Five months after the famous Longhouse food centre in Upper Thomson Road closed, it is time to bid farewell to another hawker institution.

Lavender Food Square’s last day of operations is on Sept 30, a week longer than the original Sept 23 date. The extension was made because of customer demand.

The iconic food centre and neighbouring Eminent Plaza, both built in the 1980s, will make way for a 16-storey freehold development called ARC 380, which is slated to be ready by 2018.

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Pei Yun Hong Kong Tim Sum at Lavender Food Square may close for good after September 28, 2014 if the stall owner is unable to find a suitable new location. Image: ST/ Aziz Hussin

Located at the junction of Lavender Street and Jalan Besar, the hawker centre, which houses 35 stalls, used to be called Bugis Square. It closed for renovations in 1990 due to drainage problems, and reopened in 1992 as Lavender Food Square.

Unlike the closure of Longhouse, where the hawkers moved to two locations – Balestier Market and Broadway Coffee Shop next to Jalan Besar Stadium – the Lavender Food Square hawkers are moving to several coffee shops and food centres.

Old timers lament the closure of the food centre, saying they regard one another as friends, even family.

With the deadline to move looming, many stalls are still undecided about their future. Hawkers say high rentals and smaller shop spaces are among the problems they face in looking for new premises.

SundayLife! understands that hawkers currently pay rental of $4,000 to $6,000 a month at Lavender Food Square, and will pay at least $8,000 a month at their new locations.

Popular stalls such as Kok Kee Wanton Noodle, Whitley Road Fishball Noodle and Eminent Frog Porridge are still uncertain about where they will move to.

And, if they cannot find a suitable new location, both Albert Street Prawn Noodle and Pei Yun Hong Kong Tim Sum are likely to close for good. Other stalls, which are branches of their main outlets, are moving resources back to the flagship.

Thankfully, not all is lost; some hawkers already have concrete plans to relocate their stalls. We share where you can find them.

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Image: ST/ Aziz Hussin

1. Macpherson Barbeque Seafood
Where: Balestier Market, 414 Balestier Road
What: Known for its barbecued stingray and other seafood dishes, the stall will reopen at Balestier Market on Oct 4. Mr Lim Chye Liang, 40, also runs another branch at Block 539 Bedok North Street 3, which opened in July this year.

His older siblings run three other stalls under the same name – at South Bridge Road, Chomp Chomp and Block 496 Jurong West.

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Image: ST/ Aziz Hussin

2. Miow Sin Popiah
Where: Balestier Market, 414 Balestier Road
What: Formerly located at the now- defunct Longhouse food centre in 1985, Miow Sin Popiah’s owner Ong Chin Quay, 60, will reunite with some of the Longhouse hawkers on Nov 1.

3. Old Bibik’s Nonya Rendang
Where: MDIS Building, 190 Changi Road, #01-01
What: After about 21/2 years at Lavender Food Square, the owners of this stall, Adrian Loh, 38, and Wee Phang Lui (with spectacles, 36, at their new outlet), are opening a 60-seat restaurant cum photo gallery on Oct 1.

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The Chicken Rendang set meal at Old Bibik’s Nonya Rendang. Image: ST/ Aziz Hussin

Their signature items still remain wallet-friendly. Prices start at $7.90 for a chicken rendang set meal with rice, egg, vegetables, soup, achar and belacan. Other meal options include beef rendang, mutton rendang, and fried pomfret.
Info: For updates, go to www.facebook.com/oldbibik

4. Teochew Fish Soup
Where: Coffeeshop at Hoa Nam Building, 27 Foch Road (formerly Zhuge Kaoyu restaurant, now under renovation)
What: Fans of the fish soup will not have to go very far for their fix, as this stall is moving to this coffee shop next to Lavender Food Square.

5. Chong Pang Huat BBQ Chicken Wings
Where: Coffeeshop at Hoa Nam Building, 27 Foch Road (formerly Zhuge Kaoyu restaurant, now under renovation)
What: The stall selling the fingerlicking good chicken wings is also relocating to the coffee shop, which used to house a Sichuan restaurant.

6. Poly Western
Where: Tian Xiang Can Shi Coffeeshop, Block 803 King George’s Avenue
What: This Western food stall is slated to open next month.

7. Guan Lee Sen Seafood
Where: Tian Xiang Can Shi Coffeeshop, Block 803 King George’s Avenue
What: The stall has already started operating at its new stall, selling fish porridge and fish soup. Come Sept 25, it will also offer zi char dishes.

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Image: ST/ Aziz Hussin

8. Bugis Street Char Kway Teow
Where: Broadway Coffeeshop, 100 Tyrwhitt Road (near Jalan Besar Stadium)
What: Madam Tan Beng Yen used to sell her food at Bugis Street. She will sell char kway teow, fried Hokkien mee and the increasingly difficult to find Hakka dish of “abacus seeds” made of yam at her new stall from Oct 1.

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Image: ST/ Aziz Hussin

9. Carrot Cake
Where: Sing Hin Huat Kopitiam, 52 Foch Road
What: This stall has shared the same premises with Miow Sin Popiah since their days at Longhouse food centre. Owner Koh Chye Heng, 58, will move to Sing Hin Huat Kopitiam next month, across the road from Lavender Food Square.

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on September 7, 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.