As a kid growing up, Chinese New Year is one occasion I always looked forward to. It’s a joyous celebration between family members and relatives over traditional Chinese dishes, sweet treats and red packets. Everyone is pouring our blessings to whom they meet during this festive period. But as we grow older and become so occupied with our lives, I observed that we started drifting apart from our relatives and you could almost say that festive mood has died down over the years in Singapore.
But then again, maybe I was wrong because over here in Chinatown, throngs of people are still visiting the festive market to purchase goodies, clothes and everything else for the upcoming Chinese New Year. And it was nice to soak in the atmosphere with everyone else and being here is like going back to my own roots and learning more about the Chinese Culture.
I was at Chinatown Heritage Centre last weekend to join a Chinatown Heritage Walking trail with a group of influencers along with Mediacorp artiste, Sora Ma (马艺瑄) to comb the streets of Chinatown and get a taste of some good food.
We gathered at the Chinatown Heritage Centre which is about 2 minutes walk from Chinatown MRT. Once you walk out of the station via Exit A, you will be able to spot the Chinatown Heritage Centre located among the row of shophouses on your left. As a local living here for so many years, I didn’t know the existence of this heritage center! It is a great place for both tourists and locals to trace the footsteps of Singapore’s early pioneers and discover the personal stories of the locals living here who made Chinatown their home.
You will need to get a ticket to enter the heritage center to view the exhibits however if you are born in the Year of the Rooster, you are able to enjoy a free admission to the center. You will just need to be part of the Happy Rooster Family Album to enter the center for free.
In collaboration with Trishaw Uncle, you can also enjoy a trishaw experience to visit the Chinatown Heritage Centre and view the Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2017 street light-up.
Chinatown Heritage Centre is also kicking off the Year of the Rooster with the Capteh Challenge. If you can keep the capteh flying in the air by kicking it for 8 consecutive times, you can win a free admission to the center.
Check out these cute rooster captehs!
The heritage walk is centered along the streets in Chinatown where the festive markets are held. We visited various stalls to learn more about the typical traditional Chinese goodies and delicacies which were eaten during Chinese New Year. We also checked out some hipster food stalls that sells delicious food which would appeal to the younger crowd.
Whats That Food sells juicy burgers that would really fill your stomach. And if you are craving for something sweet, you can try their Yuzu ice popsicles that have bits of longan hidden in it.
Fancy something even colder in this extremely hot weather? You got to try the Dragon’s breath nitrogen-infused biscuits which are just a few stalls down from the burger stall. It was my first time trying it and I must say that it is quite fun! It isn’t so much about the taste of the sweet biscuits but more of the fun in blowing out the cool nitrogen smoke.
Check out Sora’s skill in blowing out the nitrogen fumes! She played such a great host and guide during the heritage walk.
We also tried these cute packets of fruit jellies from Taiwan which are sweet and delicious! These are some of the sweet treats you can buy at the market itself
Our last stop was at this stall which sells various types of roasted seeds like pumpkin and melon seeds which are often served in those Chinese candy boxes. These candy boxes are placed in most households and the hosts would offer these candies to their guests during Chinese New Year visitation. I enjoy checking out these candy boxes to look for my favorite candy during visitations when I was a kid.
The owner of this stall also shared with us some Chinese traditions and the reason why we eat these roasted seeds during Chinese New Year.
In fact, you can bring home some fortune with you when you can grab a couple of melon seeds from the host and placed them into your pockets. The Chinese believe that in doing so, you are bringing home some luck from the hosts with you.
You can get a nice view of the Chinatown street light up from this vantage point which is at People’s Park Centre. It is a great spot for photograph taking.
I must say that this heritage walk was truly meaningful as we get to explore the streets of Chinatown and reconnect with our roots!
Wishing you a Happy Chinese New Year and a prosperous year ahead!