IT'S LYNNY KANSAS
DON'T LET THE RUBY SLIPPERS,
OR THE DOROTHY INSPIRED NICKNAME
FOOL YOU., THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME,
BUT TRAVELING IS FUN.
With the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations almost upon us (9th February 2013 is Chinese New Years Eve), the center of Chinatown is very busy with people shopping and preparing, getting ready to welcome the year of the Snake. Our walk was a little different as we took in some of the quieter streets first, learning some of the history of the buildings along the way.
One such street was Bukit Pasoh Road, which is now a conservation area. We saw a wonderful group of eight colorful shophouses, all built by the same owner. This road is also home to the New Majestic Hotel. This Hotel used to be very run down, but was bought and redone in the 1980's by a young man, who, as a reward for successfully completing Law School, was given a $1 Million gift by his doting parents. He promptly gave up the law and became a Hotelier! He now owns 3 very successful boutique style Hotels in Singapore. The Hotel has a fabulous Cantonese restaurant, called The Majestic, I have eaten there a few times and really like it. A feature of the restaurant is to look up and see the glass bottom of the Hotel swimming pool. If you are lucky, you might see the odd human fish swimming around.
As we carried on walking towards the hustle and bustle of the center of Chinatown, we took in more wonderful shophouses. The photos below are taken on Kreta Ayer Road. One was home to a 7-11 of all things. Possibly the cutest frontage for a 7-11 I have ever seen. Most apparent though is the "five foot way". The indentation of the shophouses by around five feet, allowed for a covered walkway, giving protection to pedestrians from the sun and the rain. Stamford Raffles implemented the five foot way in his town plan of 1822 and it is an integral part of the architecture seen not only in Singapore but in Malaysia and Brunei as well.
We finally made it to the heart of Chinatown where our destination was the DaDong Restaurant and lunch. This is the first time I will have been in Singapore during the Lunar New Year, so I was excited to finally try a Prosperity Salad! This salad, also known as Yu Sheng, is commonly served during the Lunar New Year season and means "abundance growth".
Firstly the ingredients are gathered on the table. Each of the ingredients symbolizes something special.
The main ingredients of shredded Carrots, Cucumber and Radish, indicate blessings of good luck, eternal youth and prosperity. Around the shredded vegetables we also have Pomelo, added for both luck and auspicious value, Ginger, pickled and raw in many different colors and Limes, also for luck.
On the small blue plate, we have some raw White Fish, because Yusheng also means "raw fish"
The white plate has oil with Spices, added in the hope of attracting money and valuables. Also in the oil is Plum Sauce and Hoisin Sauce.
The small blue dish contains finely chopped Peanuts, symbolizing a household filled with gold and silver.
A packet of Wanton crisps in the shape of golden pillows will be added with wishes that the whole floor be filled with gold.
Our waitress then added all the ingredients together onto the big white plate, as she did so she made wishes for "abundance" to come to us in the New Year.
Lastly, it was left to us to "toss" the salad, at the same time making more wishes for good things to come (other than the salad, which was very tasty!) Please check out the video below, you will see what I mean.
After lunch, we took a stroll around the busy center of Chinatown. Many stalls selling decorations, candy and even a stall selling Chinese sausages (at first glance, we thought they were candles lol!). Hope you enjoy some the images I took during my day in Chinatown.
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