Singapore’s bid for UNESCO hawker food listing eats at neighbours

As regional rivals and food critics scoff, city-state is petitioning for UNESCO recognition of its street-fare culture.

Published by Al Jazeera English, Nov. 5, 2018

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By Tom Benner

Singapore’s street foods are largely the same as those found in neighbouring Malaysia – both share a long history under British rule and briefly merged until Singapore’s expulsion in August 1965 – and in Indonesia.

An apt example is a popular dish called rojak, a traditional fruit and vegetable salad dish that means “mixture” or “eclectic mix” in the Malay language.

Even Singapore’s national dish, Hainanese chicken rice, was brought by immigrants from the Hainan province in southern China.

Yet Singapore is making a bid for a unique distinction among Asian street food traditions. As its neighbours and food critics scoff, the city-state is preparing a petition for UNESCO recognition of its hawker culture, and a listing on the UN body’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Continue reading …

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