When it comes to dating someone new, do you have a list of no-nos you specifically keep a look out for? Well, I do. And one of them requires my new bae, boo-thang or whatever you call your date to possess an acceptable level of enthusiasm for Singapore’s hawker center food.
This is why I would normally suggest heading to the hawker center to grab a meal on either the third or fourth date. If they respond with a “no thanks, I don’t eat hawker center food”, then there won’t be a fifth or sixth date for us. No discussion allowed.
While I don’t have a say over which girl you choose to date, I highly suggest that you pick a girl who is passionate about Singapore’s hawker food. Or at the very least, someone who doesn’t mind chomping down on plates of char kway teow, hokkien mee or chicken rice with you in a non-air conditioned place. I hear you asking me why you should.
Here, I present to you 10 good reasons why as a Singaporean girl it is a MUST to date someone who treats the hawker center as the go-to place for meals. If they can’t appreciate char kway teow, they don’t deserve you.
1. $6 on average for a dinner date
Charsiew Noodles: $3.50 – $5; Eggs Benedict: More than $10.
How much do you normally spend on food in hipster cafes or restaurants? A single dish categorized under ‘Mains’ easily costs more than $6 – you’d usually find yourself easily parting with that red $10 note in your wallet.
Now, consider the situation in a hawker center: A plate of my favorite Satay Bee Hoon over at Bukit Timah Food Center costs $4.50, and that’s if I order the largest serving they have to offer. Even if I were to add a cup of Milo to complete my meal (as I always do), my expenses still do not exceed $6.
Dating someone who loves the hawker center food saves money. Money which could be used to spend on other dating activities, like the zoo, catching the latest film together or even planning an overseas trip together. Even if your wallet is relatively well padded right now, it never hurts to cut down on food expenses once in a while to save for the future. And if you see your relationship going anywhere, HDB flats in Singapore are not exactly the cheapest lodgings you could find here.
2. You both get to eat what you like
If your date likes Bak Chor Mee but you’re more of a Laksa person, you guys can happily queue at different stalls to satisfy your respective cravings. There is such a huge variety of local food available just within a humble hawker food center; there will be something which will appeal to you.
Now contrast that to just about any other restaurant or cafe: you’ll be constrained by the menu choices because they will most likely be centered around a cuisine.
What if you were just not feeling Japanese food that day but your date has chosen to bring you to a Ramen place? What if you guys are unable to decide on a place to eat?
In situations like this, I like to gently steer my date toward the nearest hawker center. There, we get to knock ourselves out and order whatever we wanted to eat that day. No more frustrating one-sided conversations like “Eh, how about Din Tai Fung? Tim Ho Wan? Crystal Jade? No? Then? What. Do. You. Want.”
3. You can wear cui outfits for dates
OOTDs: Extremely casual
Planning an outfit for a trip to the hawker center is easy. In fact, I don’t think you even have to think about matching your bag to your outfit before you head over to a hawker center in your slippers. Donning a singlet with FBT shorts is totally acceptable attire in the coffee shop. While dressing up and looking all made-up on dates is perfectly alright, there will come a day when you will not look your best in front of your significant other.
If your date is able to accept you for how you look like when you’re not all polished and dressed to the nines, it’s definitely a good sign for the future if you plan on furthering your relationship. After all, as Dr. Seuss has so wisely pointed out, “those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Remember, when your date scrunches their noses in disapproval at your attire, they don’t matter.
4. She doesn’t behave like a spoilt princess
You know the kind of girl that expects someone to open the car door, pull out her chair or send her home every single time? A girl who likes hawker food isn’t that spolit princess. She’s independent and can not only take care of herself, she can probably take care of you better than you can take care of yourself.
The worst is the spoilt princess who just takes and takes but gives nothing back in return.
5. These girls don’t expect to be waited on hand and foot
If you date someone who loves hawker center food, they are completely cool with getting their own utensils and carrying their own food to their seats – they don’t expect waiters to usher them to their seats and serve up plates of steaming hot food right to the table. I understand that this may be a sweeping statement but generally, people who frequent the hawker centers are more down-to-earth and less spoilt than those who do not.
Unless you are someone who has been born with a silver spoon in your mouth and foresee your days to be constantly filled with meals in luxurious restaurants and cafes, a person who can get an extra serving of chilli sauce for themselves as a date is always a good thing. Should things ever get serious between the both of you, at least you can rest assured that you don’t have to constantly attend to them – they are totally fine with standing up and getting that fork themselves.
6. Hawker food girls are easier to please
Someone who frequents the hawker center is less likely to be picky with their food: corn-fed or grass-fed, they don’t care – so long as the food tastes good to them. Think about it, if you date a girl who is passionate about local hawker fare, it will potentially save you a whole lot of headache further down the road.
Finding a suitable restaurant for your anniversaries and special occasions will be so much easier with a partner who is not so particular with their food choices.
7. You can bring hawker food girls on rugged adventures
We all know that one friend who is allergic to heat; who would adamantly refuse to step foot into a restaurant or cafe unless it is air-conditioned. Well, if you date someone who is passionate about wolfing down plates of chicken rice in the hawker center, you know that they survive perfectly well in Singapore’s punishing, sweltering heat. If you possess an adventurous soul, good for you!
This means that you can potentially bring your girl for dates to rugged backpacking adventures all around the world – Europe, Asia, anywhere – without worrying about the need to find posh, air-conditioned places.
8. She got together with you not because of money
If your girl is willing to eat hokkien prawn mee on a regular basis, you know she’s not together with you for the money. She knows the importance of being prudent and can appreciate good food to boot. Definitely a keeper.
9. She doesn’t take forever to get ready
Girls, you can just skip this.
As mentioned above, if your OOTD to the nearest hawker center only involves a pair of slippers, singlet and FBT shorts, then you probably would only need 30 minutes, tops, to get ready.
Girls can skip the foundation and eye-liner; guys can skip the hair-gel and cologne. All this means that you won’t have to stupidly wait for your date to arrive in a Starbucks joint, at a random mall, because they’re still getting ready and will need another hour.
10. She’s probably marriage material
Saving money to start a family is number 1 priority, and on a practical note, eating at a fancy restaurant every date isn’t exactly the best way to save money. You know she’s gearing up for marriage when she starts being more considerate and sacrifices current luxuries for a future together.
Related Guide: Must Try Hawker Centres in Singapore