Revamped Lau Pa Sat opens today after $4m renovation

The food centre's layout has been improved for better traffic flow and ventilation. It will have 54 food stalls, down from 90 before.
The food centre's layout has been improved for better traffic flow and ventilation. It will have 54 food stalls, down from 90 before.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Office workers at Shenton Way can finally have their meals at Lau Pa Sat again, when the iconic food centre re-opens today after a long drawn-out $4 million renovation.

The revamped centre offers better ventilation and a greater mix of dining options, and can seat 2,500 diners - 460 more than before.

There will be 54 food stalls, down from the previous 90. These include returning tenants such as Lakeview Char Kway Teow, Thunder Tea and Ah Chwee Kway Chap, said food court operator Kopitiam, which runs Lau Pa Sat, in a statement at the weekend.

Prices for local hawker fare such as a bowl of fishball noodles or a plate of char kway teow start at $3.50, while a cup of coffee with milk costs $1.10.

There are also 14 mini-restaurants at the fringe of the centre, including a Japanese bakery, a pizzeria and seafood restaurant. Lau Pa Sat will be open 24 hours daily.

The food centre's layout has been improved to allow for better traffic flow and ventilation. Parts of the interior have been painted green, like the original Lau Pa Sat which was completed at the current Raffles Quay site in 1894. Its distinctive cream-coloured clock tower has been repaired and will play a chime every 15 minutes.

A stage has been set up in the centre for live performances.

The national monument's Victorian-era cast-iron structure, however, was largely untouched.

An official opening ceremony, hosted by local artist Gurmit Singh, takes place at 6.30pm today. Highlights include live band performances and a magic show.

This was Lau Pa Sat's first major renovation since food court operator Kopitiam took over 17 years ago. The centre closed on Sept 1 last year for a two-month renovation, but there were repeated delays which Kopitiam blamed on "permit issues" and the scale of the project.

Technical officer Ronald Lim, 60, said he hopes the new food centre will be cleaner and cooler. "It was previously very hot to eat there."

mellinjm@sph.com.sg