What is it going to be like when our population hits 6.9 million? There will only be standing space at the food centres and you’ll probably need to wait for 30 minutes to be served. Wait a minute. You probably won’t even be served.
And to add insult to injury, a lot of our local dishes will be seriously adulterated. We may not need to worry about not having enough hawkers, but the real concern here is that the hawkers of the future will not know what wanton noodles are supposed to taste like! With the centralisation of supplies of ready-made ingredients, there will be no more style and character in local street food. Only a few good and authentic places will remain. Do you have the time and patience to join the queue? Worst of all, you’re going to get rude hawkers who bark at you when you give them a reminder after waiting for 2 hours.
Do you think starting a hawker’s academy will work? I don’t think giving out (who said it’s for free) secrets is like Warren Buffet giving out his PIN number. But as Makansutra’s Seetho put it, these old folks may know how to cook, but they don’t necessarily know how to teach.
The only solution to the problem? Learn to cook and cook at home. Dr Chan’s kitchen promotes DIY cooking to preserve our food culture.