Rubbing Elbows & Stomachs

Want to see CEOs sitting alongside day labourers?  Interested in a good meal while you do it? Well then, Singapore is your type of place.

While in most places a food court would make me cringe in fear and loathing, in Singapore it elicits uncontrollable Pavlovian drooling and the sure knowledge that my next meal is going to be spectacular. While Singapore has its fair share of incredible dining options, the food courts are legendary, a spot where you can choose between countless dishes, primarily but not limited to Asian fare. Satay, check. Sushi that was swimming this morning? Check. Noodles of every kind imaginable? Oh, you better believe that’s a check.

One of my most memorable moments was watching my wife utterly devour a salmon curry. Never have I seen someone go so bananas over a piece of fish. Between the ‘mmms’ and ‘yumms’ she was overheard mumbling how amazing it was, and something about fish cheeks. Me? I didn’t get it. I was happy enough to enjoy a delicious bowl of Hokkien noodles. What can I say, she’s from New Brunswick.

One of the best places to experience the wonders of the Singaporean food court is Lau Pa Sat. It’s located in the Centre District, walking distance from many of the major sights in Singapore. Lau Pa Sat is a restored Victorian wet market, originally built in 1894. Its solid cast iron filigree construction is an attraction in its own right. Many of the stalls only serve one item, and that’s the beauty as it is always fresh and delicious.

How do you know when you’ve found it? Look for the guy in the $3,000 suit (not me) sitting next to the guy who was just sweeping the floor (might be me), both devouring some roti they paid about a dollar for. Want a pointer to help you choose? Stand in the longest line, it’s long for a reason.

Mike Poppe encourages the mall food courts of Ontario to take a few tips and lessons from their distant Singaporean cousins. You can read more about Zam Zam and Singapore’s culinary scene on photographer Ian Ord’s blog.

Many of the stalls only serve one item, and that’s the beauty as it is always fresh and delicious.