Chinatown in Singapore
- Shopping at Yue Hwa Chinese Emporium
Looking for Chinese products under one roof?
the Yue Hwa Emporium @ Chinatown in Singapore.
You are shopping at Chinatown in Singapore for souvenirs. And you are hard pressed for time. What are you going to do?
The Building's Colourful Past
The Yue Hwa Building was originally the Great Southern Hotel, built in 1936. The hotel was to the Chinese upper class what the famous Raffles Hotel was to the European community - a place to relax and entertain.
While the Europeans partied at the Raffles' ballrooms, the Chinese tycoons headed for the Great Southern Hotel - for something less innocent. At least 2 levels in the Great Southern were set aside as brothels and opium-chambers. So you can imagine what went on here.
If you walk into the store today, you won't believe that it was once used for womanising and drug-taking. The act has been cleaned up long ago and it's now a great place to shop for Chinese souvenirs.
What's in the Store Today
The following are some of the more interesting items in the store:
- Chinese-themed women's wear; Chinese-themed cushion covers, embroidery.
- Silk and cotton traditional Chinese women's wear, commonly called the qipao or cheongsam.
- And (believe it or not) some sexy oriental women's sleepwear.
- Exquisite antique Chinese porcelain ware, and reproductions by currently famous Chinese artisans.
- Some of these are really mind-boggling. There was a porcelain bowl that looked ordinary and plain. Then the sales lady turned the spotlight on and intricate Chinese drawings - dragons, maidens, etc - appeared. I was simply enchanted. Very reminiscent of my experience at Taipei's National Palace Museum.
- If any item is too bulky, they can arrange shipment for a token sum of S$600 ;-), insurance thrown in.
- If (like me) you cannot afford the S$500-8000 range of items, they do stock many lovely cash-and-carry souvenirs under S$50.
Level 5 - Event Hall
- They change their exhibits regularly. When I visited, an 'Exquisite Chinese Ceramics' event was on.
- Antique Chinese furniture and reproductions from recycled elmwood, rosewood and the beatifully-grained chicken wing wood. Shipment overseas can be arranged.
- If you are never going to step onto Antique Street in Shanghai or Beijing, here's a great substitute.
Tip for tourists:
If you are new to Chinese antiques and handicrafts, Yue Hwa @ Chinatown in Singapore is a safe place to start looking. I don't think their prices are rock-bottom. But you won't be conned here.
Other Interesting Things to Do @ Chinatown in Singapore