China Town Food Street (or Bullock-cart Water Street) is the Chinese quarter of Singapore located at the southern bank of the Singapore River. Many years ago, the ancestors of today’s Singaporean Chinese population arrived after crossing the ocean. Most of them were from the Fujian, Guangdong, and Hainan provinces, though some were also Hakka people. They have lived in Singapore since 1821, and soon more and more Chinese came to inhabit the country. As a result, there still exists many ancient buildings and temples full of Chinese flavor. China Town Food Street has become the epitome and reminder of the past Chinese society. The street echoes with voices featuring strong Fujian, Cantonese, and Hainan accents, and so on. Visitors can also try many locally flavored snacks and purchase traditionally Chinese items for daily use.
The origins of the area’s name started with the Chinese migrants who brought the first flat-bottomed Chinese junk boat from Xiamen City in Fujian and went south until they reached Singapore. After their arrival, they settled down in the area south of the Singapore River which is now called Telok Ayer Street. At that time, the people living there had to drive a Bullock-cart to carry water from Ann Siang Hill. As time passed, the area got its name of Bullock-cart Water.
Today, China Town Food Street (Bullock-cart Water Street) covers Tapur, South Bridge Road, New Bridge Road, Rumbia Road, Smith Road, Deng Po Road, Pen Tower Road, and Mosque Street. The most exciting time to visit is during the Chinese New Year Festival. During this time, the entire street is decorated with lanterns and streamers, and all houses and stores are cleaned and decorated to welcome the coming of the New Year. If travelling around China Town Food Street during this joyous and merry time, you will see many festival products for sale and experience a rich variety of locally flavored snacks.
Shopping: When wandering in the numerous alleys of China Town Food Street, visitors will see handicraftsmen making different kinds of artwork, a great way to learn about traditional Chinese art. The dramatic variety of handiwork includes Chinese calligraphy, carvings, puppets, figures of Buddha, joss sticks, candles, and much more. The Chinese drug stores here maintain their traditional styles and features, whose numerous drug drawers can dazzle your eyes.
Food: Smith Street is an open-air food street where visitors can find the most scrumptious food in the area such as fried kway teow, fried white radish cakes, Rojak (salad with minced peanuts and honey), and so on. The stalls are open from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. Even better, the food found at these stalls are cheap but high quality.