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New Yishun Park Hawker Centre hopes to revive kampung spirit

SINGAPORE — The newly-opened Yishun Park Hawker Centre could pass off as a community centre.

SINGAPORE — The newly-opened Yishun Park Hawker Centre could pass off as a community centre.

It has high ceilings, a corner called Park & Play where family-friendly themed events will take place every weekend, and a self-service retail store with a gastro bar.

Soon to come: Arcade games and pinball machines and broadcasts of sports matches.

Managed by Timbre Group, the 800-seat hawker centre, which opened earlier this week, follows the success of Timbre+.

“For me, hawkers centres are one of the most inclusive community spaces in Singapore. I hope that this is a space where residents can come create a bit of the kampung spirit,” said Edward Chia, 33, Timbre Group’s managing director and co-founder.

Out of the 43 hawkers in the centre, 13 are new business owners, including two under its incubator programme for first-time F&B entrepreneurs under the age of 35.

Participants in the incubator programme are allowed to take up a stall for a year, upon which if they wish to continue, Timbre will help them find a permanent store elsewhere. Equipment — such as chillers and freezers — are also sponsored, along with certain services charges. Participants are also attached to the group’s head chef who mentors them.

“Even if they don’t (continue), I think it’s a great experience for young people to learn how to serve people, understand how tough a hawker’s job is and then hopefully appreciate hawkers and better patronise them as well,” said Chia.

Peh Zixuan, 21, owner of Yummy Salad House, is one of them.

(Photo: Esther Leong/TODAY)

“I am very thankful and I appreciate (the incubator programme). Because at my age, I have very little savings and this allows me to set up my stall at minimal cost. The head chef from Timbre guides (us) on stock-taking, how to use the kitchen equipment properly and teaches us how to maintain and keep the kitchen up to standard,” said Peh, a vegetarian who wishes to promote clean and green eating.

He will join established hawker brands, including Yu Kee Duck Rice, Yam Mee and 2016 Bib Gourmand recipient Fishball Story.

(Photo: Esther Leong/TODAY)

Calista Ng, 33, a research scientist who lives about five to ten minutes’ walk from Yishun Park Hawker Centre has visited it twice in two days.

“What I like is the variety of stalls they have and there are enough seats for the crowd; it’s more than the average hawker centre,” said Ng.

Yishun Park Hawker Centre opens from Monday to Sunday, 6am to 10pm. For more information, head down to http://yishunparkhc.sg.

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