SingaporeThe lion city has submitted its bid to inscribe hawker culture as ‘intangible culture heritage’.

Singapore dishes up hawker culture for UNESCO bid

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UNESCO hawker190401
Chendol, a common dessert dish served in Singapore’s hawker centres. Photo Credit: MielPhotos2008/Getty Images
UNESCO hawker190401

If successful, Singapore’s hawker culture will join 429 cultures of other countries on the list since it was established in 2008. 

Singapore has submitted its nomination to inscribe its local hawker culture on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity last week. 

The nomination consists of letters, photographs and videos showing community support for the bid, Straits Times reported.

Among the photographs included are that of an Indian Muslim hawker preparing briyani, a Chinese hawker demonstrating a chicken rice recipe, and a father and his children enjoying the chendol dessert. 

A 10-minute video was also produced to give a 12-member UNESCO evaluation body a better understanding of hawker culture in Singapore. The panel comprises six experts qualified in various fields of intangible cultural heritage.

Subsequently, a 24-member intergovernmental committee will use the evaluation body’s assessment and recommendations to decide if Singapore’s hawker culture can be inscribed in the list. The results will be announced at the end of next year. 

If successful, Singapore’s hawker culture will join 429 cultures of other countries on the list since it was established in 2008. 

These include Belgium's beer culture, Indonesia's bamboo musical instrument angklung, China's shadow puppetry, and kimjang, or the making and sharing of kimchi in South Korea.

Singapore's first such submission in the category of intangible cultural heritage comes after the Botanic Gardens was made a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2015.

Organisations driving the bid said the attempt has received “overwhelming support” from Singaporeans since it was announced last August.

There are more than 100 hawker centres in Singapore, which are visited at least once a week by more than 80% of the population. 

Other features of Singapore’s hawker culture include hawkers' mastery of culinary skills and how hawker culture thrives in a highly urban environment.


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