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Keep hawker food affordable

I recently visited the refurbished 84 Marine Parade Central Market and Food Centre managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA).

Keep hawker food affordable

With each round of improvement works at hawker centres, patrons seemingly have to be prepared to pay more for their food, says the writer.

I recently visited the refurbished 84 Marine Parade Central Market and Food Centre managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA).

The NEA website says that “people from all walks of life can enjoy affordable food” at hawker centres. Indeed, most of the time, the food sold at hawker centres is priced reasonably.

But my experience with a nasi padang stall at the revamped hawker centre proved otherwise.

I ordered a rice dish comprising two or three small dishes. It cost about S$8.

I was flabbergasted. What justifies the price? While I did not ask the hawker why the price had gone up, I wondered if it was due to the renovation.

When I patronised the same stall before the renovation, a similar dish cost a more palatable S$4.50.

If it were in a comfortable, air-conditioned food court, it would seem more reasonable to pay such an amount. Even so, it should not cost S$8.

Since that experience, I have gone for more affordable food stalls.

Does the NEA step in to regulate the prices of food and drinks sold by food stalls at hawker centres?

It is worrying and off-putting that with each round of improvement works at hawker centres, patrons seemingly have to be prepared to pay more for their food.

The cost of living in Singapore is already high.

If hawker food is expensive, it may deter patrons from visiting hawker centres. This may in turn hurt hawkers' livelihoods.

The exorbitant prices charged by some hawkers may also not do justice to Singapore’s Unesco bid to recognise its hawker culture.

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

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hawker centre food prices NEA

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