Lau Pa Sat Festival Market

Lau Pa Sat Festival Market (28)

Come discover a paradise for your palate. Open 24 hours a day, the Lau Pa Sat Festival Market is a culinary gem right in the middle of Singapore’s downtown business district.

Formerly known as Telok Ayer Market, it was built by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore. The original structure, built in 1822, was simple and unpretentious but over the years it underwent profound alterations. One of the most memorable took place in 1838 when the architect George Coleman gave the building its characteristic octagonal shape. Later, in 1894, the City Engineer James MacRitchie covered the structure with cast iron, giving the market the unique look it still has today.

This gastronomic paradise began its life as a fresh produce market. But soon, the merchants realized that to succeed in business you needed to expand beyond fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. They decided to introduce an exclusive and varied Southeast Asian cuisine, always served under the strictest hygiene regulations.  These included such delicious dishes as traditional satay, chicken and rice or rice noodles with shrimp, coconut sauce or chili paste.

If you visit during the day, you'll see the tables patronized by businessmen and workers from the nearby offices. But starting at 7 pm, the atmosphere becomes more festive. Boon Tat Street is closed to traffic and cars and motorcycles are replaced by musical performances and street vendors pushing their carts. That's when Lau Pa Sat Festival Market provides living examples of the old style "hawker", the traditional vendors who, years ago, walked through the streets selling food. Today, however, the hawkers are housed in large gastronomic centres like this one, where they have their permanent food stalls, open 24 hours a day.

Declared a national monument in 1973, Lau Pa Sat Festival Market is a great find for tourists and a feast for the most demanding gourmets. To cheer yourself up, grab a table at this market and savour it with all five of your senses!

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