18 Raffles Quay
Lau Pa Sat, or directly translated to Old Market, is the place to be for a quintessential hawker-centre-style dining experience. Let us give you a little history about the place first before we delve into the gastronomic aspect of it.
Lau Pa Sat was previously known as Telok Ayer Market, and it was first opened in 1823. However, upon its completion, the building was deemed as unsafe. The timber and attap structure was declared defective, and was later replaced by tiles on the roof. But the structure remained unsafe up to 1830. A new market building was then introduced on the same site in 1833.
As the decades went by, the city experienced new changes and developments. Eventually, the area was planned to be redeveloped into a commercial and financial district in the early 1970s. This would mean that the wet market will become out of place among other commercial buildings. In 1972, the building stopped operating as a wet market and transformed into a hawker centre. It was also gazetted as a national monument in the same year.
A decade later, Telok Ayer Market was again converted into a festival market and was officially renamed Lau Pa Sat in 1989. Lau Pa Sat underwent one final refurbishment and reopened in 2014. The key feature that is still standing since the 1800s is the clock tower that has a clock face on every side and the bell still chimes every 15 minutes.
Today, it remains a significant landmark nestled within the towering skyscrapers of the Central Business District. It is also a popular lunch venue for the office workers, and a hot dinner spot for tourists.
If you are looking to try some of Singapore’s popular hawker foods, Lau Pa Sat has plenty to offer – such as chicken rice, satay and seafood. There are a few stalls offering similar dishes so be sure to look at the different menus before you order. Lau Pa Sat also has Halal options available for our Muslim friends. The hawker centre becomes more bustling at night when Boon Tat St is closed and the hawkers set up their tables and chairs on the road. Relish the smells, sights and sounds of Singapore’s favourite hawker centre. Here’s the best part, it is only a 5 minute walk from Heritage Collection on Cecil.