The once vibrant, bustling, and crowded Chinatown Food Street switched off its lights for the last time on 22 October 2021, marking two decades of operation since its official opening in 2001. It was opened then as part of the Singapore Tourism Board’s efforts to revitalise Chinatown, and boasted of a 100m stretch of popular and well-loved hawker food carts along Smith Street.
Singaporeans flocked to Chinatown Food Street in the beginning, but it, unfortunately, lost its spark after a few years. In 2013, S$4M was spent on overhauling and revamping the space—including building a roof for customers to continue dining even in bad weather.
It reopened in 2014 with 24 stalls, though there were only two stalls left standing when Chinatown Food Street closed. The other businesses had folded earlier due to loss of business and customers as a result of the pandemic. If Chinatown is one of your top food haunts, you might’ve remembered famous stalls such as Famous Eunos Bak Chor Mee, Tiong Bahru Meng Kee Roast Duck, King of Fried Rice, Katong Keah Kee Fried Oysters, Boon Tat BBQ Seafood, and Siam Square Mookata.
Despite rental waivers and additional financial support for the food street’s marketing efforts, operations were not able to continue because there were no local crowds or tourists. Options are still being explored for the use of the site, though I’m sure we’ll all miss the noisy, smoky Chinatown Food Street with all our hearts.
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