Sunday, January 26, 2014

Festive Street Bazaar 2014 Part One - Year of the Horse @ Chinatown Chinese New Year Celebrations 2014

Every year without fail, i would make my way down to cover the Chinese New Year bazaar at Singapore's very own Chinatown and this year is no exception!

The scene that greeted me as i stepped out of Northeast Line - the timing was barely 5.30pm on a weekday and the place was already so crowded?! Cannot imagine the situation as we get gradually nearer to eve of the lunar new year.

Someone was selling helium balloons in the form of plastic cartoon characters! I had the feeling this person was doing it illegally as many do during festive seasons in order to earn a quick buck.

My experience last year told me that if you really like that piece of auspicious decoration, go for it even if bargaining fails. Chances are good stuff would likely be sold out before the owner announces a massive cut in the prices.

Coming zodiac animal - the horse! And this means a lot of horse plushies sporting colours like prosperous red and fortune yellow!

Lion puppets never fall out of favour. Cat lovers would often lament the lack of cat in the zodiac calendar but feline has always been represented; albeit in a less docile form.

Souvenirs are so cheap at 36 pieces for S$10?! Each key chain was less than thirty Singapore cents leh!!

Oriental lady fans at only two dollars! As the weather has been so cool and windy in recent weeks, i guess people would buy it only as a souvenir rather than using it for practical reason.

Ang Pow (red packets)! With affordable printing costs, there are now so many designs in the market! I have yet to explore them all since i am generally a 'receiver' (in the local context, red packets can only be given out by married persons; lucky me)!

Once again, the appearance of Taiwanese jellies / mochi stalls! Surprisingly, prices have already started dropping from S$1.80 per 100 grams to S$1.50. Want to have the best deal? Wait till eve and you would most likely haul back one big bag (approximately 3 kilograms) for S$10.

S$10 soft blankets - buy one and get a smaller travel size blanket for free! I saw the same kind of blanket for sale in Northpoint's atrium sale at the same price but without the freebie.

Another Taiwanese specialty - Pineapple Cake! I tried it before in the Mooncake bazaar at Takashimaya; even though they tasted quite good, the steep price was a bit hard to stomach.

Solar-powered nodding toys! Just remember i actually a similar one in my house last year! Hm..... guess it must be somewhere around. I need him to assure a "sure-win" in the upcoming multi-million TOTO draw!

Caricature artist in Chinatown - S$12 for one face with subsequent faces costing S$6 each and up to a maximum of 3 faces on an A4-sized paper. Quite expensive woah...

Two things my attention - left was a fire cracker music player that had a price tag of S$148 for the large one! Damn, even real fire crackers might not have cost so much!! On the right was a tissue box cover in the shape of a cute dancing lion!

Utterly adorable bags for young children! Should i get one for Jovyn? Jerald might be a bit too big to carry this as he is now in primary school!

Unlike typical neighbourhood pasar malams, you rarely see stalls selling mobile phone covers and accessories. Competition might play a part too since the area has many permanent shops selling similar items.

Lady sandals for sale.

Malt candy! I used to love this in the past although i would prefer the traditional type directly twirled from a pot of thick and brown concoction!

People were crowding around this particular stall and i could not help but to check it out to see what it was all about! Damn, i am so "auntie" some time! Genes of the mother, no doubt.

It was a kind of flaxseed oil thingy. Little cups of soup (which contained the oil, i presume) were freely dished out and you are welcome to add in some nutritional nuts before drinking. i could not stand the smell and didn't even bother waiting for my turn.

Small sized pots of greenery that would be so suitable for office dwellers! Alex bought one of these from Malaysia once and it was said to be really low in maintenance.

So why not spend that S$10 and add some "nature" and supposedly good luck to your work station!

S$10 bedsheets!!!! I have yet to buy any for the new year and i am a sucker for such deals. Hence, i purposely made another trip this evening to buy two packs!!

Clothes for the kids. Psst, i sincerely hope Joyce would dress Jovyn up as a Korean this year! She would look absolutely cuddle-able!

Korean linen - pity they don't have the man's range. Even i was tempted to give this a try after reading from the banner that it was said to be extremely comfortable!

Manicure in Korean style? Many ladies were crowding around so i guess the fake nails offered for sale must have been quite pretty.

A customary shot of the street with the iconic Pearl Centre's in the background.

Seaweed with different flavours like almond, buckwheat and chilli. I am no fan of seaweed although i find Tao Kae Noi to be totally irresistible when it comes to simple snacking!

Yet another Taiwanese jellies / mochi stall.

Like the Taiwanese jellies / mochi stalls, you would not miss this shop with staff dressed in Japanese attire. If i remember it correctly, they have been at the same location for the past few years at this temporary festive bazaar!

Though dried mushrooms were the products that took up the most space, you must not disregard the bottles of mushroom essence! I shall not explain more; go and sample the braised mushroom seasoned with the powder and you shall know how delicious it was!

My memory must be getting good as i remember this biscuit vendor has been taking the same spot for the past few years too! Sampling is welcome!

6 for S$10 may appear to be a damn good deal. That's what i thought too initially although you must keep in mind that the quantity in one box can be quite little.

Mini lucky bamboo plants which signify prosperity, good luck fortune and most importantly, happiness!

Peach blossoms for sale!

Melon seeds, from Taiwan again! The owner seriously needs to re-design the stall; it was an exact mirror image from last year! Check out my post here.

Very traditional candies used as offerings for the deities and ancestors. They can be eaten of course yet i doubt many of the younger generation would know how to appreciate them.

Cushion covers - not my forte as i prefer hugging a bolster!

Australia macadamia nuts - they were in the same bazaar a year ago! Honestly, seeing a big X over the boxes can be quite misleading; were they rejected products? Please, turn the boxes to the other side!

How can we ever forget the peanut king who is forever very very generous in encouraging anyone walking past to sample their products!?!

This was taken from another stall yet the scenario of peanut shells all over the road remained unchanged.

3D jigsaw puzzle of notable worldwide landmarks!

Taiwan Basil - advertising a wide range of benefits (including slimming), my only memory of basil was limited to the drink i had in Bangkok and it was so thirst quenching!

Maybe i should invest in this multi-purpose electric lunch box for my office; at least i would have healthier meals and there would a glimmer of hope that i can at least lose some fats!

Old school sweets! A pity i have already reached the age when sugar rush is no longer considered along the line of blame-free indulgence! :(

Nuts!!! Friends who know me well would have heard of the story how i managed to land myself in A&E on the second day of Chinese New Year for three years running. Culprit? An overdose on cashew nuts!

Pinwheels as authentic as the ones from the famous Wong Tai Sin temple in Hong Kong!

Let's exit from the busy street and proceed for some quieter moments on an adjacent lane.

Smith Street - it had lesser crowd for a reason. It was still open for traffic as motor vehicles required the access to get to Chinatown Complex where there are few hundred hawker stalls!

Fake plants with an incredibly bountiful harvest of vibrant plastic fruits for sale. Note: Nothing against fake stuff and it only cost S$8 each.

A colourful pinwheel that was appropriately placed along a juncture where wind condition was extremely favourable for the wheel to display its full prowess!

Foreigner checking out the waxed products; i can understand his curiousity as i could not fathom till now how Chinese can even eat these preserved items!

Pomelos, pumpkins and bottle gourds! Maybe i should get one of the bottle gourds just to be aware of the taste; this is under the provision i can eat it like a fruit without the need to cook it.

Notice something that i have been posting for the past few years?!

The iconic inflatable dollies! Hm...... they were the same as last year except for the positioning. I hope i would not repeat this same sentence for the bazaar next year!

Dried persimmons which can be addictive!

Known as Buddha's Palm, i recollected a celebrity ever mentioning on a show that he /she would totally not touch this as it reminded him / her a decapitated baby's hand. Ewwwww...

Fresh olives said to relieve heatiness, stop coughing, clear the phlegm and toxic in your body.

The vegetable auntie was still marketing her fresh produce! I wonder why she wants to sell her vegetables at this location as it has a lot more tourists than locals.

Nian Gao - i just bought a medium one for my mom and i didn't know it can cost so much! Maybe it was because Mom has specifically requested to buy from Tai Chong Kok 大中国饼家.

Decor with the Chinese character 福 which mean happiness. Most Chinese would purposely put it upside down as the Mandarin pronunciation is similar to "arrive".

Attack of the minions again!

Fruit basket for the mandarin oranges given by the visitors to your house. In my family, it can be quite a challenge to find mandarin oranges to "return" to the our visitors as we have a much higher tendency to snack them!

Sky lanterns! On the eve last year, i got 8 for S$10! For my virgin experience in releasing the sky lantern i purchased in Chinatown, click here.

More for the tourists than us.

Bak Kwa shop that normally would not have attracted a second look except for one thing; Hu Zhen Long 胡振隆 offered lobster bak kwa! This was even more special than the pineapple bak kwa from Jin Pin Xiang!

Ending part one with a yellow pomelo! As i have way too many pictures, i didn't have much choice but to divide the street bazaar into two separate sections. Part Two would be back very soon!


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

Open Till When?
Till night of 30 January 2014
[Or 12.30 am of 31 January 2014]

Recommended to visit after 4 pm.


  1. Very extensive coverage! Happy Lunar New Year!!! :)

    1. Thanks Miso; please keep in mind part two which would be out soon!
      And happy Chinese New Year!!!


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