Yes, you read that right.
And yes, our arms are sore, though we’re still gleefully adding onto our Pokédex and lustily chasing after Snorlaxes and Porygons, thanks to an online post that identified where they were hiding.
Add to that the number of Pokéstrolls scheduled in our calendars these days, the success that has been pulled off by the developers at Niantec is undeniable. Which is why we find ourselves wondering: has the world of augmented reality managed to one-up our real-world? And if not, what would be our Poké-equivalent in the real world today?
Here are 3 reasons why we think the new Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market makes the Pokéstop-cut.
- Collecting items: Just as how one can venture to his or her nearest Pokéstop to pick up eggs or more Pokéballs to capture Pokémon, Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market is home to some 28 stalls that serve up quality, nutritious meals, every day of the week. While this may seem commonplace, in actual fact, each and every single food option available is the result of an exercise in curation done by Mr Tan See Long, the centre manager and his team, which saw them survey 500 households on food types and options.
- Prime location: Located in the Western region of our island, Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market is the first in its area. Not only that, it gives consumers and market-goers the added benefit of having both cooked food and a ‘dry market’ in one single location. Plus, for those who favour late-night makan sessions, the Hawker Centre and Market is open daily from 6 am – 10.30 pm.
- Lures: If Lures are to Pokémon what honey is to bees, then quality, yet affordable food options would be the magic that brings in the crowds. But according to Mr Tan, that’s simply not quite enough. “We don’t only make sure the prices are low for the consumers, we also have to look at the hawker’s side. They must be able to make a living too. So we ensure a win-win situation where the prices are acceptable for both hawkers and consumers.” To pull off this balancing act, hawkers are required to offer two basic food meals that have a capped price to cater to the price-conscious and the low-income. Mr Tan also regularly gathers feedback from both stall owners and customers on the food quality and prices.
But how about the hawkers themselves? According to NTUC Foodfare Head of Hawker Centre Unit Sam Lee, to help defray the costs that come with hiring cleaning and dishwashing services, the cleaning contractor of the hawker centre – Clean Solutions Pte Ltd – successfully applied for a 50 per cent Inclusive Growth Programme grant from NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute to assist with the centre’s cleaning and dishwashing, provided the company improves productivity and increase wages of its cleaners. Any operating surplus generated by the hawker centre also goes back to the stall owners at the end of their three-year contract.
Moving ahead, Mr Tan and his team are also looking to implement a bulk-purchase system so stall owners can collectively buy basic ingredients such as cooking oil, rice and flour at lower prices.
So, if you find yourself itching for a Pokéstroll or Pokéhunt one day, why not head West towards the Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market. We may not be able to guarantee rare Pokémon, but we can promise you some hearty local fare at very affordable prices.
For 5 other reasons why you should visit Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market, read here.
P/S: If you’re still wondering which online post we read, click here.