Chinatown, Singapore - (map)
The best way to visit attractions in Singapore is on foot, so I've racked many miles on my Tevas in the last few days. We've walked through Little India, down into the huge upscale shopping area of Orchard Road, and all over Chinatown. Like the mix of the Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian people who live here, the colorful ethnic neighborhoods blend smoothly to create a feeling unique to Singapore.
Singaporean people love good food, so good food is everywhere. You can walk through any food court in amazement, staring at the variety of hawker stands dishing out food made-to-order. You walk slowly, soaking in the vision of the hawkers crammed behind their 10 to 20 foot wide booths, each crowded by dishes, pots, pans, vegetables, noodles, sauces, and 300 other items. Each hawker specializes in a specific food: one sells seafood noodle soups, another Malaysian noodles. Perhaps the person next door is making a specific type of Chinese, Malaysian, Muslim, or Indian food. Or perhaps he just specializes in drinks or dessert.
Place your orders and take a table somewhere in the cacophonous hall. The hawkers drop your food off to you with "real" flatware and plates. (These plates later make it back to the specific hawker by being color-coded.) Only a couple of the dishes cost over $3 US. Most dishes are far cheaper.
The desserts have been the most fun for me. Most dessert hawkers sell varieties of tropical fruit, shaved ice, sweet beans, and sweet bean curd. I just ate a fresh lemon shaved ice with tangy pieces of the tropical fruit soursop on top. There can't be a more refreshing taste on a sweaty hot day.