Makansutra Singapore Food Ebook 2023/24

Foreword Hawker Food Love, The Vaccine for Continuity... April 2023

We lost count of how many hawker stalls and restaurants that were swept away under the pressure of the Covid 19. It must’ve been in the hundreds, if not, over a thousand, in this little city of Singapore. But here we are today, post pandemic, sort of, and still baying for even better days ahead. Makansutra the ebook, went dark in those two years. We did not know who came and went, went belly up or who did well offering home kitchen fare (we lost count here too). And to all that survived, congratulations, we still have a Unesco Hawker Culture reputation to maintain, and that is more than a good reason for us to continue celebrating this meaningfully delicious culture. Of late, operation cost pressures are inching up and our heritage hawkers are not immune to its effects. Prices have gone slightly north, anything from 10cents to a dollar and it’s a worldwide phenomenon. But I must say, food prices here in a developed Singapore, is ridiculously affordable bordering on cheap (there are some older hawkers, despite rising costs, are sill offering a decent platter for under SGD3, out of care for their lower waged and poorer customers. I truly and sincerely applaud them. In September of 2022, Makansutra, in partnership with Urban Space in New York (inspired by the defunct Bourdain Market), curated and created Urban Hawker. A 17-stall food hall in Midtown Manhattan, offering popular Singapore fare of which 11 are imported directly from this little red dot of a city. It was wildly success and the public and media slurped it up. The queue for a meal can reach 40 mins at some stalls. It’s still a 25 min wait today at peak hours. The New York Times considered it a brazen move to house food offerings from just one country and Eater called it the “Quintessential 38” in N ew York, ranked along restaurants that had decades of history. Urban Hawker was barely 4 months old then. Our message is, export it, the world is your oyster omelette, everyone loves it. Every week or every other day, we are still hearing viral post and stories about yet another old iconic or famous hawker or eatery shuttering up for good. The rate of new younger hawkers coming in to replace the older fading ones are not on par. The sustained buzz of this Unesco Hawker Culture in Singapore is at best fragile, if you can stare ahead into the crystal ball, maybe 20 years on. That’s tomorrow, but meanwhile we can now resume our zip -around-eat-rate-and-tell exercise of preserving this food culture, at least in our Makansutra ebook, provided free and frequentl y updated. That’s our exercise for hawker food culture preservation and continuity.

Masticate well and be contented.

KF Seetoh - Food Guru and Founder, Makansutra

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