Most of us associate the talented Hainanese population as having introduced Chicken Rice and Nanyang Coffee to us but there is much more to this distinct dialect group than we think!
The Hainanese first came to Singapore in the 1800s as merchants, trading in goods such as paper products and medicinal herbs. They however only started emigrating to Singapore much later than their Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese counterparts. This resulted in them finding employment in restaurants and in hospitality since sectors such as trade and commerce were already saturated. These circumstances probably explained why the Hainanese became well-versed in cooking and other hospitality endeavors such as bartending. Did you know that the Singapore Sling was created in 1915 by a Hainanese bartender Ngiam Tong Boon at Raffles Hotel Singapore?
There are more incredible stories to be told of the Hainanese people who congregated around the Bugis and Cityhall area; the Hainanese culture in these areas are is still very much alive today. On this journey, we discover Middle Road, Purvis Street and Seah Street; colloquially known to the Hainanese community as the Hainan First Street, Second Street and Third Street. Visit the popular Hainanese food haunts such as the Sing Swee Kee Restaurant and YY Kafei Dian. Listen to stories of yesteryear and how the innovative descendants of the Hainanese operate today as captains of industry in a vast variety of fields. We also get a very special insider’s look into the Raffles Singapore and visit the uber popular SunnyHills store for tea. Come hungry!
Participants get to bring home a little bit of treasure exclusively from the Raffles Singapore!
We commence our afternoon at SunnyHills for a special Tea Experience where you are introduced to your guide and the events of the day while you savour the very best that SunnyHills has to offer.
SunnyHills’ story begins in the rugged countryside of the Bagua Mountain in central Taiwan where the incredibly flavourful indigenous pineapple variety grows on the harsh red earth characteristic of the land. Native farmers toil all day under hot sun throughout the year harvesting only the best of the crop by hand.
Today, the SunnyHills tea house, a hidden gem along the Seah Street brings you the taste of these pineapples, responsibly sourced from the Bagua Mountain native farmers and presented in the best possible manner - SunnyHills’ Pineapple Cakes are based on a recipe refined by their Master Baker over the past 50 years.
This Tea Set includes a D24 durian love letter (1 roll) + 1 pineapple cake & 1 cup of cold brew Tea.
Our guide takes you on a slow walk through the Hainan First Street (Middle Road), Hainan Second Street (Purvis Street) and Hainan Third Street (Seah Street). Along the way, you learn about the original inhabitants of the shophouses which still proudly stand today and about the food and commerce that characterizes these streets.
We proceed to Sing Swee Kee Restaurant for a Chicken Rice workshop. Learn a thing or two about the secret methods employed to create each component of the Chicken Rice dish and prepare your Chicken Rice meal in an entirely novel way; in a cake form! Sing Swee Kee’s chef will then prepare a number of other side dishes for you to savor with your meal.
Sing Swee Kee was founded in 2001. As its popularity grew among locals and foreign visitors, Sing Swee Kee expanded its premises into a full-service restaurant, retaining its roots in Seah Street, directly opposite the iconic Raffles Hotel.
While its menu has expanded over time, its tender, juicy Hainanese blanched chicken, paired with fragrant Chicken Rice along with chilli sauce and green ginger puree based on secret home recipes formulated and mastered by their Hainanese pioneers are the mainstays that keep loyal locals and overseas customers flocking back to the restaurant.
*Includes Chicken Rice Cake Workshop (45 mins demo + workshop) + sampling dishes of Spring Roll, Pipa Tofu and Xiao Bai Chye + Glass of Barley (Hot/Cold)
*$5 off for any purchase of minimum S$30 (not valid with other discount)
We get inside access to the historical grounds of the Raffles Singapore and its interior compound. Our guide tells us the history and significance of each of the areas and characters within the compound, from the the six-metre tall oranate Cast-Iron Fountain which was built in the 1890s, the Sir Stamford Raffles Statue, the Raffles Doormen to the iconic Façade which once faced the sea. Listen to stories about the fabled hotel from a last tiger in Singapore seeking refuge in the Bar & Billard room to the rich and famous who once patronized the Long Bar.
We end off this exciting journey with a shopping extravaganza at the Raffles Boutique. The Raffles Boutique’s entrance is cast in metal gates that have been retained as historical artefacts after the hotel’s second restoration in 2019 and which is a sight to behold! The Raffles Boutique features a brand new retail concept where shoppers will be able to browse well-loved souvenirs and gourmet products that are set amidst a heritage gallery that showcases the illustrious heritage of Raffles Hotel Singapore. Get the chance to shop for precious gifts here at special prices! You will also leave this journey with a beautiful memento in the form of a thoughtfully crafted enamel Singapore Sling keychain!
[Option – Singapore Sling at the Raffles Courtyard]
Have the option of a well-deserved Singapore Sling** at the Raffles Courtyard. The Singapore Sling, widely regarded as the national drink, was first created in 1915 by Raffles bartender Ngiam Tong Boon. Primarily a gin-based cocktail, the Singapore Sling also contains pineapple juice, lime juice, curaçao and Bénédictine. Giving it the pretty pink hue are grenadine and cherry liqueur. Bartender Ngiam deliberately chose to give the cocktail this rosy colour.
Following the turn of the century in colonial Singapore, Raffles was the gathering place for the community – and Long Bar was the watering hole. It was common to see gentlemen nursing glasses of gin or whisky. Unfortunately for the ladies, etiquette dictated that they could not consume alcohol in public. So, for the sake of modesty, teas and fruit juices were their beverages of choice.
Ever insightful, Ngiam saw a niche in the market and decided to create a cocktail that looks like plain fruit juice but is actually infused with gin and liqueurs. The clever bartender made the beverage pink to give it a feminine flair which, together with the use of clear alcohol, led people to think it was a socially acceptable drink for women. With that, the Singapore Sling was born. Needless to say, it became an instant hit.
**Singapore Sling is charged separately by the Hotel at guests’ own cost. Sign up as in Origin Journeys’ Insider to get the Singapore Sling at a 1-for-1 price! https://originjourneys.com/pages/member-benefits
Need to Know:
- Child rates valid from 3 - 11 years old
- Duration: 4 hours
- Availability: Saturday and Sunday
- Tour Time: 2.00 PM – 6.00 PM (Afternoon Tour)
- Meeting point: Sunny Hills (3 Seah St, Singapore 188379)
- Please be at the meeting point 10 minutes before tour schedule
- Transfers: No transfer provided to meeting point
- Wear comfortable shoes, need a lot of walking
- Bring own umbrella
- Afternoon Tea Snack at SunnyHills include 1 cup of hot brew tea with a pineapple cake + a D24 durian love letter
- Sing Swee Kee’s Chef OR Restaurant’s Manager to share briefly on the story of Seah Street and Hainanese influence
- Chicken Rice Workshop
- A set of chicken rice include a cake, spring roll, pipa tofu, and xiao bai chye + a cup of barley drinks
- Raffles Hotel Key Chain (one per person)
- National Orchid Garden admission ticket ( Free and easy, while stocks last)
- English Speaking Guide
- Tour Guide System during the tour (transmitter and receiver)
For Booking Enquiries:
Contact: (65) 9665 6292 / (65) 8873 6500
- No refund for no shows
- Prices are in Singapore dollar, nett on per person basis
- Full payment will be required upon booking
- Booking is non-refundable once confirmed
- Advance reservation is require
A MINIMUM OF CONSOLIDATED 04 GUESTS IS REQUIRED FOR TOUR TO COMMENCE. SHOULD THE MINIMUM NUMBER OF GUESTS IS NOT MET ON YOUR REQUESTED BOOKING DATE, WE WILL HAVE THE DISCRETION WHETHER TO OPERATE THE TOUR. IF WE DECIDE NOT TO OPERATE, YOU WILL BE ALLOWED TO SELECT ANOTHER DATE OR OBTAIN A REFUND.
Please contact us for private group booking for 8 persons & above.
We can conduct Mandarin Speaking on a private group basis, minimum of 8 persons per group.
3 Seah Street, Singapore 188379