The hawker’s centres came about during the 70’s and 80’s when the Government decided to clean up the city and reduce the unlicensed street hawkers with their unhygienic food preparation.
I vividly remember my first visit to Singapore in the 70’s. Orchard Road would come alive as the sun was setting and the street hawkers appeared. A string of lights would define a stall with its plastic table and chairs and the locals and tourist alike, would feast on satay and seafood from the smoky fire.
Although the whole street food concept has been sanitised with hawker centres the experience and food is still very authentic and a worthwhile experience.
I recently went back to Singapore, having lived there in the 90’s, and visited my favourite hawker centre in Holland Village, close to where we lived. Jostling for a seat at one of the tables, the fragrant smells drift from the small cooking stands making the decision of what to eat impossible. The local banter is always hard to talk over but it is fun to sit and watch the locals consume their favourite dish, barely pausing for breath.
The crispy duck and rice was as good as I had remembered for the meagre sum of $9 with a 375 ml bottle of Tiger beer.
Other great hawker centres to visit:
-Lau Pa Sat