January 7, 2002
MarkBernstein.org
 
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Hawker Centers

Hawker centers and food courts are ubiquitous in Singapore. There's even a handy guide called MakanSutra to the best fast food stands. The variety of food, and its quality, is remarkable.

European restaurants arose from health clinics, places where you'd be sent for physick and a special diet. The American food mall came, I think, very recently (was Boston's Quincy Market the first?), and seems to be a real estate play as much as anything else. I'm not sure whether the hawker center is merely an improvisation, a place to situate a more regulated street-life, or something else entirely.