Taste The Passion At The Renovated Lau Pa Sat @ Food Folks

Taste The Passion At The Renovated Lau Pa Sat @ Food Folks

Hawker legends and homegrown brands come together at Singapore’s monumental food court.

#SupportLocal has a new face and it’s Food Folks @ Lau Pa Sat. The national monument (gazetted in 1973) has seen multiple facelifts but none quite as welcoming like its recent makeover. Plus a cheery cat mascot to boot. 

With its history dating to 1824, the former Telok Ayer Market (the malay name for bay water) served predominantly as a fish market along the Singapore River. Prolific Irish architect George Coleman designed the hawker centre’s unique octagonal shape and ornamental columns in 1824, and much of its elements remained when Scotsman James MacRitchie was tasked with its relocation, perfected with the graceful addition of iron filigree and the iconic clock tower in 1894. As the oldest market in Singapore, it has definitely earned its name of Lau Pa Sat (Chinese and Hokkien for old market).

History lesson aside, reclamation works turned its surrounding area into a bustling commercial and financial district - an area no longer fitting for a wet market. 1972 marked the year it transformed into a hawker centre brimming with what’s considered the creme de la creme of local cuisine. 

26 November 2020 was when it unveiled its latest look, courtesy of Food Folks, an initiative by the Fairprice Group. Much of its epochal structure remains, with a renewed focus to support long-time hawkers and local F&B brands.

1. Chef Kang’s Prawn Noodle House

Prawn noodles with prawn paste pork chop. Photo: Jessica Chan

You may recognise the amicable Chef Kang as the man behind his eponymously named one Michelin-starred private dining spot, and you'll make no mistake digging into his hawker extension. With over four decades of professional experience, he has reinvented the humble prawn noodle dish with a delightful take on its broth. Prawn shells, heads, shrimps and - a key ingredient - chicken feet come together for an intensely savory yet light base for king prawns and - rather than the typical option of pork ribs - a morish prawn paste pork chop. Tip: Go for the ramen noodles. 

  • Stall 26
  • Opening hours: Daily, 11am-4pm

Related: 5 Hawker Dishes To Earn Your Old Airport Road Food Centre Foodie Badge

2. Li Xin Teochew Fishball Noodles

Fishball noodles with fried wonton and onsen egg. Photo: Jessica Chan

Yellowtail fish, scrapped, filleted, minced, kneaded and moulded. Each fish ball and fish dumpling by Li Xin sticks to a tradition set by its founder Lim Lee Seng, circa 1968. The quintessential order here is the mee pok (flat yellow noodles) cooked al dente, and tossed in a delectable base of homemade chili sauce, shallot oil and, of course, lard oil, but the underdog is the chewy mee tai mak or rice pin noodles  (short, plump noodles made of rice flour). The exclusive here is the self-proclaimed Food Folks favorite with a giant fried wonton and a creamy onsen egg, and I daresay it’s worth the extra couple of dollars.  

  • Stall 27
  • Opening hours: Daily, 10am-10pm

Related: The Beginner’s Guide to An Ox-picious New Year at Chinatown Complex

3. Shi Hui Yuan

Blissful set. Photo: Jessica Chan

Here’s another spot to savor four-time Michelin Bib Gourmand Award winner, Shi Hui Yuan. Its original store at Mei Ling Market (Queenstown) remains a popular spot for its Original Singapore Hor Fun. Those new to this style can opt for the Blissful set that comes with a serving of its best. Tender slivers of chicken and duck, braised mushrooms, braised egg and a modern addition of a plant-based dumpling atop silky hor fun come swimming in a thick, herbal gravy boasting over 30 herbs and 30 years of uninterrupted cooking. For an extra kick, add a conservative splash of their citrusy chili sauce. 

  • Stall 23
  • Opening hours: Daily, 10am-10pm

Related: 6 Small Local Food Establishments In Malaysia With Exciting Chinese New Year Deals

4. Qiu Lian Ban Mian

Dry ban mian with braised pork belly. Photo: Jessica Chan

Chances are you’ve seen her handmade noodles in your neighborhood supermarket. All Qiu Lian, an industrious housewife, had in 1988 was a handheld noodle maker, but that was all it took to propel her into a household name. Winning fans with her robust soup and punchy chili sauce, she has since opened multiple stores across Singapore, including Lau Pa Sat. A favorite is the dry version that’s tossed in a sweet black sauce and chili, and topped with braised pork belly. 

  • Stall 83
  • Opening hours: Daily, 10am-10pm

5. Food Folks F&B Retail Area

Retail area. Photo: Jessica Chan

Stuffed but still hankering for local flavors? Food Folks has an expansive retail area stocked with homegrown brands as well as curated international favorites. Split into five zones, there’s the Grab & Go area for fuss-free bites, Love Healthy, World Favorites, Love Singapore and Local Delights. The latter two comprises over 800 homegrown products, some from brands under the Made With Passion initiative which aims to promote local lifestyle brands. 

Expect Fossa Chocolate and their boundary-pushing bars, premium tea blends from Gryphon Tea Company and uniquely local brews from Brewerkz, The 1925 Brewing Co and Brass Lion Distillery, just to name a few. With a range of goodies, from the nostalgic to innovative takes on food trends, you can easily start shopping for  Chinese New Year treats after finishing up dinner at your favorite hawker stall.

  • Opening hours: Daily, 10am-10pm

 

Related: 8 Small F&B Businesses In Singapore With Interesting Chinese New Year Offerings

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