Singapore has several ethnic areas and we visited three of them – Chinatown, Little India, and Arab Street. Since it was just after Lunar New Year, Chinatown was very festive with the streets and buildings adorned with Year of the Horse decorations. We visited a Buddhist temple called the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple which was bustling with worshipers praying for a prosperous new year and tourists. RC noticed that the two sets of visitors appear to mix well – the worshipers tolerated the tourist presence and the tourists were respectful of worshipers.
Several years ago, a friend who served in the Navy for 27 years insisted that I visited a hawker center, uniquely Singapore institutions. These centers contain fool stalls that served just a few specialties and for very reasonable prices – basically street food in buildings with decent food safety handling. Chinatown’s hawker center is Maxwell’s and I dragged RC there despite not being particularly hungry. For $3 (US), we got a plate of rice with roasted pork and BBQ pork. Delicious with an unexpected lion dance performance!
Of the three ethnic areas we visited, Little India was probably the most ethnic in the sense that its shops and services (temples, etc.) are geared towards serving the Indian community and not tourists. The area is crowded where you could probably find most things you would want from India especially food, clothing, and gold jewelry. My parents went to Little India the day after I went to buy some mysteriously item they can only get there. They did not say what and I figured it best that I did not know.
We found Arab Street charming with shops catering to the tourist crowd and magnificent mosques. Unfortunately, I was so tired and jet lagged at this point that I did not take pictures of either Little India or Arab Street.