Maintain ingredients of traditional hawker centre

SOCIAL enterprise NTUC Foodfare manages the new Bedok hawker centre at Block 208B, New Upper Changi Road.

However, most of the food there is sold at prices higher than those at other hawker centres managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA).

A bowl of prawn noodles sells for $3.50 to $5, and a canned drink can cost as much as $1.40.

In contrast, the prawn noodle seller at Ghim Moh hawker centre charges a flat rate of $2 per bowl, and at Eunos hawker centre, a higher-end can of apple drink is just $1.10.

The food quality at the Bedok hawker centre is only average and the food offerings lack traditional fare such as Chinese pancakes.

The NEA has sought organisations to manage hawker centres on a not-for-profit basis ("Not-for-profit model sought for 4 food centres"; Jan 4, 2014).

Given that the Government is planning to build more new hawker centres in the next 12 years ("10 more hawker centres to be built"; last Thursday), I hope the quality and price of food will be maintained.

Perhaps the NEA could commission a panel to study how owners of privately-owned stalls can run their businesses with good food and affordable prices.

It should also set aside smaller stalls at lower rentals in newly renovated hawker centres for low-revenue food, such as Chinese pancake, you tiao, roti prata, chin chow and soya bean drinks.

Such fare is what makes a traditional hawker centre.

Aaron Ang Chin Guan

This article was first published on March 16, 2015.
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