There was a commonly shared cheer amongst all Japanophiles, as the opening of the Emporium Shokuhin was announced. Now that the Japanese food complex has been open for a few days, one thing is for sure. Seeking quality Japanese products, no one will go anywhere else – or so it seems at the moment. Mainstream media has been reporting vastly about the heavily anticipated grand opening of Emporium Shokuhin – the $10-milion Japanese shopping and dining complex.
A New Trend?
Emporium Shokuhin is the biggest food-centric shopping and dining complex of its kind in Singapore to date. Considering that Japanese food is the most popular choice when it comes to foreign cuisine on the island, the centre seems justified. One wonders though, if Emporium Shokuhin will trigger a new wave of Japanese food sympathisers in Singapore. Ranging from sake bars and yakitori restaurants to Japanese fine dining and Japanese meals with chefs at home – one can’t say that we don’t have plenty of choices.
Emporium Shokuhin doesn’t just import Japanese products in order to sell them – the centre also tries to focus on freshness. Selections of seasonal vegetables and fruit are flown in from Japan every single week. On top of that, one will also find 22 huge water tanks filled with fresh seafood. Expect to find special imports, such as kegani (Hokkaido hairy crabs), hotate (scallops) and uni (sea urchin).
However, there are not only Japanese products on offer. Emporium Shokuhin also imports, for example, huge Alaskan King Crabs from Norway, beef from the United States as well as premium oysters like Isigny and Kystale from France.
Spread out on 34,000 sq ft, the space offers gourmet food shopping, seafood live stations and Japanese dining facilities. Considering this vast space, one could guess that Singapore doesn’t have any Japanese dining and shopping options. While perhaps searching for certain Japanese groceries can be a pain, the city offers a variety of Japanese dining establishments. One question remains – did we need more Japanese dining?
The answer seems to be yes – at least when asking the Japanese expat community. Statistics from recent years count over 25.000 Japanese people living in Singapore. Everybody who has ever been to Japan or counts Japanese amongst their friends, will know that food is a big deal and taken seriously. While the same might be true for Singaporeans, the Japanese can be very particular with the details of their food – especially with the ingredients.
Considering that Emporium Shokuhin is one of the biggest and most concentrated food and dining clusters on the island, one wonders if this is starting a new trend. Next to Japanese food, Korean and Italian food ranks among the most popular on the island (at least for foreign cuisines). Could there be next a cluster of Italian food? Perhaps not, however the development from wet market and hawker centre to gourmet grocer and dining complex is an interesting one. It remains to be seen what the future of dining in Singapore has on offer for us.