Best Places to Visit in Singapore – Part 2 – Chinatown and the Satay Club

November 15, 2017

Our second day in Singapore and we were headed to Chinatown. The forecast called for rain in the afternoon – no surprise there – so it seemed like a good day to visit that part of the city-state. Our plan was to spend the day in the Singapore Chinatown and then have a late night dinner at the Satay Club in Lau Pa Sat. Singapore has a number of centrally located neighborhoods that reflect the country’s cultural diversity. Chinatown, Kampong Glam (Malay), and Little India are probably the most popular. I choose Chinatown for this second day of our short stay because of the wide variety of food and great shopping opportunities on offer.


A quick reminder of my itinerary for this long weekend.

1 – Singapore Zoo / River Safari / Night Safari

2 – Chinatown / Satay Club

3 – Sentosa S.E.A Aquarium / Gardens by the Bay

Day 2 – Chinatown and the Satay Club
Singapore Chinatown

The first time I visited Singapore back in 1996, a large section of Chinatown was really rundown. Many of the shophouses were boarded up and several streets were no longer in use. Walking down some of the old streets, I could only imagine what the area might have looked like when it was still thriving. In recent years those same shophouses have been restored and whole streets have been renovated to return the neighborhood to its original splendor.

Smith Street in Singapore China
Smith Street in Singapore Chinatown

The Chinatown Food Street on Smith Street was our first stop of the day. One of the reasons that I love this street is that while it might look ‘touristy’ its food is truly authentic and absolutely delicious! Many of the vendors relocated here from old hawker centers. In the evening, the tables are filled with a fairly even mix of locals and tourists. Each cart offers different local favorites including char kway teow, roti prata, chili crab, and hokkien mee. You can read more about some of the great foods on offer here.

Food Truck Smith Street Singapore Chinatown
Food Truck Smith Street Singapore Chinatown

After thoroughly enjoying lunch, we headed down Trengganu Street to look at the shops. Our first stop was this fruit seller. Slices of mango, dragonfruit, apple, and chinese pear were on offer. It was also possible to get one of my favorites – freshly pressed sugar cane juice. Whole sticks of sugar cane, two or three feet long and about 2 inches in diameter, are run through a press to extract the juice. Naturally sweet and very refreshing, it is the perfect drink for regaining energy after an afternoon rain when the sticky humidity has sapped you of your strength.

Fresh Fruit Stall in the Singapore Chinatown
Fresh Fruit Stall in the Singapore Chinatown
Temple and Pagoda Streets

Continuing down Temple Street and then Pagoda Street we perused the various shops. Some contained your standard set of Singapore focused souvenirs. Others offered unique items that reflected the local heritage or were works of art. Tea sets with intricately drawn images of ancient China, old style snuff and perfume bottles, silk lanterns, felt fans with depictions of stilt-house villages, and so much more can be found here. The shopping options range from novelty to historic to artistic to cute (like the stuffed Chinese Astrology animals below). I could spend hours here – and each time I visit there are new things on offer.

Singapore Chinatown
Pagoda Street in Singapore Chinatown
Chinatown MRT

Having finished with Chinatown, we headed to the MRT entrance at the end of Pagoda Street. Our plan was to take the subway to the Satay Club in Lau Pa Sat for a very late dinner. Heading down into the subway I saw this awesome sign about escalator safety!

Safety Sign in the Singapore MRT
Safety Sign in the Singapore MRT
The Satay Club

When I first visited Singapore, the Satay Club was a group hawkers in a park near Marina Bay. Over the years this group has moved multiple times and spread to different locations in the city. In my opinion, the best place to get satay now is at Lau Pa Sat in Raffles Quay. Every night, after the business district has gone quiet and most of the workers have gone home, one of the streets outside the Lau Pa Sat hawker center is blocked off and the Satay Club comes to life.

Best Satay Seven at the Satay Club Singapore
Best Satay Seven & Eight at the Satay Club in Lau Pa Sat

We grabbed a table and ordered a set – lamb, beef, chicken, and prawns from Best Satay at Stalls Seven and Eight.  Satay, skewers of marinated and barbecued meat, is served with a peanut dipping sauce, cucumbers, onions, and rice cakes. From another vendor we ordered large chilled glasses of lime soda and beer.

Barbecue at the Satay Club Singapore
Barbecue at the Satay Club Singapore
Grilling beef, lamb, and chicken at the Satay Club in Singapore
Grilling beef, lamb, and chicken at the Satay Club in Singapore

I really love sitting out under the stars, surrounded by modern high-rises, inhaling warm smokey air and listening to murmur of the crowds around me. Singapore at its best!

Satay Club Singapore
Satay Club Singapore

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    1. Do you find it that world over, most Chinatowns are similar in the local food fare, colours, and variety of street foods available? I have seen it in KL, HK, Indonesia and Singapore, and as a Indian vegetarian, I see a similar thread there. I happened to visit the Singapore Chinatown as I was staying nearby the Mariamman Temple.

    1. Oh, I’d definitely visit Temple St and Pagoda St! From the picture they look so colorful, and I’d love to bring back some art or items that were true to the culture!

    1. I think it’s great that the old run-down streets have been revitalized. Makes for a renewed place of business and of course somewhere to enjoy some good food as you had the opportunity. A great day 2 on your trip here:)

    1. wow, travelling is on my bucket list when I have free time and more money! I love the details you gave of where to go in the cities

    1. I LOVE an internary! Looks like you really made the most of your time and your pics are lovely. Thanks for sharing a great post

    1. It is so difficult to narrow down to few places to visit while you are travelling. But always helpful to have a fixed itinerary. This is a great list for anyone travelling to Singapore 🙂

    1. I have to admit, I do like visiting Chinatowns all over the world. I haven’t been to Singapore yet but I bet I will land up here one day 🙂

    1. i was so close to Singapore in 2015 but could not manage to visit. I love how you decribed those places, makes me want to go even more

    1. I have only been to Singapore once over two decades ago and had less than a day there, so would love to revisit so I can explore properly. China Town sounds like it’s really benefited from a lot of renovation efforts, which is good news! I’d definitely follow your example and head to the fruit stall for a fresh sugarcane juice, I adore this too but you can’t get it in the UK really, so that’d be a good start for our visit! And yes, on to the Satay Club for dinner, love the look of that too.

    1. I went a few years back… Thank you for the memories – I can almost smell the street foot scents! Loved the colours and cheerfulness there. Feeling quite nostagic now!

    1. I’ve never been to Singapore and loved your post about all the wonderful sights. Great pictures!

    1. I am have a huge desire to go there now. I love Singapore but have never been able to visit, hopefully I can go soon! I love the colors and they seem like they have good food!

    1. Really enjoyed your descriptions of this city! The colors, the satay and the fresh fruit all sound amazing and look amazing.

    1. I was in Singapore last week but as a short layover from Thailand. I didn’t get to see anything but their lovely airport. I need to get back there!

      1. Singapore is tropical so the weather is pretty consistent year round. The holidays are a great time to visit. Orchard Road is decorated and everyone is in a festive spirit!

    1. Love Singapore and what’s better than bargain shopping in Chinatown and that famous Singapore satay. Temple street is such a must.

    1. We were just talking about visiting Singapore last week. The food looks truly amazing, and I LOLed when I saw the escalator safety picture.

    1. This makes me miss Singapore sooooo badly! The food at the Chinatown hawker stalls are just absolutely bomb. Looking at your photos just made me drool all over my laptop hahaa!

    1. Singapore is a beautiful and one of the happening cities 🙂 We missed visiting Singapore an year before. Hoping to visit soon.
      The pictures of Satay bar made me drool. I love satay chicken with groundnut sauce.!

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