Afte eight months of closed shutters, several delays and a $4-million facelift, the iconic food centre opened for business to hungry crowds on 30 June 2014. Nearly 80 per cent of its stalls are up and ready and these include a few old favourites but several new concepts. Expect fewer food stalls (54, down from 90) but more space and better ventilation for a capacity 2,500 diners (460 more than before). We took a walk around the shiny new Lau Pa Sat and photographed a few stalls that caught our eyes.
Auntie Carole's Prawn Noodle Soup | While prawn noodle soup is this stall's main offerring, it also sells bite-sized confections such as ang ku kueh (glutinous rice cakes with mung bean or peanut fillings) and savoury ngoh hiang (five-spiced pork rolls, $1 each). Perfect for an evening or mid-morning snack.
Azmaya Yakitori Teppan | The shabu shabu (Japanese steamboat) restaurant from Robertson Quay, Azmaya, has taken up a large stall space and are offering yakitori bentos ($6.90) and teppanyaki dishes ($6.90).
Big Bites | This popular Indian vegetarian eatery re-opens at Lau Pa Sat. The offerrings include North and South Indian set meals, vegetable briyani and Indian-fusion dishes such as the Chettinad noodles.
Budding Chef | The chefs at this stall are hard at work serving up fried dim sum bites such as yam puff, mango prawn rolls, lotus pastry, "wife's biscuit" (flaky pastry filled with winter melon, almond paste and sesame) and barbecue pork pastry, all at $1 a piece.
Craft Salad Bar | A salad bar is the new must-have at any food centre in the Central Business District (Maxwell and Amoy have a couple) and Lau Pa Sat is not one to be left behind. For $5.80 you may get a mix leaves salad with five toppings of your choice, with dressings such as honey mustard, pesto, wasabi mayo or thousand island.
Delicius Cafe & Pasticceria | Occuppying possibly the largest cluster of stalls is this bakery and cafe. The cakes and breads are baked on-site at Lau Pa Sat and on offer are confections such as chocolate sliced cakes ($9) and chantilly fruit slice ($6). Whole cakes are also available for $39. We spotted a Synesso coffee machine and a counter selling Japanese banana milk in tetra-paks ($1).
Jia Le Seafood Restaurant | This is one of the full-fledged restaurants within the Lau Pa Sat complex – part seafood restaurant and part roast-meats stall. Chose to dine within air-conditioned confines or order from the stall window. Tip: You may order a whole roast suckling pig ($188), a whole roast duck ($58) and a whole soy sauce chicken ($38) from this stall.
Mala Xiang Guo | Another shop-in-shop is this eatery selling the mind-numbingly spicy mala dishes (a combination of Sichuanese peppercorn, chilli pepper and various spices simmered in oil). Choose your vegetables and meat from the display and you pay according to what your bowl weights. Prices begin at $3.50 per bowl.
Mang Kiko's Lechon | Lechon is marinated and spit-roasted pork or chicken, served with rice. And this is one of the most popular stalls for this dish in Singapore. The roasted pork belly with rice is succulent, sinful and excellent ($6.50). Take a look at a more detailed report here.
Mugiho Bakery | The tagline under the name says that this boulangerie serves "Japonism bread". It reminds us of the French-style Japanese bakeries at Takashimaya Food Hall. Pick your preferred bakes and pay at the counter. We spotted several varieties of croissants going at $1 a piece.
Shree Ganga | Their Stanley street outlet is popular with Indian expats working in the area. The new outlet at Lau Pa Sat serves homestyle North Indian fare such as aloo parantha (flat-bread stuffed with potatoes) and spinach chapati (spinach-stuffed whole wheat flat bread).
Song Kee Fishball Noodle | Regulars of this stall were happy to see it back in action. Expect the usual fishball and minced meat noodles in soup or dry versions ($4 onwards).
The Little Flower Cafe & Bar | A new addition to the market is an adorable florists shop with whimsical decor (a ceiling carpeted with flowers) and a few tables for dining. The flower shop doubles up as a cafe serving tea and cakes, and its future plans include setting up a bar selling alcoholic drinks as well.
Thin Crust Pizza by Kevinbakery | Occupying a stall that faces the outdoor seating area of Boon Tat street is this pizza stall. We reckon it will be popular with the post-work dinner crowd. The pizzas come in two sizes - large ($16 to $18) or small ($13.50 to $14) and on the menu are classics such as the margarita, pepperoni and prosciutto.
At Lau Pa Sat, there are also stalls selling Turkish, Middle Eastern and even Costa Rican (Mamacitas from Amoy Street have opened its second stall here) food, with old favourites such as the stall selling thunder tea rice still in business. A few stalls are yet to open, so we look forward to what will crop up here.