SINGAPORE: A new hawker centre that aims to offer a "holistic approach" to the hawker trade has opened in Jurong West.
Located at Jurong West Street 61, the new 500-seat hawker centre is managed by Hawker Management - a subsidiary of food centre operator Koufu - on a not-for-profit basis, and aims to offer healthy, affordable food as well as measures to help budding hawker entrepreneurs, Hawker Management announced in its media release on Sunday (Oct 8).
For example, each of its 34 cooked food stalls - which sell dishes ranging from traditional hawker fare to contemporary fusion food - offers two regular-sized dishes at S$2.80 each.
Additionally, the hawker centre and market has 14 market slab stalls selling fresh produce and groceries.
HELPING ASPIRING HAWKERS
As part of its Happy Hawkerpreneur programme, Hawker Management said it has also set aside six cooked food stalls at the hawker centre to groom "passionate aspiring hawkers" and help sustain the local hawker trade.
"The programme aims to encourage these hawkers to pursue their culinary dreams, while supporting them with subsidies to lower their initial capital costs and guidance in running a hawker business," said Hawker Management.
For instance, Jackson Tan, 24, is one of the many who stand to benefit from the programme. He decided to switch careers and become a hawker, according to Hawker Management's press release, and fuses vegetarian food with Western and Korean cuisines to provide the public with more vegetarian options.
"While there is growing interest in keeping the hawker culture going, we recognise the need to offer practical support for hawkers as they evolve with the changing needs today, while preserving traditional skills and flavours," said Hawker Management's chief operating officer David Yang.
"By working together with the community to impart, share and support an environment for the hawker trade to adapt and flourish, we hope to do our part to ensure that hawker centres remain a place we hold dear, for generations to come."
TRAY RETURN ROBOTS, CASHLESS PAYMENT
In order to encourage the faster clearing of tables, the hawker centre has an RFID tray return system as well as three SMART Tray Return robots to help diners who may not be able to carry their trays to the tray return area, said Hawker Management.
In line with other national efforts to enhance productivity, said Hawker Management, eight cashless payment options will also be provided, including PayWave, Apple Pay and EZ-Link payment.
It will also host community activities such as flea markets, festive fairs and music performances.
"The social initiatives that will be rolled out also makes this hawker centre a natural gathering place for residents to bond and enjoy their meals together,” said Member of Parliament for West Coast GRC Patrick Tay, who was present at the official opening of the hawker centre.