UPDATE: Hawker.today announced today (6 Nov 2015) that they’re now in open beta. Go forth and place your orders!
It’s probably a bad idea to do research on the best hawker food Singapore has to offer, especially when it’s late at night and you’re this close to calling for fast food delivery. But on occasion, my desire for a good plate of char kway teow overwhelms all logic, and I end up discovering a gem like upcoming app hawker.today:
What’s hawker.today About?
Simply put, hawker.today is an app that will deliver hawker food to you. It calls itself “Singapore’s first and only e-hawker centre”, and is currently in closed beta phase. The team is calling for suggestions on the various local delicacies you would like to be featured on the app, in exchange for “a surprise”:
Will It Take Off?
From what I see on their website, it seems the app will feature a clean, simple-to-use layout. Foodies will simply have to search for food items they wish to have, and key in their postal codes or use location information to inform hawker.today of their addresses. And just like that, your favourite hawker food will be sent to your doorstep.
It’s not clear if we will be able to order food from separate places and have them delivered together — imagine having Katong laksa, Hill Street char kway teow and Tian Tian Hainanese chicken rice all at once — my hungry self can only hope. What we do know, however, is that hawker.today will come with a very useful tracking feature, according to a video the team released:
Wondering what a hawker food delivery app would look like? #shiok #food #foodie #hawker #hawkertoday Learn more: www.hawker.today
Posted by hawker.today on Monday, 25 May 2015
But while the app appears to be a promising one so far, what I’m more curious about is how the emergence of such platforms will impact the hawker industry in Singapore. Already, there has been growing concern about how our favourite hawker stalls will stand the test of time, amidst rising rental costs and a lack of youngsters willing to take on the labour- and time-intensive jobs that hawkers have been doing all these years.
And with many younger Singaporeans preferring the cool, air-conditioned spaces of shopping malls to the humidity and somewhat less sterile conditions of hawker centres, the appearance of an e-hawker might serve to hasten the demise of hawker centres as we know them today.
That said, hawker.today — if it gains traction in Singapore — could well be the app that revitalises the hawker trade: without the need for diners to wait for limited seats at hawker centres, stall owners could well serve up a significantly larger number of dishes a day, which in turn helps to cover rising overheads.
With a seemingly well thought-out app design, and the likely benefits it could bring to Singapore’s ailing hawker culture, the app might just be the thing to breathe new life into the local foodie community. (Plus points if it manages to find a way to prevent my fishball noodle soup from becoming soggy on the way to my house.)
According to their Facebook page, the app will be launched on the App Store and Google Play in the near future, so if you’d like to be notified of hawkert.today’s release, you can sign up with your email here.