Souvenir Shopping (Self Guided), Singapore

It would be a pity to leave Singapore without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Singapore, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.
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Souvenir Shopping Map

Guide Name: Souvenir Shopping
Guide Location: Singapore » Singapore (See other walking tours in Singapore)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.8 Km or 3.6 Miles
Author: Daniel
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Ya Kun Kaya Toast - China Street
  • Chinatown Heritage Centre
  • Singapore Handicraft Centre
  • RISIS gift galleries
  • Arab Street
  • Jamal Kazura Aromatics
  • Mustafa Shopping Centre
Ya Kun Kaya Toast - China Street

1) Ya Kun Kaya Toast - China Street

What to buy here: Ya Kun Kaya.

In the early 1900s, half-boiled eggs, toast and a cup of coffee or tea were a favourite for breakfast among coolies, merchants and even businessmen in Singapore. To this date, this breakfast set is still the popular among the old and young alike. But what exactly is the Ya Kun Kaya? Simply put, it is an egg and coconut jam to die for! Made out of high qualitative ingredients, comprising coconut milk, sugar, eggs and fragrant pandan, this jam is the best way to start your day in the best Singaporean style. One of the most popular stores that specialize in this set is Ya Kun Kaya Toast Coffeestall. For, one can get a 290 grams bottle of Ya Kun's popular kaya for breakfast every morning, or a twin pack of 80 grams per bottle of kaya, which costs about S$5.

Ya Kun's kaya can be found in any of the Ya Kun Kaya Toast Coffeestalls in major shopping centres all around Singapore.

Ya Kun Kaya Toast - China Street

18 China Street, Singapore 049560+65 6438 3638
Chinatown Heritage Centre

2) Chinatown Heritage Centre

What to buy here: Merlion Statuette.

The Merlion is the official mascot of Singapore, representing Singapore's origin as a fishing village in the past and Singapore's original name, Singapura. Merlions are thought to be mythical creatures with the body of a fish and the head of a lion. In itself, it is the very representation of Singapore, and one cannot say they've been to Singapore unless they've seen the Merlion statue currently located in Merlion Park II. The Merlion is a symbol of Singapore's hospitality and cultural heritage and a must-buy gift while visiting the city.

A wide variety of Merlion statuettes in various forms can be found in the small shops along Chinatown, which cost around $5 to S$20 dollars, depending on the size. One of the bigger shops would be in the Chinatown Heritage Centre (Opening hours: 9am to 8pm daily), which is near Chinatown MRT station (opposite Hong Lim Complex).
Singapore Handicraft Centre

3) Singapore Handicraft Centre

What to buy here: Traditional Musical Instruments.

In olden days, musical instruments were used primarily for the entertainment of royalty or important guests. Today, they can serve as unique and melodious, sweet-sounding gifts for music lovers and collectors alike. Instruments such as the pipa or liuqin are of portable size and are hence easy to carry around. Trying to promote its traditional values and music, Singapore has its own Pipa society which is non-governmental organization trying to promote the popularity of playing pipa among childern and youths. Purchasing one of these fine instruments, with a history of more than 2000 years is a great investment and a unique gift to be passed from a generation to another.

Chinese traditional musical instruments can be found at the Singapore Handicraft Centre (133 New Bridge Road), which is open from Mon to Sat, from 8am to 7pm. +65 6536 2846
RISIS gift galleries

4) RISIS gift galleries

What to buy here: Risis Orchid.

The orchid because a uniquely Singaporean gift in the 1960s, when a Singaporean chemist came upon the idea of preserving beautiful orchids as a gift for his fiancée. After a series of experiments, the RISIS orchid was born – a fresh orchid preserved in a coat of copper, nickel and finally, pure 24 carat gold. The RISIS orchid is a gift that perfectly captures Singapore's natural beauty and her rich Asian heritage. It comes in various forms, such as the Den Li Min Eng Orchid Pen Holder, costing S$90, or the Aerdv Vieng Ping Orchid Brooch, costing S$56, and many others.

RISIS orchids can be found at the RISIS gift galleries in Suntec City Mall, open daily from 11am to 9pm (3 Temasek Boulevard).
Arab Street

5) Arab Street

What to buy here: Batik Textiles.

Many of the traditional dresses across the ethnic cultures in Singapore, such as the Peranakan, Indian and Malay cultures, are made from batik-textiles. Actually Indonesian Batik which is also widely used and found in Singapore was designated by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. These unique textiles are typically both colorful and full of interesting patterns. Not only are the designs many, but they are extremely comfortable to wear as well. Their prices can range from S$8 for table clothes all the way till S$1000 for high quality pieces, depending on what type you wish to purchase.

Batik-textiles can be found in the many shops that line Arab Street, which is near Bugis MRT station. Some of these shops include Silk Studio, Warna Fabrics, Basharahil House of Batik, and many more (Opening hours: 10am to 6pm, from Mon to Sat). In short, you'll be spoilt for choice there.
Jamal Kazura Aromatics

6) Jamal Kazura Aromatics

Traditional & Custom Made Perfumes.

Fragrances and perfumes are unique to each culture in Singapore, and some cultures even believe that natural oils have medicinal or healing properties. In fact, different perfumes are specially made for different occasions. Mixing perfume oils is a fine art that has been preserved by each respective culture over the many years. The Egyptians were the first to use perfume followed by the ancient Chinese, who proudly continue the art of mixing different aromatic oils for the delight of Singapore's visitors. These special fragrances are relatively easy to find in Singapore, for fairly cheap prices, depending on the type of fragrance chosen.

Jamal Kazura Aromatics (Opening hours: Mon to Sat, 9am to 7pm) specializes in perfume oils, and stocks perfumes under its own brand, JR Fragrances. They can be found in Kampong Glam, Mustafa Centre, Joo Chiat Complex as well as 728 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198696+65 6293 2350
Mustafa Shopping Centre

7) Mustafa Shopping Centre

What to buy here: Local Snacks / Pastes.

If there's one thing that Singapore is famous worldwide for, it would definitely be its food. Every ethnic culture in Singapore boasts its own variety of snacks and pastes, and given the many races in Singapore, it is no surprise that one would be spoilt for choice here. Popular snacks such as the Chinese kueh, Malay chempedak and goreng pisang, and Indian jalebi and kesari are a few of the favourites among locals and foreigners alike. Recommended are however two all-time favorites of all Singaporeans: Roasted Chestnuts and Watermelon Seeds. While the first go perfectly with the local beer, the second are for pretty refined tastes. Available in all different flavors, ranging from licorice to soy sauce, the watermelon seeds make a healthy and nutritious snack. The best part is that they can easily be purchased for less than a dollar each almost anywhere in Singapore.

The largest variety of each race's array of snacks and pastes can be found in their various hometowns. For Chinese snacks, Chinatown would be the place to go. For Malay snacks, it would definitely be Kampong Glam. Indian snacks can be found in abundance at Little India. Want a place were you can find them all together? Try hitting the supermarkets. Mustafa Shopping Centre, located at 145 Syed Alwi Road.

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