When a steaming plate of Chai Tow Kway is presented to us Singaporeans, we are probably consumed by the thought of gobbling it up. However, the scrumptious local dishes we enjoy and relish are the fruit of our Hawkers’ labour. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to take a walk in the shoes (or rather, rubber boots!) of our local hawkers?
A Tale of Two Hawkers
Mdm Wang Li Er and Ms Deniece Tan are amongst two of our country’s hawkers. While most of us still lie in bed sleeping, these two individuals are up to prepare for the bustling day ahead even before the sun rises!
Let’s go behind-the-scenes and uncover the various tasks, joys, and tales that pepper the days of a Singaporean Hawker.
Mdm Wang from Cambridge Rd Hong Kong Roast Pork
Think of Mdm Wang as Chef Gustav from Ratatoullie – she’s a seasoned hawker and a veteran in the Hawker scene. Having run her stall, Cambridge Rd Hong Kong Roast Pork, for years, Mdm Wang is certainly familiar with the tough labour associated with the Hawker trade.
Tolerating the unbearable heat from standing next to the fire all day. Replenishing dishes as they run out. Washing the plates and bowls at the end of the day. Can you imagine doing this everyday
These are tasks that have become part and parcel of Mdm Wang’s life, yet she enduringly carries them out!
Going The Extra Mile
Mdm Wang doesn’t stop at her hawker duties. She also goes the extra mile to give back to the community.
She takes a little bit of time each day to print and distribute food coupons to the elderly, as some of them simply cannot afford meals. These coupons can then be exchanged for a free meal at her stall.
Talk about an unsung hero- Mdm Wang’s story certainly tugs at our heartstrings.
Preparing and distributing these coupons on top of her regular job may be tough physically and financially, but Mdm Wang finds it very fulfilling. In her eyes, helping others brings her more happiness than money can buy!
Deniece Tan From Truly Test Kitchen
Deniece didn’t start off as an aspiring hawker. In fact, this 27-year-old was a regular working adult. Having graduated with a degree in business, Deniece landed a prestigious job in foreign exchanging banking. Ultimately, she knew her heart belonged somewhere else.
Deniece’s father, Mr Tan, had owned a hawker stall selling curry rice since she was little. Indeed, Deniece was brought up with good local home-cooked food. In a bold (and shocking!) move, she left a job with enviable career prospects and started Truly Test Kitchen to continue her father’s legacy.
It was a 360-degree change for her. However, Deniece has never regretted her decision. To her, the early mornings and hard work are but small sacrifices as she chases her dream!
“There’s just so much joy and satisfaction when you see that you have made so many people happy”, said the inspiring 27-year-old with a smile.
Show Your Love to Local Hawkers With a Message
Being a hawker is often a thankless job. Think about it: when was the last time you showed appreciation to them for all their hard work? Tiger Beer makes it easy for us to show our gratitude to hawkers like Mdm Wang and Deniece Tan.
A little thanks goes a long way for our hawkers who toil day and night to deliver our favourite local dishes to us! 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.
Tiger Street Food Support Fund
In a bid to keep this proud and roaring flame for local food alive, Tiger Singapore has set up a fund to encourage aspiring hawkers like Deniece to enter the trade. It can be hard to grapple with costs for an inexperienced hawker, so that’s where Tiger’s Street Food Support Fund comes in!
20 cents from each 6-can pack of beer purchased will be channelled to the Tiger Street Food Support Fund. 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!
Hawkers aren’t the only local businesses that propel our nation’s food culture: Local food brands do too!
Tiger has partnered with local nut brand, Camel, to launch the limited edition Nasi Lemak Sambal Flavoured Nuts! You know, the salty, crunchy and spicy ikan billis and peanuts that we know and love? It 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.
Food For Thought
Being a hawker is no easy life. That is why our Hawker heritage needs preserving. A small gesture of appreciation from you and me, like thanking them and flashing a smile, could just be the encouragement they need to make their hard work and sacrifices worthwhile.
The next time you receive your plate of hawker food, don’t forget to thank your hawker!
From 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.
Deniece and Mdm Wang represent the present and future when it comes to upholding Singapore’s food culture. Do your part to ensure an enduring hawker tradition today!