Let me tell you about that time we got free grilled prawns at Lau Pa Sat.

It was a Saturday and my first night in Singapore. My sister, who was hosting me that weekend, thought to take me to the local food center so I can have a taste of Singapore hawker food culture.


From outside, the building looked very interesting, all lit up and seemingly buzzing with life. Inside, it was packed with people dining on a mish mosh of food from all over the world. There were stall after stall of different cuisines, some more familiar to me than others.


My sister and I were with her friends and after we’ve found a vacant table, each one went different ways to order food, leaving at least one person to man our table. I thought we ended up with a pretty good selection, sampling all sorts of food, and then, without warning, a plateful of grilled prawns was dropped in front of my sister’s friend.


She didn’t mind it at first, thinking that one of us had ordered the plate, but eventually everyone came back from ordering different food and it turned out none of us ordered prawns. We began eating from our selection, thinking that eventually, someone’s going to come by and take the prawns back, or ask us to pay for the plate.


An hour and a half came and went. We had finished everything else. We joked and laughed about it, until eventually, we just agreed to just eat it and if they ask us to pay for it, then we’ll pay for it. Soon enough, the plate was empty, but no one came to ask for payment, and since my sister’s friend did not see who had put the plate on our table, we didn’t know who to approach to pay for the plate. So that night, we ended up thanking the gods for a lovely addition to our dinner, and thinking we’ll try to pay it forward one way or another.

3 thoughts on “Lau Pa Sat and the Story of the Free Prawns

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