Monday, December 31, 2012

Far East Square and the Fuk Tak Chi Museum


In the Central Business District of Singapore is a shopping district that is located in the Far East. Wait a minute, isn't the CBD located in the central area of Singapore? Anyway, Far East Square is a great shopping district located in the CBD. It's called Far East not because it's located in the Far East, the parent company that owns this place is by Far East Organisation. Wherever it's located, Far East Square is an awesome place to eat, drink, shop and find out more about history with its stunning shophouse architecture and the wonderful Fuk Tak Chi Museum.



China Square Central

It is actually kind of difficult to get to Far East Square via MRT so what I did was take the bus to a bus stop that is located outside China Square Central and walk through China Square Central before actually reaching the place itself. China Square Central is almost like Far East Square as they both feature stunning shophouse architecture and located just right opposite of each other. The similarities end there. The difference is that China Square Central isn't air-conditioned while Far East Square is air-conditioned. China Square Central also does not have a canopy but you can take shelter by walking along the shops located at the mall. The canopy at China Square Central is currently undergoing construction which is good as it provides customers and passers by protection from the rain when passing by.

China Square Central also has a wide range of shops that range from indie cafes to boutiques selling designer clothings. There are even big name cafes and shops located here such as O'Briens and 7 Eleven. If you want to reach Far East Square, just walk from the bus stop all the way to the end until you see the O'Briens cafe. Use the Zebra Crossing to finally reach Far East Square. 


Far East Square

Once you have seen these two orange (or beige, if you prefer) buildings, give yourself a pat on the back because you have found Far East Square.


The First Ya Kun Kaya Toast Outlet

Ya Kun Kaya Toast, as most Singaporeans know, is a food establishment that sells a wide range of toasted bread sandwiches and their signature menu item, Kaya Toast. For those of you who don't know what is Kaya, it is basically a bread spread that is made with pandan leaves and coconut milk that gives off a nice eggy and pandan fragrance to it. Kaya Toast also comes spread with butter to make the taste stand out even more. It is one of the most popular Kaya Toast establishments out there and customers just love the homemade taste of it.

Okay maybe the outlet at Far East Square isn't really the first because the first outlet was actually at the Telok Ayer Basin which is near Far East Square which then closed down and moved to the Lau Pa Sat food court which also closed down and finally settled here at Far East Square. After this outlet opened, more and more outlets around Singapore opened for business in which most of them are located in the neighbourhood malls. So if you're craving for some Kaya Toast, do stop by Ya Kun Kaya Toast especially the one found here at Far East Square.


Checking Out An Awesome Sculpture

Before I entered the mall itself, I checked out this awesome sculpture right before the entrance of Far East Square. Man it was such an interesting sculpture. I'm not exactly sure what this sculpture really means because I did not have the time to check that out as it was raining heavily and I was carrying my rather heavy umbrella. So if you have the time to check this sculpture out, do check out what this sculpture is about and let me know.



Gorgeous Shophouse Interior

Once I have stepped in to Far East Square, the gorgeous shophouse interior was very inviting and the environment was just quiet and peaceful. No crowds, no noisy people, no noisy shops. Although Far East Square is a little bit on the small side, there are plenty of food establishments, clothing stores and shops selling a wide variety of things. There aren't a lot of shops around but it's good enough. Now, I am not entirely sure whether or not dhese shophouses are conserved shophouses because I don't have enough facts to back that up but it will definitely be awesome if that is really true. If it's true, then this is another piece of history that is being conserved for future generations. If it isn't, well it certainly is a great recreation of history.



Mr Teh Tarik Cartel

One of the food establishments that I would recommend you to visit when you are here at Far East Square is Mr Teh Tarik Cartel. Mr Teh Tarik Cartel is a small cafe that sells a wide variety of cheap and tasty drinks along with some Indian Muslim snacks. You can get yourself a hot cup of Teh Tarik, a cold cup of Iced Horlicks Dinosaur, some toasted Kaya Bread or some spicy Curry Puffs. It's a great place to relax and take a break after hours of walking in the hot sun or hours of non-stop working. 

I got myself the Iced Horlicks Dinosaur which was definitely a delicious concoction with the Horlicks drink cooled down with ice and all the Horlicks powder filling my mouth. The beverage was certainly worth the money. Mr Teh Tarik Cartel also has several outlets around Singapore selling wide varieties of dishes ranging from Indian Muslim food to Thai Muslim Seafood and an even bigger menu of delicious drinks under the moniker, Mr Teh Tarik.



The Fuk Tak Chi Museum

At the back of Far East Square is a museum called the Fuk Tak Chi Museum which is also Singapore's oldest temple. Currently, it is no longer operating as a temple and it now has all kinds of exhibits about the history of the Fuk Tak Chi Temple. Plus, there are also stories of Hakka and Cantonese immigrants that came to Singapore after Singapore's founding in the 1800s. There are plenty of interesting exhibits such as this one where there are models of shophouses and people's lives as shown above. This was what life was like back then in the 1800s for the immigrants.




Documents and Other Artefacts

Apart from the scale models, there are also plenty of artefacts and old documents that have been preserved for the future generations to see. These are just some of the documents that the immigrants have used when they were here working in Singapore. You can also see some family portraits and pictures of the immigrants at this particular exhibit at the museum. There was also a display showcase which shows all the preserved artefacts such as food tins and so much more. There was also another display showcase that shows books and other tools used by the immigrants back then. The Fuk Tak Chi Museum is certainly a great place for those history buffs out there and the best part is that it is completely free. However, do take note that if you want to come here, I recommend you to go with a friend because it can be pretty dark and creepy in here. Otherwise, it's an awesome museum that is worth checking out.

Conclusion

Overall, Far East Square and the Fuk Tak Chi Museum is awesome place to hang out, eat, drink, shop and know more about history. With the shophouse architecture and the design features related to the Far East, Far East Square may be one of the most interesting shopping mall in Singapore. With the Fuk Tak Chi Museum located at the back of the mall, you can also find out about the history of one of Singapore's oldest temples and the history of the Hainan and Cantonese immigrants that came to Singapore in the late 1800s. Do also take note that if you intend on taking public transport to Far East Square, I suggest you to take a bus and alight outside China Square Central along South Bridge Road.

Getting Here

Bus services available: 61, 80, 145, 166, 197 (Bus stop along South Bridge Road opposite Hong Lim Complex)

Nearest MRT Station: NE4 Chinatown MRT Station (North East Line)

Website: http://www.fareastsquare.com.sg/home/index.aspx?key=home


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