Earlier this year, I had an unscheduled visit to Singapore. With about 3 hours to explore the city, I decided to check out Chinatown which is a short walk from the Clarke Quay neighborhood where I was ensconced at the Novotel. It was a week before Chinese New Year, the Year of the Snake, so Chinatown was festooned with colorful lanterns and streamers to welcome the arrival of the lunar new year. Painted Ladies The shophouses that line the streets of Chinatown were built in the style of the painted ladies (Victorian architecture painted in three or more colors) and restored in recent years. These buildings are painted predominantly in pastel and the windows are highlighted in darker hues providing a rich contrast of colors. Beef jerky Nowhere is food more celebrated than in Chinatown especially during the new year. I couldn’t help but stop and stare at these neatly arranged, paper thin beef jerkys and be satisfied with the come hither aroma that pervaded the air.