Blk 678A, Woodlands Ave 6, #02-01, Singapore 731678
Blk 308, Anchorvale Road, #01-07, Singapore 540308
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, 90 Yishun Central, #01-12, Singapore 768828
11 Rivervale Crescent, #01-01, Rivervale Mall, Singapore 545082
Sembawang MRT, 11 Canberra Road, #01-05, Singapore 759775
NTUC Foodfare is set out to be a different kind of business with the primary purpose to serve working people and their families by stabilising cooked food prices and helping them improve their quality of life.
NTUC Foodfare aims to be a best-in-class social enterprise and a market leader in the Food Services industry.
NTUC Foodfare is really just like any other food court, so I did not have much expectations for it to start off with. The good thing about it is that the mixed rice and drinks stalls are up and running at 7am, giving me another option for breakfast!
But back to the food court, from the way I looked at it, foodfare is just another food court, akin to Kopitiam or coffee shops. There isn't anything very signature about them as compared to Rasapura or Food Republic or Food Opera, where the food stalls are branded. On the other hand, it also did not have the cooperative feel where things is cheaper. For example, when I saw the news that Foodfare opened at 100am to provide a cheaper alternative at Shenton area, I thought that was a good idea since food in the area is generally more expensive due to higher rents. And when I happened to go there, the cheapness simply meant that it was the same price as food courts in heartland areas, yet still more expensive than Tanjong Pagar Food market.
I think NTUC could probably do more to help maintain or even push down food prices. They are many ways to do this such as lowering rents, working with the hawkers to make sure they still earn despite charging lower prices, giving them additional discounts by offering them access to the groceries supply chain of NTUC. If this are done, and tagging on economies of scale, food prices may go down a lot more.
The price asides, I felt the attitudes of the people running the stalls were bad. I supposed these were all employees and none of these stalls were operated by the actual owners. That being the case, these people had no motivations to run a good business. They let their "can't be bothered" attitude show clearly. Anyway, they were just doing a job and unless they were on profit sharing, if not, there were no benefits to themselves if they provide good service and had a lot of business.
The food is affordable, although that is debatable in some branches. The quality of the food is where I have my real gripe. The food is barely passable with some of my favorites like chicken rice, char siew rice, and hokkien mee bordering on terrible.
Somehow, the ambiance of the branches I have eaten at are also crowded, noisy and uncomfortable.
However, what makes it shine would be the crowd and the loud chatter. Unlike in fine class restaurants where you have to be mindful of your every move, food courts like NTUC foodfare allows you to be yourself). The loud clamour of voices as soon as you enter the food court immediately puts you at ease. The patrons there are commonly more simple folks whom will be less judging of everything from your clothes, wealth to your marital status.
The ambience there will also make your dining experience enjoyable. The walls are painted white, with pictures of joyous people posing with food, which I find quite cute! You can even read there as the food court is brightly-lit, and the cool air-conditioning soothes your nerves too. It is usually not crowded at the food court, so you will not be annoyed by any noise, or even feel pressured to leave as soon as possible.
However, during peak hours and weekends, try not to go there as it will likely be packed with people. Overall, I feel that there is nothing much that sets this food court apart from others, besides its pleasant atmosphere.
As for variety, NTUC Foodfare is quite limited. The mixed vegetable rice stall is extremely over-priced and expensive so I wouldn't recommend it, along with the yong tau foo stall. The standards of the hokkien mee and char kway teow have also dropped drastically - they used to be quite famous. The chicken rice is barely passable.
If you would like to visit Foodfare, I would recommend the wanton noodles or the barbeque chicken rice, which are the tastiest of the lot.
I am reviewing the Choa Chu Kang branch. I really love the yong tau foo stall because the dishes are fresh and the sweet sauce there is really tasty and it costs only $3.50 for 6 dishes plus rice/ noodles which is really rare in other food courts. The mixed vegetable stall also sells a range of vegetables at affordable prices. Best thing is that it is air conditioned and is located near the the MRT station and not within lot 1 itself, making it very convenient.
The food court serves a wide variety of delicious food, from shabu shabu, odeon hwa heng beef noodle and even excellent western food. however, one of my favourites is the handmade noodles(onion oil) with the beef soup from the handmade noodles stall, the noodles are springy and are one of a kind.
The AMK hub branch even has casuarina curry in it, and I am now able to savour the divine paper masala thosai or tomato uttapam at a food court instead of going to the more remote main branch at upper thompson road. The drinks are also not to be missed, especially the premium blend milk tea, for $2, you get milk tea better than that of gong cha.
An advice from me is that try to go earlier if you plan to go during the peak hours, as despite the large number of seats, the food court is always packed during these times.
I love the ambiance as all the branches of Foodfare I have been to are always brightly lit and the predominantly painted white to give it a bonus clean and vibrant appearance.
I would like to give a special mention to the branch at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital because of the superb environment! There are actually tissues provided free-of-charge on the tables for diners usage. It is also the first food court I have seen that have comfortable swivel armchairs! As such, it makes it a popular study spot for many students. (However, do note that you may not be allowed to study there at peak hours) This is also one of the rare food courts in Singapore that requires diners to clear up for themselves after their meals by bringing the utensils to the washing point, encouraging Singaporeans to adopt the good practice of individual responsibility.