Singapore's Food Culture
Coffee shops and hawker centres have defined Singapore for the past 40 years. It is still heartwarming to see the old uncles and aunties frying plates of char kway teow and old makciks serving plates of nasi padang. No doubt, the food we grew up eating were absolutely delicious.
In recent years. we’ve seen these food stalls evolve from hot and sticky hawker centres to well furnished, clean and air-conditioned food courts. Dining in comfort has become a necessity to most Singaporeans, albeit with slightly steeper prices.
First established in 1995, Foodfare aims to serve the working force and improve the lives of the general public. Although there are many other food court chains that are more well known, this new kid on the block has evidently been making waves, as Foodfare was voted the Top Brand in the Food Courts category by consumers in a 2014 study done by Influential Brands.
Here are 8 reasons why Foodfare is so loved, with the spotlight being on what may be the most interesting food court in Singapore - Foodfare @ Kallang Wave Mall.
1. Family-friendly facilities
Young kids are filled with boundless energy, and it’s almost impossible to sit them down for an hour-long meal. When I was a young boy, I always felt the need to run around and play with my siblings after finishing my meal. At Foodfare, there is a playing area for kids to run about and play!
This is great for parents as they can enjoy their meal while watching over their kids in a safe environment. Having this external stimulation sure beats sitting your kid down and putting an iPad in front of him.
2. Kid-friendly Meals
To make it more family-friendly, all food merchants at Foodfare have a special kids’ meal that are served in a smaller portions. Termed the “Happier Meal”, each kid’s sized meal are served in colourful animal ‘bento’ sets, which gives both parents and children an option to satisfy their individual cravings without worrying about having to share the regular portion meal that are typically served in food courts.
3. Seventeen conveniently located outlets
With 17 food courts and coffee shops islandwide, Foodfare is always conveniently available and mostly situated near MRT stations and bus interchanges. With the Pioneer Generation recently getting more recognition, it should be noted that many Foodfare outlets are located in mature estates such as Choa Chu Kang and Simei, making these hawker favourites more accessible for the older generation.
4. Prices are kept lower
Food in Singapore is getting more expensive by the year. A normal plate of chicken rice or carrot cake that used to cost $2.50 can now cost upwards of a whopping $6.
At Foodfare, prices aren’t as inflated, keeping customers’ pockets happy. This is a commendable gesture on their part which allows people to enjoy their favorite local delights without paying bloated premiums. Their beverages start from as low as $0.80 and their “Legendary” NTUC Breakfast Set — a cup of hot, freshly brewed kopi or teh, two perfect soft-boiled eggs and a slice of crisp, fragrant kaya toast — can be yours at a wallet-friendly price of just $1.80 for members of the public ($1.40 for union member cardholders).
5. Caters to an international palate
Ever seen Spanish food in a food court? Well, I hadn’t either until I went to Foodfare at the recently-opened Kallang Wave Mall at Sports Hub. The food at Foodfare is diverse, from the common local favorites like Chicken Rice to the not-so-common Spanish cuisine and other exotic delights.
6. Some outlets are Athlete-friendly
At Food Fare @ Kallang Wave Mall(Sports Hub), there is a sports theme to complement the National stadium and surrounding sport complexes. As many young athletes go there for meals after training, Foodfare came up with a special section for teams to bond over food.
With square tables that sit up to 12 people, teams can have a good time filling their tummies after training, promoting a healthy team spirit for sports in Singapore.
Furthermore, there are hooks that athletes can use to hang their rackets and bags beside the tables so they don’t have to leave their belongings all over the place.This is a good initiative by Foodfare to keep the area clutter-free.
7. High cleanliness levels
It is increasingly common in food courts for patrons to have to clear up after themselves. This encourages a good habit, and leaves us with clean food courts!
When I visited the different Foodfare outlets around Singapore, one thing that astounded me was the cleanliness at every outlet. It is rare to see tables of dirty plates and trays lying around, and the overall tidiness gives me another reason to come back.
8. The food court with a Bar
There is a “bar” area at Foodfare @ Kallang Wave Mall (Sports Hub). They are still in the process of getting their liquor license, but they have a sports bar concept that shows live sports matches and rolling updates on the latest news from all around the world. You can enjoy your favorite sports matches over a pint of beer, kaya toast, waffles, power juices, fruit milkshakes or even frozen yogurt!
It can’t be denied that new generations of Singaporeans are developing more atas palates and have become more conscious about their eating environment. We love eating food at places with good ambience and sometimes don’t even think twice about paying double for mediocre food. That may explain the craze behind the cafe culture in Singapore.
But Singaporeans should also remember that there are places that provide good dining experiences without requiring you to spend a small fortune. Yes, eating at a food court will never beat fine dining, but you’ll be able to get respectable food at even more respectable prices. And some of their outlets like the one at Kallang Wave Mall have a fantastic ambiance and facilities. If there was ever an award for the most hip food court in Singapore, this food court would win it.
So the next time you pass a Foodfare outlet, go in and have a look. You’ll be surprised at what you can find.
About NTUC Foodfare
NTUC Foodfare is a social enterprise that was established by the Labor Movement in 1995 with the primary purpose of serving working people and their families by stabilising cooked food prices and helping them improve their quality of life. Foodfare recognizes its role in the community, organizing events and engaging people of different demographics.
With a focus on the needs of the grassroots, NTUC Foodfare froze food and beverage prices in 2011 amidst fears of inflation, discouraging the populist trend of price increases in the industry, showing other operators that people-centred decisions can be made in the face of growing competition.
For more information about NTUC Foodfare, click here
About Influential Brands
Influential Brands is a consumer insight driven awards programme which provides a platform for brands to celebrate their achievement; for consumers, businesses and stakeholders to recognise the brands’ efforts in arriving where they are today. The study conducted by Influential Brands is purely consumer driven and the Top Brands are selected by consumers through their perception and preference, demonstrating the level of impact and influence of the brands in each consumer’s life.
Influential Brands seeks to identify consumer preferences, their behaviours, values and to understand how the ever-changing environment affects consumer experience in the purchase journey. The programme is tailored to enrich the brands’ relationship with their consumers through ongoing meaningful conversations and engagement.
For more information, like and follow Influential Brands on Facebook for more updates!
Read More Influential Brand Stories by TSL
This post is part of Influential Brands 2014, where we highlight the most influential brands in Singapore.