Jan 7, 2016
Emporium Shokuhin is the newest integrated Japanese food shopping and dining destination in Singapore. It includes a Japanese gourmet grocer, a live seafood market, a beef dry-aging facility, and eight dining concepts. CEO Lim Li Wei tells us all about his latest project and his passion for Japanese produce.
The Japanese dining scene in Singapore has always been a burgeoning one, with new restaurants and dining concepts entering the market all the time. However, never before has there been one as unique as Emporium Shokuhin. Sprawled across 34,000 square feet at Marina Square’s new lifestyle and dining wing, this is Singapore’s latest food shopping and dining destination. So how did CEO Lim Li Wei, who is also the man behind the popular Shin Kushiya restaurants in Singapore, come up with the idea?
“I’ve been a regular visitor to Japan for the past 25 years and every time I’m there, I enjoy visiting the markets, supermarkets, and grocers. I wanted to bring a similar experience to shoppers in Singapore – quality produce at affordable prices and in a pleasant ambience.”
One of the highlights of Emporium Shokuhin is the Ehime specialties corner, which is a permanent showcase of fresh produce and products from the Ehime Prefecture. Being the top citrus producer in Japan, Ehime is renowned for its sweet mikans (mandarin oranges), and seasonal varieties are flown in regularly. For Lim, he’s particularly excited about the mikan-buri (yellowtail) and sea bream. He says, “These fish have been fed with mikan, which adds a unique citrus note to the flavour. The feedback we’ve gotten from customers so far have been fantastic.”
Ehime Prefecture also holds a special place in Lim’s heart, as it is also the place where he had some of his best travel memories. “My favourite places in Ehime Prefecture are its capital, Matsuyama, as well as Imabari, one of the smaller cities. On a recent visit, I stayed at one of the local ryokans (inns) and enjoyed the best uni (sea urchin) and ika (squid) I’ve ever had. The people in Ehime are also extremely friendly and open, which left a deep impression on me.”
Another thing that left a deep impression on Lim was the streamlined and orderly way the Japanese conduct business. He says, “At Emporium Shokuhin, a lot of our backend processes have been adapted from the Japanese. We are very system oriented, and follow a stringent set of standard operating procedures, especially when it comes to food handling.”
Although Emporium Shokuhin has only been open for a few months, it has already found favour with the general public – from locals to expats and the Japanese community in Singapore. In the near future, Lim has his sights on going regional. Lim is confident that a concept like Emporium Shokuhin will be popular in other metropolitan cities such as Melbourne or Shanghai. He says, “Because of its focus on freshness and good quality, Japanese food and culture is something that is universally appreciated.”
(TEXT VANESSA TAI)
#01-18 Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard
Tel: 6221 4333