With the upcoming Chinese New Year festivities, it couldn’t be a better time to check out Chinatown in Singapore! From kid-friendly activities to foodie spots, there’s so much to see and do
Ready to discover Chinatown in Singapore? Head there for the colourful lanterns, trinket shops, temples and food! Take our handy guide with you and check off this list of kid-friendly activities (find out how kopi was made in Singapore back in the day!), admire the Chinese New Year decorations, try out the delicious foodie spots (Chinatown Food Street has reopened!) plus there are lots of hawker centres and plenty of restaurants. Don’t forget to take a peek into the Chinatown shopping scene!
Chinatown Food: Kid-friendly Eateries, Cafes & Restaurants
Fun Kid-friendly Activities in Chinatown
Shopping in Chinatown
↓ Scroll down to check out what to do, see and eat in Chinatown with kids!
Chinatown’s Best Food: Dim Sum, Hawker Centres & Restaurants
1. Chinatown Hawker Centres
With three popular hawker centres in close proximity to each other, you’ll be spoilt for choice with all the affordable food options in Chinatown! Must-tries include the original Hawker Chan chicken rice and Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao for dim sum at Chinatown Complex Food Centre; A Noodle Story for local-style ramen and J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff (both Michelin Bib Gourmand stalls!) at Amoy Street Food Centre; and Old Nonya for Peranakan food and Zhen Zhen Porridge at Maxwell Food Centre.
Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 335 Smith Street, Singapore 050335
Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Road, Singapore 069111
Maxwell Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore 069184
2. Dim Sum Spots in Chinatown, Singapore
Mouth Restaurant serves affordable dim sum like the pretty Prawn Har Gao which comes in different colours and flavours—Squid Ink, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Carrot and Original.
Mouth Restaurant, 38 Maxwell Rd, #01-01/02 Airview Building, Singapore 069116, Tel: (+65) 6438 5798
Red Star is one of the original Singapore dim sum spots when it comes to traditional dim sum pushcarts brought to your table. This place oozes old school tradition. Book ahead.
Red Star, #07-23 54 Chin Swee Road, Singapore 160054, Tel: (+65): 6532 5266
Yum Cha Chinatown Restaurant
Yum Cha Chinatown offers casual dim sum with the bonus of having old-fashioned dim sum pushcarts (call ahead to confirm). Yum Cha Restaurant in Chinatown serves a weekday dim sum high tea buffet that’s great for both adults and kids. There are over 60 items to choose from, including the Squid Ink Dumpling, Scallop Pea-Shoot Dumpling and more.
Yum Cha Restaurant Chinatown, 20 Trengganu Street, #02-01, Singapore 058479, Tel: (+65) 6372 1717, Dim Sum Hours: 3pm – 6pm (Mon to Fri)
Read more: Ultimate Guide to Best Dim Sum in Singapore: Dim Sum Buffets, Dim Sum Pushcarts & More!
3. Chinatown Food Street
Chinatown Food Street offers a wide variety of delicious foods! While some stalls are open 11am-11pm daily, the place really comes alive with hotpot and grilling options from 5pm.
Chinatown Food Street, 41 Smith Street, Singapore 058953
4. Best Restaurants in Chinatown
Esquina is a tiny modern Spanish restaurant in a shophouse off Keong Saik. Grab a pew at the kitchen counter to watch the chefs in action. The lunch set menus are fab, with past dishes featuring beetroot pickled and roasted with stracciatella, smoked walnuts and horseradish to start, and braised beef and pork cannelloni with crepes béchamel and foie gras.
Esquina, 16 Jiak Chuan Road, Singapore 089267, Tel: (+65) 6222 1616
Located on the roof of the iconic Yue Hwa Building in the heart of Chinatown, Eclipse, founded by chef Samuel Quan, offers fine-dining European cuisine with Asian influences. Think slow-cooked chicken breast with lemongrass farce, green curry espuma; hoisin glazed shortribs; or pumpkin laksa with seared scallops and puff rice.
Eclipse, 70 Eu Tong Sen Street, #06-01 Yue Hwa Building, Singapore 059805, Tel (+65) 6908 0880
Tippling Club, led by Chef-Owner Ryan Clift, spans three shophouse units and has made a name for itself as one of the best Chinatown restaurants in Singapore – think award-winning fine dining cuisine with world-class cocktails.
Tippling Club, 38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088461
It’s not often you saunter past a cafe and are stopped in your tracks by the soft sweet African music coming from within, as the smell of Swahili curry from Kenya wafts into the street. That’s what you’ll find at Kafe UTU, the first African cafe in Singapore! It’s beautifully decorated with huge black and white African portraits on the walls and stunning wooden doors crafted in Lamu off the coast of East Africa.
Kafe Utu, 12 Jiak Chuan Road, Tel: (+65) 6996 3937
5. Halal Food in Chinatown
There are a handful of halal restaurants in Chinatown! Head to any of the restaurants or cafes below to satiate your hunger:
Tongue Tip Lanzhou Beef Noodles
Craving some authentic hand-pulled noodles in mala soup? Tongue Tip Lanzhou Beef Noodles really hits the spot with their freshly made hand-pulled noodles, boiled broth and fragrant chilli oil!
Tongue Tip Lanzhou Beef Noodles, 133 New Bridge Road, #01-43 Chinatown Point, Singapore 059413, open daily 11am – 9:30pm
We love Poke Theory for its healthy poke bowls, so check them out if you’re in the mood for healthy halal food in Chinatown! They also have yummy acai bowls.
Poke Theory, 18 Cross Street, #B1-110 Cross Street Exchange, Singapore 048423, open Monday – Friday 11am–8pm, Saturday 10am–3pm, closed Sundays
Royz Et Vous
Royz Et Vous is great for celebrations in the Chinatown area. This restaurant offers fusion Malay-Western food and a selection of alcohol-free tipples.
Royz Et Vous, 137 Telok Ayer Street #01-01, Singapore 068602, open Monday – Friday 11am–4pm, 5–10pm, Saturday – Sunday 12–4pm, 5–10pm
Head to Segar Restaurant for local dishes like Asam Pedas, Chinese-style sauteed veggies, whole fish dishes and more! Their portions are perfect for sharing if you’re eating as a family or in larger groups.
Segar Restaurant, 133 New Bridge Road, #B2-39/40/41 Chinatown Point, Singapore 059413, open daily 11:30am–9:30pm
Tiffany Cafe & Restaurant
Tiffany Cafe & Restaurant is located within Furama City Centre hotel, offering buffet lunch, dinner and afternoon tea menus.
Tiffany Cafe & Restaurant, 60 Eu Tong Sen Street, Furama City Centre, Singapore 059804, open daily 6am–10:30am, 12pm–2:30pm, 6pm–10:30pm
Read more: Ultimate Guide to Halal Restaurants & Cafés in Singapore
Fun Kid-Friendly Activities in Chinatown, Singapore
1. Hike up Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum was built in 2007. The Temple is dedicated to the Maitreya Buddha, which means ‘The Compassionate One’, and also called ‘The Future Buddha’. It’s said to house one of Buddha’s actual canine teeth (hence the name!) and the temple’s exterior is a stunning spot for photo ops. Entry to the temple is free (but donations are encouraged), where you can enjoy a tour, check out the museum and climb to the top of the temple.
Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, 288 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058840, Open daily from 9am–5pm
2. Check out the Singapore City Gallery URA Exhibit
Take the kids to see how Singapore has transformed itself from a humble trading port to a first-world metropolis in the short span of five decades! The Singapore City Gallery is free to enter and showcases this dramatic transformation through 40 interactive and immersive exhibits that detail the planning challenges and the innovative solutions that tackle them. Kids will love getting a bird’s eye view of large-scale architectural models – can they find their condo or home?
The URA Centre, 9am – 5pm (Mondays – Saturdays), 45 Maxwell Road, Singapore 069118
Read more: Ultimate Guide to Kid-Friendly Museum Exhibits in Singapore
3. Go on a Walking Tour of Chinatown’s Best Murals
There’s tons of street art to check out in Singapore, and a lot of them are located in Chinatown – including the most recent addition by Yip Yew Chong on Temple street! We recommend starting off your Chinatown street art tour on Keong Saik Road, where you’ll find a playful backdrop that will catch your eye. Then make a quick stop at Duxton Road and take a photo by the colourful dots painted on the side of the building. Gradually make your way towards Thian Hock Keng Temple (one of the oldest temples in Singapore!) where along the 44-meter rear wall of the temple is an impressive work of art illustrating the hopes and struggles of the early Chinese immigrants as they left their homes in search of a better life in Singapore. Along Gemmill Lane (a short walk from Telok Ayer MRT station) is a wall displaying mesmerizing patterns and designs in black and white.
Read more: A Kid-Friendly Walking Tour of Singapore’s Street Art Scene
4. Spot a Mosque and Hindu Temple in Chinatown
As if we need further proof that Singapore is a true melting pot of different cultures, races and religions, Chinatown still surprises us with the presence of a mosque and Hindu temple in its vicinity!
Masjid Jamae (Chulia)
Check out the beautiful pastel green exterior of Masjid Jamae (Chulia), built by the Chulia community who came from the Coromandal Coast of Southern India. It was built in 1827! Masjid Jamae (Chulia) is a wakaf mosque, which means that it was built on donated land that was placed in trust for the Muslim community in perpetuity.
Masjid Jamae (Chulia), 218 South Bridge Rd, Singapore 058767, Open daily from 1pm – 9pm
Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple
The Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple also dates back to 1827, when it was known as Mariamman Kovil or Kling Chapel. When you visit, make sure to pay close attention to the ornate and elaborate detailing on the temple’s exterior. Its six tiers are covered with sculptures of deities and mythological figures.
Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple, 244 South Bridge Road, Open daily 7am – 12am & 6pm – 9pm
5. Learn About Singapore’s Kopi History at Nanyang Old Coffee
Just on the end of Chinatown Food Street and South Bridge Road is Nanyang Old Coffee. You can sit outside for some people watching over a nice cup of local coffee or go upstairs and check out all the fun coffee antiques! Every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month Nanyang Old Coffee holds a hands-on workshop on Singapore’s traditional kopi conducted in a nostalgic “Museum in a Café” area. Sign up here.
Nanyang Old Coffee, 268 South Bridge Rd, Singapore 058817, Open daily from 7am–6:30pm
6. Check out the Chinese New Year festivities in Chinatown
In celebration of Chinese New Year 2023, Chinatown is hosting a wide variety of CNY activities! Admire the brand new street light display in celebration of the Year of The Rabbit from 3 January to 19 February 2023. Stretching from Eu Tong Sen Street to Upper Cross Road, enjoy these colourful and vibrant sculptures that are set to light up the streets of Singapore. You can also catch the various different free stage shows which will include, Chinese cultural dances and more.
Where: Along the New Bridge Road, Eu Tong Sen Street and South Bridge Road.
How much: Free!
CNY Festive Fair and Food Fair
When: 1 – 21 January 2023 | 6pm – 10pm
Where: Sago Street, Smith Street, Pagoda Street, Trengganu Street, Temple Street
How much: Free! (except for the food and goodies you purchase, of course!)
CNY Opening Ceremony
When: 3 January 2023 | 7pm
Where: Kreta Ayer Square
How much: Free!
Weekly Stage Show
When: 7, 8, 14 & 15 January 2023 | 7pm – 9pm
Where: Kreta Ayer Square
How much: Free!
CNY Countdown Party
When: 21 January 2023 | 10:30pm
Where: Kreta Ayer Square
How much: Free!
Read More: Kid-friendly Chinese New Year 2023 Events
Shopping in Chinatown, Singapore
Besides the TCM shophouses and hole-in-the-wall stores along the streets of Chinatown, there are also a number of shopping malls and department stores where you can get everything from Chinese New Year decorations to essentials, souvenirs and even fabric and sewing supplies!
1. Chinatown Point
Chinatown Point is made up of over 220 speciality shops and F&B outlets! Here you’ll find a supermarket, lifestyle shops and a Chinese Arts and Culture-themed public library. For food, there’s everything from traditional bakeries to family-friendly restaurants, affordable eateries and grab and go outlets if you need a quick bite.
Chinatown Point, 133 New Bridge Road, Singapore 059413
2. People’s Park Complex
At People’s Park Complex you’ll find a string of fabric stores on the second and third floors. So if you’re looking to get a cheongsam made for CNY or just want to check out what fabrics are available for your next craft project, you can head here for affordable threads!
People’s Park Complex, 1 Park Road, Singapore 059108
3. Yue Hwa
You can find authentic Chinese products at Yue Hwa, whether it’s clothing, beauty products, food, snacks or medicine!
Yue Hwa, 70 Eu Tong Sen Street, Singapore 059805
That wraps up our Kid-Friendly Chinatown Guide! If you go to any of these spots and snap photos, make sure to tag us on Instagram and Facebook!