Tuesday, May 21, 2024
HomenewsHawkers react to S$1 bid from man for Chinatown Complex food stall...

Hawkers react to S$1 bid from man for Chinatown Complex food stall – Singapore News

S$1 bid is ‘unheard of’, hawkers say, but the stall attracted only 3 bidders in a decade. The highest bid was S$512 and the most recent S$11

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SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA) has revealed the highest bids for market and cooked food stalls across Singapore in September 2023. While some bidders offered thousands, one man defied expectations with a S$1 bid for a Chinatown Complex stall, AsiaOne reports.

The Chinatown Complex Food Centre took centre stage in NEA’s report. While some stalls commanded bids of up to S$4,000, an inconspicuous stall at the back row garnered attention with its solitary S$1 bid, courtesy of Ng Khai Choon.

This particular stall, one of 15 tucked away in the far reaches of the food centre, often grappled with sparse patronage. During a Shin Min reporter’s visit in the afternoon, only three stalls were open, and six lacked signboards.

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Hawker Chew, a seasoned 67-year-old who operates the neighbouring Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck & Kway Chap stall, shared some challenges stall owners face in this row. She emphasized the crucial role of regular customers in their survival, remarking, “We have been able to run our stall for so long mainly because of regular customers; otherwise, it would be very difficult to continue.” Chew highlighted the unfortunate trend of many abandoning their stalls within a few months due to low business.

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With over four decades of experience, Chew expressed her astonishment at the S$1 bid, labelling it “unheard of” in the hawker stall world.

Nurjahan Lim, 38, who runs a nasi padang stall nearby, shared her bid experience. She was prepared to offer up to nearly S$2,000 but eventually secured it for under S$100. Nurjahan attributed her success to a pre-existing home-based business with loyal customers and active social media promotion. However, she acknowledged the challenges posed by limited demand for Indian and Malay cuisine in hawker centres. Adding to her problem is the difficulty diners faced in locating her stall.

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NEA records showed that the S$1-bid stall had garnered interest from three bidders over a decade, with the highest bid reaching S$512. The most recent attempt, in 2020, saw a bid of S$11. Earlier in the year, the stall received minimal interest, fetching only a single S$101 bid in July.

An examination of hawker stall tendering regulations reveals that if only one bid is received during the second tender, Ng Khai Choon stands a good chance of securing the stall, provided he meets the required conditions and passes NEA’s review.

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This situation shows how hawker stalls in Singapore are changing to meet new consumer preferences and economic challenges.

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