Boon Tat Street

Singapore Infopedia


Boon Tat Street is a one-way street located in the Central Business District (CBD).1 It connects Amoy Street to the junction of Shenton Way and Raffles Quay.2 The street was named in 1945 after Ong Boon Tat (b. 1888–d. 1941), a Singapore-born businessman and former Municipal Commissioner.3

Originally called Japan Street, Boon Tat Street was the first street to be renamed after the Japanese Occupation (1942–45). It was named after Ong Boon Tat, a former municipal commissioner and businessman who owned New World Park, an amusement park, in Jalan Besar, as well as some brickworks, sawmills and rubber estates.4

From the direction of Amoy Street, the first landmark on Boon Tat Street is Telok Ayer Green Park, located at the junction of Telok Ayer Street and Boon Tat Street.5 Next to the park is the Nagore Dargah, a shrine and national monument, built between 1828 and 1830.6 Other prominent landmarks include Cecil Court, a commercial building built in 1984,7 and the Octagon, which was built in 1982;8 both located at the junction of Cecil Street and Boon Tat Street.9

The 26-storey high Octagon, a prominent landmark along the street, is a fully double-glazed, octagon-shaped office building, housing a banquet hall and three penthouse apartments at its top floor.10 Other notable commercial buildings on Boon Tat Street include The Globe, Tong Eng Building and the SGX Centre (Singapore Exchange).11

Lau Pa Sat, an eatery formerly called the Telok Ayer Market,12 is located at the end of Boon Tat street.13 The market was dismantled for Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) construction work during the 1980s. About 3,000 individual pieces were electronically tagged, and stored for restoration. Restoration was completed in 198914 and Lau Pa Sat was reopened on 7 February 1992.15 The presence of Lau Pa Sat and the neighbouring food vendors have made this street a popular food alley.16

Variant names
Chinese name: Ma-cho kiong pi (Hokkien), meaning “beside the ma-cho temple”, a reference to the Thian Hock Keng Temple17 near the start of the street.18

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja & Sharen Chua

1. Mighty Minds Street Directory (Singapore: Angel Publishing Pte Ltd., 2014), 5. (Call no. RSING q912.6967 MMSD-[DIR])
2. Norman Edwards and Keys Peter, Singapore: A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places (Singapore: Times Books International, 1988), 410, 453, 509. (Call no. RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
3. Victor R. Savage and Brenda S. A. Yeoh, Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013), 44 (Call no. RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Song Ong Siang, One Hundred Years' History of the Chinese in Singapore (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1984), 99. (Call no. RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS])
4. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 44; Peter K. G. Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore (Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, 2000), 25 (Call no. RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS]); Tan Bee Choo, Street Names in Selected Areas of Singapore: A Study in Historical Geography ([Singapore], 1976–1977), 31. (Call no. RCLOS 959.57 TAN-[HIS])
5. Mighty Minds Street Directory, map 132D; “Ann Siang Hill Park & Telok Ayer Green - Pioneers Trail,” National Parks Board, accessed 26 September 2016.
6. Christopher Hooi, National Monuments of Singapore (Singapore: National Museum, 1982), 20–21. (Call no. RSING 722.4095957 NAT)
7. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 447.
8. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 431.
9. Mighty Minds Street Directory, map 132D.
10. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 431.
11. Mighty Minds Street Directory, map 132D.
12. “Boon Tat St Stalls Return,” Straits Times, 28 February 1992, 25; Lisa Lee, “Rejuvenating Old Market,” Business Times, 17 February 1986, 8. (From NewspaperSG)
13. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 410.
14. “168 Years of Singapore History Wrapped Up in an Octagonal Structure,” Straits Times, 16 March 1990, 25. (From NewspaperSG)
15. “Standing Room Only as Crowds Throng Re-Opened Lau Pa Sat,” Straits Times, 8 February 1992, 19. (From NewspaperSG)
16. “Boon Tat St Stalls Return,” Straits Times, 28 February 1992, 25. (From NewspaperSG)
17. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 17, 44.
18. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 410.

Further resources 
Nirmal Ghosh, “Market Melange,” Business Times, 15 February 1992, 24. (From NewspaperSG)

Temporary Closure of Boon Tat St, Straits Times, 15 December 1991, 28. (From NewspaperSG)

The information in this article is valid as at 26 September 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Rights Statement

The information on this page and any images that appear here may be used for private research and study purposes only. They may not be copied, altered or amended in any way without first gaining the permission of the copyright holder.

More to Explore

Short Street


Short Street begins at the junction where it meets Middle Road, Selegie Road and Wilkie Road. It connects Selegie Road to Rochor Canal Road. Although some suggest that the road might be named after Septimus Short, who spoke on public issues related to railways and docks, others posit that it...

Sailors' Home


The Sailors’ Home in Singapore was a seamen’s lodging from the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. It became well known because novelist Joseph Conrad described his stay there in his novels, The Shadow-Line, The End of the Tether and Lord Jim. The home was established on High Street in 1851....

G. D. Coleman


G. D. (George Dromgold) Coleman (b. 1795, Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland–d. 27 March 1844, Singapore) was Singapore’s pioneer colonial architect. He became the first Government Superintendent of Public Works when he was appointed in 1833. Coleman planned, surveyed and built much of early Singapore, shaping the course of Singapore’s architectural...

Kampong Java Road


Kampong Java Road connects Bukit Timah Road to Newton Circus. ...

Cavenagh Bridge


Cavenagh Bridge is located across the Singapore River in the Central Region. It is named after William Orfeur Cavenagh, the last governor of the Straits Settlements (1859–67) under British India control. The bridge, completed in 1869, is the oldest bridge across the Singapore River. It was the last major work...

The Causeway


The Causeway is a road and rail link between Singapore and Johor Bahru in Malaysia. Completed in 1923, the 1.05-kilometre Causeway cost an estimated 17 million Straits dollars and spans the Johor Straits (also known as the Tebrau Straits). At the Singapore end is the Woodlands customs, immigration and quarantine...

Dunlop Street


Believed to be named after Colonel Samuel Dunlop, Dunlop Street in Little India is a one-way road connecting Jalan Besar to Serangoon Road. The most significant landmark along this street is the Abdul Gaffoor Mosque. ...

Frank Swettenham


Sir Frank Athelstane Swettenham (b. 28 March 1850, Derbyshire, England–d. 14 June 1946, London, England) became Governor of the Straits Settlements on 17 February 1901 and remained in this post until 1904. He was the only governor to have spent his entire civil service career in Malaya and the Straits...

Amoy Street


Amoy Street in Chinatown begins at the junction of McCallum Street, and Telok Ayer Street and ends at Pekin Street. Developed in the 1830s, the street was probably named after the migrants who came from Amoy in China. ...

Chin Chew Street


Chin Chew Street, in Chinatown, connects South Bridge Road and China Street. An Indian residential area in the 1820s, it later became synonymous with the samsui women who made this street their home in the early 20th century. ...