62: The past, present, and future of hawker food | Shen Tan, hawker, chef, and founder of OG Lemak & Ownself Make Chef

51m | Dec 14, 2021

Shen Tan: “Passion doesn’t feed people – it doesn’t pay your CPF, it doesn’t pay your mortgage, it doesn’t pay for medical insurance. Singaporeans who say we are losing our hawker heritage, are, on the other hand, complaining on socials that ‘standards drop, so expensive, so little’. They can count, ‘Only got three prawns, only got two pieces of pork ribs.’ You have to ask yourself why? It is not the hawkers’ job to feed you guys for very little money. I was asked a question recently: How do Singapore’s hawkers put out the food at such low prices? It’s because they are subsidizing with their salaries!”


Shen Tan, hawker, chef, and founder of OG Lemak & Ownself Make Chef, shares about her journey of transitioning from the corporate world to hawker life, plus: *Stereotypes and expectations of hawkers* *The baggage of family recipes and why ‘old’ is not necessarily better* *Nasi lemak and the twice-steaming method* *Her approach to healthful eating* *Evolution of hawker food* *Innovation in the heritage food space* *Reasons why heritage dishes vanish* *How hawker profit margins are stifling the growth of hawker culture* *Social media and hawkers* *Advice to aspiring hawkers* *Cloud kitchens* *Argument for embracing local vegetables* *How we can encourage hawker food to be more nutrient dense and healthy*


Shen Tan: @chefshentan


Singapore Noodles: @sgpnoodles

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