Glorious Food!

When makan with pals and in an environment safe, hygienic & affordable, chemistry happens, and the challenges of the day melt away as we relax and bond over a great meal.

In Singapore, our food range is humongous and caters for a wide price range but most people living here will have at least a daily meal at one of 114 NEA-managed Hawker Centers where appx 80% of our hawkers have their stalls. The remaining 20% hawkers operate at the privately-operated Kopitiams or air-conditioned Food Courts.

What is unique about the Hawker Culture here is the wide acceptance by the citizenry to have halal and non-halal food stalls next to each other including the sharing of the same table by all the different races when diners have their meals. Everyone makes space for each other and it has become a natural habit to be mindful of each other’s dietary and religious needs when dining together. That the food taste great, prepared and served in a hygienic manner & then made widely available and affordable (ranges from S$3 to $6 for most meals) explains why many look forward to returning and trying out new stalls.

How was this made possible?

A key decision taken by the post independence Cabinet to optimize land use in land scarce Singapore in the 1960s saw many hawkers who were plying their trade on the crowded streets and open spaces move to dedicated, purpose built hawker centers from the early 1970s. By the mid 1980s, it was illegal for hawkers to sell cooked food except at approved buildings with proper dining and sanitation infrastructure. Given the racial mix of its citizenry, policies implemented sought to integrate a culture of respecting & living with the diversity, ensured stall owners and diners cooked and ate together within the same Hawker Center, Kopitiam or air-conditioned Food Courts.

Why seek UNESCO recognition?

In Aug 2018, PM Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Speech announced that Singapore formally applied to UNESCO to recognize the special contribution of its Hawker Culture to bind harmoniously its multi-cultural society by serving as the community’s dining space for all its people.

When will UNESCO decide?

Many in Singapore are looking forward to UNESCO formally endorsing the Hawker Culture in Singapore as a Cultural Heritage before this Christmas which would go a long way in elevating the status of hawkers in Singapore, affirm continuity of a much cherish way of life and perhaps encourage more tourists to visit, extend their stay and sample more of our beloved hawker food.

Shahida, Martha, Munir & Harry may come from different racial & religous background but they are all Singaporeans first & foremost, & yes, love of food certainly has a way of binding its people together.

Wedang makes great Malayu cuisine!

Koothura Nasi Briyani is so very sedap!

Chef Choo’s Pastas are outstanding!

Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice sets the bar!

POTUS-elect Joe Biden made a visit to Adam Road Food Center in 2013 when he was Vice-President.

Photo Credits to The Straits Times

PM Lee Hsien Loong & his family knows where to charek great makan at our Hawker Centers.

Photo Credits to Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean