Mention “makan” and the ears of every true-blue Singaporean will likely prick up—hardly surprising, given that eating has long been a national pastime in this country. If you think about it, food is involved in every aspect of our lives; we don’t just need it for sustenance, we also use it to celebrate, to entertain, to build, maintain and regulate relationships—be it with family, friends, co-workers, clients or even strangers (hello, product launches).
If you’re a legit foodie, you’ll know the best places to hit for most every craving. Which brings us to Lau Pa Sat (“old market” in the Hokkien dialect), situated right smack in the middle of the Central Business District. The only hawker centre that is also a heritage site—it was formerly the Telok Ayer Market, the first wet market in Singapore that opened in 1825—it’s a gastronomic haven where a multitudinous array of authentic local and international cuisines await.
A New Chapter
Now, food-lovers have something else to look forward to when they visit Lau Pa Sat: A dining and food retail space aptly christened Food Folks @ Lau Pa Sat, which was newly launched in November by the FairPrice Group.
Born of Singaporeans’ love of good food and passion for shared foodie experiences, Food Folks @ Lau Pa Sat features “everything food” and is anchored by the concept of purpose-driven retail. The idea is to support home-grown food brands by acting as both a launch pad for new labels as well as a springboard for more established ones to expand and grow—and, along the way, inspire the community of food retailers to innovate and modernise, and encourage budding entrepreneurs.
“The concept of Food Folks is driven by the love of all things local and food-related,” explains Seah Kian Peng, Group CEO of NTUC Enterprise and FairPrice Group. “We hope that our efforts will inspire food businesses to incorporate purpose-driven elements into their business model, espousing positive benefits for consumers, small businesses and the wider community.”
Not Your Typical Food Court Or Retail Mart
A sprawling 650sqm space with a seating capacity of 150, Food Folks @ Lau Pa Sat is a hybrid food hall that combines retail and dining under one roof—the first, might we add, that is housed in a gazetted national monument. Here, you’ll find a good mix of hawker, street and mod-Sin food, courtesy of 10 food and beverage (F&B) brands that include Chef Kang’s Prawn Noodle House, Bib Gourmand-rated Shi Hui Yuan, GOPIZZA Singapore and Li Xin Teochew Fishball Noodles.
Food Folks @ Lau Pa Sat also offers a retail experience that’s quite different from the run-of-the-mill ones. For one, you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice: There are more than 800 food-related items from over 120 retail brands, of which 70 percent are home-grown. Then there’s the fact that 40 percent of the brands offered here are not commonly found in major supermarkets and 5 percent are online businesses that are establishing a physical retail presence for the first time—which translates into a trove of new finds just waiting to be discovered. You’ll want to keep your eyes open while shopping here.
“Foodpreneurs” have also put in special effort for their stalls at Food Folks @ Lau Pa Sat, creating mouth-watering dishes and products, as well as mod-Sin-inspired menus available only at Food Folks. Whether you like Asian or Western fare, there’s bound to be a culinary creation here that’ll hit the sweet spot for you.
Here, the nine stalls to stop by for a mouthful of delicious exclusives…
1. Creme And Cone
A cool stop for hot days, this gelato bar—the brand’s first brick-and-mortar shop—checks all the right boxes for dessert lovers, especially those who crave distinct local flavours.
Hand-churned in small batches daily, the creamy gelato has no artificial flavourings, and is low in fat and sugar—great for those watching their weight.
While the brand delivers right to your doorstep, we say make a trip down to this flagship store to taste the enticing flavours such as Java B’nana Chip, Ondeh Ondeh, Pulut Hitam, Lychee Rose, Milo Cookie, Sour Plum as well as Sea Salt Horlicks. As if that’s not indulgent enough, you can opt to get your scoop (or two) of gelato with a handcrafted waffle cone. Ensure you have space for all this lip-smacking goodness by having a light dinner—or skipping it entirely!
Food Folks Exclusive: Java B’nana Chips With Freshly Made Milo Waffle Cone and Tiramisu With Smoked Almond Caramel Waffle Lollies (a first in Singapore!)
2. GOPIZZA Singapore
Ever had a pizza craving but can’t satisfy it simply because of the portion size? Well, you can now with GOPIZZA, which serves up the Italian delight in a size fit for a single diner. Better yet, its South Korean founder Lim Jae Won (Jay) has incorporated elements from his home country and ours in the form of toppings, resulting in unique flavours such as Korean Bulgogi, Yangnyum Chicken and Chilli Crab Prawn.
Apart from using innovative dough and baking technology from South Korea, GOPIZZA’s patented ovens can produce up to six quality pizzas at once, in the span of five minutes (yes, you read it right!)—so you don’t have to wait for hours even if there’s a crowd. There are also Korean-inflected pastas and sides (cheese tteokbokki or fire cheese pasta, anyone?) for those craving Korean food after one too many K-dramas.
Food Folks Exclusive: Masala Chicken Pizza and Chilli Crab Prawn Pasta
3. Li Xin Teochew Fishball Noodles
Founder Lim Lee Seng is a living legend, having started his food business from a pushcart in 1968. Today, with the help of his son, the business has expanded to 15 outlets, including the latest addition at Food Folks.
Using only the freshest ingredients, Li Xin Teochew Fishball Noodles‘ signature fishballs are made with 100 percent yellow-tail fish meat. And to ensure freshness, they’re made twice a day by hand—which is what gives them that famous bounce.
The noodles, meanwhile, are springy and never gummy—even when they’ve been soaking in the soup for a bit. The mee pok (flat noodles) dry is, hands down, its bestseller, but its other offerings—including Dry Fish Roll Noodles, Fish Dumpling Soup, Homemade Seafood Soup, Crispy Fish Sticks and Fishcake—are worth a try too.
Food Folks Exclusive: The Folks’ Favourite
4. QQ Rice
Founded in 2010, QQ Rice’s latest outlet can be found in the “Love Healthy” zone in Food Folks. Offering a diverse selection of nutritious rice options—from rice rolls, oat rice and bentos—take your pick from red rice, brown rice, purple rice or a mixture of the various types.
Certified by the Health Promotion Board, they serve healthy foods which includes their popular Smoked Duck Rice Roll and Spicy Shrimp Rice Roll.
Food Folks Exclusive: Nasi Lemak with Curry Chicken Bento and Gua Zai Q Tofu Bento
5. Shi Hui Yuan
Touted as the “Original Singapore Hor Fun”, owner Fong Pak Thim first opened his hor fun stall at Mei Ling Market & Food Centre in 1969. Today, Shi Hui Yuan has various outlets and has even bagged the Michelin Bib Gourmand Award for four years in a row (2016 to 2019).
Based on a recipe that his wife developed, their speciality hor fun is no ordinary dish. For succulent and tender meat, the chicken and duck are continuously stewed in a herb-based braising sauce. Extracting the flavours of over 30 herbs, which includes ingredients like dang shen, yan shen xu and luo han guo, each serving is packed with nourishing nutrition and is estimated to contain at least 1,500mg of collagen.
Shi Hui Yuan’s signature dishes include the Blissful Set or the Plant-Based Giant Wanton Hor Fun.
Food Folks Exclusive: Ultimate Plant-based Combo Rice
Their motto says it all: Hungry For Healthy. Delivering delicious and healthy grain bowls to health-conscious diners, SMOL first began as Small Girl Salads in 2017, working out of a tiny 100sq ft kitchen. In 2019, they went beyond e-commerce to launch their first brick and mortar store. Look for them in the “Love Healthy” zone at Food Folks.
It is no surprise that their culinary offerings can be described as “soul-enriching and smile-inducing”. Featuring plant-friendly bowls with veggies paired with healthy proteins, there is something for everyone. Their menu features dishes like Chix In A Hurry, Fowl Play, Pesto Joy, Kena Salmon, We’ve Got Beef, Fun With Black, Curry In A Hurry, Chu’ Butternut, Pesto Both Worlds, Asian Invasion and Veggie Play.
With such creative names, it is enough to make you want to some!
Food Folks Exclusive: ‘S’tay The Night‘ — a vegan grain bowl with Jackfruit Satay
With its first brick-and-mortar retail front, EDENS is bringing healthy snacks to a whole new level. Founded in July 2020, Crystal Cheng and Joshua Chan wanted to create a snacking experience that even the health-conscious community could enjoy.
Specialising in natural fruit and vegetable snacks, all their products are made fresh without any preservatives, right here in Singapore. Containing at least 30 percent less calories than regular mainstream snacks in the market, you can happily indulge in those crunchy bites without feeling guilty.
Their speciality is Shiitake Chips, which are loaded with natural vitamins and minerals from the freshest Shiitake and infused with tantalising flavours such as Black Summer Truffle, Himalayan Sea Salt, Whole Garlic and Mala.
Food Folks exclusive: Mala Shiitake Chips, crunchy mushroom chips packed with that unmistakable distinct spicy flavour
8. Fossa Chocolate
The handcrafted artisan chocolates and confections from this homegrown chocolatier will have you coming back for more. Singapore’s first bean-to-bar chocolate company makes small batches at a time—by hand, no less!—so you know you are getting the freshest chocolates of the finest quality.
Using only sustainably-sourced cacao beans, the expert team at Fossa Chocolate roasts them before grinding and tempering in small batches, and finishing them in hand-packaged bars. Their Single Origin Dark Chocolates are made with only two ingredients—cacao and sugar—with no other additives or substitutes, so even the vegans will be pleased.
What began as a home experiment over four years ago has now turned into a brand synonymous with good taste. Their Artisan Chocolate range boasts unique flavours such as Salted Egg Cereal chocolate, Lychee Rose, Pistachio Cranberry Rose, Chilli Peanut Praline, to name a few of their bestsellers.
With exciting new flavours launching every month or two, Fossa Chocolate keeps you guessing (and salivating!). It is just like how Forrest Gump put it: “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.”
Food Folks exclusive: Lychee Dragon Fruit Dark Chocolate, a decadent treat bursting with tropical flavour
9. The 1925 Brewing Co
While this craft beer brewery was founded in November 2013, the numbers “1925” in The 1925 Brewing Co is actually the birth year of the founders’ grandfather, Yeo Kim Ho, who was a dry goods grocer. Brothers Ivan Yeo and Yeo Eng Kuang, together with their uncle, Yeo King Joey, strongly believe in preserving their Singaporean Teochew heritage and culture, with the hope of building a business that would transcend generations.
Motivated to create craft beers for the Asian palate, their creative concoctions also reflect snippets of their own heritage, with unique names such as “Yellow Van” (because the founders’ grandfather used to drive one), “Blk 622” (the block number of their grandparents’ home), “Liang Teh” (named for the herbal teas their grandmother used to brew for them) and “Small Monster” (a nickname given to their uncle, so they could talk about him in front of others without them knowing!).
Food Folks exclusive: Lemongrass Pale Lager, a refreshing nod to the brand’s Singaporean roots and tailored to suit the local palate
Food Folks@Lau Pa Sat is open from 10am to 10pm daily. The rest of Lau Pa Sat will reopen its doors in 2021.
For more information on upcoming promotions and activities, visit www.laupasat.sg or Instagram
Interested partners or businesses may email firstname.lastname@example.org.