There is nothing stopping the wave that is Don Don Donki. Just this month, the Japanese establishment recently opened their newest and 6th establishment in the heart of Clark Quay. Let’s check it Don Don Donki Central mall with a visit today!
The unit is tucked in the basement of Clark Quay Central. You can access it directly from the surface level via escalators leading down to basement 1. You can do so from the outdoor Starbucks outlet alongside the roadside bus stop of the Central Mall. Also, its locality right beside the buzzing Clark Quay makes the outlet a very viable night visitation point after club activities or grabbing a drink.
A Donki trip down memory lane
A run through down memory lane. Don Don Donki opened their first branch at Orchard Gateway back when we explored it in 2017. Thereafter, they hinted of a rapid expansion plan and proceeded to open 2 more branches following in 2018 at 100am mall and City Square mall. A few months back, we checked out their newest branch at Square 2 in Novena. Excluding the Sweet Potato Factory store at Changi Airport T3, just this month Donki opened their 5th supermarket here at Central mall in Clark Quay.
Moreover, like the outlets before, this Don Don Donki is a supermarket and food related only focused outlet. On opening hours, similarly, like their first flagship outlet at Orchard Gateway, this branch is opened 24 hours a day. Notably, the store’s main entrance is demarcated by large Arrow-holding Don Pen cardboard signs, you can’t miss where it is.
Supermarket Food Business as usual
Moreover, you enter the supermarket right into the fresh and frozen food areas. Interesting finds include premium Japanese fruits set. A box comprising of premium air-flown Japanese grapes and Apples can cost you in the range of $78 to $100 a set. It can be quite a rather expensive offering indeed which I wonder would float the likes of cost-conscious bargain hunters here.
Also, notably, you can purchase a Japanese watermelon (round type) at $58. An expensive premium over $5 Malaysian watermelons you can find in your local Fairprice or Giant supermarket.
Furthermore, you get regular staples such as Wagyu beef selections as well as thinly sliced Shabu Shabu platters you can simply buy and use straightaway at home.
Moreover, you also get freezer loads of their premium frozen Alaskan crab meats too. You can get them by the slab stacks of sticks.
Additionally, the store follows a pretty linear layout though there are multiple entrances and exits. Nearing to the end of the supermarket just before the checkout counters are the sections of dry food, such as snacks, gum sweets, sauces as well as ramen noodles. Moreover, you can even find rare flavour selections of Kit-kat here such as Azuki Bean (Sweet Bean Jelly) too. They are sold in 12 Mini Bar boxes.
Interesting finds includes a large hot food section dedicated to ready to eat bento sets, as well as regularly stocked cold chillers of Sushi and Sashimi.
More emphasis on food, less on others
Furthermore, consumer habits and preferences had a big factor to play in what Don Don Donki offers in their stores. There is more emphasis on more sellable items such as supermarket foods. This branch has a small toy, health and cosplay costume section. Notable mention along with it comes with the peculiarities of these sections from our past visits. However, we can see from the downsizing of these sections in other Don Don Donki outlets that non-food merchandise often do not sell as well as food and edible items.
Also, the drinks section is well stocked with a large selection of coffees, teas and soft drinks. Here, notable items includes rare coffee blends and flavours from Pokka. The liquor section is out at full force here too. There is an extensive Sake section as well as a few premium offerings behind glass cabinets.
Moreover, there is a mix of serviced and self-checkout counters for you to check out. Queues were long during my visit by it was very fast moving, you hardly need to wait longer than 10 minutes for a 10 meter long queue.
The exit of this Don Don Donki outlet follows a familiar exit arrangement, with a Gashapon wall as well as a mini-arcade UFO-catcher play area elevated on a raised platform overlooking the checkout counters. The supermarket exits into the establishment food court area.
Food court section
It also leads into the Don Don Donki Japanese food court. You can find a variety of Japanese stales here such as Doraya and Aburi serving mixes of beef and pork bowls. Notably, the Food court opens from 11am till 11pm daily.
Interestingly, on top the food court, there is a Donki drinks bar as well as a Teppanyaki cooking area beside it. they all look segmented and appear to be independent from the main food court area.
Also, to go with this funny separation of sections, notably, the health and cosmetic section strangely sits in a separate section from the main supermarket area. Almost the entire basement of Central mall is occupied by the outlet. However, navigating the newest outlet is quite a no-brainer, though you have to get yourself around multiple entrance points. Serving the basement is a common walkway which links the various entrance and exits of the outlet. You can also find a dedicated store selling finger bite-sized sweet potato tidbits too.
Notably, its location at Clark Quay central mall is smacked right in the heart of Clark Quay and bit too close to the Medi-ya outlet at Liang Court.
It is nice that Don Don Donki is able to breathe life into what an otherwise quiet part of the shopping center. Prior to Don Don Donki rooting a foothold in the building’s basement, this part of Central mall is literally a dead town at night. Most of the basement food outlet only opened mostly during office hours. That changes now with this new anchor tenant. And they are showing no show down in their relentless expansion, opening at least an outlet every 6 months till they entered the Singapore market in 2017.
All in all, looks like there is no stopping the wave of the Don Pen the penguin. With this outlet, Don Don Donki is banging on their tried and tested model with the goal of bringing affordable Japanese food items to the masses, at a good price.