90-year-old market in the heartlands of Balestier

Address: 414 Balestier Road
Opening Hours: 24 hours daily

Balestier Market Main Entrance

Balestier Market was known locally as the Or Kio Market, and was usually bustling in the mornings when housewives did their marketing. The market then consisted of a row of small metal huts with pitched zinc roof and there were steps leading to the market which was built on a higher ground. Later  during the Japanese Occupation, the market was used as a food rationing centre for the locals.

In 1999, the market was renovated and a hawker centre was built. However, due to the small number of vendors, many customers preferred to go over to the bigger Whampoa Market which is also affectionately known as the Tua Pah Sat (“big market” in Hokkien).

In the face of dwindling businesses, many of the stall hawkers who had been at Or Kio Market for generations chose to retire when the market closed in 2004. From then onwards, it was the only remaining “rural” market on the main island of Singapore. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) had plans to conserve the place of historic significance and later decided to modernize the market.

Following the closure, Balestier Market and Food Centre was corporatized and sold to Banquet Holdings Pte Ltd, a local company set up in August 1999. It was opened in June 2008 after a major renovation.


Among many other improvements to the place, it has been decorated with various colourful plastic and fibreglass installations. The two stone lions which have been placed at the main entrance of the market facing Balestier Road were shifted from the former Oasis Restaurant next to the National Stadium, both of which were demolished in 2010.

Today, the market sells a variety of local cuisines at reasonable prices and operates 24 hours a day. 

Titbit Corner...

Balestier Market was built as a neighbourhood wet market in the 1920s to cater to farmers nearby who needed a place to sell their produce.