Previous FrontPage Edition 13 May 2004

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'Uniquely Singapore Shop & Eat Tours' - Ethnic Trail


Ethnic Trail

Visitors will uncover the rich culture and heritage of Singapore’s colourful and lively ethnic enclaves from a fresh perspective. This trail brings visitors to Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam to visit traders and entrepreneurs who set up their famous shops and eateries decades ago, but still serve queues of loyal customers today. 


Visitors can hear first-hand the intriguing history behind every establishment. They will also have the chance to shop for jewellery, traditional Chinese medicine, Indian fabrics, and local food gifts, as well as enjoy delicious local fare over breakfast, lunch and tea.




v      Visitors will start the day with breakfast in Chinatown at Ya Kun Kaya Toast to enjoy a simple morning meal of the outlet’s famed homemade kaya (egg and coconut jam) & butter on toast, teamed with a cup of traditional local coffee/tea.


v      Visitors get to sample delicious barbequed sweet meat or bak kwa at Bee Cheng Hiang.  From a humble street hawker stall in 1945, Bee Cheng Hiang has become an established brand.  A gift of bak kwa signifies prosperity. Thus, during the Lunar New Year, long queues form at the shop as locals buy boxes of bak kwa to give away to friends & loved ones.


v      Among the goldsmith shops in Chinatown, Poh Kong Chye (since 1897) is the oldest and one of the most trusted.  Visitors have the opportunity to browse through the shop and appreciate how yellow gold is still a symbol of wealth & status to the locals.


v      Visitors will drop by Tong Heng, a traditional Chinese pastry shop in Chinatown and an all-time favourite with locals to sample their signature egg tarts famed for their smooth, ‘melt-in-your-mouth egg custard’ in a light, flaky, crisp pastry shell. 


v      Traditional Chinese Medicine, long practised in the East, is gaining worldwide respect.  Eu Yan Sang has been trusted for their health tonics & herbal remedies for more than 120 years.  The tour includes a visit to Eu Yan Sang’s new Birds’ Nest Gallery.


v      Born in Ipoh, Malaysia, Mr Lee Tong expanded his business from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore in 1969.  At Lee Tong Kee, visitors can enjoy a delectable lunch of Mr Lee’s famous Ipoh hor fun (flat rice noodles) and complete their meal with a ‘cooling’ glass of homemade barley water & sweet traditional dessert.


(The half-day tour ends with a transfer back to Suntec City or to visitors’ hotels. Visitors on the full-day tour will have some time to explore Chinatown before setting off for Little India.)


v      The first stop in Little India is the 90-year-old Little India Arcade.  The amazing range of colourful Indian saris at Handlooms will take your breath away.  As a cooperative set up by the Government of India, the store buys directly from producers & helps to sustain more than 23,000 people in the cottage industry in India.  Visitors get to learn to tie the elegant sari!


v      The delicate fragrance of jasmine will welcome visitors into Jothi Store & Flower Shop, one of the oldest shops in Little India. This shop supplies its beautiful garlands to Indian temples all over Singapore!


v      The South Indian vegetarian meals & sweets at Komala Vilas, one of Singapore’s oldest Indian restaurants, are popular for their refreshing taste.  Visitors will take a break here to sample a savoury vadai and a cup of teh tarik (‘pulled tea’).


v      When Singaporeans want to buy textiles, they head down to Arab Street in Kampong Glam, where generations of Arab traders have sold exotic batik, brassware, spices, and textiles of every colour and fabric from the four corners of the world.  Visitors get to stroll down this fascinating street and practise their bargaining skills.


v      After a day of walking & shopping, visitors will enjoy a refreshing cup of teh halia (ginger tea), paired with a murtabak (fried dough crepes with minced meat and curry dip) at this last stop - Zam Zam, a hundred-year-old Indian-Muslim eatery.

Source: Singapore Tourism Board Press Release 12 May 2004




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