Hawker food fest at Suntec convention centre raises funds for the disadvantaged

SINGAPORE - A one-day charity food fair that brings together the old and new generation of hawkers opened at Suntec City on Saturday. Organised by Touch Community Services, the fair features more than 25 local chefs and hawkers handpicked by local food bloggers. Proceeds from food coupons bought outside Suntec Convention Centre Halls 401 and 402 go towards supporting Touch's programmes for the disadvantaged.

A herbal crocodile soup previously sold at Old Airport Road Food Centre is one of items available at the fair. Its owner and chef, Mr Tony Tee, 50, closed the stall in August last year due to high rents. He now works at a crocodile farm at Lim Chu Kang.

"I've retired from hawker life. When I was approached to do something to benefit Touch, I said 'Why not?'," he said. Five young crocodiles were harvested for the 11 pots of soup on sale today.

Apart from household names such as Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh and Tian Tian Chicken Rice, young hawkers such as 23-year-old fishball noodle chef Douglas Ng also closed their shop for the day to do their part for charity. "I used to do weekly community service at an old folks' home but after I started my stall, I didn't have time," said Mr Ng, who opened his stall, Fishball Story, at Golden Mile Centre in April this year. He wakes up at 4am everyday to handmake the fishballs from scratch - a recipe he learned from his grandmother.

This is the third year Touch is holding a food fair for charity and it hopes to raise $200,000. "From the satay peddler along the streets of yesteryear to today's chicken rice stall at hawker centres, there is much to reminisce of Singapore's hawker heritage," said Touch's deputy executive director James Tan. "We believe it is important to mark SG50 by celebrating the contributions of those in the culinary sector."