PUBLISHED: DEC 18, 2020
Itinerant street hawking may have been around since the 1800s, but there’s no definitive record of when it started.
An island-wide exercise to legalise hawkers was carried out by registering street food peddlers.
The first hawker centre to open was Yung Sheng Food Centre in Jurong. Today, it’s called Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre.
All street hawkers had moved into 135 purpose-built food centres.
Grading of licensed food stalls - from A to D, based on cleanliness - started. Earlier, in 1987, a Points Demerit System was introduced to ensure good hygiene standards.
The Government announced that 10 new hawker centres would be built over the next 10 years. Prior to this, no new hawker centre had been built for the past 26 years.
In 2020, Singapore’s hawker culture was added to the Unesco intangible heritage list, which commits the country to protecting and promoting it.
There are more than 110 hawker centres with about 6,000 hawker stalls today. There are hopes the Unesco recognition will translate into more apprentices and young people joining the trade.
PRODUCED BY: DENISE CHONG