Chinatown Food Street to reopen soon

SINGAPORE - Chinatown Food Street, known for serving up local roadside fare in the tourist spot, is set to reopen by the end of this month after a two-month delay.

The overhaul of the 100m section of Smith Street that began last May led to a hoarding up of the street's entrances and plummeting business for other tenants on the stretch. This prompted several of them to sign a petition for its swift reopening in August last year.

The popular spot was to have reopened in the middle of last month.

Explaining the delay at a media conference yesterday, Mr Jack Tan, executive director of Select Group, which operates Chinatown Food Street, said that it was due to "some complications of the underground footing structure".

As a result, the structure - which provides the foundation for the pillars, shelter and stalls - had to be redesigned, which then required the approval of the authorities and delayed the construction process, said Mr Tan, who said that this also pushed the project's costs up from $4 million to close to $5 million.

Select also operates the Singapore Food Trail at the Singapore Flyer, as well as 18 eatery chains here, including fast-food chain Texas Chicken and Lerk Thai restaurant.

When opened, the revamped food street will have 24 hawker stalls - 22 of them new ones, including well-known hawker names like Hakka stall Gao Ji Yong Tau Foo, Malay stall Adam Road Nasi Lemak and Cantonese stall Joo Chiat Ang Mo Wanton Noodles.

"We want to bring a mix of Singaporean food to tourists, to show them what Singapore food really is," said Mr Tan, adding that Select will be inspecting stalls regularly to ensure the food quality remains up to the mark.

The new food street will seat 600 to 700 patrons, up from its original 400-seat capacity. About 70 per cent of the food street will be sheltered. Previously, there was no sheltered area.

A 3,000 sq ft area of the food street near the South Bridge Road entrance will be dedicated to holding events, such as those organised for the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The reopening of the food street comes as a relief to Mr William Sun, director of Chinese restaurant Xiang Guo Li La, who has seen business plummet by 80 per cent since the closure.

"I can resume my business normally now," said the 32-year-old.

As for advertising executive Pamela Lee, 22, who works near Chinatown, the reopening of the food street means more food choices. "I'm going to be spoilt for choice during lunch time," she said.

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