Costs incurred to hawkers

Study on the above topic will help most hawkers. For example, cost components for average hawker stall and other information conducted by Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is important (ref. 1).

It suggested that raw material played the most cost for average hawkers, whereas rental contributed about 12% and utility at 9.3% (both at 21.3%).

Fig. 1 Cost component of average hawker centre (dated 2015; ref. 1)

As mentioned previously, the average cost of rental is $1500 with a range of $5 to $5000 (as offered bids; ref. 2). If a business operates daily without rest, then this translates to $1500/30=$50 per day from rental. Assume 12% rental cost is true, then total cost is $50/0.12 = $416. If daily total cost is true, then the cost of utility and rental would be $416 * 0.21 = $87.36. If raw material is approximately 60%, the cost is $416 * 0.6 = $250. Daily, a hawker would be spending $337.36. The rest is manpower and other service fees at approximately 20% (which is variable, because manpower could be business owner’s fixed salary and other service fees are variable).

To break-even, a business needs to achieve $337.36. If a bowl of product is $3, then the business owner needs 113 bowls per day. Subsequent bowls would be operating profit.

If I am to start a business in a location selling a dish, I will first determine the following:

  • Average footfall in the location per day (and especially compared during weekends)
  • Average peak time per day in hour.
  • Number of competitors
  • Average price of similar product around the location
  • Seats available
  • Parking area
  • Type of customers, e.g. workers, students, or other market segment.
  • Other marketing strategies.
  • Operations consideration, e.g. storage, freezers, footprint (sqm), process area (or kitchen), payment method (cash or cashless), and stall service provider (their efficiency), stall hygiene level (study the NEA awarded hygiene level, should be above Silver level; ref. 3)

Reference

  1. Examining the cost drivers of hawker food prices by MTI (https://www.mti.gov.sg/-/media/MTI/Legislation/Public-Consultations/2015/Examining-The-Cost-Drivers-of-Hawker-Food-Prices/fa_1q15.pdf)
  2. Hawker stall rental using bidding system is flawed (https://siekitchen.com/2020/05/16/hawker-stall-rental-using-bidding-system-is-flawed/)
  3. New food hygiene recognition scheme to replace existing grading system (https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/new-food-hygiene-recognition-scheme-to-replace-existing-grading-10446030, 19 Jun 2018)

ngoh hiang (five spice fritter)

ingredients

  • 1 packet bean curd skin
  • 500g minced pork belly (fatty)
  • 500 g fresh shrimps, minced
  • 400 g chestnuts (or jicama)
  • 1 egg
  • 6 garlic
  • 6 shallots

seasoning

  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 50 g flour
  • 1 tsp five spice powder

step

  1. mix all ingredients and seasoning together and marinate, >= 1 hr
  2. place 3 tbsp filling in lower half of bean curd skin (soaked first)
  3. roll it in and seal edges with egg yolk/washes (egg wash is mixture of egg, water, milk, cream and salt)
  4. optional step: steam >= 10 min, cut into smaller pieces, coat with flour and proceed to deep fry
  5. deep fry until ngoh hiang turns golden brown
  6. drain excess oil and paper towel
  7. serve

DIY chee cheung fun (rice noodle)

ingredients

  • 354 ml rice flour
  • 3 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 2 tbsp wheat starch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp canola oil (and extra for greasing pan)
  • 354 ml lukewarm water
  • 236 ml boiling water

steps

  1. combine rice flour, tapioca, and wheat starch, and salt in mixing bowl
  2. add canola oil and lukewarm water
  3. whisk until smooth
  4. whisk in boiling water
  5. set aside and allow the batter to rest, 45 min
  6. use aluminium square cakepan for steaming rice noodle
  7. add batter to abiout 1/8 in thickness to prewarmed greased pan
  8. swirl around to coat evenly and steam, 3 min until noodle bubble up

Traditional white bread

Tradtional white bread should be soft and once toasted, good candidate for butter and kaya. This setup will complement with soft-boiled egg (softer than poached egg). Such setup is best for typical Singaporean breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 2 packages of 0.25 oz active dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (45oC)
  • 3 tbsp margarine/butter
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 6 1/2 cups bread flour

steps

  1. in large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water
  2. stir in margarine/butter, 2 cups flour
  3. stir in remaining flour gradually
  4. when dough has pulled together, turn it out onto lightly floured surface
  5. knead dough until smooth and elastic, 8 min
  6. lightly oil large bowl, place in and turn to coat with oil
  7. cover with damp cloth and rest in warm place until doubled in volume, 1 hr
  8. dflate the dough and turn it out onto lightly floured surface
  9. divide dough into two equal pieces and form into loaves
  10. place them in lightly greased loaf pans
  11. cover loaves with damp cloth and let rise until double in volume, approx 40 min
  12. preheat oven to 220oC
  13. bake at 190oC, 30 min until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped

Aglio et olio spaghetti

ingredients

  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp salt (for sauce)
  • 450 g spaghetti
  • 3 cloves garlic,minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin oil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 lemon zested (optional)
  • Freshly grated parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)

steps

  1. cook pasta, approx 8 min in salted water
  2. in large bowl, combine garlic, olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and red pepper flakes.
  3. warm over low heat, stir intermitently until garlic softens, 8 min
  4. drain pasta
  5. reserve 1/4 cup cooking water
  6. add pasta and water to garlic mixture
  7. mix well
  8. add parsley and lemon zest
  9. adjust seasoning to taste
  10. transfer to a large bowl
  11. serve with grated cheese (optional)

Chicken rice

pouched chicken

ingredients

  • 6 litres water
  • 1.8 kg whole chicken
  • 200 g young ginger, sliced
  • 150 g spring onion

base seasoning

  • 150 g chicken stock
  • 45 g sugar

method to prepare chicken

  1. heat water in deep pot until simmer
  2. add all ingredients except chicken
  3. add base seasoning
  4. next submerge whole chicken
  5. lower the flame and pouch 45 in
  6. soak chicken in cold water, 15 min
  7. cut chicken
  8. set aside

chicken rice

ingredients

  • 900 ml water
  • 375 g rice
  • 375 g brown rice
  • 150 g pandan leaves
  • 75 g shallots, finely blended
  • 75 g garlic, finely blended
  • 75 g young ginger, sliced
  • 75 g blue ring ginger, sliced (optional)
  • 30 g canola oil
  • 10 g sesame oil (optional)

base seasoning

  • 40g chicken stock
  • 15 g sugar

steps

  1. heat wok with oil, add young ginger & blue ginger
  2. saute until golden brown
  3. add garlic and shallot and continue saute until fragrant
  4. add pandan leaves and water
  5. add chicken stock into the wok after water simmers
  6. add sugar and whisk until dissolved
  7. heat until broth simmer and pour the broth into rice coker and cook rice for 45 min
  8. serve hot with chicken

Laksa Singapore

-ingredients

broth

  • 700 ml chicken stock
  • 100 ml water
  • 100 g ikan bilis (anchovies)
  • 4 tbsp veggie oil
  • 1 litre coconut milk
  • fish sauce
  • sugar
  • salt

rempah/spice

  • 8 shallots, chopped
  • 12 large dried red chilies soaked in lukewarm water, 1 hr
  • 200 g dried shrimp (hae bee) soaked in lukewarm water, 4 hrs
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, sliced
  • 12 candlenuts
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste (belacan), roasted
  • 5 cm piece fresh turmeric, peeled
  • 10 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp ground anise star
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed
  • 4 tbsp veggie oil

ingredients to serve (all cooked and ready to eat)

  • 300 g cooked thick rice noodle (bee hoon)
  • tiger prawns, cooked
  • 12 pieces perforated bean curd (tau pok)
  • pan-fried Chinese fish cakes, sliced
  • 2 eggs, hard boiled & halved
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup fresh laksa leaves (Vietnamese mint or daun kesom)
  • sambal belacan (see below)

-method (to prepare laksa broth)

  1. boil chicken stock and water in large pot
  2. add anchovies and simmer for 1 hr on medium heat
  3. reduce heat to simmer
  4. pound all rempah ingredients in mortar into smooth paste
  5. heat 4 tbsp veggie oil in a pan over medium heat and saute the rempah paste, 5 – 10 min until fragrant and dark brown
  6. mix in rempah and coconut milk to the pot of broth
  7. turn heat up to boil
  8. season broth with fish sauce, sugar and salt

Sambal belacan

-ingredients

  • 10 g dried shrimp paste (belacan)
  • 4 chilli padi
  • 4 red chillies
  • 2 calamansi (Kafir lime)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

-method

  1. Saute shrimp paste on dry pan until fragrant
  2. In a mortar, pound chillies and shrimp paste until homogenous
  3. add calamansi lime juice to the paste
  4. add sugar and salt to taste
  5. store the sambal belacan in a container

Procedure to serve laksa
-steps

  1. apportion and add all ‘ingredients to serve except curry leaves” to a serving bowl
  2. “Rinse or run through” the above ingredient with laksa broth several times.This will slow cook the ingredients.
  3. add in the laksa broth, sambal belacan (according to your spiciness level), and curry leaves.
  4. Serve hot.

Alternative ingredients to enhance flavour and texture

  • cooked blood cockle, shelled

Simple meat marinate

-ingredients

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 inch ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (and more for seasoning later)
  • salt

-method

  1. add all the above to mix
  2. add meat to marinate
  3. keep marinated meat refrigerated, > 2 hrs to 24 hrs
  4. remove from fridge to equilibrate to room temperature, 30 min

 

Nasi lemak with dried anchovies sambal

-ingredients

  • coconut rice
  • dried anchovies sambal (see below)
  • cucumber, sliced
  • fried anchovies
  • fried peanuts
  • hard-boiled eggs, halved

coconut rice

-ingredients

  • 400 g (2 cups) rice, washed and drained
  • 3 screwpine leaves (pandan), washed and knotted
  • 1 shallot, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 200 ml water

-method

  1. place all ingredients into a rice cooker
  2. cook as per cooker’s instruction

fried anchovies sambals

-ingredients

  • 50 g deep fried anchovies
  • 1 large red onion (approx 210 g), quartered and sliced thinly
  • 60 to 70 g light brown sugar
  • 15 g tamarind paste mixed with 1 cup of water, discard the sediment later (or strained)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil

spice paste

  • 100 g shallots peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 bug yellow onion, chopped
  • 40 g dried red chillies, soaked in boiling water and drained
  • 1 tsp roasted shrimp paste (belacan)

-method

  1. blend spice paste ingredients
  2. saute in moderate heat with oil
  3. stir until fragrant (and oil separated from paste)
  4. add red onion and stir briefly
  5. mix in tamarind juice, sugar and cook, 20-25 min
  6. mix in fried anchovies and cook for 15 min
  7. season with sugar/salt to taste

Deep frying anchovies

-ingredients

  • dried anchovies (ikan bilis)
  • cooking oil

-method

  1. heat thick bottomed saucepan with 4 to 5 cm cooking oil, 5 to 10 min
  2. test temperature of oil by dropping one or two dried anchovies into the hot oil.
  3. they will ‘float up’ within second
  4. drop in only one handful of dried anchovies to fry each time when oil foam and faint crackling sound is heard
  5. stir with a pair of wooden chopsticks and pick one up to test, 4 to 5 min
  6. drain anchovies of oil