It's a new trend that's becoming more and more popular in Singapore and all around Asia: indoor food court concepts that comprise high quality (and highly sought after) hawker stall fare combined with mini restaurants. Food Republic is a well known chain that has established branded food courts at many of Singapore's most popular malls and tourist destinations.
The concept has even spread to other countries in the region. Food Republic has locations in Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
It's not hard to see the appeal, especially in a location where outside temperatures and humidity can quickly become unbearable. Access to a bunch of different hawkers stalls in a comfortable air-conditioned space? Sign me up! Bonus: I can stop by for lunch before or after shopping!
My local Singaporean friend took me to a Food Republic at Vivo City /Sentosa Station for lunch before the two of us headed out to Sentosa for the afternoon. It was just the two of us, but we still managed to try several different types of food!
There are many different types of drinks available, many featuring local fruits and ingredients. I decided to try this fun "healthy" drink that consisted of Job's Tears (a type of barley) in water with just a touch of sugar. It totally reminded me of a similar type of hot barley soup that my mom used to make, except that this one was cold. It was really good!
My friend Julia was shocked I hadn't tried Laksa yet, a fragrant noodle soup made with a coconut curry broth and filled with eggs, fried tofu puffs, shrimp, and fish cake. It was warm, satisfying, and gorgeously flavorful. I'm so glad I tried it!
Another classic Singaporean dish is Bak Kut Teh, a savory pork rib soup made with a variety of Chinese herbs and huge cloves of garlic. It's the perfect soup to drink if you're feeling under the weather. The place we went to offered unlimited broth, so we actually asked for a second bowl of it since we were sharing. I liked this soup so much I bought a few packets of the Chinese herb mix so I could make it again at home (which I've already done once, with this cold weather coming in!).
My only food memory from my first visit to Singapore twenty years ago was trying a Po Piah at an outdoor hawker stall. I loved the vibrant jolt of flavors and textures, from the sweet hoisin sauce and the crispy vegetables to the crunchy peanuts and soft wrapper, I loved it all.
It did not disappoint this second time around. It's still one of my favorite hawker stall foods.
These steamed cakes are made right on the premises, and you can request different fillings. We tried one of each: peanut and coconut. We both preferred the peanut, but it was fun to try both.
Once they add your filling, they put it in the steamer for like a minute, and then hand it to you.
Food Republic is definitely convenient and I thought the food there was quite good. Some may argue that the best hawker stalls are still in the traditional locations, but overall I found all of the food to be very enjoyable. Definitely consider this as a casual option especially if you are checking out some of the shopping malls anyway.
This is the 18th post in the Malaysia and Singapore! series and the first one covering Singapore. Other posts in this series include Lot 10 Hutong - Kuala Lumpur's Most Famous Hawker Stalls Under One Roof, LaZat Malaysian Home Cooking, Otak, Otak Fish Dumplings in Banana Leaf, Little Penang Cafe + Visiting the Petronas Twin Towers, Roti Jala - Malaysian Lacy Pancake, Nonya Malaysian Chicken Curry. Bijan, Onde Onde, Jalan Alor -Kuala Lumpur's Most Famous Food Street, Walking Food Tour of Kuala Lumpur, Mamak - Malaysia's Indian Muslim restaurants, Hiking the Rainforests in Malaysia (and swimming the waterfalls!) with Open Sky Unlimited, Din Tai Fung, Marina Bay Sands, Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, and Tim Ho Wan.