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Hawker of Yesteryear

Go grab today's copy The Straits Times and read "Singapore's amnesia of the taste buds" (ST, 22 Sept 2010).

Recently I found myself repeatedly saying to various different people that the hawker these days are more interested in counting money than cooking the food. It is hard to find good food these days.

But then again how do I define good food? I am not too sure if I can articulate that well but here is what I found online which sounds closest to my way of defining good food.

"Good food means ... tastes, looks and smells delicious, is fresh, wholesome and pure, has nutritional value and will do no harm if eaten in moderation, is produced by methods, traditional or modern, the producer would be proud to show the public, has had minimal processing, has been humane in the keeping and slaughter of animals, has minimal chemical content, contains no unnecessary additives."

I think for the purpose of this post, let's restrict to the first half of the description.

Hawker food these days hardly taste delicious. They taste edible at best. That is the kind of food quality of our general hawker fare here. It is a sorry state of affairs. I had thought to myself that if I had the chance to have a taste of the hawker food of yesteryear which my mom spoke reminiscently of, I would not have lived in vain.

Instead, I seek consolation in that I am able to cook a decent meal without resorting to subject myself to hawker food on a daily basis even though I can't "pound and stir-fry a decent rempah" without a cookbook nor "whip up proper fried rice - grains fluffy and not lump, coated evenly with egg and seasoning, and charred slightly and crispy from the high heat".

That's why I try to encourage anyone who is willing to listen to me rant and who is interested in food to try their hand in cooking for themselves. As the article said: "... any gastronome worth his salt should be a decent cook too." Go fix yourself something today instead of eating hawker food. Your body will thank you for it.


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