“JUST look around,” said Malcolm Lee, a 27-year-old Singaporean chef, as he gestured toward the dozen or so street food stands surrounding our table. “I doubt that one of these hawkers is under the age of 40. When this generation is gone, their recipes will probably go with them. Their children want to be bankers or lawyers. Who wants to slog it out six days a week, morning through night, in a hot, dirty environment?”
The author Gisela Williams reflects on her visit to the Singapore Food Trail at the Singapore Flyer, a huge Ferris wheel that’s a top tourist attraction. The Food Trail is a new spin on hawker centers, a Singaporean tradition in which cooks sell their signature dishes to admiring customers for low prices. Loving essays have been written about hawker centers; food enthusiasts come from around the world to sample them.
Williams states that even though the hawker culture might die out anytime soon, she feels strongly about preserving it.
(If you’re planning on visiting Singapore, here’s a good point to start from).