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103 Meridian East » Culinary Traditions »  Hawker Centres: Authentic Singaporean Cooking
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Culinary Traditions

HAWKER CENTRES: AUTHENTIC SINGAPOREAN COOKING

«Here among the din of clanging trays, the shouted orders, the tropical heat, and the smells of fermented fish paste, ginger, and curry is a gastronomic and cultural experience that can be had only in Singapore. Malaysian, Indonesian, Indian and Chinese cuisines and re-blended into Pacific Rim fusions at its most glorious. Even Hong Kong runs a distant second.»

– 1000 Places to See Before You Die: A Traveller's Life List

The guide refers to a hawker centre, an open-air complex housing various food stalls that offer multi-ethnic cuisine, which has given Singapore one of its apt nicknames: «Food Paradise». One of the oldest food institutions in Singapore, hawker centres were established in the 1960s to replace food vendors (hawkers) who moved around in mobile carts selling candies, noodle soups and spring rolls. Such hawkers were immensely popular with the people in the neighbourhood, but would often cause road jams and had poor hygiene standards.

 

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Dr Ann Tan

 

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