What started as a more atas (upmarket) version of a hawker centre – with air-conditioning and higher prices – food courts today have become a different animal altogether.
The latest conceptual food court to hit Singapore is Food Junction Great World, which takes diners on a culinary journey, whether you’re in the mood for Northern Vietnamese cuisine or German bier.
Complete with rooftop alfresco dining to boot, Food Junction blends nostalgia and modern decorations and instalments. The eyes are first drawn to the outlet’s 22-metre-long LED centrepiece along the ceiling, showcasing customised content of Singapore’s iconic landmarks. As you’re drawn further into the space, you’ll notice yourself walking on a railway track installation mirroring the LED display.
Food Junction Great World honours the old Great World Amusement Park in which it sits on through installations reminiscent of the park’s popular Ghost Train ride.
Food stalls are charmingly designed like train carriages and walkways styled as station platforms, with train-themed decor also taking inspiration from the historic Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and train stations around the world.
Deeper into the food court, the space transforms once more to resemble a modern cafe or bar. Furnished with iron-wood accents and a photo wall, the floor-to-ceiling glass windows provide pools of natural light and the illusion of being outside where Singapore’s only food court rooftop alfresco seating is located.
A spacious balcony featuring panoramic views of the River Valley area, diners are transported to a rooftop bar complete with fairy lights, cabana seats and decorative keg stands, the perfect space to relax with affordable comfort food aplenty.
The first stop on this gastronomic adventures is Viet Taste, specialising in authentic, MSG and preservative-free Northern Vietnamese cuisine.
Vietnamese owned and helmed, diners can expect delicious cuisines handmade and prepared fresh daily, boasting marinated meats grilled over a charcoal fire for a smokey, charred aroma. Nothing reps them better than the Hanoi BBQ Pork Noodles ($8.80), featuring succulent cuts of pork and meatballs made from apple, peach, lemongrass, diced onion and meat.
All aboard! We’re headed to South Korea with Hungry Korean, captained by former Mediacorp artiste Cassandra See. Offering a fare of fusion Korean-style dishes to go along its extensive beverage menu including soju and makgeolli cocktails, dishes such as the Gourmet Beef Bulgogi Burger ($8.90) will have you dancing in your seat with every bite. Made with fresh sliced cut beef rather than a traditional beef patty, every juicy pull is topped with a secret marinated sauce mixed with Gochujang Mayo.
What The Fish
For something closer to home, order up at What The Fish. Picture this – the best grilled fish in town, reasonably priced, and you don’t have to share! Solo diners get to enjoy grilled fish poached over fire in any of five broths, rich and tantalising with an assortment of spices to compliment the aromatic flavours.
Just one of the offerings is the Sea Bass Half Fish with Tail (Golden Tantalising Punch) ($12.80), true to its word having been marinated with a secret recipe and featuring pumpkin, pepper and sauerkraut for a deliciously spicy and sour dish.
It won’t be a world tour without some Western cuisine, and Der Biergarten is the perfect stop. Settle down in the alfresco seating area and bask in a German beer garden experience over beer and tapas from. Guinness aficionados and carnivores unite for the Guinness Braised Beef Cheeks with Mashed Potato ($18.9), featuring an incredibly tender cut of meat best enjoyed with a pint of beer.
Everyone’s got an extra stomach for dessert and those with a sweet tooth will especially love Ke. With their extensive list of thirst-quenchers and desserts, from lemonade and beer to reimagined classic sweet treats, Ke is the perfect addition to the blend of modernity and nostalgia at Food Junction Great World.
Order their 100per cent Punched Lemon Tea available in five flavours including the OG Lemon Punch (S$3.60) and Osmanthus Oolong Lemon Punch ($3.60). Hand-shaken with freshly brewed in-house tea and hand-punched green lemons, they are perfect for a refreshing pick-me-up.
Light and not overly sweet, Coco Cloud ($4.50) features a blend of fresh coconut juice, pulp, coconut ice cream, and natural butterfly pea flower for a dreamy blue hue.
Food Junction Great World is located at 1 Kim Seng Promenade, level 3, Singapore 237994. Open daily 10am-10pm.
This article was first published in City Nomads.