Between the sixties and nineties, there were two famous and popular wet markets along Upper Serangoon Road. One was the Simon Road Market at lark kok jio (6th milestone), while the other was the Lim Tua Tow Market at gor kok jio (5th milestone). Both had served the Hougang community well for more than three decades, until their demolitions in the nineties.
My aunts, who were previously from Kampong Chia Keng, have always spoken of their fond memories of the Lim Tua Tow Market, which stood at the junction of Lim Tua Tow Road and Tech Chye Terrace. Chia Keng was located at the other end of Lim Tua Tow Road, where the Serangoon Stadium is standing today.
Recently, I came across an informative website CommunityWalk that has carefully mapped out many old landmarks at Upper Serangoon Road, such as the former Kok Wah Cinema, Lim Ah Pin Clinic, Ba Khia Hng (Crocodile Garden) and Sing Hua School. To my delight, it also contains many rare coloured photos of Lim Tua Tow Market in the eighties. For those who once lived in this vicinity, let’s enjoy a trip down the memory lane.
(All the photos above are credited to CommunityWalk Upper Serangoon)
Today, the only remnants of old Lim Tua Tow Road are the two rows of shophouses still standing in the vicinity. In recent years, there are plans to turn this place into a F&B enclave but the results are not encouraging.
Published: 18 January 2014
i used to go with my Mum every Saturday to this market to help her carry home the week’s fresh produce requirement; we’d walk back to our rented home @ Highland Close, till we moved out in 1985. She’d either buy the soyabean curd drink or the grass jelly drink & sometimes a treat like the black carrot cake which was the best- the good old days. I long for those foods now but they are not of the same taste & quality.
Oh, more memories, grew up in the 60’s, 70’s to early 80’s right between those 2 famous markets… my neighbourhood was a mix of terrace houses, large compound houses ,surrounded by kampongs, where you will find,pigs, chickens, ducks, gheese which were great “alarms” for the kampong folks against intruders during the night. My growing up years were filled with the last dose of the “good old days”, flying kites, kuti-kuti, marbles, exploring the semi-forested areas etc.. mini-gangs…. 🙂 wonderful area, Upper Serangoon to Punggol…
Thanks again for the memories..
Both markets had great Hokkien mee!
WAHHHHH… I too stayed at Highland Close……. .. I use to carry the rattan basket for my mum after her marketing from Lim Tua Tow!
This market had the yummiest tar mee pok and if I remember correctly a very good orh luak. Mum used to go to this market as it was the nearest to our Paya Lebar home.
Thanks for sharing this!
my mum always shop in Lim Tua Tow market in the weekend, I still remember those stone ledge where some would take a rest or mobile veggie stall be there selling their stuff too. The place is so pack that you would had a hard time looking for a parking lot. After shopping we would head up 2nd level for makan as well, there’s a big big opening at the center where you could glance down the wet market.Does miss those years, those people, the environment and definitely the food.
You char Kwai. Mobile stall at Teck Chye Terrace yummy. If I remember correctly, a piece ( consisted of 2 length ) costed 15 to 20 cents. Stall owner husband/ wife were Fujian and were hard working folks.
Now at Serangoon Garden cooked Food hawkers Centre, it costs 90 cents. Singapore 🇸🇬 cents. A vast difference isn’t?
I am the 2nd generation you char kway , son of the old couple. I used to operate a stall at Serangoon Gardens Hawker Center, stall no. 5. High rental forced me to give up the stall !
LimTua Tow wet market gone. It is now a busy Upper Sersngoon Road.Ka Bee te xtile and corner shop selling pork and tua ki aldo no more. The 1 row of wstorey shop houses in good shape. Corner shop used yo be barber shop obviously gone. What a pity! Time waits for no man?
Sorry to said that . I think the third photo dont belong to the Lim tua tow market .
It does belong to Lim Tua Tow as I am one of the hawker there. The back of the pork seller is a toilet and the stair case leads to the food hawker upstairs. Hope its clear.
My mum used to sell Rojak and my aunt sold Satay Bee Hoon at the Kok Wah Theatre…… wonder if anyone had any memories………
Kok Wah theatre had superb wanton noodles by this rather well dressed lady…
yi chang choon swee sian tong lew ” was shown in KOK WAH Cinema IN 1953.
My mother was selling duck rice next to your aunt satay been hoon stall and my father ‘s stall was at Lim Tua Tow Market selling Wanton mee.
Is your father called ‘Ah Seng’? I remember they stayed in Tai Hwan Garden.
teo chew muay?
I grew up there. I wish I could turn back time. Those where the happiest days of my life.
me too.. from 1972 – 1980
Thank you for the pictures & memories. Of course in those days we were too poor and never had a camera. So, my family & I are very grateful to see a pic of our late father (pic 7, vegetable stall) and the neighbouring stalls. Wonderful memories. Thank you to the one who donated the pic and for those who patronised our stall 🙂
Someone pointed this link to us that my dad was featured in pic 7 (the handsome guy manning the vegetable stall .. haha). My family spent a considerable life in the market and depended on my dad’s vegetable stall for a living. Back in those days, most like us do not have a camera. As such, really very grateful for the pictures. Thank you so very much.
Hi, do you happened to know someone called Tan Seng Beng?
Hi Choon Leng, Seng Beng’s my eldest brother.
Can give me his contact number?
Hi choon leng,
it’s been a long long time. How are you ?
Lim Tua Ow Market is no more there. It has replaced by a wide road. The row of 2 storey shop houses are still there. I stayed at No. 8 upstairs in 1953, which is 55 years ago. Time really flies!
Why can’t I just leave my reply here ?
In the 60’s, to the 80′, my uncle operated a dou hua shui and chao kueh drink on a push-cart at the entrance to that narrow back lane that were filled with stalls selling dresses. It was a hive of activities each morning. Great if anyone has a photo of his stall.
Where is he now? Please enlighten me!
It is so Long ago. Our living environment entirely changed from kampung attap houses and mud road to high rise buildings and high ways. Super markets replaced traditional wet market. Before for Father rode bycycles, now we board MRT. Is it true?
Can I post reply in Mandarin?
I have vivid memories of this place as I lived here since the late 40s. The Lim Tua Tow (LTT) market was set up after the Paya Lebar Bus depot vacated the premises. The two storied market was built at 12 Teck Chye Terrace (TCT), which land was owned by my father having a timber yard there. Besides is a community centre and a playground. Then my father bought 41 and 47 Teck Chye Terrace and 3 Lim Tua Tow Road and moved the timber yard there. The hawkers vacated LTT market and moved to the new TCT market. As there were insufficient stalls in the market some hawkers illegally sold their wares along LTT and TCT roadsides. Hawker inspectors used to come to summon them. We also had to quarrel with them as we couldn’t park our lorries for loading or unloading of goods.
There were many famous cooked food viz Ah Kow beef noodles, Ah Chye wanton noodles, you chia kuay Kok, chye tow kuay, bah choh mee, hokien char haymee, Hainanese satay, Ah Seng duck rice, toa pui kopi and his famous kaya. The bah choh mee is now at 527 Ang Moh Kio market and Ah Seng duck rice at Serangoon Gardens market.
Customers came from many places to this market and during weekends and public holidays the place was jam packed. This nostalgic place is gone forever.
I used to stay at 20 lim tua tow road. Any neighbor here can email me: email@example.com Joe
anyway, there was a kindergarten and i was hoping to find a twin sisters who sat beside me… 1979 class… hahaha
As of 22 Apr 2023, the row of Lim Tua Tow shophouses facing the main road had been demolished and from what I heard, a new hotel will be constructed. Saddening.