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Singapore's insider take:

Scattered amidst the ports and warehouses of the Singapore River are jewelry-box-size gold shops; grocery stores spilling out into the street with abalone, dried sea horses, birds' nests, shark fins, and fruit; and signs in Chinese advertising calligraphers and lantern makers. The six-story Yue Hwa sells everything from Chinese tea leaves to affordable silk cheongsams and other curios (70 Eu Tong Sen St.; 65-6538-4222; Sitting alongside the antique shops are hip boutiques like Front Row, which stocks up-and-coming Asian designers (5 Ann Siang Rd.; 65-6224-5502; Peek into Flair (The Scarlet; 33 Erskine Rd., 01–02; 65-6538-7505; and Egg3 (33 Erskine Rd., 01–10; 65-6536-6977; for fun gadgets and knickknacks. Architects, designers, and other local trendsetters appreciate the chic minimalism of dim sum eatery Dim Joy, where chefs from China's Guangdong Province keep the dumplings juicy and entirely authentic (80 Neil Rd.; 65-6220-6986;

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