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Singapore’s Chinatown evolved around 1821 when the first Chinese junk arrived from Xiamen, Fujian province in China. The passengers, all men, set up home around the south of the Singapore River which is known today as Telok Ayer. Chinatown’s local name – Niu Che Shui (Bullock Cart Water) arose from the fact each household at that time had to collect fresh water from the wells in Ann Siang Hill and Spring Street, using bullock-drawn carts.

Located at Smith Street, the Chinatown Food Street offers the best local hawker favourites! You would be able to savour the best of Singapore’s hawker food and rediscover the joys of al-fresco roadside dinning among the beautifully restoring shophouses of Chinatown.

The Chinatown Food Street offers over 20 types of local delights. Do try out local dishes like Char Kway Teow ( a noodle dish fried with fresh cockles), Carrot Cake (a steamed savoury radish cake fried with eggs and preserved vegetables) or Rojak (a refreshing local salad tossed with sweet sauced and peanuts), served from outdoor stalls like days of the old. Expect to pay an average of SGD 5 per person for a hearty meal.

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When Sir Stamford Raffles allocated the area south of the Singapore River to the Chinese community in his 1828 Town Plan, swarms of immigrants from southern China came to reside in these old shop houses, eventually establishing what we now call Chinatown.

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Up till today, a large part of Chinatown is still based on the layout of the 1828 Raffles Town Plan with most of the street names remaining unchanged. For many of the older Chinese, they still affectionately refer to some streets by their old nicknames, which were usually derived from the trades carried out there or the names of famous landmarks and personalities associated with that area.

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As the shophouses then were small and cramped, the streets became the common area for most families. Responding to this need, street side stalls in Chinatown often served dual purposes. Products sold during the day (vegetables, meat and fish) usually differed from those sold at night (clothes and daily necessities).

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Food and drink hawkers, peddlers, fortune-tellers, travelling medicine salesmen, storytellers, buskers and opera singers all contributed to the bustle of life and noise, an atmosphere we know you’ll enjoy as we revive lost traditions and forgotten practies in Chinatown.

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Operating hours of Chinatown Food Street
Mon-Thurs, Sun & Public Holidays: 5pm – 11pm
Fri, Sat & Eve of Public Holidays: 5pm – 1am

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Getting there:
Take the North-East Line, alight at Chinatown Station (NE4), and exit at Pagoda Street exit, and walk to Smith Street.

  1. Precious Pea Said,

    The fried carrot cake looks so ‘petite’..everything cut till so small. Sad to say, never been to Singapore Chinatown before..perhaps should make a trip down as I heard their food quality improves a lot.

    [Reply]

  2. NIcole Said,

    hey nice blog. do you have an email? (send me one)

    Nicole

    [Reply]

  3. timothy Said,

    Hey Precious (haha .. I can call you that, can I?), you MUST make your way to Chinatown. It’s a far cry from our ..erm…ones here. Cleanliness would be the main factor, I would say.

    Nicole .. thanks for your compliments. You can reach me at timlow2002@gmail.com. Cheers !

    [Reply]

  4. teckiee Said,

    ohhh i cant stop raving about their lamb BKT! And sc of fpod4thot mention about their tong yuin too. (http://food-4-thot.blogspot.com/2007/06/ah-balling-peanut-soup-singapore.html)

    [Reply]

  5. Precious Pea Said,

    Haha..you may call me ‘precious’ cos a few floggers also calling me that, especially Nigel with the special tone. OK…I will definately stop by chinatown if I happen to go down to S’pore!

    [Reply]

  6. Rasa Malaysia Said,

    Great B&W pictures…brilliant.

    [Reply]

  7. MeltingWok Said,

    Hey Tim, nice shots, esp. the B&W ones :))) Love how you’ve revamped your blog, that spiky green from each letter as I type, so invigorating 🙂

    [Reply]

  8. Jackson Kah Said,

    Really admired at yr photography skill..

    [Reply]

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