36. Lau Pa Sat: Good Food at Good Value
Its octagonal shape, ornamental Victorian columns and clock tower stand out in the middle of Singapore’s Central Business District. As one of Singapore’s most famous food centres, it draws both locals and tourists with its historic vibe and myriad cuisine options.
Lau Pa Sat, which means old market in Hokkien, was once the home to the nation’s first wet market over 150 years ago, before it was transformed into this heritage kopitiam. Over the years, it had several facelifts with the latest in 2020 by FairPrice Group, which now operates the food haven.
It was managed by food court operator Kopitiam, which was acquired by the labour movement in 2018. The integration with NTUC Foodfare into the newly set up FairPrice Group in 2019 – with the mission “Everything Food Made Easy” – makes it the largest food operator with 64 food courts, 35 coffee shops and 12 hawker centres. The aim is to moderate the cost of living in Singapore through quality yet affordable cooked food.
Today, several Kopitiam food courts have been refreshed, with Lau Pa Sat given a new look and concept with the addition of Food Folks that is touted to be a “purpose driven retail” space that helps local food enterprises establish their brand presence. The 2,700 sq ft space houses four local food and beverage brands and more than 500 food-related products from 80 local brands.
Along with Food Folks, other local food favourites – chicken rice, satay and barbecue seafood – are available at Lau Pa Sat. Come and enjoy good food at good value, where history is given a modern twist.
Since its humble beginnings in a corner of Toa Payoh, NTUC FairPrice has become the quintessential Singaporean supermarket. The leap from a single store to a grocery giant is a tale of retail reinvention – a half-century journey that saw the cooperative confront crises and challenges, revamps and even robbers.
As it expanded and evolved, FairPrice never wavered from its core mission: to moderate the cost of living for consumers.
Through 50 remarkable stories, we celebrate the people, products and places that mark significant milestones for the food retailer over the last five decades, charting its growth and successes in the past, present and into the future.