Our parents would have never imagined that one day Singapore would have a swanky version of a hawker centre. Even with the several hawker centres, they are often nostalgic for the little food carts on bicycles that used to go door to door selling things like ice balls (sugar syrup drizzled over a ball of crushed ice which had red beans and other goodies in it) and even dry noodles. Unfortunately I never got to see it for myself and now it’s part of history.
I have to admit that I am impressed by the sophistication of the food courts, with their chandeliers and art installations. And of course the food is not as great as what you can find at a hot, sticky, grimy hawker centre, but it’s a trade-off if you desire ambience and air-conditioning. I think it’s natural to hanker for variety. But one day (I hope it doesn’t come), when hawker centers are few and far between, we will probably wax lyrical about them like our parents do about their mobile food vendors of the 60’s. For our unique Singapore food culture to thrive, we should continue to patronize hawker stalls. The food there is a fraction the price, but double the tastiness (if you know where to go).
Two of the swankiest right now are Food Opera at ION and Rasapura which just opened around a skating rink at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. You can see beautifully dressed people (mostly tourists from Indonesia) having their local favourites. A recent survey showed that Indonesians are the top spenders among tourists in Singapore.
And Rasapura where I haven’t tried the food yet, so actually it’s not fair of me to judge the quality. I am quite glad that these exist and I have always excited by the new. After all variety is the spice of life. And a food court around a skating rink is just feaking awesome.