The one thing that got me most excited about traveling to Singapore was getting to try all of the different foods the country had to offer. All I ever hear from Sarah is how amazing the food was in Singapore and boy was I ready to have a try of the Singaporean food myself. Lao Pa Sat was the first hawker center we visited and I was quite happy with the food we got!
Lao Pa Sat (老巴刹) or Telok Ayer Market sits in the busy Singapore Downtown area, surrounded by tall buildings. The food center can be reached via the Downtown or Telok Ayer MRT stops.We actually made our way here on foot from the Merlion(oiy it was so hot…).
The food center is a large covered building (or area?) with ceiling fans which offered some relief from the heat outside. The way the food stalls were placed also allowed for drafts of breeze to flow into the area, which was quite nice!. It has a circular shape with food stalls lining the edge of the building and another set of food stalls forming an inner circle and a drinks/dessert stall right in the middle. Walking in and seeing all of the stalls was a food galore to me. The only dilemma was trying to figure out what we wanted to eat and which stall to get it from.
Before even going to Singapore, my family and I knew that we wanted to eat one thing for sure, chicken rice. We initially wanted to wait and try one of the more renowned chicken rice offered at Maxwell Food Center. But since we had no luck finding it during our initial visit to Chinatown, we decided to give chicken rice at Lao Pa Sat a try.
We spotted two different stalls selling chicken rice and randomly decided to settle with the Fragrance Garden Chicken Rice. We were able to choose between the fried chicken or the boiled chicken, we opted for boiled chicken. As our very first plate of chicken rice, we were all very impressed, the chicken was deboned and very moist despite being the chicken breast. The rice also pretty good, was not too mushy and quite fragrant with garlic and chicken flavors.
After finishing our first plate of chicken rice we decided to get up and explore to decide on what we wanted to eat next. Our choice: Hokkien Mee. I have tried multiple version of this dish during our travels to Boston and Australia, but honestly still didn’t know what to expect. I always love my noodles and any type of noodle dish would usually make me happy. These in particual did not dissappoint me. The dish was a mix of egg noodles and rice noodles stir fried with a variety of seafood (this was more like Hokkien mee we had in Australia). We topped it with a little bit of calamisi juice and it was quite refreshing. My only complaint is that I wish it had a little more egg noodles (just my preference).
Our third choice of food at Lao Pa Sat was carrot cake. Although called carrot cake it has nothing to do with carrots(what!?). Weird right? It is a kind of rice cake that is pan fried with the oh so delicious soya sauce (black) or pan fried with eggs (white). We got a combination of both to try. This dish is actually not foreign to us as we (mostly dad and Sarah) love eating the Vietnamese(?) version of this. The black version was quite delicious and well seasoned with the soya sauce, which is more like the kind we usually eat. We were, however, a bit disappointed because the pieces of rice cake were a bit small. The white version on the other hand had larger pieces but not as flavorful.It might just be because we really really like the soya sauce.
While we were getting our carrot cake we also decided to that we wanted to try the second chicken rice stall we spotted earlier. Like the other stall, we opted for boiled chicken, and got some vegetables with it. Unfortunately, we didn’t think this one was as good as our first plate. The rice was not as fragrant, and the chicken was moist but not as flavorful. On a side note, do you see the three plates of colorful sauce? I learned that when eating chicken rice, it should be paired with these sauces. The black soya sauce, the yellow ginger sauce, and a red chili with ginger sauce. If you can’t tell by now we really liked the soya sauce, a thicker and slightly sweetened version of soy sauce. The ginger sauce is something more familiar to me, whenever we eat boiled chicken it is usually paired with this minced ginger sauce. And the chili ginger sauce is seems to be the ginger sauce mixed with chili sauce.
Lao Pa Sat is actually really famous for its satay. Unfortunately, we were there too early in the day and that stall was not opened yet, so we did not get to try that. We wanted to return to try the satay, but time didn’t allow us to do that. Mental note to self, get satay at Lao Pa Sat the next time I visit Singapore!