Located at 18 Raffles Quay, Lau Pa Sat is a popular hawker centre, and what can be called as Singapore's version of the food court. Recognised as a national monument in 1973, this iconic landmark of Singapore metamorphoses food, architecture and history together. Also known as the Telok Ayer Market, Lau Pa Sat sees numerous footfalls from gastronomes all over the world.
The unique architecture of the 19th-century building captures the attention of the visitors instantly who are mesmerised by the octagonal shape and the tall, ornate columns that look spectacular to this day. Although Lau Pa Sat was rebuilt after being relocated in 1894, the basic structure and the original shape had been retained by James MacRitchie, the architect who is credited with refining the structure by adding a quaint clock tower and a supporting structure made out of cast iron.
Food is eaten in a cordial atmosphere by seating at makeshift plastic chairs and rickety tables but the atmosphere is worth every Singaporean dollar. Some of the more popular stalls that serve both local and offbeat cuisine include the following. The list is not exhaustive though as many visitors prefer to roam around the market and try the delicacies for themselves before deciding on the quality.
Noodle Evolution This is a noodle stall that was opened in 2015 by Peter Mok. He specializes in noodle dishes that drench the noodles in a savoury meat gravy with vegetables, meat, and wontons. Opening Hours: Monday - Friday: 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM Saturday and Sunday: 12:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Ang Hapag Kainan Known to be the best Filipino stall at Lau Pa Sat, And Hapag Kainan serves classic Filipino dishes for affordable prices. Opening Hours 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
The Beef House As the name suggests, The Beef House is famous for its innovative beef dishes. They make handmade beef balls that are used in various dishes such as soups and stir-fry dishes. Opening Hours 9:00 AM - 9:30 PM
Indian Classic Cuisine AS This stall makes spicy and flavourful curries that are famous with the Indians that come to the market. It provides good, tasty Indian comfort food at reasonable prices. Opening Hours 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Thunder Tea Rice The Thunder Tea Rice is a standard Hakka dish available at Stall 31. It comes with fresh greens, peanuts and crispy fried anchovies. The special Thunder Tea Rice contains meat as well and comes for SGD 8.50 a plate.
Ramen Ginza Stall No. 64 is well known for serving authentic Ramen with a dish of Tonkatsu Ramen being available at SGD 6.90. It comes with a rich, thick broth and helps to satiate the hunger pangs admirably.
Fishball Story People looking for seafood would not be disappointed with a bowl of Original Fishball Noodle priced at SGD 5. It contains an enormous amount of fishcakes, fishballs and a huge quantity of noodles that is sold from Stall 47.
Indian Curry House Housed at Stall 30 is the best place for sampling the best of fiery curries from India. The Chicken Dum Biriyani at SGD 6.50 is the most favorite dish here with latecomers being thrilled to find it open past 11:00 PM.
Delicius Pasticceria The Japnese pastry shop par excellence operates out of two stalls (88 & 95). The melt in the mouth Apple Cheese Pomme Fromage Cheesecake at SGD 6 is definitely a must-have with the ones having a sweet tooth being satisfied greatly.
Food at Lau Pa Sat
The stalls set up in neat rows along the octagonal hall makes it easy for the people to sample the food and order whatever dish catches their fancy.
A plate of Hainanese chicken and rice is one of the top picks while the Malaysian delicacy of roti prata available at Stall 61 is definitely worth the money.
Chilli crab, Laksa, and carrot cake are some of the must-have dishes with prices being quite affordable as many stalls offer their food at SGD 5.
The Kopitiam stall at Quay 18 is famous as a breakfast joint where the visitors can have their fill of kaya toast and Kopi-O (A Malaysian brand of coffee) in the morning hours.
The curry puffs at stall 24 are to die for, and many tourists wait until 7:00 PM to taste the best of barbecued food from the stalls set up outside the market in the evening.
Architecture of Telok Ayer Market
Lau Pa Sat has a unique Victorian architectural structure that consists of an octagonal shape built with cast-iron elements. It has a high ceiling and eight radial passageways that are separated by air wells. At the end of each passage is a large entrance. The structure is built such to maximise air circulation and to provide proper ventilation throughout the building. The roof has windowed structures (called the lantern) that illuminate the room. An eye-catching feature of the architecture is the clock tower, which heads the lantern and is easily noticeable from afar. Each of its four sides has a clock gate which is an amazing visual site. A wind vane tops the tower, and the top is shaped like a pavilion.
How to Reach Lau Pa Sat
To get to Lau Pa Sat by MRT, get off at Raffles Place MRT station and take Exit 1, a long tunnel from there emerges a couple of blocks away from Lau Pa Sat. From there, one can easily follow the road signs and reach the market.