Lau Pa Sat is one of the oldest and most popular food markets in Singapore! With its beautiful architecture and amazing cuisine from around Southeast Asia, it stands in contrast to the massive high-rise buildings that fill downtown. Also, when the sun goes down at Lau Pa Sat, the Singapore Satay Street comes alive! Here’s everything to know before you go to this famous Hawker Center in the heart of Singapore.
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Quick History of Lau Pa Sat
Lau Pa Sat has firm roots in the beginnings of Singapore and the name literally translates to “old market.” In the early 19th century Telok Ayer become the city’s first wet market. It was originally built over the water so fishermen could easily unload their fresh catch of the day.
In 1894, the market moved inland and expanded in size. The new structure was designed by architect James MacRitchie and shows off its Victorian and European influence.
Moving onto the 1970’s, Lau Pa Sat was one of eight sites named under the Preservation of Monuments Act in 1972. It was around then that it converted into a food centre and meeting point for the workers of Singapore.
One of the most noticeable features of this historic building is its graceful clock tower. Also, the fountain which once graced the center of the former Telok Ayer Market, is now at Raffles Hotel! This is where you can try the original Singapore Sling cocktail.
Fast forward 200 years from its first opening, it has become a national monument and one of the most recognizable buildings in Singapore! Lau Pa Sat is the perfect blend of history and delicious local food that every traveler will love.
How to Get to Lau Pa Sat Singapore
Lau Pa Sat is located in downtown Singapore in the middle of the financial district. It is a good place to grab lunch or dinner if you are visiting Merlion Park, or walking the Singapore harbor to the Marina Bay Sands!
One thing you should know about Singapore is that it’s a very walkable city! However, if you need to get there from more distant parts of the city, then you can utilize the awesome MRT train system.
Raffles Place MRT Station is the closest stop and just a quick 5 minutes up the road to get to Lau Pa Sat. Once you arrive at the corner of Cross Street and Raffles Quay, you’ll see the historic hawker centre just across the road.
What to Eat at Lau Pa Sat
Lau Pa Sat is one of our favorite places to eat in Singapore and we make a point to visit each trip! One of the best parts about the eating here is that it’s great at any time of the day. From amazing noodle dishes to sizzling Singapore satay, there’s truly something for everyone at this legendary hawker centre! Below we breakdown our favorite Lau Pa Sat food for each meal.
Breakfast at Lau Pa Sat Singapore
Early in the morning is a little slower with many of the stalls catering toward lunch and dinner. You will find some stands completely closed, while others getting ready to open up for the day. However, there is one breakfast spot that basically always has a line!
Lau Pa Sat in Singapore is one of the best places to try their national breakfast dish of Kaya Toast. It usually consists of 2 pieces of toast with butter and kaya, and comes with a coffee and soft-boiled eggs.
There are multiple spots to get it in and around the Hawker Centre. Yet, in the very middle of Lau Pa Sat you’ll see a round stall with juice stands and the popular breakfast dish.
Lau Pa Sat Lunch
With its location in the Central Business District, Lau Pa Sat food centre is a place where office workers and tourists alike come to grab lunch. Some of the best meals to try are thunder tea rice, laksa soup, and our personal favorite duck noodle!
Lunch is a great time to visit Lau Pa Sat Singapore for its delicious meals at reasonable prices. This is when you’ll see the many stalls bustling with food from around the world. Don’t miss out on the yummy Chinese and Indian stalls as well.
Dinner on Lau Pa Sat Satay Street
Have you heard of the famous Singapore Satay? At night, the adjacent Boon Tat Street shuts down and the entire area fills with Singapore Satay vendors! If Lau Pa Sat has a signature dish it would have to be this.
There are several satay stalls that line the street with tables and plastic chairs in front. The first time you go it can be a little overwhelming as the vendors will try to quickly direct you to their seating.
Most of the satay stands serve beef, chicken, and lamb, but our favorite would have to be the juicy shrimp! This local cuisine goes best with an ice cold Tiger (beer from Singapore) and will be an amazing end to your day exploring the city.
Also, don’t miss out on another great seafood stall at the top of the steps! Here they sere up the famous Singapore chili crab which is a fun alternative if you want to skip the Lau Pa Sat satay.
Is Lau Pa Sat Worth Visiting?
Yes! Whether you’re just passing through the downtown area or looking to see historic architecture, Lau Pa Sat is an excellent place to add to your itinerary.
We ALWAYS make a point to stop in here on our trips to Singapore and you should, too. Even if you can’t make it there during the day, definitely go at night to experience the Lau Pa Sat satay!
Although Lau Pa Sat is one of the best places to eat in the heart of Singapore, know that it is the most touristy Hawker Centre. With that said, there are so many others we love to eat at!
If you find yourself in Chinatown, the Chinatown Complex Food Centre is a moral local vibe. Here you can try the famous chicken and rice at Liao Fan Hawker Chan, which was the first Hawker Stall to receive the prestigious Michelin Star. Maxwell Food Centre is also one of our go-to Hawkers in this part of the city!
Have any questions about this article or want to share your favorite food stalls and Singapore Satay stands? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where to Stay in Singapore
Luxury – Marina Bay Sands – We stayed at the Marina Bay Sands for Jake’s 30th birthday and it blew away our expectations. Aside from the luxury amenities, swimming in the rooftop infinity pool will be the highlight of your visit!
Iconic – Raffles Hotel – As one of the most historic hotels Southeast Asia, staying at the Raffles Hotel will be an experience like no other. Enjoy a Singapore Sling and take in the amazing architecture of this landmark built in 1887.
Fun Vacation – Parkroyal on Pickering– It doesn’t get much more green and lush then Parkroyal on Pickering! This fun vacation spot is literally one of the greenest hotels in the world. Plant life covers the entire property to make for a unique stay in Singapore.
Boutique – KēSa House – Located in Chinatown, this fantastic hotel was built in 1920’s. Enjoy the incredible setting in the heart of the city in a traditional building on Keong Saik Road.
Hostel – Hipstercity hostel – Fun hostel in downtown Singapore with both private and dorm rooms. Great place to meet other travelers to explore the city with.
Singapore Travel Planning
Flights: We always find deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Athens to Singapore for $230 USD, and Singapore to Thailand for less than $50!
Accommodation: Compare competitive sites for hotels such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Singapore. You can book everything from a Singapore Highlights Bike Tour to a Gardens by the Bay E-Ticket, and even a private food tour with 10 tastings!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Here’s all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists! Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
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