I love our hawker food and no city can match our fare at the low cost it is available in Singapore.
So the National Environment Agency's move to tweak and refine the hygiene rating for the stalls at hawker centres is a step in the right direction and much appreciated by many.
But tackling the hygiene of the individual food stalls addresses only half the problem. Cleanliness of the whole food centre is the other half. I would even argue that the latter is the more important half.
Regardless of how clean the stalls are, the state of the place where we consume the food troubles many people.
Perhaps the authorities could consider making the stalls 50 per cent bigger.
All too often, the fronts of stalls are packed with items like buckets, utensils, supplies and cutlery. These make the food centres untidy. The root cause for this is that the stalls are way too small for most.
With larger stalls, we can solve the tray-return problem and do away with the tray-return shelves that create more problems than they solve.
The labour to clear the tables can also be reduced accordingly.
Most importantly, the stall owners will get feedback on the quality of their food by looking at the leftovers.
It will certainly solve the issue of central cleaning, which is so hard to implement.
Working in a more spacious environment may even make a hawker career more palatable for the younger generation.
Ong Khoon Keat