Jan 07 2013
Lau Pa Sat is the only Singapore hawker centre that’s also a historic site – the beautiful Victorian building dates back to 1894 and served as the then-British colony’s first market. But make no mistake, people come here for the dizzying variety of delicious food and not a history lesson.
Lau Pa Sat isn’t just Singapore’s oldest hawker centre, it’s also one of the largest with more than 100 food stalls organised into “streets” for easier navigation. The culinary offerings are as diverse as the office workers at nearby Raffles Place and you’ll find stalls offering everything from customised salads to Turkish kebabs to Japanese ramen soup. We like the Filipino-style roasted pork belly from stall #27 (Mang Kiko’s Lechon) and the Indian vegetarian food from stall #93 (Dosa Deli).
Of course, traditional Singaporean hawker dishes are well represented with everything from steamy bowls of laksa soup to humble chicken rice. Don’t miss stall #77 (Lai Heng) which is famous for their char kway teow (fried noodles with lard, Chinese sausage and cockles) and fried carrot cake. If you’re in the mood for seafood, try stall #43/44 (Boon Tat BBQ Seafood) for spicy stingray, crispy cereal prawns and even chilli crab. You’ll find drink stalls in the centre of the octagon-shaped building selling fresh sugar cane juice, bottled water, soda and Singapore-style coffee and tea.
Lau Pa Sat’s prominent location in Singapore’s central business district means that this hawker centre is busiest on weekday afternoons when thousands of office workers show up for a cheap lunch – show up during this time and you may find yourself sharing a table with a stranger.
In contrast, evenings at Lau Pa Sat are laidback with people sharing snacks and lingering over drinks. From 19:00 the adjacent Boon Tat Street is blocked off from traffic to become “Satay Street”, with a dozen stalls grilling morsels of chicken, pork, beef and plump prawns. On weekend nights there’s even a live band at the central stage. Needless to say a night out at Lau Pa Sat costs a fraction of what you’d spend at a bar or restaurant, and the S$18 (S$14.50 before 19:00) pitchers of Tiger Beer are one of the best deals in the city. In theory Lau Pa Sat is open 24 hours, but most of the action wraps up by 03:00.
Lau Pa Sat
18 Raffles Quay, Singapore
Nearest MRT: Raffles Place
T: 6220 2138
Open 24 hours
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