Chinatown Food Street Has Closed Permanently After 20 Years of Operation


When it first opened in 2001, Chinatown Food Street certainly created a buzz.

Located on Smith Street in the heart of Chinatown, the food street aimed to provide the type of alfresco-style dining that was commonplace at one time in Singapore decades ago.

Stalls along the food street have provided diners with a smorgasbord of cherished local delights for years, including char kway teow and fried oyster omelet.

Sadly, the nostalgia it induced for some diners wasn’t enough for it to thrive, and it looks like the COVID-19 pandemic has made it impossible to stay afloat.

Chinatown Food Street Has Closed Permanently After 20 Years of Operation

After 20 years of serving hungry customers, Chinatown Food Street has closed for good.

Stalls along the food street were open for the last time last Friday (22 Oct), with just two stalls left.

Speaking to The Straits Timesa Select Group spokesman said it was not feasible to continue operating as the stalls were no longer patronised by locals nor tourists.

What’s more, the tenants were not paying their rent.

Many may be quick to label the food street as yet another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was not always popular with diners.

Major Revamp in 2013

Some diners had complained about the heat when dining at the food street, which may explain why it underwent a $5 million revamp in 2013.

A high-ceiling glass shelter and a built-in cooling system were included in the overhaul. After the expensive facelift, 24 street hawker shops, six shophouse restaurants, and other street kiosks plied their trade there.

At the time, Select Group, which is the street’s operator, said it expected to see around 6,000 to 8,000 visitors daily.

The food street also closed for upgrades last year from Apr to Jul, during the circuit breaker, and only reopened in December.

In its heyday, some of its most popular stalls included King of Fried Rice, Tiong Bahru Meng Kee Roast Duck, and Katong Keah Kee Fried Oysters.

A Tourist Trap?

So, why did the place lose its charm after two decades?

Some netizens believe that the prices were too high at food stalls along the street, calling it a “tourist trap”.


Others believe the stalls there failed to replicate the charm of old, “authentic” street hawkers, and that there were many decent alternatives in the area at coffee shops and hawker centres for lower prices.

Whatever the reason may be, the street was loved by some locals here, and will surely be missed.

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Featured Image: Korkusung /