The crowd has returned to Lau Pa Sat which reopened last Monday with old favourites as well as new stalls.
Formerly known as Telok Ayer Market, the iconic 120-year-old market turned food centre in the heart of the Central Business District is managed by foodcourt operator Kopitiam. Its $4-million revamp took nine months, with a reduced number of stalls to accommodate the improvements such as reconfiguring the layout of the stalls, improving ventilation with eight industrial ceiling fans and adding extra seating for 2,500 diners now, up from about 2,000 before.
There are now 54 stalls and 14 mini restaurants, compared to 90 before.
Many of the old-timers have returned, such as Pig’s Organ & Kway Chap, Jason Yong Tau Foo and Qiu Lian Ban Mian. Favourites that draw long queues from as early as 11.30am include Thunder Tea Rice and Mang Kiko’s Lechon, which sells Filipino-style roast pork and chicken.
Kopitiam has also brought in a slew of new stalls to add more international flavours to the tenant mix. We check out some of the new stalls:
1. TURKISH CUISINE (STALL 70)
What: Turkey-born owner Selahattin Ozcelik, 56, shaves grilled chicken for doner kebabs ($7.90), which are filled with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cucumber. Another popular item is falafel or deep-fried chickpea fritters ($9.90 for a sandwich or falafel with a bread roll served on the side).
2. JAPANESE YAKITORI & TEPPAN AZMAYA (STALL 55)
What: Grilled chunks of sizzling chicken on skewers? Yes please. Pick from three yakitori bento sets ($6.90) with chicken, chicken balls and fried chicken skewers. The stall also offers teppan dishes (from $5.90); beef and chicken cooked on a hot plate topped with Japanese curry (optional) and served with rice.
3. SARI RATU RESTAURANT (STALLS 43/44)
What: Pick from a wide variety of dishes for a hearty Indonesian nasi padang meal. Notable items include ikan danau (from $2), beef rendang ($4) and beef tendon ($5).
4. YOUR LITTLE BROWN BAG (STALL 41)
What: For a quick lunch or easy takeaway option, pack a sandwich into your little brown bag. This stall features pannini-style sandwiches with options such as the signature pesto foccacia ($5.90), BBQ Sauce Chicken ($5.90) and Curry Chicken ($5.50). There are also vegetarian choices ($5.50 each).
5. LURVY FRESH (STALL 17)
What: One of the Western stalls in Lau Pa Sat is Lurvy Fresh, which offers a variety of pasta and salads. Highlights include smoked duck salad ($7.90) and pasta aglio olio (from $5.90), as well as pancakes with chocolate and marshmallow ($1.90) for dessert.
6. THE LITTLE FLOWER SHOP (STALL 42)
What: Amid the hectic crowd in Lau Pa Sat is a tranquil cafe-cum-florist. The Little Flower Shop, which has been at the food centre for seven years, has returned after the revamp with a chic, flower-themed cafe for those who want a peaceful tea break. The food and drinks also include flower and herb elements. For example, the macarons are flavoured with hibiscus, rose and lavender ($3.80 for one, $25 for seven, $50 for 14 pieces), and there are also flower teas (from $3.90 a cup). A set of six sweet or savoury canapes, which includes a pomelo and prawn roll, mini quiche and a brownie, costs $19.90. Info: Call 6334-0603 or go to www.thelittleflowershop.com.sg
7. MAMACITAS (STALL 6)
What: Costa Rican stall Mamacitas, which has been making waves since it opened at Amoy Street Food Centre last year, is now at Lau Pa Sat too. Join the queue for popular items such as chicken or beef burritos ($7.90), arroz con mariscos ($7.90), which is seafood rice, and Krunchy Chalupas ($7.90), a fried tortilla shell filled with chicken or beef, salad and tomato salsa.
8. XIAO MAN NIU MALA XIANG GUO (STALLS 77/78)
What: Spice up your meal with this fiery stir-fried version of the tongue-numbing Sichuan hotpot. Prices start at $1.20 for 100g of vegetables, $3.50 for 100g of meat and $4.50 for 100g of seafood. Diners can also order dishes such as mala fish ($18) and mala lala clams ($16).
9. MUGIHO BOULANGERIE (STALLS 89 to 95) AND DELICIUS PASTICCERIA (STALLS 25 to 27)
What: Save space for the picture-perfect cakes from Delicius Pasticceria from Osaka. Try the Apple Cheese Pomme Fromage cheesecake ($5.50 a slice, $20 for a 12cm whole cake) and Uji Matcha made with Kyoto matcha powder and fresh cream ($4.80). At the neighbouring Mugiho bakery, pick from a range of breads and pastries, including mini croissants ($1 each), cranberry cheese pie ($3), double chocolate ($3.50), sweet potato bun ($3.50), and a special veggie bun ($3) which is filled with yakisoba noodles. Both the bakery and patisserie are owned by Mugiho Bakers from Osaka and the stalls are their first outside of the Japanese city.
10. LUTONG PINOY (STALL 54)
What: Newcomer Lutong Pinoy adds to the other stalls at Lau Pa Sat selling Filipino food. Owner Gina Prado’s signature items include beef bulalo or beef shank and marrow soup ($14, includes rice for two), pork sisig (from $7.50 with rice), and lechon kawali, which is deep-fried pork belly (from $6.50).
This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on July 6, 2014. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.