Chinatown Shopping and Dining in Singapore
Budget : depends on what you will buy
Duration : ~2 hours
Bummers : long walk
Getting lost isn’t fun. Getting lost with an empty stomach is infuriating – especially for me. Chinatown is one of our planned destinations when we were in Singapore. Of course, as Pinoys, we cannot simply go back home without pasalubong (homecoming gift). To save on pasalubongs, there is no other place that you should go to but Chinatown. Okay, I exaggerated a bit because Bugis Junction is also a great place to buy affordable pasalubongs in Singapore.
We took a train ride and got off Chinatown stop. Unfortunately, there were many exits in the Chinatown stop and the signs were a bit confusing (or maybe I was just hungry). So, by gut-feel, we took one exit. Sadly, it’s the wrong exit so we went back down from where we started and tried another exit. What I learned from this is if you are looking for Chinatown, go along with the flow of people and most likely that’s the right exit. Since Chinatown is composed on many streets, the street you should be looking for to find the cheap buys is the Pagoda Street.
Once I saw that it was already the right street, I was so happy. All I can think of is, “Now, I can eat..”
There are many hawker stations in Chinatown. As a foodie, I do a few research of what to dishes to try to experience the place or country that I am visiting. Of course, I will be trying the chili crabs, which are specialty of many hawker stations in Singapore. We walked around Chinatown and decided to eat somewhere far from the MRT entrance. We thought that prices of food would probably be cheaper if the hawker station is far from the train entrance. So, we walked a few blocks and then found a good hawker station to eat.
To warm our empty stomach, we got some Bak Kut Teh (Chinese Soup).
We ordered the Chili Crabs. The chili in these crabs are no joke. It is really, really spicy. I think the sauce is made of chopped, mashed, and ground red pepper. If this dish was a band, it will be called the Red Hot Chili Peppers. If I were to make a tag line about this dish, it will go like this, “Ang tunay na lalake, kayang ubusin ang isang buong order ng chili crabs nang hindi umiinom at naluluha.” (A real man can finish an entire order of chili crabs without drinking and crying.)
I think they thought the spiciness of the chili crabs wasn’t enough to make us cry so they still served as with some chili sauce along with other dishes.
Satay is also a popular food in Singapore so we had a platter of it. Different meat are used for satay. I think chicken and goat are the most popular meat used. They don’t use pork because that isn’t permitted by Halal. Satay is served with chili peanut sauce.
We also had the Char Kway Teow, which is stir-fried flat rice noodles. Pieces of shrimps and slices of cabbage are added in Char Kway Teow.
We also had some Yang Chow Rice. Yang Chow Rice is very common in Singapore. Bits of seafood, carrots, peas, and scrambled eggs are added with rice to create Yang Chow Rice.
We got Sugar Cane Juice to relieve the spiciness of the food. The sugar cane juice in this hawker station tasted different from the one we had in Makansutra Gluttons Bay. Well, this one tasted more like sugar cane. It was freshly processed so I guess that’s why you can taste the raw sugar cane.
After devouring such a spicy meal, we rested for a while then embarked on a shopping spree. Lol!
There are lots of things that you can buy from Chinatown. You can find cheap trinkets that you can buy in bulk so you can get a better deal.
You can also buy authentic Chinese herbal and health products.
You can also find in Chinatown the popular jerky place, Bee Cheng Hiang. Bee Cheng Hiang is just right beside the train entrance from Pagoda Street.
Walking around Chinatown can get you dehydrated, especially if the sun is blazing up. Don’t worry, there are many stores around Chinatown that sell drinks that I don’t usually see in the Philippines. They have soya drinks, different fresh fruit juices (like guava, lime, passion fruit, and aloe vera), and bandung (milk drink with rose syrup). You can also buy the usual bottled drinks like soda or water.
I am really amazed that even if Chinatown is packed with hawker stations and many stores, the place is so clean.
Spread some awesome..ness..