Food trucks are the norm in countries such as the United States of America and Australia, but it’s certainly not the first thing that comes to mind when you mention Singapore. In my opinion, the closest thing we’ve ever come to having a food truck on our shores was with the hawkers in the yesteryears.
For those unfamiliar with hawkers and their past; before the existence of hawker centres and food courts, there were individuals who hawked their wares – cooked food – on mobile push/pull carts. People would gather round as these gentlemen (and sometimes ladies) set up their little stalls to sell food to people from all walks of life. Sounds familiar? However, mobile hawkers are now a thing of the past, with the government stepping in and enforcing strict rules on food hygiene, safety, blah-blah…and introduced what is colloquially known as hawker centres – a “refuge” for hawkers, selling everything from the likes of teh tarik and noodles to satay and chee cheong fun.
Red tape restrictions and green faced veterans
In other countries, food trucks are usually seen as a stepping stone for newcomers – as well as established cooks and chefs – in the food scene, as it’s usually associated with lower-than-usual overhead costs, amongst other factors.
As always, a certain group of people from certain “regulative bodies” love to poke their heads into anything and everything; food trucks included. I hope they learn from the article above, as the “terms and conditions” of the failed food truck movement in the not so distant pass are absolutely absurd! Having a stationary food truck defeats the whole purpose of having one in the first place, not to mention having just a 3-hour operating window.
While on the topic of food at fixed-mobile locations, would vendors of pasar malams cry foul? What about the ice-cream uncles? Or would they embrace it as somewhat of a step forward with regards to local street food and, perhaps, work and/or guide newcomers? Who knows, they may even jump on the food bandwagon (no pun intended) if it eventually proves to be sustainable – minus the ridiculous “regulatory conformities”, of course.
Possible food items offered
Ultimately, the onus would be on the vendors of the trucks to provide good food (no pressure). Local takes on food truck classics (such as variations of burgers and tacos) would be a good start. They should also have a section within their trucks that clearly spell out; go big, or go home.
However, it won’t be surprising at all if the likes of processed fishballs, chicken nuggets and the other similar atrocities falling under the “freezer-to-fryer” umbrella would be the prime candidates for stomach fillers. To make it even more stomach churning (sorry, couldn’t resist); the relevant agencies with regards to this possible culinary resurrection – of sorts – have “met owners with several big-chain restaurants”. Monopoly, anyone?
Honestly, with everything being the way it has always been, I’m not at all optimistic about the chances of this “movement” actually becoming a proper reality. Only time will tell.
It has often been said that in order to move forwards, you sometimes have to take a few steps back.