JOB OFFER: Hawker Wanted! Ah Beng Shifu Will Train You!
STORY: Sim Ding En
07 September 2020
Aaron Wong starts selling mee hoon kueh at 9am at his hawker stall (JIak Song Mee Hoon Kueh at Telok Blangah Crescent Block 11 Market and Food Centre). A queue has formed way before then. The food sells out by 12pm.
It's been this way the past 10 days since the host of our video series "Aaron Wong's Stay-Home Survival Cookbook" and MasterChef Singapore finalist opened his stall on 29 Aug 2020.
The mee hoon kueh stall he opened is, in fact, proof of concept for an initiative he started to preserve and promote the hawker culture in Singapore - opening hawker stalls, then training young and dynamic people interested in the trade. And surely, the overwhelming response and swift daily sales are proof enough that this concept obviously works!
So, if you have a passion for hawker food (eating it and cooking it) and have always been curious about entering the hawker trade, Aaron wants you! To help him at his stall and to train you to cook the mee hoon kueh that folks are willing to travel across the island and queue up one hour for.
Am I right for the job?
"Some F&B experience is preferred but if you are comfortable in the kitchen, I will be more than happy to show you the ropes!" says Aaron, who adds that the most important qualities of the person he's looking for are passion and a willingness to learn.
"And if you really enjoy feeding people good food, I assure you this is the place for you to try it out."
What are the working hours like ah?
Don't think that just cuz Aaron starts selling mee hoon kueh at 9am and is sold out by 12pm that it's a three-hour job hor.
"We start to do prep work at 7am, open at 9am and usually sell out by 1pm. This is followed by clean-up and prep for the next day till 4pm. An average day is 9 hours long, with a quick lunch after closing."
Traditional goodness, modern methods
Aaron points out the sad truth that more hawkers are leaving the trade than there is young, fresh blood filling the void. What's worse: the loss of "old charm" and the comfort of familiar flavours.
"While many new hawkers seek to reinvent our hawker food, we at Jiak Song want to keep the old classics alive and aim to reinvent the way hawker stalls are run. That includes everything from modern equipment to a more organised kitchen design and management," says Aaron.
"This will hopefully show younger people who are keen to enter the trade that running a hawker stall doesn’t have to be a wet, greasy and dirty affair."