet and very moist... just the way we like it.

It's a delicious alternative to conventional CNY goodies like pineapple tarts, bak kwa and love letters, which are definitely crowd-pleasers, but will be in everybody's houses as well. If you want to stand out as the "hostess with the mostess" this festive season, consider getting the lava cakes to serve to your guests! We found that it goes well with a cup of hot Chinese tea too :)

Remember that these take-away lava cakes are crafted to be enjoyed anywhere, but taste best when they are heated up {doesn't take more than a few seconds in the microwave oven!} and enjoyed in the comfort of your home. Be careful not to overheat them though, as it may result in lava eruptions or extremely moist cakes with no lava core.

Promo code: Quote "Sakura Haruka" when purchasing for 10% OFF a 9-piece box. Valid until 13 Feb 2014 only.

It's easy to pick up these goodies from their 2 stores listed below, but if you're really busy for CNY prep, Smoulder Softcore Bakers provide free delivery to one location for orders of S$250 and above. These's also a 5% discount for orders above $200. For every additional delivery location or orders below $250, a delivery charge of $20 applies.

Smoulder Softcore Bakers
Raffles City Shopping Centre #B1-68 / China Square Food Centre #01-04
Costs:  S$2.80 per piece, S$8.20 for a 3-piece box or S$24 for a 9-piece box

* Disclosure: Smoulder Softcore Bakers provided the lava cakes for review. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Decadent Desserts | Smoulder Softcore Bakers Lava Cakes

I'm all for eating healthy but honestly, it is tough especially when you're a foodie like me. I love eating good food {as can be attested by my Instagram account where about 50% are on food pics haha} and yes, sometimes they can count for a lot of calories. However, as most on a fitness program would understand, it's important to have "Cheat Days" in your diet as well.

"Cheat Days" are basically a designated day when you can purposely stray from a diet or meal plan. Before you feel all guilty about having one, it's actually recommended by the pros, and is beneficial too because it gives you a mental break and helps to keep you motivated as a reward for keeping a strict adherence to a meal plan. Also, when you diet or keep to a healthy meal plan, your average intake of carbs and calories are low. Over time, your body will adapt to the fewer calories and burn it slower to deal with the energy deficit. A break from the diet with a cheat day helps interrupt this slowdown and jump-start your metabolism again. My cheat days are the weekends as we tend to go out as a family or meet friends :P

Decadent desserts, my Achilles heel {sigh!}, are usually part of my cheat days. Recently, we tried the Smoulder Softcore Bakers lava cakes. ZOMG they are sooooo good!! I love love love warm lava cakes with hot molten centers and the ones from Smoulder are delicious, without being overly-sweet. Also love that they are bite-sized {50mm x 35mm} so that you can still enjoy these satisfying cakes without being too guilty about over-indulging. Even the boy, who hardly eats desserts, liked them :)

Made with premium ingredients such as fresh fruits and Belgian chocolates, Smoulder lava cakes currently carry 11 flavours. I'm surprised there's so many flavours as we usually just see chocolate in the restaurants ;p These 11 flavours include White Chocolate Pistacho {best-seller and my fave!}, Milk Chocolate Rum & Raisin {plump, rum-soaked raisins paired with smooth milk chocolate}, White Chocolate Cookies & Cream {rich vanilla biscuits blended with creamy white chocolate}, Dark Chocolate Black Forest {Kirsh-soaked luscious cherries with 50% dark chocolate} and White Chocolate Matcha {molten white chocolate blended with 100% real matcha, but the taste of matcha isn't too strong}!

Launched just last week, Milk Chocolate Banana contains swirls of ripe banana and creamy milk cocoa. Ooooo dessert heaven! I paired this with some vanilla ice-cream we had at home and they taste divine.  These take-away lava cakes are crafted to be enjoyed anywhere, but taste best when they are heated up and enjoyed in the comfort of your home.

Tips for heating in a microwave oven {general guide as power rating varies}:
  • Cakes should preferably be re-heated in microwave 1 piece at a time
  • If the cakes are from room temperature, heat at 2-3 secs on "High"
  • If the cakes are from the fridge, heat for 4 secs on "Low" then for 1-2 secs on "High"
  • Overheating the cakes may also result in lava eruptions or moist cakes with no lava core
I think you can consider having these for a satisfying cheat day too hahaha

Smoulder Softcore Bakers
Raffles City Shopping Centre #B1-68 / China Square Food Centre #01-04
Costs:  S$2.80 per piece, S$8.20 for a 3-piece box or S$24 for a 9-piece box

P.S. We're still on our Hong Kong Disneyland getaway! See my live updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to catch sneak peeks of their Christmas holiday decorations! :)

* Disclosure: Smoulder Softcore Bakers provided the lava cakes for review. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chinese New Year 2013 | Family Walk in Chinatown

Chinese New Year is about 2 weeks away and what better way to soak in the festivities than in Chinatown? We went down for a little family walk to see all the decorations and traditional wares for sale to celebrate the biggest day of the year for Chinese. It was quite crowded, but not even close to how crowded it will be from this week onwards!

The streets are packed but still comfortable to walk through. Might have difficulty pushing a stroller or pram.

There's no problem finding traditional cheongsams or Chinese-inspired clothing here. I was surprised to see that they were quite cheap! I saw some pretty kids cheongsams going for just S$10, which is quite a bargain I think. Lil Pumpkin's CNY clothing are already prepared for this year, but I might get them from here next year ;p

Such a wide variety of red packets {ang baos}! Great for those with many kids to give out to hahaha

This lady translates your name to Chinese characters and paints them out beautifully on-the-spot. A very nice souvenir for tourists in Singapore.

Jars and jars of floss goodness! It's actually dried meat {chicken, pork, beef} with a light and fluffy texture similar to coarse cotton floss. The meat floss can be eaten on its own, or as fillings or toppings on congee {my fave!} or tofu.

Lil Pumpkin munching on some bak kwa goodness! These are thin pieces of dried meat {pork, chicken} similar to jerky. It has a savoury-sweet taste and is a traditional new year food item, although it can be found all year round now. Nom nom nom... we passed by one of the famous shops, Lim Chee Guan {林志源}, and the queue was quite long! I heard some have started queuing overnight for bak kwa already ><"

We aren't really bak kwa conessiours and bak kwa tastes almost all the same to us, although some swear that Lim Chee Guan's bak kwa is really really good. No way we would queue overnight for bak kwa though! I didn't check prices but I think the bak kwa are selling for about S$50/kg ;p

We passed by this "tree" where people following a Chinese tradition to write down their wishes, and toss them into the air onto the tree. If it lands on the tree, their wishes will be granted for the new year. It really isn't as easy as it may look!

Auspicious Chinese decorations to wish for a year full of wealth and abundance - 年年有余!

More auspicious Chinese New Year decorations...

Come to think of it, I should have gotten some new pillow cases since we were there ;p

Very intricate red paper cutting. I'm not sure if these were hand or machine-made though. I've seen people cutting them by hand before and it really is such a wonderful skill to have!

This shop sells some cute artwork by Singapore artists.
A "Fortune God" to look after all walking along that street in Chinatown heh

We passed by a shop that sells custom-made Chinese trunks and cabinets. I like these vintage-looking Chinese knobs and handles :)

It's the Year of the Snake for 2013 and there's a huge yellow Snake made of lanterns at the end of street. There's a red Snake at the other end but I prefer this design. It's the boy's Chinese zodiac sign by the way so you can guess how old he is this year heehee.

Lil Pumpkin is wearing the Stephanie Jumper Dress from Precious Junior here. It's an online boutique selling kids clothes & accessories. Just for my special blog readers and friends, quote discount code "PJ10" for 10% off store-wide {valid until 10 Feb 2013}. Check it out when CNY shopping for your kids too! You can see the other outfits we got from Precious Junior here.

Where's your favourite places to visit for Chinese New Year?

* Disclosure: Stephanie Jumper Dress were provided by Precious Junior for blog mention. All other accessories belong to me and all opinions are my own.