Singapore's street food added to UNESCO heritage list

Singapore's street food corners are considered as the nation's dining rooms, where people from all walks of life mingle and eat freshly cooked dishes at very affordable prices from morning till the night. 

Created On: Dec 22, 2020 14:34 ISTModified On: Dec 22, 2020 14:34 IST
Singapore's Street Food

Singapore's street food has been added to the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The nation's hawker culture will now join the likes of Yoga and Tango from India and Argentina respectively.

The award was conferred at a virtual ceremony on December 16, 2020. Hawker culture refers to the community of vendors who cook and sell meals at the 114 hawker centres across the nation. 

The award will provide invaluable protection to the vendors after a tough year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Significance

Singapore's street food corners are considered as the nation's dining rooms, where people from all walks of life mingle and eat freshly cooked dishes at very affordable prices from morning till the night. 

The renowned American chef, Anthony Bourdain during his visit to Singapore in 2017 had stated that the hawker centers are wonderlands of Chinese, Indian, and Malay specialties. The late chef and travel documentarian's praise had added to the increasing respect that Singapore's hawker food had gained internationally. 

Key Highlights

From whole roasted ducks, steamed pork buns to fish head curry, the hawkers in Singapore sell all kinds of delicacies. 

The hawkers there often specialize in a particular dish, which has been refined over many many years and then transmit their knowledge, recipe and skills to the younger family members. 

In 2019, 58 eateries in Singapore had made it to the Michelin Bib Gourmand list, out of which 33 were hawker stalls.

Several of the hawker stalls even have Michelin stars, which makes Singapore home to some of the cheapest Michelin-starred food in the world.

The first hawker to receive a Michelin star was Liao Fan Hawker Chan in the Chinatown Complex Market, in 2016.

Impact of COVID-19

The hawker culture in Singapore has faced several issues and challenges in recent years despite the accolades and praise, as most of the hawkers are aging and very few young Singaporeans are keen to adopt the profession. 

Further, the cost of raw ingredients has been increasing but the average dish price has been kept low so that people from all income backgrounds can afford it. This means that the profit margins are small. 

The COVID-19 pandemic worsened the situation as all dining at hawker centres was halted in the wake of the outbreak to cut of the transmission chain. Though takeaways were permitted, few hawkers ceased trading because they were losing money by staying open and business was bad for those who continued. 

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एग्जाम की तैयारी के लिए ऐप पर वीकली टेस्ट लें और दूसरों के साथ प्रतिस्पर्धा करें। डाउनलोड करें करेंट अफेयर्स ऐप

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