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     FrontPage Edition: Thu 6 December 2007

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 NEA commissions book on Singapore hawker centres


“Singapore Hawker Centres – People, Places, Food” The first definitive book on the social history of a uniquely Singapore icon

Briyani, thosai, chilli crab, roti prata, chicken rice and satay, the Singaporean-ness of hawker centres is palpable. Nowhere else on the island (or in the world) will you find such an eclectic array of food as it was meant to be enjoyed: in a natural open-air atmosphere, among friends and family, with the sizzle of hot pans and the clang of woks.
Hawker centres are no longer seen as a poor man’s meal ticket. They bring together foods old and new, from East and West. They are a reflection of life in Singapore, bridging cultures and generations. How did hawking evolve over the years, from street food to architect-designed eating places?
The National Environment Agency has commissioned a book that traces the social history of this uniquely Singapore icon. "Singapore Hawker Centres - People, Places, Food" is the definitive account on hawkers, their food and their stories. It also features environment and public health officials who have been instrumental in transforming hawking from a public health nightmare to a respectable trade.
"Hawker centres have become an important icon of the food scene in Singapore and have helped to put the country on the world map. We felt that it was timely to chronicle the development of hawker centres in a book, and pay tribute to the many people who have made it a Singapore success story." said Mr Lee Yuen Hee, NEA CEO.
NEA started conceptualising the book in 2005 and completed its production in 2007. Working with SNP International Publishing, the book was researched and authored by Lily Kong, Professor of the Department of Geography at NUS, who has written widely on these subjects and won two National Book Development Council of Singapore Book Awards in 1996.
As the title suggests, the book chronicles the lives of People who make up the heart and soul of hawker centres, the colourful Places that hawker centres have become, and the appetizing Food that keeps people coming back for more.
Minister for Environment and Water Resources, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, launched the book at Newton Food Centre today. Attended by hawkers, foreign diplomats and corporate partners, the event brought together the main characters who have made this book possible.
The book is available at major bookstores.
For more information, please contact
Call Centre: 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632) Email:

Source: News Release 1 Dec 2007

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Public Holidays HARI RAYA HAJI is the next public holiday. It falls on 20 December 2007.