In August 2018, Singapore announced its intention to nominate Hawker Culture in Singapore for the 2003 UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity. Since then, various communities, groups and individuals have contributed and participated in the preparation of the nomination.
Here is a selection of some of the many creative forms of contributions in support of Hawker Culture in Singapore.
Letters of Support
From hawkers’ associations to community groups, NGOs and private organisations, we’ve received over 200 letters of support for the nomination of Hawker Culture.
From projects to paintings, students have come up with creative ways to express their love for Hawker Culture.
People’s Association Youth Movement
Changi Airport Group Singapore Pte Ltd (CAG) has pledged its support for Singapore’s nomination of ‘Hawker Culture in Singapore’ to be included in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage through the provision of complimentary media spaces at various locations at Singapore Changi Airport Terminals. These spaces will be used to raise greater awareness of Singapore’s well-loved Hawker Culture amongst Singaporeans and visitors to our shores.
About Changi Airport Group
Changi Airport was corporatised on 1 July 2009. Changi Airport Group (CAG) was formed to undertake key functions, focusing on airport operations and management, air hub development, commercial activities and Airport Emergency Services. CAG also manages Seletar Airport and through its subsidiary Changi Airports International, invests in and manages foreign airports.
The world’s seventh busiest airport for international traffic, Changi Airport served a record 65.6 million passenger from around the globe. The airport’s latest gem, Jewel Changi Airport, opened in April 2019 and now attracts millions of visitors every month. Including Jewel, Changi Airport’s retail and dining offerings total more than 500 stores and over 260 F&B outlets. With over 100 airlines connecting Singapore to 380 cities worldwide, Changi Airport handles about 7,400 flights every week, or about one every 80 seconds.
More than 3,000 photos were shared with #OurHawkerCulture, showing just how much Singaporeans love their Hawker Culture!
Video of Consent
25 hawkers from the hawkers’ associations that are members of The Federation of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore (FMAS), lent their voices in support for the nomination of Hawker Culture
A Day in the Life of Our Hawker Centres
A Day in the Life of Our Hawker Centres photography exhibition chronicles the 24-hour journey of five photographers at fivc different hawkwe centres. It presents a visual first-hand account of the hard work, dedication and passion as well as the people who keep Singapore’s hawker culture thriving. The images displayed at the exhibition are captioned by KF Seetoh of Makansutra.
A collaboration between the Ministry of Communications and Information, Makansutra and five photographers – Wilson Wong, Alex Ortega, Lawrence Teo, Francis. Lee and Ronald Low.
Telok Blangah Rise Market & Food Centre
4.30am – Who eats curry rice at 4.30am? Singaporeans! The rules on eating culture here is…no rules.
4.40am – The darker the night, the nearer the dawn and the early hawker catches the worm. At 4am and breakfast is ready at Tekka Market & Food Centre.
5/02am – Before the popular S-Hoook Ah Lian and online food services, there was and still is, the trusty S-Hook kopi/teh delivery boy.
Telok Blangah Rise & Food Centre
6am – The Telok Blangah Rise Food Centre is one of the smallest, but it proudly serves the needs of the little and ardent community there.
Tekka Centre 6.12am
6.12am 0 The roti prata is mashed with such intensity and speed in order to release its flavours. It fluffs the crispiness and maximises customers enjoyment. It’s the little touches a hawker introduce toplease the masses that makes their food so endearing/
Fengshan Bedok 85 8am
8.00am – An extract of our hawker centres. Keeping a constant watch on the environmental needs and demands of the public is also a priority of the government agency tasked to oversee the centres.
Chinatown Complex Food Centre 8.52am
8.52am – Table reservations version 1.1. Place a bag or your cuppa on a table and it’s reserved for you! No questions asked.
Fengshan Bedok 85 9.24am
9.24am – There is a rich online sea of information about our hawkers. You just need to get online to know what, who, where and why. Many will concur and hence, the patient wait for this bowl of bak chor mee or minced meat noodles.
Chinatown Complex Food Centre 10.51am
10.51am – Over decades, generations of Singaporeans have been fed and raised over comfort food at the hawker centres. The faces and tastes have changed but it’s still the same story.
Tekka Centre 11.08am
11.08am – The Singapore hawker food culture makes this wall invisible. There are no barriers that dictate what Singaporeans love to eat at the hawkers.
Tekka Centre 11.42am
11.42am – They may not know each other but when help is needed, there are no strangers. Ramps are compulsory structures in all hawker centres to facilitate the physically challenged as they too, have a need for good and affordable food.
Tekka Centre - 11.47am
11.47am – 40 years in the business and only 40 cents today. Despite operating in one of the most expensive and progressive cities in the world, there is a large number of humble hawkers who still offer their traditional fare for their budget-conscious regulars.
Telok Blangah Rise Market & Food Centre, 12.11pm
12.11pm – Hawkers do not usually have time to wash plates and cutleries at peak hours. They just buy and use enough to serve them all at mealtime, and wash up during the lull hours.
Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 12.36pm
12.36pm – The BBC calls Singapore created Prosperity Yushenh Raw Fish Salad as the ultimate Chinese New Year dish that bonds the people. It is only apt that we have them at the hawker centres, no-frills, affordable, and where you can let your hair down and tuck in.
East Coast Lagoon Food Village, 1.28pm
1.28pm – It’s Ugly-licious but there is a section of the population that seeks maximum artery-clogging pleasures from hawkers that fulfill their desires – braised pig trotters is a classic Teochew dish.
Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 4.42pm
4.42pm – Automation is widely encouraged by the government at the hawker stalls, but it’s hard to replace the fiery skills of the wok master in a hawker kitchen.
Tekka Centre, 6.39pm
6.39pm – A Valentine’s meal at the humble hawker centre is not about candlelight, roses nor wines. It’s the pleasure of being together and sharing a comforting snack of vadai and dahl.
East Coast Lagoon Food Village, 7.24pm
7.24pm – Over 70 items from an extended hawker stall. “Give them what they want.” is the mantra of every “thinking’ hawker.
Fengshan Bedok 85, 7.28pm
7.28pm – Slowly but surely, old becomes gold again. The tingkat or tiffin makes a comeback. It makes sense – no extra bowls needed at home, yet it brings the family together for a meal.
Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 7.57pm
7.57pm – “A hawker centre is my number one go-to place for bringing any of my foreign friends!” A very popular refrain from Singaporeans.
Fengshan Bedok 85, 7.59pm
7.59pm – “What to eat ah?”, is a common refrain and a nice problem at every hawker centre. The absolute range and variety are mind-boggling. There are easily 500 items in an average hawker centre with 80-100 stalls.
East Coast Lagoon Food Village, 8.26pm
8.26pm – Spicy BBQ Crabs – hawker food in Singapore is not limited to fried noodles, fried rice nor food truck burgers – it is forward-thinking street cuisine, in so many ways.
Telok Blangah Rise Market & Food Centre, 8.35pm
8.35pm = Fast and steady, head cook Steven Lee of Top Best Chinese Cuisines is able to fire up 77 items in his menu to satisfy the fussy diners with just 3 woks. Hawkers like him are cool-headed yet fast and furious in the little kitchen.
East Coast Lagoon Food Village, 8.37pm
8.37pm – Music and Food, or hawker food and busking – two pleasures that bonds people – done in its rawest form at the East Coast Lagoon Food Village.
Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 8.43pm
8.43pm – There is nothing more Singaporean than having a birthday bash at the hawker centre. When asked why, “Well, where else can you get a choice of good food and craft beers at affordable prices and all at one location! And my mom baked this cake for me!” was the heartening response.
Fengshan Bedok 85, 9.18pm
9.18pm – There’s colour in their hairstyles, skin tone, culture, and even language, but the bond between this hawker and a cleaner, is colourless, it’s pure friendship.
Tekka Centre, 9.43pm
9.43pm – Hawker Centres are never boring nor is it just a feeding frenzy centre. You will find friendly Singaporeans of all colours and in all manners of style. Can you imagine the story this man harbours.
Fengshan Bedok 85, 10.11pm
10.11pm – It’s common practice to share tables at the hawker centres. There are no strangers here, just friends we have yet to know.