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Oct 7, 2011

First Food Court in Singapore

My daughter Maylene at Orchard Road opposite the Scotts Shopping Centre in 1987.

The Scotts Shopping Centre under construction c 1984. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

This is not a "foodie blog".

But food is in the mouth of everyone and everyone must eat all over the world to be alive and survive, whether rich or poor. For people to "eat to live or live to eat" is a different matter all together. It is obvious why people eat, but how people eat and the choice of food of the individual's personal preference as and when available basically depend on the culture and within the budget affordable to spend.
There is no such snobbish social status as "high-class" or "low-class" food which some people imagined.

"One man's meat is another man's poison"...this topic later towards the end of the blog to express. Vegetarians are exempted because their food is meatless.

As the society becomes affluent, people eat for pleasure and luxury...the rich appreciates good food to enjoy at whatever price.

Food is a necessity to nourish the body and the mind, and to live. Healthy and diet food doesn't mean it will be costly though.

Singapore is an international haven for foodies. There are many tourists who visit and love Singapore for the widest varieties of food, local and international cuisines, all under one roof and everywhere. Foreign "food talents" are welcome too!

Recently, the topic on food is an increasing talk of the town over the radio talk, TV, magazines, newspapers and other social media blogs.

On Foodage TV traces Singapore's food history in the years since independence. Through collective personal memories, home movies and photos, the series recaptures our lifestyle and food trends over the years, eight episodes from 4 August 2011 and now ended. On Facebook at Foodage TV which many people like food nostalgic memories to share.

Orchard Road, Singapore c 1950 next to Scotts Road. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

The first food court in Singapore was opened in 1985 at the basement level of Scotts Shopping Centre at Scotts Road. The air-conditioned food court concept was new. It was spacious with ergonomic furniture designs, with directory signage of the stalls with orderly queues, brightly lit, hygienic and cleaners service to clear the customers tables and seats efficiently.

The "Picnics" food court concept inspired and introduced the food courts everywhere today.

With the development and progress of Singapore since independence, lets take a look at the changes of the food vendors then and now at some of the old photos with courtesy from the National Archives of Singapore below:

The "bah chang" portable hawker in 1935. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

My blogger friend Philip Chew reenacts the Lor Arh (Braised duck) at Nostalgia -My Golden Years blog.

The "travelling kopitiam" c 1950. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

The roadside stall located anywhere to serve customers for their convenience. c 1950. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Family satay feast beside the bus terminal c 1950. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

The canteen at the former National Library, Stamford Road c 1970.

Hawker stalls inside the "kopitiam" c 1970. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

The push-cart hawker stalls in front of Thong Chai Medical Institution at South Bridge Road c 1960.Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Picnics Food Court at Scotts. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Picnics Food Court at Scotts. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Picnics Food Court at Scotts. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Picnics Food Court at Scotts. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Food Court at SingPost, Paya Lebar in 2011.

Singapore is a democratic, multi-food preference, harmonious society...nobody is forced to eat what they like as long as they are edible and available within their budget. No country in the world can legislate this into law, except for reasons of religion or health. To each his own choice and favorite food, how much to spend for food. The Ministry of Environments in Singapore and other government authorities also license the hawkers and food handlers to ensure the safety of the consumers.

Mr Brown, popular "satire commentaries blogger", poked fun at neighbor's Curry cooking as reported in the news.

Children who are fussy about food should not complain to parents who are too busy sometimes to prepare food for them. The cooked food in Singapore is cheap and good for a quick meal for just a few dollars...fast to cook and good to eat instant noodles.

When I was young, my mother often recollected to me about food rationing as food was scarce during the Japanese Occupation days; and our daily meal was cooked with watery porridge with sweet potatoe, tapioca or porridge with dark sauce.

Lets pray for a peaceful and stable Singapore for our food and place to dine at our own choice to enjoy in comfort, environment and hygiene.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Andy Young* said...

Interesting posting James. Just shows how much Singaporeans love food.

October 7, 2011 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger lim said...

It was only recently when some foreign journalists rated the Century Egg as the most disgusting food on earth. Me? I love it with ginger. To each his own. I love durian equally well. I understand you cannot bring durians into hotels and MRT stations. The security staff will hunt down the source like they hunt down a fugitive.

October 7, 2011 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Someone should write a "Food Culture Shock" book to promote better understanding, harmony and appreciation for everyone through food. Although there is one human race, people of different nationalities are born with different food preference and food culture.

If racial fanatics with discrimination are referred to as racists, are people who criticise others who eat differently from themselves known as "foodists"?

Some suggested "controversial" food to appreciate sense of local smell and taste are: durian, "chou toufo", garlic, sambal belachan "century eggs"... and curry. To each his own!

October 9, 2011 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Esther Tey Wong said...

Thank you for sharing this bit of our food history. Brings back memories of my schoolmates and me hitting Scotts Picnic for the Beef Noodles and the Yami Yogurt after school and with my family eating there on weekends and hols. Somehow Scotts Picnic felt like a much cleaner food court than the food courts of today!

June 12, 2014 at 6:31 AM  

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