In the past, if one wanted to sample the cuisine of a certain country they would have to survey their city for a restaurant that caters to their desire at that moment and often time such an individual would only have that restaurant’s menu to choose from even when it turned out that only one or two dishes were worth it. With time, high-end restaurants began to create fusion dishes that simply gave a nod to a particular cuisine or style of cooking but maintained the palatable taste that was popular with their society. However, this came at a cost until food halls. So what are food halls?
Now before your mind runs to food courts simply being renamed please reign it in. Although they are similar, food courts are usually located within shopping complexes to keep shoppers from relocating in case of hunger. They are mostly a selection of long-existing chain restaurants probably franchises. They include each of the common preferences of the public, for example, Fast food, Asian, and European as their option to variety.
Food halls on the other hand are closer to a collection of food vendors along the same street and floor within a building each presenting their best work whether as a start-up restaurant, personal chef, or “home cook” almost as commonly seen in some Asian food markets. Food halls do not have dining options per se and eating may be shared such that one can in some cases simply pick a table card to locate a free space and have it booked for their meal. Food halls are equally sometimes located in shopping facilities but are more about the food itself. Great care is taken to spice up the eating experience with podcasts being played in some cases and even a full-service bar open until late. The owners of the food halls are more interested in how good the food tastes before partnering with a particular vendor than how much their name is known. In a food hall, it is not surprising to find mostly local food creators sometimes offering similar origin of food but each with a twist of its own. It is practically the experience of great chef-run service at a more affordable rate. Unlike food courts where franchise standards have to be maintained so ingredients may be shipped in partially made and packed, food halls boast of fresh ingredients with nearly everything being prepared on-site.
Food halls have taken eating to a new level making it possible for one to tailor their buffet. In some of these food halls, it is normal to carry your plate to as many stations as your appetite can contain simply swiping a card until a final cashier point where the overall bill is summed up. Picture having Cuban, Vietnamese, and Southern cuisine all on one plate, exciting isn’t it?
So with such high-quality chef-created food and lower rates, how do food halls stay afloat? The answer is in the volume of customers. Some food halls are located quite close to offices and prepare the food in optimized time so lunch and happy hours are flooded from every corner. Unlike certain independent restaurants that have had to close during the pandemic, food halls have survived and could play a major role in keeping start-up restaurateurs and smaller service providers surviving as the food halls are mostly owned by separate individuals in the real estate business with a love for great food or the profit that comes from it.
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