Showing posts with label chinese traditions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chinese traditions. 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 :)


Monday, February 8, 2016

Chinese New Year 2016 | 新年快乐!万事如意!♥


猴年送你五只猴:
机灵诡秘如猕猴,健康快乐像马猴,
悠闲富贵似猴子,无忧无虑比猿猴,
聪明伶俐胜孙猴。

This Monkey year, I want to give you five monkeys:
the ingenuity of the macaque,
the health and happiness of the monkey,
the leisure and wealth of monkeys,
the lightheartedness of apes and monkeys,
and intelligence & wit surpassing the Monkey King.

Wishing you a Healthy and Prosperous Chinese New Year 2016
from my family to yours! @( ◕ x ◕ )@

P.S. Keeping your holiday spirits high & feast on your fave festive treats without guilt using these 8 Healthy Yet Happy Chinese New Year Eating Tips! #yourewelcome #gongxifacai

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Chinese New Year 2016 | 8 Healthy But Still Happy Eating Tips


With Chinese New Year {CNY} season, everywhere you look, that yummy bak kwa or pineapple tart seems to be calling your name. Resistance seems futile and at the back of your head you just think - one more won't hurt, I'll go back to my exercise / diet plans after CNY.

At least, that what my stomach makes me think (/ε\*) My head knows better though, especially after half a year of grueling personal fitness training.

{source: Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.}

It's a sad, sad truth but eating one small piece of that rich, buttery kueh lapis means I'd have to climb 100 floors of an HDB block, while 1 small piece of mouthwatering pineapple tart means 50 floors. Can you believe that??!

That's not to say I won't be enjoying my CNY goodies though. No, I'm still very much a foodie at heart and plan on keeping my holiday spirits high and feasting on my fave festive treats {especially since Jen gave me the go-ahead to add 400 calories to my daily intake for 3 days to spike my metabolism hehe}.. but by making healthier food choices so that I won't have to suffer too much after the holiday season or let all my fitness training efforts so far go to waste haha.

You can easily gain 0.5 - 1kg with an additional 500kcal per day of food intake in a week. But losing that 0.5 - 1kg of fat is no joke!! And mind you, CNY season usually lasts at least 2 weeks... 

So here are my 8 Healthy But Still Happy Chinese New Year Eating Tips which I want to follow, and hope will encourage you to celebrate CNY without compromising your health and wellness too. 

1. Fill Up on Healthy Food First
When you are hungry, you may tend to eat more of whatever is in front of you, and that probably means all of the CNY goodies laid out on the table for guests. Fill up on healthy food e.g. fruits, vegetables, protein bars first before going to 拜年.

2. Look for Labels
Choose food with the Health Promotion Board's Healthier Choice Symbol as these food indicate healthier options which are lower in sugar, salt or fat. Some are also higher in dietary fibre and calcium compared to similar products within the same food category.

3. Ration Your Treats
Don't eat directly from the container, but take out small portions of the treats you want to eat to prevent overeating. Use the above infographic as a guide on the calories for each treat {and this calories calculator for your estimated daily intake} to know how to portion properly! Moderation is the key.

4. Use Small Plates
Research has shown that smaller plates can help reduce consumption. You tend to dish out less with smaller plates, and by extension, eat less! 

5. Eat Slowly
Nibble and savour each treat to allow your stomach the time it needs to digest and for you to feel full, hence preventing overeating.

6. Let the Conversations Flow
When you're chatting with your family and friends, you'll be less likely to indulge in mindless eating (*^^*) Talk, be merry, and share your festive treats! After all, that's what these CNY gatherings are about,  right??

7. Drink Lots of Plain Water
Drinking water is one of the easiest ways to turn up your fat-burning capacity as it boosts your metabolism, cleanse your body of waste from the feasting and acts as an appetite suppressant. Not to mention, it is also a healthier choice compared to the sweet drinks or alcohol.

8. Keep Active
Nobody wants to sweat & exercise during the holiday merry-making, however if you don't want to get more prosperous around your waistline, you'd want to. It doesn't have to be a time-consuming workout or really going up & down your HDB block, but just short high-intensity interval training e.g. Tabata or running around with your kids at the playground {see my Weekly Singapore  Playground series for ideas!} will do too. 

But whatever it is, even if we drop the ball and over-indulge, don't beat yourself up over it. We're human, after all.

And oh, since it's the festive season, here is a bonus tip,

9. Stay Off Social Media
So crazy coming from me as a blogger, but especially if you follow food or lifestyle bloggers, stay off Instagram / Facebook / Twitter etc. as there will surely be posts of yummilious CNY food throughout the day that will make you crave and reach out for them, even if you're not truly hungry!!! If your will-power is weak, don't tempt yourself further by looking at those posts. Out of sight, out of mind.

P.S. If you're still looking to buy CNY goodies, check out some of our family favourites at Jia Confectionery and Tai Chong Kok


Monday, March 2, 2015

Lady Cheongsams Tang San Cai {唐三彩} Chinese Art Tiles

Today is our 12th anniversary together!! Nothing much planned as we didn't take leave since we're going on a trip soon but we're out having a nice family meal tonight at a new-to-us Spanish restaurant. More on that later but I just wanted to share my gorgeous 12th anniversary present the boy bought for me over the weekend!!

We happened to come across a small fair at Raffles City selling a variety of traditional Chinese art and oriental products specially flown in from China in celebration of the Chinese New Year and I saw these beautiful coloured tiles. Since I admire cheongsams so much, these really spoke out to me and it was love at first sight!

The Chinese artist {Hu Xiao Hui} was there and she explained that these tiles were made using the Tang San Cai {tricolour-glazed pottery, 唐三彩} technique. You can read more about it here, but it's basically is a kind of handmade glazed ware created in the Northern and Southern Dynasty of China {386-589} about 1,400 years ago. During the Tang Dynasty {618-907}, the production of Tang San Cai reached its peak, which is part of the reason the pottery got the name of Tang San Cai.

Tricolour is a general term, and it is not limited to three colours. It was originally used to make camels, horses and other figurines but the artist used it to decorate tiles of various sizes depicting Chinese life and culture as a type of porcelain panel painting. 

These 2 tiles are slightly more expensive that her other work as they were exhibited in France before. I also had my eye on another design of a traditional Chinese opera singer but didn't get it. Still thinking of it though...

I'm kinda slow in putting up stuff on my walls but the next day after we got them, I quickly asked the boy to help me hang them up in our bedroom. So exquisitely beautiful, I feel happy just looking at them everyday. Even gave my ladies in cheongsams names - Ming Xue {in blue} and Cui Er {in green} :P

Thank you for my lovely anniversary present, dear Poogeo!!! Muakz muakz muakz!


Friday, January 16, 2015

Snakehead Fish for Wound-Healing

Chinese believe that eating fresh water snakehead fish {aka haruan fish} helps in post-surgical wound healing and reduces pain & inflammation. Scientifically, it's also said that this fish contains all the essential amino acids for wound healing, particularly glycine, and polyunsaturated fatty acids to promote collagen growth.

My boss reminded me of this when he saw how long my hand injury was taking to recover completely.

When I had my back operation as a teen and soon after I gave birth, my mum had also given me snakehead fish to eat. Back then, my mum actually bought fresh fish from the wet markets to descale, slice and cook for me. I'm not that kind of hardworking cook, so was wondering if there was an easier way for me to eat it {or perhaps get my mum to cook it for me again haha}.

Hubby told me that the fish used in the common local hawker fare, Fish Sliced Soup, was made with snakehead fish. I asked mum about this and she said yes for some stalls, but not all hawkers use that fish.

She then advised me to go get the Fish Essence herbal drinks from Chinese medicine halls, pharmacies or NTUC supermarkets. Wow! I didn't know they came in such convenient bottles now!

The boy  helped me to get 2 boxes from Chong Hoe, a local Chinese medicine shop that we frequent whenever I want to get Chinese herbs or bird's nest for cooking. Unlike ZTP, Hock Hua and Eu Yan Seng, it's not a franchise and is only located at 61 Serangoon Garden Way. The price on the box says S$22, but he got 2 boxes for S$20.30 each. Maybe if you buy more there's discount.

Each bottle is individually packed in a smaller box and I really like the shape of the glass bottle actually haha. I washed and kept them for future upcycling projects :P

The Fish Essence tastes a lot like Chicken Essence, which I love to drink, but if you aren't used to drinking Chinese herbal soup, it might be a bit weird for you. Other than the snakehead fish {scientific name is Channa Striatus} concentrated extract, there's codyceps and ginseng - both very highly-regarded Chinese herbs used to improve general health and well-being - in the drink.

We were out at Toa Payoh last weekend and went to get more Fish Essence drinks, this time from Hock Hua. At S$15/box, it was much cheaper! There's also 10% off if you purchase 3 boxes or more.
 
Each box also contains 6 bottles, but each bottle contains only 75ml, compared to the ones we purchased at Chong Hoe which was 85ml.

The bottles are the typical small "essence bottles" too. Not as cute as the ones at Chong Hoe, and the cap is also slightly harder to twist and open. Taste-wise, it is not as strong as the Chong Hoe Fish Essence, so might be better for those that don't like herbal drinks taste.

I don't think Brands bottled sells Fish Essence, but you might want to check out Eu Yan Seng as well since they have so many shops around. I saw that they sell a box {6 x 70ml bottles} for S$28.50. Do note that the fish extract used for Eu Yan Seng Fish Essence is from deep ocean fish, and not from snakehead fish but it's still recommended for healing after an injury or surgery.

The wound on my hand is still red, but has closed up completely and not as "ugly" as I was scared it might be. Probably because I took great care not to move it too much while it was healing, and I believe it's also because I took the snakehead fish essence drinks twice a day for the past week or so :) The boy doesn't really like herbal drinks, but I've persuaded him to take at least a bottle a day for his own surgical wounds too.

If you have other tips or super food to recommend for faster wound-healing, let me know!

* Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. The content is not presented by a qualified healthcare professional and is for informational purpose only. Your experience and results may differ from mine. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please seek medical advice first before trying.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Singapore Cheongsams :: Joli Pretty Online Shop + {Giveaway & Promo}

Ladies who like to wear cheongsams will be happy to know that there's a new kid on the block - Joli Pretty, an online boutique based in Singapore selling modern cheongsams. I'll be adding them to my list of where you can find cheongsams in Singapore :)

Joli means "pretty" in French, and they hope to provide all women with modern cheongsams that can make them pretty & fabulous for all occasions.Their first collection launched last month and I got my hands on 3 different designs - one for more glamourous events, one with an back zip, and one with an open-front.

Wonderful Night is a modern, sleeveless cheongsam made from tafetta fabric and fully-lined with silk. It comes with invisible side pockets and an open front with 2 fabric buttons.

I like the straight cut and purple hibiscus print against the shiny black, which goes all the way around the back too. I don't get dresses that only have details in the front but forget the back, and thankfully this cheongsam is not like that. Still very chic, and not overly formal or stiff. 

All the cheongsams I currently own have back-zip designs, so I found it more tedious to wear one with an open front since I have to zip the side, snap about 7 invisible fasteners, and button 2 fabric buttons. I asked the co-owner, Ann, why she wanted to have this in her designs as I reckon most women would want modern cheongsams with back zips for more convenience. She explained to me that cheongsams with open-front actually require more tailor skills, effort and time but they wanted to preserve the way that classic/traditional cheongsams are made, which are with open-fronts.

However, Joli Pretty also includes back-zip designs in their collections to fit women like me with busy lifestyles and who prefer fuss-free clothing.

Polka Dot & Such is one of their dresses with a back-zip. It is made from 100% premium cotton, and is fully lined with another layer of lightweight cotton. I like the mix of polka dot fabric with the petite leaves print, which has a very batik-feel.

Bintan has about the same weather as Singapore, and I wore this out one night when we went out of Angsana Bintan Resort to Pasar Oleh Oleh for dinner. I found it to be really comfortable, and easy to move around in thanks to the flare, pleated skirt {which also helped to hide my happy belly after eating haha}. The collar height of this collection is at 4cm, which is good for those looking for modern cheongsams for daily wear. Too high a collar might make it too stuffy and uncomfortable for the wearer, especially in our sweltering heat... and for me, it felt all right. Maybe because I have a short neck haha.

However, for more special occasion cheongsams, I think a higher collar would look nice too as it makes the wearer seem more elegant with the illusion of an elongated neck :) Ann said there would be this option for future collections.

Happy Fall is another everyday cheongsam made with premium cotton and lined with lightweight cotton. It has the traditional open-front, which after a few wears, I've come to like too as I can easily wear it by myself. Sometimes for dresses with back zips, I've to ask hubby or Lil Pumpkin to help me pull the zip up :P

Happy Fall is a very refreshing green with light fauna prints, and even though I don't particularly like most shades of green, I love love love mint green :P An excellent colour for summer! Oh this one has the cute invisible side pockets too which I adore! They are so useful and I'm very drawn to dresses with them.

Joli Pretty provides an additional pair of buttons with each dress, which I think is a good added service since most likely, you can't find the same buttons from the usual shops. The shopping website is easy to navigate with detailed photos of each dress, and Ann replies to emails promptly so if you have any queries, she'll be able to help you fast.

Customisation of fit and buttons are not available, and no fitting before purchase is available as they are sold exclusively online. So, choose your sizes properly with the size chart on the website {measure your bust and waist} as they do not accept changes or returns at the moment. For your reference, I'm wearing size M for all 3 dresses.

Promo: Quote "sakura10" for 10% off ALL Joli Pretty cheongsams from their online store when you email your purchase order to info.jolipretty@gmail.com. Due to some IT complications, promo code is not valid when purchasing with the online shopping cart on the website. Valid for first-time purchases until 31 Oct 2014 only. Free shipping to Singapore addresses and overseas shipping available.

Just for my special blog readers and friends only, I have ONE Happy Fall Modern Cheongsam {worth S$139} to give away! It's available in sizes S, M and L but if your chosen size is not available, you may choose either a Wonderful Night {worth S$159} or Polka Dot & Such {worth S$139} cheongsam.

Giveaway Method: Random Draw

1. Be a Sakura Haruka Facebook page fan

2. Be a Joli Pretty Facebook page fan

3. Like & Share this Facebook photo and tag a friend. Make sure your post is public!

4. Leave me a blog comment telling me where you'll wear a modern cheongsam to + FB name you used to like the pages + email add. For those unsure of how to comment, choose "Name/URL" option then add your name and comment. If you prefer to send me your email add privately, leave a comment for the other answers then contact me at sakuraharuka {at} live {dot} com.

ONE random winner will be chosen. Just complete all 4 simple steps!

Details:
* Open to Singapore residents only.
* Ends Monday, 4 Aug 2014 2359hrs {Singapore time} 
* Incomplete or inappropriate entries will be deemed invalid and will not be included.
* Winners will be announced by Sunday, 10 Aug 2014 on this blog post and notified via email. Winner have 3 days to reply, or the prize will be redrawn.
* Sakura Haruka is not responsible for any prizes lost, damaged or misplaced in the mail.     
* Chosen items are subject to stock availability.    

UPDATE: The giveaway has ended. The winner is Celyn Huang. Stay tuned for more blog giveaways on Sakura Haruka! Check out my current readers promos too. Thanks for your support!

* Disclosure: Joli Pretty provided the cheongsams for review and giveaway. All other accessories belong to me. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.


Friday, May 30, 2014

China 2014 | Feiyue {飞跃}, Shulong {舒龙}, Warrior {回力} Shoes at Culture Matters, Shanghai

Feiyue {飞跃} is a sneaker brand produced in Shanghai, China since the 1920s. Today, they are still produced in China but since 2006, Feiyue is also a French-owned company, separate from the original Chinese company.

The boy bought his first pair of Feiyue shoes 3 years ago and since then, he has bought many more, even for Lil Pumpkin. Yes, she has her own kiddy Feiyue shoes too haha. As I was going to be in Shanghai, the birthplace of the brand, I just had to buy back some authentic Feiyue shoes for all of us!

At first, I wanted to visit the official Feiyue store {No. 264 Danshui Road, 淡水路264号} at Xintiandi but decided to go to its authorised dealer, Culture Matters, instead since it was nearer my hotel. Note that these kind of sneakers are not sold in the usual shoe stores, as nowadays, it has reached cult status and is loved mainly by the foreigners {thanks to celebrities like Orlando Bloom & Johnny Depp} and trendy youngsters. Although it's considered a bargain to us {considering how much it costs in Singapore!}, it has become a bit too expensive for the locals to enjoy like in the past.

Culture Matters stocks classic styles and seasonal collections of Feiyue, as well as Shulong {舒龙} and Warrior {回力} which are also old-school shoe brands, all made and designed in China but not available in Singapore. They had only kids footwear for Warrior, and the rest were unisex models.

The store is a really small corridor that's stacked wall-to-wall with the shoes and when I went, it was manned by a very friendly guy and lady. They were very patient in helping me to decide on sizes and models, and never pushed me into buying anything. The guy speaks English too.

I got there just as it opened and during my time there, different groups of mainly foreigners and a few locals came by. The shopkeepers told me that usually, the foreigners would buy about 5-6 pairs back and it was true! haha.. I overheard a few of the locals saying "哎呀!这些是我们小时候穿的呀! {oh! we used to wear these when we were young!}". Adds to the charm of the shoes I guess ;)

A pair of classic Feiyue sneakers {2nd generation} costs RMB55 each. The 3rd generation was just released this year and costs RMB99. Compared to the earlier generations, it is supposedly made of better quality and has softer cushioning. It is also whiter. I prefer the faded white colour of the 2nd generation so got that instead. The first generation is out of stock and not in production anymore.

There really are many models of shoes here and they generally cost around or less than RMB100! Quality-wise, I think they are as good as a pair of Converse.

The boy was looking for some loafers so got him that navy blue pair from Warrior.

You can also pay an extra RMB50 to have your own design hand-painted on your sneakers, but you need to order that a week in advance as the shoes are sent to a factory for painting and proper coating so that it's protected from the elements.

There are some ready stock hand-painted designs in store but they come in limited quantities and are relatively more expensive than the usual designs. I also bought a pair of white Warrior loafers with a hand-painted blue Chinese dragon design for myself. Wanted to get it for the boy but they didn't have his size, and it was too exquisite to pass up!

If you love fashion and want to bring a unique piece of Shanghai home with you, then pop by to get yourself a pair of traditional Chinese sneakers. Sure beats buying a piece of touristy "I love Shanghai" t-shirt! :P

Check out my video to see my shopping haul of Feiyue, Shulong and Warrior shoes! You can also see the actual hand-painted Chinese dragon loafers I was talking about. If the video isn't working, watch it on YouTube here.

Culture Matters, Dongping Lu branch
15 Dongping Lu, Xuhui district{徐汇区东平路15号}
Nearest Metro station: Hengshan Lu {衡山路}, Exit 4
Open daily, 11am - 9pm


* Disclosure: My Shanghai Story trip was partially sponsored by Spring Airlines. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {linky}: Family Obento Ideas - Chinese New Year Traditional Snacks | Week 6


 What's in my obento this week? 
TCC Bear Pineapple Tarts, Homemade Pinapple Tarts, Kueh Bangkit, 
Pistachio Nuts & Bak Kwa.

Obento {お弁当} is a home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine and doesn't always need to be complicated or time-consuming. I hope to inspire you to create delicious, everyday obento meals for your family with these simple ideas and tools.

These photos are part of the 52 Weeks Family Obento Ideas series.

P.S. This is a very small sampling from the wide variety of Chinese New Year snacks!
Also, my mum is lending me some of her obento boxes for this series, so it's likely
you'll see 52 different kinds... she has an enviable collection! :P

*****

Sakura Haruka's wordless wednesday
Note: Highlight the code & press Ctrl + C buttons to copy. 
You are not able to just highlight and right click to copy any text on my blog.
  1. Grab my button & place it in your post or sidebar, or text link back to my party.
  2. Add me on Google Friend Connect or Facebook before you link up.
  3. Come back every Wednesday!! :)






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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year 2014! 新年快乐!


Happy Chinese New Year! 新年快、万事如意!恭喜发财!
Wishing you a prosperous & healthy new year. Enjoy the rest of the long weekend

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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.

Tips:
  • 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 :)