Lau Pa Sat Festive Market

D January 30, 2013
 
1.0
 
3.4 (12)
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12 reviews

 
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2 stars
 
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1 star
 
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Overall rating 
 
3.4
Food / Beverage 
 
3.4  (8)
Ambience 
 
3.9  (7)
Service 
 
3.9  (5)
Value 
 
3.5  (7)
Overall Score 
 
3.4  (12)
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Great food in a heritage setting - a fulfilling experience
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Food / Beverage 
 
4.5
Ambience 
 
4.0
Service 
 
4.0
Value 
 
3.5
Overall Score 
 
4.0
My earliest memory of the Lau Pa Sat Festival Market was of bright neon lights, throngs of people and standing up on my seat just so I could reach the round table that my family was gathered around that was almost overflowing with local food of all forms and flavours. For some reason, the colourful sights and sounds of the place had thrilled me so much that though I did not have the chance to revisit the place till I was much older, it was a place I had always dreamt of going back to again.

My chance to revisit the festival market came while I was doing an internship just a stone's throw away from the market. Returning to the market as a young adult definitely proved a far different experience for me - apart from being more conscious of the general food prices (which I found to be a little higher than at typical markets) and the wide variety of local and international fare offered, I had also for the first time become aware of the colonial architecture of the place, which gave it a somewhat homely heritage feel that set it apart from other markets I had been to.

A popular favourite of mine at the market had to be the satay that was offered in the evenings, which was always especially succulent and flavourful, and being able to enjoy it in the company of friends after work definitely made it all the more satisfying. The flat noodles (ban mian) from the Qiu Lian Ban Mian stall was another routine favourite that I would order in the few times I stopped by for a quick lunch. The ban mian had an unusually smooth texture, and coupled with the lightly flavoured soup and generous portions of sliced fish, it certainly made for a most hearty meal.

Though I frequented the market a lot less after my internship ended, I always fondly remembered my times spent dining there with friends. Prices aside, the festival market is certainly a wonderful place to explore for its diverse range of food and refreshingly unique environment.
SH
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Heritage adds to food quality? Nah.
(Updated: April 02, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Food / Beverage 
 
3.5
Ambience 
 
4.0
Service 
 
3.0
Value 
 
3.5
Overall Score 
 
3.0
Lau Pa Sat reminds me of Covent Garden, slightly. It is a pity there is no opera house nearby. I suppose you could walk a few blocks to either the Esplanade Theaters or the Singapore Chinese Concert Hall, but this place is here because of food, tourists and nearby office workers on high salaries.

Is the food better than anything else in Singapore? No. Is the experience better? I suppose it depends on what you want. If you want to eat with tourists, fine. If you want real hawker food in a real setting, go elsewhere. But then, if you were a tourist, you probably wouldn’t. For reasons that I partly understand, most westerners take a look at a hawker centre and scream: hygiene, before running back to the Fullerton for high tea. Which is a shame. These places are strictly controlled for hygiene by the NEA so the chances of food poisoning from smelly thumbs in your laksa bowl are rare.

At best, Lau Pa Sat is a food court which has some charm, but if it is real food you are after, it is no better, and indeed more expensive, than almost any other hawker centre or coffee shop in the heartlands where at least you might meet some real locals.
LT
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I need good company.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Food / Beverage 
 
5.0
Ambience 
 
5.0
Service 
 
5.0
Value 
 
5.0
Overall Score 
 
5.0
This place is lovely in the night - with the bright lights coming from all the different hawker stalls, there is myriad of food choices that I'm always faced with. With the large place that is available for seating, this is one place I love to come to for late night suppers - I never have to worry that I won't be able to get a place due to the crowd. More often than not I am faced with so many empty seats - better for me, at least I can casually stroll and decide what I want to eat before finding a seat. I can already taste the crispiness of the Roti Prata and the sweet juiciness of the satay in my mouth.

On certain nights, there are perks for staying a little later in this place. The reason being that sometimes, live bands do come down to perform, jazzing up the rather noisy place with some local talent. Who says a hawker centre can't actually be a place to be? With the local music scene in check, with the local food in check, all you need (or all I need) is some really good company and the night is good to go.
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Ordinary food but unique experience
Overall Score 
 
4.5
I definitely recommend going in big groups - because Lau Pa Sat is extremely huge. It is extremely easy to get lost; and there are just so many stalls to choose from! I suggest taking a walk around the entire centre because deciding what you want, or whether you even want to stay there. It really is nothing much; the food is not exactly special or unique to the place - ti is merely an average hawker centre with stalls selling ordinary or common food that can be found easily anywhere else in neighbourhood hawker centres.

It might, however, be an interesting experience to eat there because of its location. It is a prime location to see festive celebrations happening in Singapore, although it is most crowded during such times. It is also a popular tourist attraction because the hawker centre itself does have unique interior design which places it far above ordinary hawker centres.

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Recommend to Friend:
Yes
JL
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Singapore’s most aesthetic hawker centre
Overall Score 
 
3.5
Originally a wet market and recently renovated in 2014, Lau Pa Sat is arguably the most iconic market and food centre in Singapore. Located right in the heart of the bustling CBD, the open air food court offers 54 different food stalls and a seating capacity of up to 2500.

The open-air food court - which features 54 food stalls and a seating capacity of up to 2500 - is located in the heart of the bustling CBD, making it a favourite for the office warriors.

The open-air food court is located in the heart of the bustling CBD - making it a favourite for the office warriors.

A historical site and national monument aside, what differentiates Lau Pa Sat from other popular hawker like it’s neighbour Maxwell Road is that they offer quite a huge variety, with Vietnamese, Turkish, Filipino and authentic Indian cuisines just to name a few. Being in the financial heart of Singapore, its close proximity to so many corporations and offices mean that throngs of white collar workers and tourists alike visit the food centre everyday, especially during the lunch rush hour.
While it is not air conditioned, the arrangement within the food centre is spacious and airy enough such that I didn’t really break a sweat eating my naan set meal in a blisteringly hot afternoon. Even if you are not hungry, it can still be worth a visit just to walk around and appreciate its architecture. The touting from the satay stalls can get annoying, but all in all, Lau Pa Sat remains one of the best places in CBD to get an affordable hawker experience.

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Recommend to Friend:
Yes
CN
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White and Clean
(Updated: March 12, 2014)
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Food / Beverage 
 
3.0
Ambience 
 
3.5
Service 
 
3.5
Value 
 
4.0
Overall Score 
 
3.5
I went there once because I was nearby doing a shoot for a competition. I think it is an advantage for the hawker centre to be plastered right in the middle of the central business district as it is easy for people to locate it.

I find most of the food so-so but what really brightened my day was the satay. Perhaps because I am all along a huge satay fan and having to taste such nice satay made me so happy.

On top of that, I seldom see hawker centres or any public eateries as huge as this, to have the entire building painted white. It must have been quite a hassle for them to clean the place frequently but it is also a good practice as it helps to uplift the good name of what people see Singapore as- a clean and green city.

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Best Part:
Satay
Recommend to Friend:
Yes
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Variations
(Updated: February 16, 2014)
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Food / Beverage 
 
3.5
Ambience 
 
4.0
Service 
 
4.0
Value 
 
3.5
Overall Score 
 
3.5
I caught sight of Lau Pa Sat festive market rather frequently whenever our car speeds towards the Central Business District area. It was teeming with human beings on such a regular basis, regardless of the time, even on weekdays. I was curious as to what mysterious concoctions were sold there hence I prowled into that vicinity with a growling stomach after a trip to a nearby gym.
I discovered the key to why this particular market magnetized many. The food variety there was tremendously impressive. It was certainly a venue that thrives due to it's veritable smorgasbord.

Unfortunately, apart from the wide array of food palettes offered and it’s strategic location, there didn’t’ seem to be anything else that caught my eye. The food tasted ordinary. They were neither bland nor spectacular. I didn’t feel like dashing towards the stalls to interrogate for any secret recipes of those food after tasting them.

Additionally, the ambiance there was like an echo of the Lagoon at East Coast Park.

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Recommend to Friend:
Yes
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Average Food
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Food / Beverage 
 
3.0
Value 
 
3.0
Overall Score 
 
3.0
It is nice to be able to find reasonably priced food in the middle of a business district, and this is what Lau Pa Sat offers. I went there on a weekday night and it was extremely quiet. Many of the stalls were closed as well.

My friend and I tried the fried carrot cake and hor fun, as well as some satay. The food was average, but the satay was rather interesting as they had duck meat, something I haven't seen anywhere else. The meat is really little though, and each stick is quite pricey, at 50-70cents a stick.

Nonetheless, great place to eat for the price!

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Recommend to Friend:
Yes
D
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Reminds me of JC days
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Food / Beverage 
 
3.0
Ambience 
 
3.0
Overall Score 
 
3.0
Thinking of Lau Pa Sat, reminds me of an incident back in my JC days. It was pretty hilarious, and thinking back now, I find that I was probably just being petty. In short, my friends and I meet at Raffles Place MRT and were supposed to be head towards Victoria Theatre. Initially I guided them in the right direction, and then someone said that I was wrong and it was in the opposite direction. Worse, a few others claim that I was wrong as well. I was pretty pissed and I decided not to argue, and I followed. Of course, we happily walked until we reached Lau Pa Sat before they realised we were walking in the wrong direction, and I went I told you so.

Since then, I only went back to Lau Pa Sat a couple of times. It was not really for the food, but I just happened to be there. Frankly, Lau Pa Sat, despite as long history, looked basically just like a typical food court, with one difference. The prices were much higher than others yet the food quality was about the same. It used to be a place I would go for nice satay and good local food, but this had largely been taken over with bigger and air-conditioned places such as Food Republic.

It's being a long time since I went back there, and I wondered if the place still looks the same and whether there is still a resemblance of satay club there in the evening. It's probably one of the oldest building still there since Raffles developed the area.

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Recommend to Friend:
No
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Strategic
Overall Score 
 
3.0
I would be extremely happy indeed, not as a customer of Lau Pat Sat, but as one of the hawkers there. Located in Telok Ayer, which is a mandatory pitstop for me when I visit a friend who lives nearby, the place sees me there relatively frequently. Seeing the masses of people milling around, I suspect that quite a number are in the same situation that I'm in and not instead lured by the fame and popularity of the place. Strategic indeed.

The atmosphere on the place was one that exhibits some tension, being gazetted as a national monument. The presence of the government is noticeable here in which the market looks presentable. Which is totally wrong. A hawker centre, left in its natural state, should be allowed to run amok for all the pleasant surprises all hawker centres has to offer to turn up. A clean hawker centre is not natural. Indeed, much effort has been put in to de-hawkercentre it, seeing the nice architecture, ambience of the lights and modern designs and fittings. As such, the atmosphere feels really weird.

However, I cannot deny that the place is good for tourism and tourist bucks do indeed flow in. Thus, assurance of tourist inflows and its strategic location may have induced the hawkers to become complacent over time, not putting too much effort into their cooking as well as in innovation of new dishes, thus I do not find the fare here exceptional for a place that preaches exceptionism.
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