Thursday, December 01, 2005

there's something about ..... foodcourt

Brought my whole family to THE Foodcourt of the moment, FOOD REPUBLIC or 大食代 at wisma Atria on wednesday night.

Food Republic

If you haven't heard about it yet..... HELLO.... ARE YOU A TOURIST? I suspect even tourists have been there given their good location. If you ever remember, WISMA ATRIA 4th floor used to be a cluster of small shops and 1 side of it is the foodcourt. A not so popular foodcourt.

But NOW.... OMFG.... the whole floor less Isetan is Food Republic. And this food court come highly rated and highly publicised because their foodstalls and mini-restaurants boast some of the famous stalls as well as some famous chefs etc etc.

And if you are wondering why the name is so Cina, it's because it is. Food Republic first opened in Shanghai by our Singaporean Mr Breadtalk or previously known as Mr Food Junction. So this is the first overseas branch by a local company. So does it make this a local branch with a overseas branch in Shanghai?

And the crowd.... OMFG x 2. To say KANG SI LANG crowded is understatement. There are as many people walking around looking for a table than tables available. And we are talking about a very big foodcourt here and we are talking about Wednesday night.

Finding a table in a foodcourt is 50% art, 40% skill and 10% thick skin. And Finding a table in Food Republic is 20% art, 50% skill and 30% emotional blackmail.

I deployed my whole family, including my boy, to look for tables across the whole foodcourt, and we communicate via walkie-talkie aka handphones.

You know how sometimes you saw a table of patrons finishing their last bite of their food and then when they saw you standing next to them, they will then take their own sweet time drinking their coffee, chit chat and try to avoid eye-contact with you as if you are damn invisible?

I just invented a new technique which I hope to patent it, call "ianah". I have success using this technique and works 100% of the time by at least saving 5 mins of waiting time. I will first find a table of majority ladies finishing their food, call out to my wife/mother carrying my boy in their arms (eventhough we could have put the boy in the stroller) and stand next to them. This emotional blackmail works wonder. It fact, my mum overheard one of them rushing their friend because of us waiting with baby in toll.

I have been to this foodcourt twice and so far it takes me about 15 mins to get a table of 4.

thye hong hokkien mee

This foodstall sells the famous hokkien mee featured at the old Glutton Square, car park next to John Little. It was featured in the papers as the most popular dish at glutton square with about 10,000 plates being served per night.

Of course, Singaporeans love to queue for popular-but-so-so food. We are blinded by brands. We think anything that people queue is damn nice. And we think anything that is featured is newpaper must be damn super nice. So we queue. If we do a study on this herd instinct, I think such queueing time will caused Singapore of at least 2% GDP growth on productivity lost.

I queued. 30 minutes. Assuming I have an $100 hourly rate, that is $50 lost on 3 plates of Hokkien Mee/Orh Luat.

And the funny thing is, I have meant to just buy 1 plate of Hokkien Mee. But I thought... nabeh.. queue so long, might as well buy 2 more plates for sharing.

So after queueing for a while and about 10 person away from my turn, they have one of the stall helper "taking orders" for everyone in the queue, up to probably 15 patrons.

To my astonishment, everyone else has multiple orders. It's damn scary. 3 plates of this, 5 plates of that, 2 plates of this and 1 plate of that plus da pao 2 packets of that, one with HARM, the other no chilli etc. The latter one is not a joke. The ah soh in front of me really did order such a long list. Nabeh. This is disgusting.

Based on my estimates, this stall have a turnover of at least $20,000 to $30,000 a day. I'm actually contemplating to groom my son to be a Hokkien Mee Seller. Why study so much so that you earn a respectable income with annual leaves and stays in HDB Flats. Might as well be a Hokkien Mee Seller, works 363 days a year and stays in a bungalow.

Anyway, is the Hokkien Mee good?

Let's just say I wouldn't queue 5 mins for it.

Is the ORH LUAT good?

Let's just say I don't mind queueing 10 mins for it.

Is the overall experience at Food Republic Good.

It's good enough for me to patronise them twice in a week. With lots of Chio Bu and relatively good hawker food, it's a joy.... but I will only go if my son comes along.


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mis_nomer said...

I think emotional blackmail at food courts is beastly.