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Kid-Friendly Guide to Chinatown in Singapore: Best Activities, Food & Shopping

chinatown singapore guide kid friendly shopping activities
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With Chinese New Year coming up, 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 go down the list of kid-friendly activities (find out how kopi was made in Singapore back in the day!), try out the delicious foodie spots (sadly Chinatown Food Street has closed but there are lots of hawker centres and plenty of restos – some even halal) and take a peek into the Chinatown shopping scene.

Jump to:
Fun Kid-friendly Activities in Chinatown
Chinatown Food: Kid-friendly Eateries, Cafes & Restaurants
Shopping in Chinatown

Disclaimer: With the pandemic on restaurants and sites may close without warning – always call ahead to avoid disappointment before planning your trip around Chinatown.

↓ Scroll down to check out what to do, see and eat in Chinatown with kids!

Fun Kid-Friendly Activities in Chinatown, Singapore

1. Hike up Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

First stop in Chinatown, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum which 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 Rd, Singapore 058840, Open daily from 9am–5pm

2. Head to Nanyang Old Coffee & Learn About Singapore’s Kopi History

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! We love this video explaining all the different terms for special coffee orders in Singapore.
Nanyang Old Coffee, 268 South Bridge Rd, Singapore 058817, Open daily from 7am–6:30pm

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. Perfect for those #OOTD shots!
         Read more: A Kid-Friendly Walking Tour of Singapore’s Street Art Scene

Masjid Jamae (Chulia) was built in 1827 in Chinatown

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 6:30am – 11am & 6:45pm – 8:30pm

5. Head to Chinatown Heritage Centre [currently closed!]

Last we checked, Chinatown Heritage Centre is currently closed for upgrading works. However it is usually one of our favourite hidden gems to explore some SG history! Get a glimpse into the lives of Chinatown’s early migrant residents through the displays in the museum, where kids will love looking into the past with the carefully recreated interiors of 1950s shophouse tenants depicting their lives.

         Read more: Ultimate Guide to Kid-Friendly Museum Exhibits in Singapore

Chinatown’s Best Food: Dim Sum, Hawker Centres and Restaurants

chinatown singapore food street

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

chinatown singapore best dim sum restaurants

2. Dim Sum Spots in Chinatown, Singapore

Mouth Restaurant

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

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 and is really something to experience. Book ahead.
location-icon-1024x1024-1-e1620963611654Red Star, #07-23 54 Chin Swee Road, Singapore 160054, Tel: (+65): 6532 5266

Yum Cha Chinatown Restaurant

Yum Cha Chinatown offers casual dim sum in Singapore restaurant 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 [closed]

Update: Chinatown Food Street closed in October 2021.

4. Chic Eateries in Chinatown

Eclipse

Located at 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) 69080880, www.restauranteclipse.sg

Esquina

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) 62221616, esquina.com.sg

Tippling Club

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 finer dining cuisine with world-class cocktails.

Tippling Club, 38 Tg Pagar Rd, Singapore 088461, www.tipplingclub.com

Kafe UTU, SG's first African cafe

Kafe Utu

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, www.kafeutu.com

Halal food in Chinatown: Tok Tok Indonesian Soup House at Ann Siang Hill

5. Halal Food in Chinatown

There’s no shortage of halal food in Chinatown! Head to any of the restaurants or cafes below to satiate your hunger:

Tongue Tip Lanzhou Beef Noodles, 133 New Bridge Road, #01-43 Chinatown Point, Singapore 059413, open daily 11am – 9:30pm
A 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, 137 Telok Ayer Street #01-01, Singapore 068602, open Monday – Friday 11am–4pm, 5–10pm, Saturday – Sunday 12–4pm, 5–10pm
Segar Restaurant, 133 New Bridge Road, #B2-39/40/41 Chinatown Point, Singapore 059413, open daily 11:30am–9:30pm
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

chinatown shopping trinkets store

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!

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Lead image by Samantha Ong for Sassy Mama Singapore

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