You probably just had your Wanton Mee, Mee Rebus, or Prata. The food hit all the right notes, and you couldn’t be happier. However, did you remember to thank the hawker who works tirelessly to serve you the same great food every day?
Fret not, most of us take our delectable Singapore local food for granted. In fact, we love our Singapore food, especially our local hawker food so much, that the saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach is the best description of us ever.
Our Love for Hawker Food
Without hesitation, we engage in discussions and debates over the best Bak Chor Mee, Indian Rojak, Nasi Lemak, and the list goes on. When the Michelin Guide came rolling around to Singapore, not only did we question their processes and decisions, we offered better suggestions, and even defended our own favourite hawkers.
It’s as if we were Smaug from The Hobbit that woke from a deep slumber. Singapore suddenly came abuzz with chatter and discussion about our pet topic – food.
Our Hawker Scene
However, what most of us Singaporeans fail to realise is that this beloved national hobby – eating good hawker food, may one day become a luxury. Just like the pasar malams that are far and few between, our dying local hawker scene is real. How many youths would willingly step up and pursue the career of a hawker?
A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way
Rather than talk pointlessly about this issue, we could instead, remind ourselves to thank our unsung hawker heroes! They are the ones whose cheeks are flushed from spending long hours next to the flame. Their rough but skillful hands have chopped many a dozen vegetables. Being a hawker is definitely no walk in the park. And it’s time we show our appreciation and thanks!
#uncagestreetfood by Tiger Beer
“Knowing that their efforts have not gone to waste and that their food is enjoyed and appreciated is what keeps our hawkers going,”
“And for all they do, it’s time to say thank you.”
Taking the lead to remind us of our hawkers’ hard work, Tiger Beer has provided Singaporeans the perfect opportunity and platform for us to express our gratitude. This film of Mdm Wong from Hong Kong Roast Pork at Pek Kio Hawker Centre flawlessly encapsulates the effort and dedication it takes to be a great hawker.
Mdm Wong doesn’t just stop at dishing out warm plates of great hawker food; she goes the extra mile to provide food coupons to senior citizens. Fully aware that some elderly in the neighbourhood struggle to pay for their food at times, she allows them to exchange the coupon for a free meal at her stall.
Mdm Wong walks the talk by giving back to society. Surely, you can too, by just thanking a hawker and taking a photo!
Show Your Love to Our Unsung Heroes With a Message
Tiger Beer makes it easy for us to show our heartfelt appreciation to hawkers like Mdm Wong. All we have to do is take a photo of our favourite hawker fare, share it on social media with a thank you message, and include #uncagestreetfood.
Who are the hawkers who serve you daily? Could it be that friendly uncle at the Prata stall under your block who greets you with a smile every morning? Or the generous auntie at the nearby mixed vegetable rice store who gives you an extra portion of steamed egg because you’re a regular customer?
An Epic Food Trial Journey to Start You Off
Not sure how you should kick start this movement to show gratitude to our hawkers? How about exploring Pek Kio Hawker Centre, where Mdm Wong has her stall?This food centre is known for its wide variety of scrumptious local fare.
Cambridge Rd Hong Kong Roast Pork (#01-08)
Pop by Mdm Wong’s stall first to say hello! Her signature roast pork rice is succulent and crispy. We heard that there’s a lunch queue at times, so be prepared for some waiting.
Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles (#01-15)
This store is famous for their aromatic prawn noodle soup, served with their signature large and juicy prawns. The soup has a delicious depth of flavour that doesn’t overwhelm, even when you’re on your second bowl!
Operating hours: 7.30am to 2pm (Closed on Monday and Tuesday)
Prices start from $5
Hong Kong Style Chee Cheong Fun (#01-25)
If you’re craving handmade, silky Chee Cheong Fun with just the right amount of bite, look no further. There’s a reason why this store only sells Chee Cheong Fun. It’s just that good! Take a leap of faith and order the creative renditions of this local dish: Chee Cheong Fun filled with char siew, prawns, scallops, and even Abalone.
Operating hours: 6.30am to 1.30pm (Closed on Alternate Wednesdays)
Prices range from $3-$16.80 per plate
Sheng Seng Hokkien Mee (#01-40)
Their springy noodles are slick with flavourful, viscous gravy. You’ll probably spot this store immediately thanks to its long queue, so be sure to get there early before this plate of steaming goodness sells out!
Operating hours: 11.30am to 5pm (Closed on Mondays)
Tong Siew Fried Rice (#01-23)
With three crowd-pleasing dishes: fried rice, hor fun and oyster omelette, you’re spoilt for choice! Famous for their quality and their quantity, Tong Siew Fried Rice stall offers very generous portions for all these dishes at an affordable price. The must-try of this stall is definitely their namesake – the Fried Rice. We heard that the crunchy texture of the ikan bilis perfectly complements the soft and fragrant rice!
Operating hours: 12.30pm to 12mn
Hor Fun ($2.50), Fried Rice ($4) and Oyster Omelette ($4)
Tiger Street Food Support Fund
The above are but a few picks from Singapore’s wide palette of hawker stalls. In a bid to keep this proud and roaring flame alive, Tiger Singapore has set up a fund to encourage aspiring hawkers to enter the trade.
20 cents from each 6-can pack of beer purchased will be channelled to the Tiger Street Food Support Fund. This fund helps hawkers to offset start up costs. Budding hawkers can apply for this fund from now till 15th November. Successful applicants will receive up to SGD $10,000 funding from Tiger Beer!
Go Nuts for Local Businesses!
Mmm… That familiar crunchy, salty and spicy goodness of Nasi Lemak’s sambal peanut and ikan billis is no stranger to us! Tiger Beer has also collaborated with local nut brand, Camel, to bring a cool twist to this local creation.
This limited edition Nasi Lemak Sambal Flavoured Nuts can be purchased at convenience stores with a purchase of two 500ml cans of Tiger Beer. It’s available from now to 30th September 2016!
You can also indulge in this exclusive packet of nuts with a purchase of draught beer or a bucket of Tiger Beer from 1st September to 31st October 2016 at select bars and pubs.
Thank Your Hawker
Knowing the sweat and toil that each hawker goes through only makes them more admirable. The story of Mdm Wong certainly pulls at our heartstrings. However, her tale is but one in Singapore’s multitude of hawkers. Our everyday hawkers lead different lives, and face different challenges and difficulties. We’ll probably never have the privilege of being in their shoes.
The next time you receive your local street food, don’t forget to thank your hawker! For now to 8 September, also take a picture of your hawker food before you dig in! Join in the fun and upload the picture to social media. Include #uncagestreetfood, and your picture may be included in a Tiger Beer video! It’ll be a collective thank you to those who keep our great food and unique hawker culture alive.
After all, a little thanks goes a long way, and it just may be long enough to secure an enduring hawker heritage for our country.