Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Special: Lunar New Year Celebrations, Outings and Food 2016!

Let's welcome the year of the Monkey! Happy Lunar New Year to all my fellow followers who celebrate Chinese New Year! It's that one time of the year when Chinese all over the world try to be around family to celebrate and to spend time together. As I always tell people, the Chinese New Year is like Christmas, Independence day and New Years all in one for the chinese people! For my family it's usually a private affair, my immediate family has dinner together and I love visiting Chinatown multiple times before the new year day itself as its bustling and so full of temporary shops and sellers.

This post is super photo heavy from my visits to Chinatown and the meals I had with family at home as well as at my favorite restaurants in the Chinatown area with the boyfriend!

Continue below for the full post!

My Lunar New Year Celebrations, Outings and Food 2016! Visiting Chinatown, shopping around, meals out and reunion dinner!
The moment you step our of the train exit which leads you straight into the heart of the center of all the street shopping! Look that that crowd three weeks before CNY!
This is only time of year where Chinatown is packed with lots of temporary vendors selling festive decorations, products, clothes, food, snacks and so much more! I love the lanterns and how there is so much energy from the crowd! Everyone's in the mood to shop!
First up...PINEAPPLE!!!! I'm a huge fan of these pineapple decorations but I prefer the yellow shiney ones (which you will see later)...isn't this one HUGE?!
The entrance of one of the more popular decoration stores (the week before CNY day this shop was always packed with people), you can get everything from lanterns, lights, paper decorations and more at these stores!
Just a step back and the very front of the shop has an array of the giant plastic pineapples! LOVE IT!
The main street behind all those between the buildings where the stores are bustling! Some additional streets are also closed off during this time of the year for the vendors to set up!
Along the more quiet areas of the streets...as you can see it's filled with temporary vendors selling their various goods!
A stall selling nothing but pillow covers, table runners and place mats! It's the time of year that lots of families celebrating may replace or get new household items.
Smaller shops selling lots of various knick knacks like key chains, decorative pieces to hang up and all kinds of fun rubbish!
A stall selling equipment for preparing the fresh ingredients for yu sheng which consist of shredded carrots, raddish and cucumbers! Also tools for carving vegetables for decorations too!
A seller selling dried ingredients to be rehydrated and turned into soup or drinks.
The vendor next door was selling large bars of soap made of natural herbs, flowers and traditional chinese ingredients.
Plenty of shops selling clothes were peddling more of the traditional pieces during this time! I love LOVE cheongsam tops but have a horribly hard time finding pieces that fit me properly due to my large chest.
All sorts of souvenirs, decorations, toys, bags and things you really don't need!
A stall selling jianzhi or traditional paper cutting which originally is made from paper and takes very developed skills to make. However the majority of these sold now are made from a durable type of material!
Strolling down the less crowded area, passing by one of the popular local singapore restaurants where many tourists end up having their meals.
One of the many shops that sell all sorts of perfumes! I'm not a perfume person and never bother stopping by these shops.
One of the sellers peddling nothing but different types of seeds and nuts! I bought two types of sunflower seeds from them! A sweet roasted one which is soo fragrant and tasty and a milk roasted one that's more neutral tasting and less roasted.
Walking past of the very large shops selling nothing but assorted flavored jellies and mochis! Flavors like sesame, melon, mango, berry, coffee, chestnut, peach, pineapple, lychee and more!
The most popular and well known companies that sell different seeds, nuts and preserved sweet fruits/vegetables! I love buying my preserved items from them as they have such a wide range and the items have such a fresh taste to them.
All the delicious sugar preserved fruits and vegetables from the traditional items like melon slices, berries, coconut and mango to the more modern and unusual items like kiwi, lotus root, persimmons and carrots!
The assortment of colorful, pretty, shiny and sinful candies!
Nothing but jellies, mochis and very energetic and persuasive sellers with microphones encourages people with lots of free samples and talking!

Smaller vendors demonstrating the tools they're selling! Lots of people with cordless microphones so they can talk and demonstrate!
An african lady with her gorgeous hand woven bags, wallets, clutches and more! I was very enticed by the colors and the shapes of her products!
Another stall selling various types of nuts and seeds! You'll get them any fresher or as tasty!
Check out the crowd in Chinatown! Love that it's all open so it never got hot or stuffy!
 The very well known shop that sells nothing but all the most popular and traditional snacks like various biscuits, crackers, fried items, pineapple tarts, egg rolls and more! Not to mention the prices are cheaper than at the supermarket!
This seller carries nothing but seaweed products! All from and made in Taiwan, the seaweed comes in various flavors or ingredients like seeds, chilli, meat flosses and more!
I was mesmerized when we walked past this huge selection of candies! I love how you can mix and match everything as it's sold by weight and most of them are priced the same. Love the shiny bright wrappers!
All the stores selling lots of red, pink and bright clothes for the new year! Bright colors, especially red, pink and blue are popular and recommended for this time of year!
A traditional fruit shop selling ornamental pumpkins, gourds and a favorite fruit for this time of year...the pomelo!
The beautifully decorated streets around Chinatown! Including a large center piece depicting the zodiac animal this year on the center of street on the divider!
Pomelos! The more green ones and the yellow ones! I love the sweeter ones and find it so fun pulling apart the little segments!
A decoration store just teaming with people! Nothing but gold, red and bright lights!
Bee Cheng Hiang is an old and established traditional BBQ pork store that also sells traditional items like pineapple tarts, prawn rolls, meat flosses and crackers! Their line is the second longest behind the very famous Lim Chee Guan shop that had people waiting hours to purchase the weeks before CNY!
A super gorgeous and fun take on traditional decorations with shiney plastic pineapple lanterns! I love these!
A huge range of red packets for sale!
The preserved coconut meat, winter melon and mango pieces!
The biscuits I bought from the large snack stall in chinatown!
My first small haul of jellies and mochi from Chinatown! I ended up going back for LOTS MORE.
All the snacks my family has ready to crack open to eat during the festive period!

The best 'splay chop' pork ribs at Chinatown! The meat falls off the bone and is super tasty, moist and seasoned with coriander, onions, cumin and chili!
Dan dan mian! A meat sauce noodle served with sliced cucumbers! I love this so much!
Pork liver, big intestines and chicken hearts! Oh my, our favorite charcoal grilled sticks of innards!
A plate of my boyfriends' and my favorite appetizer...beef tripe!
The inside of the restaurant completely packed and so were all the outside seats! We ended up sharing a big table with 2 other couples! This is my boyfriend's "Oh really.." face!
The main streets around Chinatown decorated with gorgeous lanterns and trees with monkeys on them!
A traditional bbq roast pork and snack shop with all the pretty lights dressing the building!
All the stacks and mountains of bbq pork or known as 'bak kwa'...the meat is sweet, savory, chewy and like a tender jerky!
Check out that roasting meat action done with the longest tongs! Nothing beats the charred little bits and how fragrant the meat is!
A gorgeous mountain of 'bacon' bak kwa which is my favorite type. Especially the chilli bacon one which is spicy besides being sweet and savory!
The rest of shop selling traditional baked, fried and dried snacks!
The traditional dried chinese items such as animal products, herbs, spices and vegetables sold at many small shops throughout chinatown.
The most established and famous bak kwa shop which had no less than 30-50 people lining up for up to 3 hours to buy their BBQ pork! Their outlets around town tended to run out by early evening but this main outlet in Chinatown grills the meat on site so they remain open as normal during the festive time!
The typical scene of the streets in Chinatown the weeks before the lunar new year! Packed throughout the afternoon and night mostly with lots of locals and tourists!
Close up on the baskets full of the different flavors of jellies and mochis from the big stall I purchased from on 3 separate occasions! They remembered me and each time since I did buy more than the last also gave me lots of freebies!
Our new cocktail spot in chinatown! Comfy large seats, under large fans and cold cocktails! Yummy!
A shot of my second haul of mochis and jellies! My favorite mochis were mango, brown sugar, melon and coffee! Also the taro and sesame filled large mochies were great! My boyfriend loved the pineapple and lychee jellies!
My cat list getting a good look and sniff of my third HUGE mochi and jelly haul! I was given various large cup fruit jellies as freebies from the stall!
The best pig's ear appetizer! Chilli oil, sesame oil, mince garlic, vinegar and lots of coriander!

Beef meat and tripe! The same sort of seasoning as the ear but with a good dose of sichuan pepper! We like to add a good splash of black vinegar to make it perfect!
Deep fried crispy chicken with dried chillis and green chillis! The chicken pieces are so crispy even the small bits of bone are edible and the green chillis are sweet and tasty!
Having some delicious familiar chinese desserts. A bowl of almond and black sesame cream and a bowl of melon sago with sweet milk!
Reunion dinner meal at home or the dinner the eve of Chinese New Year! My mom's steamed fish!
Braised leeks with pork belly and prawns!
My family's huge platter of yu sheng which is a traditional dish made up of various preserved pickles, vegetables, fresh shredded carrots, raddish, cucumber topped off with crushed nuts, raw fish or other choices of seafood, crackers and a sweet plum sauce!
The yu sheng after everything is mixed and tossed with chopsticks! Ours had prawns, smoked salmon, jelly fish and japanese scallops! Love eating this so much!
A generous portion of yu sheng with lots and lots of the crackers on top! I can just eat the crackers on their own! Yu sheng is something you'd need to have eaten since young as it's a mixture of fresh, preserved, sweet and salty. I say it's like a sweet candy salad but extremely appetizing.

Hope there weren't too many photos to go through! Basically the weeks before Chinese New Year is my favorite time of the year to visit Chinatown. I love the hustle and bustle and stalls all up for the festive period. All the snacks, meals and belly busting yummies have my weight slightly up right now so it's crucial that I loose a couple of pounds soon! Anyway, to all those who celebrated, happy belated lunar new year and I hope everyone enjoyed my photo filled post!

Feel free to comment!
Thank you!


  1. And a belated Happy New Year to you too.

    Love those lanterns with the tassels, pretty neat looking I must say.

  2. As per usual your food photos have me drooling! Happy new year!

  3. I would love to spend chinese new year sometime in Asia, it's so much more festive and fun!!! All those food pictures..*drools*

    Macarons and Mischief

  4. Happy belated CNY Sharlynn!!!
    Whoa I got homesick looking at all those picts *__* CNY is a holiday I always miss the most. The vibe, the atmosphere the mood surrounding the feast never fail to make me miss home. Gladly I was able to celebrate CNY at home last year and hopefully next year ^^ I miss celebrating CNY in Singapore too. We used to do it often when I was a child and back then CNY celebration was not allowed in Indo.

  5. amazing photos! and the food looks super yummy :3
    thanks for sharing and happy new year!

    Life in Pastel

  6. Happy belated Lunar New Year!!
    Oh boy what a festival in your country,
    I really want to able to celebrate Lunar
    New Year at least once in an Asian
    country! Is this pineapple thing and
    lantarns a traditional thing in Singapore?
    Xx Ice Pandora

  7. Everything looks so festive and colorful! My mouth sort of watered when I saw the food too. Haha!

  8. Very very Happy belated Lunar New Year honey <3 Such lovely festival pics, thanks for sharing <3

  9. Oh my goodness what a wonderful blog post :)
    HAPPY BELATED LUNAR NEW YEAR to you and all your loved ones :)
    I knew about Lunar New Year cause even though we do not celebrate it here we really love Asian culture (me, my fiancé and our friends) so we tend to remember these things :)
    It would be amazing to experience it in an Asian country one day :)
    We do have some Asian stores here in Vaasa where I live but not many




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