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May 3, 2013

Tekka Market - Then and Now

Former Kandang Kerbau Market in 1969

The market was originally located between Hastings Road and Sungei Road, and first known as Kandang Kerbau (or just KK), Malay for "buffalo pens", referring to the slaughterhouses operating in the area until the 1920s. It was also known as Tek Kia Kha, in Hokkien where it means "foot of the small bamboos", because bamboo plants once grew on the banks of the Rochor Canal. Its name was later adapted to Tekka Pasar, where pasar is Malay for "market".

The archived photos are posted on this blog to share for educational purposes.  With acknowledgement and thanks to contributors at National Archives of Singapore.

In the 1980s, the mobile markets were at the door-steps of the villagers in the morning daily.

Near Tekka Market,  the roadside stalls were popular before the licensed stall-holders were moved into the completed Tekka Market for the convenience, road safety and hygienic environment for the public.


As a wet market, food centre and shopping mall under one roof, Tekka Centre is a place where several ethnic communities converge to create a multicultural shopping fiesta. Established in 1915, Tekka Centre moved to its current location in 1982 and is a landmark in Little India.

Today, Tekka Center remains a landmark in Little India, where different ethnic communities congregate. There are Chinese stallholders who speak Tamil, and vice versa. Shops sell traditional Indian costumes and inexpensive casual clothes.

On the ground floor is a hawker centre with stalls which sell Indian vegetarian meals, served on banana leaves or on stainless steel platters, besides Chinese vegetarian, North Indian and Malay food.

At the wet market which is on the same level, stalls sell fresh seafood, especially crabs from Sri Lanka, and vegetables. There are also many Chinese stalls selling vegetables that are specially flown in from India.

Tekka Market - Then


Tekka Market - Now

The entrance to Tekka Market at Serangoon Road
The entrance to Tekka Market at Race Course Road
Block 665 Buffalo Road, Singapore
Fresh standard-sized bigger tomatoes and cherry tomatoes

The Shops on Level 2, Tekka Centre

Close-up of a heavy-duty "Brother" sewing machine used in the tailor shop
How different are the Tekka Centre located at the corner of Serangoon Road and Bukit Timah Road, Singapore where it is conveniently travelled by MRT trains and public buses?

Little India is one of the "must-see" tourist attractions  in multi-culture, multi-racial and multi-lingual Singapore.  It is one of the few unique places in the world where foreign travellers could learn about the peoples' lifestyles, taste various types of food and flavor, unforgettable on every trip to Singapore.

In my childhood memories of Bukit Ho Swee kampong, I reminisce a few scenes of the wet market in the video clip here .

The National Heritage Board's  Community Heritage Series II: Wet Markets for more information to share the blog topic.



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