After an extensive two-month renovation with a complete overhaul, Food Opera at Ion Orchard is proud to present a stellar look backed by an impressive tally of 27 stalls and mini restaurants – over half of these are new entrants to the food atrium, which previously housed 25 vendors.
True to its brand ethos of uniting the best of local street fare in a holistic dining concept, Food Opera (which is operated by Food Republic) offers an elegant ambience that comes together with the multitude of delicious heritage dishes from its vendors to create a unique, nostalgic dining experience. Once an art museum-themed concept, the updated interior now reflects a brand new theme inspired by the timeless British colonial decor style in Singapore during the 1900s era. Awash in a fresh colour palette of light blue and ivory, the sprawling 19,000 square foot space is accentuated with brass and earth tones, and characterised by lush greenery and foliage – trademark design features of the 1900s.
Entering the foodie heaven that is Food Opera, customers will be drawn to the alluring sights, sounds and smells from the wide range of stalls, kiosks and mini restaurants serving up a plethora of cuisines ranging from Thai and Indian, to local hawker delights and traditional street snacks.
In addition, savouring Asia’s favourite street foods has never been so convenient as Food Opera will also be the first food atrium in Singapore to implement Visa payWave and other contactless digital payment methods such as Apple Pay, saving customers the hassle of fumbling with cash and coins.
Loyal fans can return to stalwart favourites from the pre-renovation line-up such as Java Kitchen Padang Padang, Riverside Indonesian BBQ and Li Xin Teochew Fishball Noodles, while 15 new purveyors are sure to stir up some excitement for foodies.
These include Xing Lou Seafood White Bee Hoon, Ah Yat Kitchen; international abalone and seafood specialist, and Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh; a popular homegrown brand that counts this opening as its first foray into a food court.
Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh 亞華肉骨茶 (NEW)
One of the most popular heritage bak kut teh (pork bone soup) brands in Singapore, this local icon dates back to 1973 when founder, Madam Gwee Peck Hua, apprenticed at a bak kut teh stall. Having learnt the trade from her mentor, she was spurred to create her own bak kut teh recipe that would give customers a familiar taste of home.
Staying true to her Teochew roots, Madam Gwee’s recipe uses only garlic and the finest grade of white pepper from Sarawak. Years of trial and error cumulated in the perfect peppery broth; boiled for hours to extract maximum flavour and to ensure tender meat – only chilled, air-flown pork from Australia and Indonesia are used. To cater to different palates, Ya Hua, which now owns three self-run eateries; located at Havelock, Outram and Kovan, and one mini restaurant in Food Opera, offers diners a variety of Prime Cut Ribs 大排骨 ($10.50), Ribs 排骨 ($8.50), and boneless Sliced Pork Soup 瘦肉片汤 ($7.50).
Newly-introduced dishes that will surely be a hit with adults and children alike include the wholesome Claypot Tofu 砂锅豆腐 ($8.70); silken tofu simmered with egg and pork balls, and Ya Hua Fish Soup 亞華 鱼汤 ($8.70); a winsome combination of sliced snakehead fish, fried garlic and chilli in Ya Hua’s signature pork bone soup.
Xing Lou Seafood White Bee Hoon 兴楼海鲜白米粉 (NEW)
Entering Singapore’s F&B scene for the first time at Food Opera, Xing Lou brings to locals a unique rendition of the popular white bee hoon dish. The stringy vermicelli is wok-fried to achieve a quintessential wok hei quality (heat imparted from the hot wok), and served in a comforting bath of shellfish gravy.
Customers can choose to have their white bee hoon crowned with their choice of crustaceans, including prawns, crayfish and even flower crabs. A veritable plate of umami goodness starts from just $6.90, inclusive of prawns and soft shell clams, while a set of prawns, crayfish, soft shell clams, scallops and flower crabs can be shared among three to four diners at $50.
Ah Yat Kitchen 阿一厨坊 (NEW)
A household name that harks back to the 1970s, Ah Yat has been widely-regarded as the master of abalone. From its humble beginnings in Hong Kong, the brand has crossed the seas to over 7 countries; bringing its much-lauded repertoire of abalone dishes and Cantonese favourites to a greater audience. Ah Yat prides itself on staying true to its Chinese culinary roots till today.
Its now-famed secret recipe abalone sauce, which has stood the test of time, is still the star ingredient of many signature dishes such as the Ah Yat Abalone Baked Rice 阿一鲍鱼焗饭 ($8.80); fragrant egg fried rice topped with succulent baby abalone and oven-baked.
Uncover other delightful gems such as Sliced Salt-Baked Chicken Rice or Fries 盐焗手撕鸡饭或薯条 ($6.50); a quarter-chicken serving of hand-pulled meat dressed with sesame oil and sesame seeds, Baked Spare Ribs Rice 京烤排骨饭 (6.50) and a nourishing Double-Boiled Spare Ribs Soup with Carrot & Corn 青红萝卜玉米炖排骨汤 ($5.50); brimming with the sweetness of tender meat and vegetables.
Scotts Hwa Heng Beef Noodles 華興牛肉面 (Exclusively at Food Opera)
Take a trip down memory lane with Scotts Hwa Heng Beef noodles which started out in the 1940s at a humble stall along Bain Street. Since then, it has moved three times – Singaporeans would most fondly remember its stint at the now-defunct Scotts Picnic, finally settling at Food Opera in 2010, its only outlet right now.
Dishing up piping hot bowls of Hainanese-style Beef Noodles 牛肉面 ($6); dry or soup versions are available, the stall has kept to its original proprietary recipe which has
nourished many generations of customers. Go for the Beef Noodles Combo Set Meal 牛肉面套餐 ($7.50) which includes a separate bowl of beef balls, or try the other specialties of Stir-fried Black Pepper Beef with Rice 干炒黑胡椒 牛肉配饭 ($9) and Stir-fried Beef Kway Teow 干炒牛肉粿条($8).
Riverside Indonesian BBQ 河畔印尼烧烤
First established in 1996, this humble 20-year-old Indonesian BBQ chain has expanded to six outlets located across Singapore. Each stall is typically flanked by a snaking queue of loyal customers hankering after its star dish, Ayam Panggang Set 烤鸡套餐 ($6.50); a whole chicken thigh marinated with Indonesian herbs, spices and a special Indonesian black sweet sauce before being grilled to smoky perfection.
Served with rice and homemade sambal chilli, this is the ideal dish to satiate any hunger pangs. Other tempting options on the menu are Ikan and Sotong Panggang (grilled fish and squid, $8.50 each).
Li Xin Teochew Fishball Noodles 立兴潮州鱼圆面
The secret to Li Xin’s amazing fishballs lies in ensuring two things – high quality; using top-grade yellowtail fish meat, and freshness; by keeping the fishballs chilled in cold water without ever freezing them. Second generation owner Mr. Eddie Lim, son of founder Lim Lee Seng says that this method has been used since his father’s time to keep the fishballs soft, bouncy and succulent.
Besides making the fishballs from scratch, the chilli sauce and crispy lard are all self-prepared as well. Staying true to his father’s legacy, Mr. Lim continues to use the same recipe that has made Li Xin Fish Ball Noodle 鱼圆面 ($5.50) so well loved since its opening at Toa Payoh Lorong 7 in 1968.
Padang Padang 印尼巴东饭
Hailing from Padang city in West Sumatra, this namesake cuisine is brought to Food Opera by the same people behind Java Kitchen, which owns and manages several eateries in Jakarta and Singapore. Key to the brand’s cooking philosophy is their use of only the best raw spices imported from Indonesia, which are painstakingly ground from scratch before being toasted over a slow fire to ensure their optimum taste and fragrance are drawn out.
At Food Opera, customers can anticipate a spread of mouthwatering meats and vegetables to mix and match with rice. All dishes are prepared daily to guarantee freshness, and contain no added MSG and preservatives – instead, quality ingredients and their own homemade spice blends are used to achieve rich flavours.
Some authentic Padangnese highlights not to be missed are the Ayam Kari ($3.50/drumstick or $5.50/quarter chicken); chicken curry simmered until tender in a medley of coconut milk and at least seven spices, and Ikan Assam Pedas ($3.50); an appetising sour-spicy dish of fresh stingray cooked with tamarind, lemongrass, and laksa leaves.
Other stalls at Food Opera include Fortunate Hong Kong Dim Sum 幸福饮茶香港手工点心, iFish Soup 爱鱼.鱼汤, Good Luck BBQ Chicken Wings 好运烧烤鸡翅膀, Thye Hong Fried Prawn Noodles 泰豐炒虾面, Guan Chee HK Roasted Duck 源记香港烧腊, Wen Wen Yong Tau Foo 文文酿豆腐, Jia Jia Le Cuisine 家家乐佳肴, Great World Noodle House 大世界面家, Pepper Lunch Express, Prata King 印度料理, Bangkok Gem 泰式料理, Lam’s Signatures 阿南经典, Sergeant Hainanese Chicken Rice 三巡海南鸡饭, Qiu Lian Traditional Ban Mee 秋莲传统板面, Shou Yi Fried Fritters 手義油条.豆浆, Queensway Lau Tan Tutu Kueh 女皇道老陳嘟嘟糕, Ice Shop 冰店, Juice Bar 果汁吧, and Hot & Cold 冷热饮料.
Food Opera @ ION Orchard
Address: 2 Orchard Turn #B4-03/04, Ion Orchard, Singapore 238801
Opening Hours: Sun to Thur and PH 10am to 10pm / Eve of PH, Fri to Sat 10am to 11pm