Following the astonishing success of Don Don Donki flagship branch at Orchard Gateway, the group has embarked on their rapid expansion of their Japanese lifestyle stores right into the Singapore Heartlands. Come Don Don Donki 100am Mall, their first of such stores right in Tanjong Pagar region at Tras street.
Donki in the Heartland
This new Don Don Donki is situated in 100 am mall just beside the Tanjong Pagar Amara Singapore and adjacent HDB estates. Also, it is within walking distance to the iconic Pinnacle at Duxton housing estate residential building.
Moreover, 100am mall is otherwise known as the “Little Japan” mall. This is largely due to the large Japanese Expatriate population who frequent the neighborhood. Here, you find an extensive Japanese restaurant floor and its very own Daiso on the top floor. You may remember my last visit to 100am Mall being a visit to the largely famous Keisuke Ramen Tori King restaurant. The store here is noticeably quieter and smaller in footprint too.
Shopping over 2 floors
The outlet occupies both the second and third floors of the mall as an major anchor tenant. Also, notably unlike the 24 hr Orchard Gateway branch, this Don Don Donki opens up till midnight daily. Moreover, with this being their second store, Don Don Donki brought what was tried and tested in their first Orchard store down to a level more tailored to Singapore shopper tastes.
The second floor sells mostly dry products. Selections here includes cosmetics/beauty products to household items to quirky cosplay costumes. In line with pure Japanese tradition, the store includes a “health and wellness” section including an assortment of Tengas sextoys. Out of the lifestyle section is the first part of the supermarket.
Alcohol and chocolates
Here, you can find mostly sweets and chocolates here. You can also find an assortment of bottled fried snacks, such as crispy squid which are Japanese delicacies. If Japanese Alcohol is what you are after, behind glass doors sits an extensive Suntory malt whisky selection. Prices range from $1,000 to even $6,880 for a 25 year old 700ml bottle.
If something less potent is what you desire, they sell Sake flavored Kit-Kat, something which is never commonly available in Singapore.
Disappointingly, this branch does not have a toy section. We saw that disappear in the Orchard gateway branch, reduced to a tiny section deserving to the amount of sales it brings to the store. Given the small store footprint, the store here at 100 am is rather cramped, with shelves stacked full and high within a small space. There is quite alot of stuff in a small space.
Fresh food Supermarket
Furthermore, the entire upper third floor is devoted to just the supermarket. The supermarket section is pretty extensive. You can tell that food stuff is Don Don Donki’s primary sales mover. I do dig the funny cartoon donpen illustration they have with each product section.
The fresh food section comprise a mix of frozen and chilled product. Selections are not limited to just dairy products, but drinks and of course staples such as Fruits and vegetables. They are surprisingly fresh and well priced.
On top of fresh vegetable produce, you can find your selection of Wagyu grade beef fillets, as well as those for Shabu Shabu. We had first saw this at Orchard, it is nice to see them mirrored here.
Also, topping up the food section are aisles of dried food, with sauces, condiments, as well as rice and noodles. You can find a mixed selection of Singapore brand favorites (like Kikkoman) as well as varieties of choices imported from Japan.
No queues for Sweet Potatoes
Moreover, out of the store boundaries is a small separate shop on the third floor also rented out and operated by Don Don Donki. They sell cooked food behind food stands. Additionally, there are also some interior seating here with tables.
Furthermore, if you are a Donki Sweet Potato addict, I am pleased to report that these flavorful sizable snacks are also made and sold here. Additionally, this branch has hardly any queues for the famously sought after Sweet potatoes. There are always ready stocks and I never had to stand or wait in a queue to obtain one. They are similarly sold at $2.80 a piece in paper bag wraps as well as Tako Maccha and Kinako balls in this food corner.
Strange store layout
The strange thing is that upon collecting your food, you make payment not directly here but at the regular supermarket checkout counters. Which leads me to highlight a thing I found confusing about this layout is the store’s open concept. Here, items on sale spills out of the storefront boundaries. It is uncanny to find unsold items displayed for sale out beyond the sensor boundaries. It might be difficult to police such a store layout.
Moreover, the store has dedicated entry and exits on both floors. To most shoppers, this is mostly a guideline than a regulation. Most people will simply just enter from the nearest exit anyway. Also, the store regularly blasts the catchy but rather annoy looping Don Don Donki theme music. It sticks in your brain after leaving the store.
Also, at this point of writing, it is said that the store is looking to embark on an ambitious strategy to expand beyond a second store, possibly in another heartland part of Singapore. I do hope that won’t lead to over expansion and dilute the chain’s exclusivity.
All in all, Don Don Donki at 100am offers the convenience of Japanese shopping right in heart of Tanjong Pagar. This outlet caters to a more targeted Japanese Expat population, delivering what is great from the first branch. It is just a pity the store is tad cramped and small in some areas, but nonetheless still good for a good night out till late.
Don Don Donki 100AM
100 Tras St, Level 2 and 3,
Opening Hours: 9am to midnight daily