There's a food centre right across Chinatown Heritage Centre. We decided to have our lunch there. We didn't have an inkling that this eating place has various stalls with different owners. So we took our seats and all of a sudden, 3 individuals with their own menus started to take our orders. To our surprise, one of them served us the food when we didn't confirm our orders yet! Naturally we didn't accept the food served us. This old rude Chinese guy started shouting expletives at us including a 4-letter word! We just left in a huff and vowed never to return to that place again. They don't know how to treat tourists well!
Unique Suggestions: Tell them you want to look at the menus first and not order yet.
Fun Alternatives: Better eat in McDonald's.
Lonelyplanet 2004 guidebook was already outdated - at least for Singapore. 1/2 the places I wanted to try out, like jazz clubs, restaurants, etc, were closed or no longer open. Chinatown is quaint - but like every other Chinatown I've been to and have lived nearby. I guess for people who don't live near a significant Asian population it must be something unique, cute, and fun place to pick up knick-knacks and ugly consumer goods. If anything, buy your postcards here and other souvenirs, they're probably cheaper, as with most Chinatowns.
Unique Suggestions: Drink a Tiger beer at one of the local stalls or go check out the Hindu temple. That's what most of the tourists seem to do.
Fun Alternatives: If you are seeking Chinese food - you can get some decent grub at the basement level of the Japanese dept. store near Bugis Stn.
Do not come to Singapore at Chinese New Year period because no shops will be opened and prices of everything will be jacked up. No one will be free to take you around as everyone will be busy visiting relatives and collecting ang-po.
Unique Suggestions: Find a Singaporean who is willing to tag you along when he goes visiting relatives and friends house. It is a very good experience.