Sunday, February 20, 2011

#5 Balestier Market


According to the Balestier Heritage Trail Booklet which accompanied us on our trip, Balestier was a rural area and this market was built in the 1920s to cater to farmers nearby who needed a place to sell their produce. It was also known locally as the Or Kio market, which translates to "black bridge" market, as there was a black bridge along Whampoa River that connected Ah Hood road (off Balestier Road) to Lorong 8 Toa Payoh. Many shops in the area are also named after the bridge.

However, despite renovation in 1999, it eventually lost out to its "big brother", the bigger Whampoa market. Also known affectionately as the Tua Pah Sat, it literally translates to the big market. Many stallholders decided to retire when the market closed in 2004. Today, it is the only remaining 'rural' market on mainland Singapore but is now converted to some sort of coffeehouse, selling delicious local fare.

Along with the closure of this historical landmark, it led to the disappearance of a piece of history, such as the wet dirty floors, farmers selling their produce and small metal huts with pitched zinc roofs. It is such a shame that future generations will never see this again.

-Jocelyn

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