After a S$5 million revamp, much-loved Chinatown Food Street finally re-opened at the end of February 2014. Occupying a 100-metre stretch of Smith Street, the new Food Street features 24 excellent hawker stalls — more than double than in the past — with many of them new ones selected from among the famous in the city-state.
The Street, lined with stalls along the street on both sides in neat rows, can now sit more than 600 diners (the old one sat 400), with more than two-thirds of them sheltered. While not fully waterproof, so as not to take away from the unique alfresco nature of dining here, the shelter allows for some respite from Singapore’s regular heavy downfalls. There’s also a cooling system, creating a breeze that disperses some of the heat from all that cooking.
In addition to curated food stalls, which include Singapore standards like chicken rice, satay and fried oyster omelette plus slightly more upmarket and exotic fare like frog porridge and abalone noodle, the management of the street has also brought in six eateries found in shophouses adjacent to the street, including Chen Fu Ji fried rice and Koo Kee Yong Tau Foo. This means that those who wish to revel in the atmosphere of Food Street but enjoy more private dining have such air-conditioned options. Existing favourites like the famed Lanzhou La Mian noodle stall are also found on Smith Street.
While the rents for the hawkers are now much higher and prices in individual stalls seem to have increased slightly, the price of food here is still palatable, with a majority of the mainstream dishes (barring zi char dishes like seafood) going for below S$10 — so we’d still recommend ending off a tour of Chinatown with lunch or dinner at Food Street as long as there’s no serious downpour.
The adjacent streets, bursting with stalls selling souvenirs and knick-knacks, are closed to traffic which allows for pleasant strolls before or after a meal.
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