Singapore's hawker culture, an integral part of the nation’s culinary identity, has been recognised by Unesco for its cultural significance.
The United Nations’ cultural agency announced yesterday that it had added the city-state’s 'hawker culture' to its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, nearly two years after Singapore submitted a bid to be included in the list.
The Michelin Guide first landed in Singapore in 2016 and made global headlines by awarding coveted stars to two stalls - Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle and Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, which sell dishes for as little as $2.
Singapore’s hawker centres were set up in the '70s to house the city’s some 14,000 street food vendors. Today they are a fundamental part of city life, providing food for thousands every day and serving as important social meeting points.
“These centres serve as ‘community dining rooms’ where people from diverse backgrounds gather and share the experience of dining over breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Unesco said.
Celebrated today, the hawker culture is not without its challenges. The average age of the hawker in Singapore is 60 and young culinarians are increasingly attracted to restaurant kitchens, rather than cramped, sweaty street food stalls.