Hawker culture reducing people's ability to cook

It fills me with sadness to read recent discussions on making hawker food "nutritionally sanitised" (ST looks at healthy hawker eats in first part of series on diabetes; June 19).

Hawker food was not designed for everyday consumption. It was a treat for me to have a bowl of wonton noodles, for example.

The growing trend, however, is for individuals and whole families to eat out most days of the week, and then stuff themselves with even more store-bought confectioneries on others.

One effect of this trend is that kitchens are shrinking.

When trying to buy a property in Singapore, I found flats with only galley kitchens, with two gas rings.

There is also a wider variety of eateries because people are tired of eating the same hawker foods.

My issue with such newer foods is they are not authentic, but are made-up and expensive instead, capitalising on the punter's desire for something different.

Young people have also lost the ability to cook. It is not difficult to cook a balanced, nutritious meal from scratch.

When parents do not cook or leave this to a maid, reducing cooking to "service work", children stop learning.

What better opportunity for enrichment than using a cooking experience to discuss maths, like fractions, division and multiplication, and science, such as states of water, physical and chemical change, with our children?

Lee Siew Peng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2018, with the headline 'Hawker culture reducing people's ability to cook'. Print Edition | Subscribe