Such early attempts by the authorities to set up permanent market spaces were in part to remove temporary hawkers who would otherwise sell their wares by the roadside as well as to improve the licensing and regulation of hawkers. Nevertheless, inspectors would still at times find false scales and some hawkers would still continue to sell from makeshift stalls by the roadside outside the market, perhaps to elude the authorities.
The original market consisted of a row of small huts with a pitched zinc roof. This facility was renovated in 1999. Unfortunately, the number of vendors had fallen by then, so customers preferred to do their marketing at Whampoa Market at Whampoa Drive. As business dwindled, many stallholders who had been at Balestier Market over generations retired when the market closed for redevelopment in 2004. Today, the only surviving 'rural' market on mainland Singapore houses a food court serving familiar local favourites such as chicken rice and satay.