Singapore’s food culture is ultimately revolve around Hawker centers that enhances and embraces its national heritage and identity through its sharing authentic street food to the public in affordable prices. After World War II, street hawking was in its thrive to attribute towards high unemployment rates, which many families therefore took upon in their behalf. This was to provide for their families work in the low capital investment and skills, as the demand is cheap and affordable to continue in Singapore’s independence. These Hawker centers are basically open air accessible spaces that contain many stalls in selling traditional cuisines to connect the significance of different cultures together in harmony through social interaction and community bonding. As president of Civic Group My Community, Kwek Li mentions “Hawker centers serve as third space for community bonding, where people interact and create shared memories and experiences.” (Ming En 2016). With the amount of capitalistic tendencies, it thrives the industry of food and beverage in Singapore and a way of consuming the rise of tourism. The locals are considered as specialists in their own cuisine establishing their own non-homogeneity in their local histories and individualism. The recipes are highly important and regarded within their family and it remains a strong piece of their identity to continue their mark within society. As Randy Chan and Jolene Lee suggests “the face behind each wok” (Chan & Lee, 2017). It also celebrates the differentiation of foods that have been bought down through many generations, which contrasts each store to represented in their own traditional way.
Nevertheless, several factors and considerations extremely generate a range of threats, which pushes the Hawker trade in decline with a fear of losing familiar flavors, family names and faces. This disrupts the community around them and their familiarity of routine, as they contribute a massive part of how a Singaporean will live, since food is their everyday practice to receive their daily meals. As Jeraldine describes how Hawker centres represent to a Singaporean as he suggests that the food is “affordable, good quality and delicious local food made by entrepreneurial Singaporeans.” (Jeraldine, 2015).
Although costly factors are mostly the bridge of decreasing Hawker stalls, which include:
- High Rental Costs: The profits that Hawkers are able to produce are not enough to cover their operational costs as well as their rent to keep their stall open. According to the business owner, Mr Koh Long Swee he establishes that the rent has increased from $4,800 to $6500. (Loh, 2014).
- High Price of Ingredients: The rising cost of ingredients effects on what the hawkers are able to produce by cutting out traditional ways of presenting and cooking their meals. Hence why, some meals may be repeated with similar herbs and spices to maintain low costs.
- Passing Over the Stall: These days, Hawkers find it difficult to find stall assistants due to short supply of them reluctant to work long hours for a low salary. It affects the next generation of passing over the business, but most of them want to achieve their own career in a different industry. As Mr Koh says, “This is a family business, so we’re hoping our children will take over. But the younger generation may not like it because there are daily tasks and small errand to run.” (Loh, 2014).
From observing all these factors, coming up with a service that will work parallel with Hawker centers around Singapore is a way to never interfere the hawker’s traditional ways and gaining them profit and promoting their stalls to a wider range of consumers. Therefore our brand “Hawkeround” is functionally committed on the basis of accessibility to deliver an easygoing service that enquires through all Hawker centers in Singapore. The service brings upon the use of the application that can be downloaded in the app store, which is linked to a website for a more versatile experience for the user. Our service allows our customers to select a range of different cuisines such as Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, Thai, Malaysian, Italian, Korean, Nepalese and many more. And then to experience and indulge in Singaporean’s finest street food in their very own homes with home-cooked meals at reasonable prices. With our app and website, the campaign is to advocate the significance of Singapore’s heritage and culture by allowing to bring upon education towards the communities and especially the younger generation.
The future is seeking bright for the hawkers as it will allow our business to grow strong with them, since in 2016 the government is planing to build 17 more Hawker centers by 2027 in order to sustain Singapore’s Hawker culture. Today there are more than 14,000 licensed hawkers operating in 109 hawker centers here, which 6,000 are selling food. The Hawker Centre 3.0 Committee will promote to improve productivity, hygiene and the vibrancy of the hawker centres for tourists and the community around them. Therefore it will bring more consumers to allow themselves to experience these hawkers centers in their own way, while “Hawkeround” will be able to adapt to these changes with the increase of consumer demand and the increase range of cuisines that will be available.
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