Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chinese New Year Night Bazaar [Pasar Malam] 2013 @ Chinatown [Singapore]

Before you start reading, please check out my first post [click HERE] written a day before the official launch of the festive street bazaar for the coming snake year.

So why did i even bother to have another blog entry on a similar topic? Two reasons; my previous visit was in the daytime and, given that it was not yet the launch of the bazaar, many shops were still in the midst of setting up.

I was so prepared to wait till the sun set that i reached Chinatown at 4.30pm! This means i had plenty of time on my hand to take many pictures of the yellow snake slithering down South Bridge Road.

There was actually a third reason for my re-visitation; the incomplete red snake in between Eu Tong Sen Street and New Bridge Road which is of course in its finished outlook now.

Since time was in my favour, i checked out quite a number of locations with an elevated view to take a better top-down picture of the 128-meter long, boxy-looking snake.

A lot of people have voiced their dissatisfaction with the design of the main star this year; i was, initially, but to dig a bit deeper, it is hard to come out with a design of the snake in such massive magnitude when snakes look pretty similar to dragons.

Stacks of bak kwa [肉干] in one of the famous brands! This was a big contrast to the brand that was renowned for its long queue every Chinese New Year.

The lack of queue does not equate to a drop in popularity; its signature sliced pork bak kwa was in reality already sold out when i arrived at 7pm!

One of the many shops selling Chinese New Year (CNY) decorations; you know CNY is coming when you see these red and golden decorations in shopping malls, office blocks and neighbourhood shops.

Recyclable bags using Japanese Zodiacs [same animals as the Chinese version) as their individual emblem. Designed by this company known as pocketbag.sg, its main, noble objective is to cut down our excessive use of plastic bags!

This would be great as Christmas gifts and i bet you can get it cheaper in bulk! Those blue, pink and yellow birdies in sitting position were absolutely adorable!

Like Petaling Street of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, you would likely find more foreigners in such restaurants. Prices seemed reasonable; maybe i should pop by for a meal sometimes.

I have always thought Bangkok was the place to get dirt cheap T-shirts at around S$5. The above Singapore themed T-shirts were tagged with a price tag of only S$2.90 each! 

Name carving is nothing new although i doubt i would have asked for name carving on these wooden mobile phones decorations. Don't you think the words look more like vandalism? 

Time for sampling!

The vendors were so enthusiastic to give out samples! Mind you, it was not a teeny weeny bite; in the case of the Taiwanese jellies, a sample was half a jelly!

Some even set up a mini counter to disseminate samples!

Those who have yet to try dried persimmons should be more daring to give this a chance! Korean readers, who are no stranger to wind dried persimmons, would love this.

The pictures you see in this entry were taken over two days. Even for a Wednesday, the streets were brimming with people! 

With over 500 stalls, there are sure to be some unique finds; like these invisible belts that can hold your wallets and precious items safely and away from the eyes of would-be robbers. 

Electronic sealers for the masses have been available in the market for quite a few years yet this stall still managed to attract a crowd in the two days i was there. 

I was so tempted to get one after seeing this "magical" act! 

Festive fortune plants! Remember those pots of lemon-like fruits that were stacked together? I asked my dad and he said they were kumquats! 

Hanging green pomelos; i wonder if there is a limit to how many the vendor can put on the temporary scaffolding.

Dried cuttlefish! Should i buy this home, i would definitely get a earful from dad who categories cuttlefish under "poisonous". In his opinion, food that falls under "poisonous" should be eliminated from our diet.

Vendors hawking their products; come Chinese New year eve and your ear drums would likely be damaged temporarily by their loud voices that are often amplified using microphones and loudhailers. 

招财猫 of different designs and sizes; maybe i should persuade mom to get one for the house since it has a been a long time since either of us strikes lottery. 

Educational toys, specially imported from Taiwan, to develop the genius mind of your children.

For the purpose of this festive street bazaar, area right outside the shopfront of affected streets was released for bidders to bid for so that they can secure a space for their stalls. As the placement of such stalls would reduce the visibility of permanent shops, i understand that a few have decided to bid for the space themselves.

In the past three years, i have continuously made a purchase at this stall for their essential oil. This year, i am in a dilemma as i have leftovers from last year!

Hanbok! @Joyce Teo: should we get one for Jovyn?! She would look absolutely adorable in this Korean traditional attire for girls! 

The street view again; i was dabbling with the camera settings like shutter speed, aperture etc. Unbeknownst to many, my pictures were usually taken using the "Automatic" mode.

Pistachio nuts at S$3.50 a bag. The Chinese name for these nuts is happy nuts [開心果] and that explains why Chinese love to have them during Chinese New Year. 

To add on to the festive atmosphere, many families in the past would buy and play music CDs, DVDs of Chinese New Year songs whenever they were expecting visitors. Sadly, i am seeing it less and less nowadays. 

Embroidered table holders for mandarin oranges although my mom prefers to use the traditional rattan basket for a practical reason; it can hold far a lot of mandarin oranges!

Oriental papercuts - do you think they are cut by machine or by human hands? 

New year couplets! There are many stalls selling this; some would even write them on the spot for you. However, you may wish to support this hearing impaired man stationed at the end of temple street towards South Bridge Road. 

Jovyn has a habit of throwing things! Before she damages my parents' reading glasses, i think it would be a good investment to buy a few pairs of these unbreakable glasses!

What is the word we used to describe these? LED lamps? Soft light lamps? Regardless of what they are called, the rabbit one was so cute! 

Organic products from Xinjiang, China. This reminded me of my Beijing trip last September when our tour guide was saying how impoverished the region was and that we could contribute to their economy by buying some local products from HIM. 

Coffee Hock - i am no drinker of kopi O but accordingly to both my parents, they are very satisfied with this brand. It's cheaper to get it from the bazaar! 

I have yet to buy any CNY biscuits! We are trying to hold this back as far back as possible as we have the tendency to eat them before the start of the new year. 

One stall was selling small statues (roughly palm size) of smiling Chinese deities! Its purported divine ability aside, they would likely attract the attention of your visitors.

You can even use it as a aroma diffuser; there was a hole where you can inject the aroma oil even though i doubt the fragrance can cover the size of a bed room. 

Supposedly super soft blankets that are machine washable!

50% off its original price?! Wait for a second; they were already 50% off on the very first day of the bazaar! *p.s. i counter checked with the pictures i took on the 18 January 2013*

Travellers who had visited Macau before would know of this Koi Kei Bakery [澳門鉅記手信]. Now, you can find its products (like almond biscuits) right here in Singapore! 

Bed sheets at S$10!!!! Every time i passed by the stall, i had to resist the incredible urge not to go in and rummage through its offerings! 

LED T-shirts that amazingly followed the beat of music! S$28 each and suitable for those who frequents night spots. 

Random pic of a tissue box on top of waxed Chinese sausages. 

Hungry for food? You can always grab a bite at the food street. Singaporeans like me prefer to satisfy our hunger at the cheaper hawker centres around Chinatown. There are four in the vicinity; Maxwell, Hong Lim, Chinatown Complex and People's Park food centres. 

You may also grab a bite at a few takeaway food stalls along Sago Street; i could not resist the smell of BBQ squid and paid S$3 for a stick!

Kon: You are the best person to check out the "most awesome fries you have ever tasted"! 

String lions of ceremonial lion dances. Lovers of lion dances should attend the 6th international lion dance competition on the 26th January 2013 in the open field at Banda Street. Kindly note that there is a fee of S$10 and you may purchase the tickets at Kreta Ayer Community Centre. For enquiries, please call 6222-3597. 

New year cake at Chop Tai Chong Kok [大中国饼家]; a confectionery that has been in operation since 1938 and is famous for their mooncakes. From the big crowd inside the shop, i shall assume that their new year goodies were as popular as their mooncakes.

Mandarin oranges - who knows what is the market price this year? I only know that the sweeter Lukan has a smaller supply this year due a lower harvest. 

Dog spotted in the crowd! 

These plants appeared in my blog this week. Anyone can remember which entry it is? Check out my post on the Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay.

Awwww, 'like' is an understatement for the country i am bred in! 

Preserved olives; weirdly, there was nothing else available except for olives (unless the fruit stall next door belongs to the same owner). To be confident enough to sell just one type of product, there must be some tasty goodness to these olives.

Nightly performances at Kreta Ayer Square [8pm - 10.30pm] from 19 January till 09 February 2013. Check out here to know what are the show of the evening.

Go beyond Kreta Ayer Square where there is a big tentage at the juncture of Spring Street and Banda Street. Strangely, i could not find any information on this from the official Chinatown festivals website. 

It was quieter than the main bazaar and you could definitely shop in peace in the spacious area. As of this evening, i didn't see as many shops as i did in previous years. 

To get a helicopter view of the entire bazaar, i took a lift up Chinatown complex!  

Fascinating and i don't even need to pay a single cent! The intersection of Trengganu Street and Temple Street shown in the above photograph is the most crowded and it worsens on New Year's eve! 

With such magnificent views, i can only imagine the exorbitant price one would pay to get his/her hands on a unit of this public housing estate. 

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Location of Bazaar 
Pagoda Street, Smith Street, Sago Street, Temple Street and Trengganu Street. 

Date 
From 18 January till night of 09 February 2013 [Or 12.30am of 10 February 2013] 

Time
11.00am to 10.30pm 

Website for More Info

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