Video series highlights ‘stories behind hawker food cooked with love’

Video series highlights ‘stories behind hawker food cooked with love’

SINGAPORE — Having met numerous hawkers as part of their business, WhyQ’s founders thought more people needed to know “the stories behind their delicious food cooked with love”.

Mr Rishabh Singhvi and Mr Varun Saraf thought a Hawkers of Singapore video series, modelled after popular photoblog Humans of New York, would serve the purpose.

Last Wednesday, they featured their first chef, Mr Chan Hong Teng, who sells spinach soup at Amoy Street Food Centre. In it, the 53-year-old revealed how he turned from an advertising practitioner into a hawker.

Mr Rishabh said they hope the stories will help connect customers with the faces behind their favourite hawker fare. Mr Varun added: “It warms your heart to see hawker uncles and aunties cook food with so much passion and patience in the midst of this extremely busy, fast-paced city.

“Hawker food and culture is quite unique, and the quality, price and sheer deliciousness cannot be matched by any restaurant in town.”

Welcoming the initiative, Mr Chan said he hopes the series would highlight the entrepreneurial spirit, daring and perseverance of hawkers, and hopefully inspire more young ones to come on board. “Of course, being a hawker is not easy — a lot of hard work and rising costs,” he said.

Hawker-food enthusiasts interviewed by TODAY said the series must distinguish itself from similar content in a saturated online sphere, in order to achieve its goal of promoting the hawker trade.

“Any publicity for the trade is good for the hawkers as it creates awareness and, more importantly, patronage ... For WhyQ ,it has to pitch the hawker from a unique angle as there are already many hawker-related write-ups,” said Mr Koh Seng Choon, who founded hawker-training school Project Dignity. He urged WhyQ to consider featuring hawkers who are less well-known, but still serve great hawker fare. KELLY NG