Take a morning stroll around Chinatown, a cultural heritage district in Singapore, and check out the streets and their eats.
Chi Cher Haw is a friend of NOSHtrekker who likes to start his day in Singapore’s Chinatown well before the shutters are up and the tourists are out. He is not one of life’s sleepwalkers, but an exuberant Singaporean who likes to pack a lot into a day. The mornings allow him a sense of spaciousness to enjoy dumplings for breakfast, a chance to collect his family’s dinner provisions from the market and express his gratitude at Buddha’s stupa.
Start walking down Smith Street where you’ll find hawker stalls, shophouse restaurants and ad hoc kiosks. It’s a nostalgic al-fresco dining experience synonymous with the Chinatown of old.
Hawker Chan Soya Chicken. Courtesy of flickr/Ivan.Ramost.
Street Market & Sogo Lane
Explore a bustling Street Market and discover an interesting array street shops along Sogo Lane.
Chinatown, Singapore. Photo courtesy of Max Pixel.
Buddhist & Hindu Temples
Singapore is known for its religious diversity and on South Bridge Road you can visit two temples – one Buddhist and the other Hindu.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum on 288 South Bridge Road was built in the architectural style of the Tang dynasty. As its name suggests, the temple is home to a remnant of Buddha’s tooth, but you will also find simple vegetarian fare served in the basement. Walking around the temple, marvel at its richly designed interiors and comprehensive exhibits on Buddhist art and history that tell stories of culture hundreds of years old.
Nearby on 244 South Bridge Road, visit the Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple and home to many colourful traditional festive celebrations. The temple was founded in 1827 by Naraina Pillai, a government clerk from Penang who worked with Sir Stamford Raffles, and is built in South Indian Dravidian style. If you look at the tiers that crown this place of worship, you’ll find a rich tapestry of Hindu deities and ornamental sculptures. Do remember to remove your shoes before you enter the temple.
Sri Mariamman Temple. Photo courtesy of flickr/jorge.cancela.
I recommend that you round off your morning stroll on historical Pagoda Street or Chinatown Street Market and witness the hustle and bustle from street market stalls and traditional heritage shop houses. The shopping selections are endless. You’ll find traditional souvenirs and clothes shops, to a range of speciality market stalls, and not to mention, a plethora of restaurants and street stalls to temp your taste buds. Maybe consider staying for lunch?