#SingaporesFirst Food Court
Before #SingaporesFirst food court was established in 1985, hawker centres and kopitiams were our go-to places for a casual, affordable meal. While these places were already more hygienic than the roadside hawkers of the past, they weren’t exactly comfortable – mynahs and pigeons would swoop in to pick at the leftovers, and the hot and humid weather meant that many diners would be sweating throughout the meal.
The Picnic food court in Scotts Shopping Centre was a game changer for hawker dining. It brought the hawker experience of having an array of stand-alone food stalls into a comfortable, air-conditioned environment. Shoppers could enjoy a good meal without leaving the shopping centre, and this benefited them as well as the shop-owners.
The food court concept was such a hit that more food courts sprang up: in shopping centres, housing estates, and industrial parks. To keep up with our well-travelled palates, food courts introduced more types of international cuisine, from Thai to Korean and Japanese food.
Over the years, food courts with unique themes have sprouted to provide a more varied dining experience for customers. Besides having themed decors, food courts that served halal food also started in 1999 with the opening of the first all-halal food court, the Banquet Halal Food Court, at Jurong Point Shopping Centre. There were also
Japanese-themed food courts that served only Japanese cuisine. Today, food courts are everywhere, providing affordable and diverse cuisines in air-conditioned comfort. And with the easing of our COVID restrictions, food courts are again where friends and family can take a break, without breaking a sweat.