I don’t have any memories of the original Lau Pa Sat or Telok Ayer Market as it was known back in the sixties.
This was a picture I dug out from the National Archive.
According to the National Archive, this picture was taken in 1967.
Subsequently, due to major development work in the area, the market was temporary abandoned in 1984 and most of the stall holders moved over to what was popularly known as the Transit Market. The most famous stall was Ya Kun Coffee but in those days I didn’t know about the stall. My only memories of the Lau Pa Sat was the eating fried noodles with my then girlfriend after our weekly badminton game at the YMCA at Palmer Road. (too bad can’t find any picture of the transit market – anybody out there got any pictures to share?)
The stalls moved back to the original location after restoration work and it was renamed the Festival Market. However, initially, it was not popular with the office workers around there as it was literally a furnace in there during the day. After some change of ownership, the place finally took off but somehow it has lost its character. It is now a food court with its most famous component being the Satay Street which only opens at night. And Ya Kun is no longer there.
Compare the below pictures with the picture above. The restoration seems to have done its work and it looks almost the same as the original market.
This post is one in a series on Chinatown, Singapore