Research Paper

This page contains the information for the project’s URECA Research Paper.

Abstract | Thought Process

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The Heritage of Singapore Hawker Centres


This research essay aims to explore Singapore hawker centre and the hawking profession as a form of intangible and tangible heritage. Hawker food is unique in Singapore due to the rich multicultural and historical background of the country as an immigrant state in the early 19th century. 

Much research, particularly in the field of sociology and heritage studies, has gone into the physical and communal space of traditional eateries as well as the cultural and historical aspect of food study in Singapore. This essay will question the government and external organizations’ effort in the protection, preservation, and promotion of Singapore’s culinary and hawking heritage as one that will have long-term lasting effects on the future of Singapore’s foodscape. 

The growth of Singapore as a nation state can be seen in the reflection of food that is consumed, how it is consumed, and where it is consumed. The most common place of food consumption in Singapore is in the local hawker centre littered across the island. This essay will zoom in and examine the ‘Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre’ as an example of Singapore’s hawking scene. It will look at both the tangible and intangible heritage of the physical space, as well as the cultural and communal aspect of this marketplace. The history of the location, as well as the ever-evolving purpose and the people in the market and hawker centre will be examined in focus.

Thought Process

General guidelines:

  • Why you have undertaken the research and written the report
  • The assumptions which were made in the study
  • Definitions of relevant terms used in the report
  • The scope of the investigation, i.e. what is covered and what is not
  • The theories which form the context for this study (often included in a separate literature review section)
  • The limitations inherent in the study
  • An outline of the structure of the report

Questions to ask myself:

  • What is your research question?  What are you trying to argue in terms of how Singapore is different in terms of foodscapes and food as heritage?
  • Be sure to define what tangible and intangible heritage are and how you understand it for this essay.
  • Why Tiong Bahru as a case study and why not the other hawker centers?  You need to support why this particular market is significant.

You can download a copy of the final research paper here.