An Inclusive FoodCourt in Singapore: Dignity Kitchen

If you are visiting Singapore for the first time, Dignity Kitchen located at Boon Keng would be the perfect place for you to capture the evolving social dynamics and heritage of Singapore in the last century. 

Source: https://www.sammyboy.com/threads/a-part-of-singapore’s-hawker-culture-will-always-be-inside-all-of-us.266544/ (Reproduced without Permission)   

 

The cost of living in Singapore has been rising in the last decade but thankfully, hawkers in Singapore have continued to make dining out in Singapore affordable and readily accessible to the middle class. 

My paternal grandparents were hawkers in the 1970s and I am really proud of this heritage. They hustled day and night to raise 9 children. My grandmother continued to work as a hawker even till her late 70s to keep herself meaningfully occupied. 

Being a hawker is physically demanding and I had a brief stint working in the food and beverage industry for 9 months in my mid-twenties, much to the dismay of my parents. That experience had fulfilled my childhood dream of standing behind a counter serving food and giving change to customers. This dream had lingered on in me and I felt a deep sense of fulfillment whenever I think about it now. It also made me better appreciate all the hard work that went into serving a piping hot plate of food. 

In just one generation, my father was able to move up the social ladder and secure a white-collar job. This must have made my grandparents incredibly proud of him. Clearly, my family had reaped the fruits of the economic prosperity in Singapore, enjoying upward social mobility in this country. Therefore, my parents cannot put their heads around my decision to work in a bakery and a cafe after 3 years of working as an entry-level executive in Singapore. You can imagine the contention that I had with my parents, especially my dad, which you can find out a little more here. 

Thankfully, the tussle with my parents had fizzled out over the years and I am enriched with the experience of having a taste of a hawker’s life, a heritage that I am proud of. 

What you will find at Dignity Kitchen?

You will be treated to a curated selection of local delicacies such as Laksa, Chicken Rice, and Nasi Lemak at a very affordable price range. 

You can check out my food review, as a vegetarian, for Dignity Kitchen below. 

Food Review at Dignity Kitchen in September’21

After reading about the review of Dignity Kitchen from a Singapore Food Blog, I felt compelled to pay a visit. I have been thinking of trying out the food since its inception in January 2021 but I was always distracted by all the other food options around the vicinity.

Honestly, the vegetarian food options are pretty limited and I am not really a big fan of rice. I prefer noodles. Therefore, I have been delaying my visit. Nevertheless, I am so glad I finally went and I felt really impressed by everything in the latest Dignity [email protected] Keng.

  1. Vegetarian Nasi Lemak (3.5/5)

To me, the best part of this dish is the pickled salad, called Achar. I love it so much and was delighted to find out that I could order the pickles ala carte at $1 per 100g. I think it would make a perfect gift for friends who are pregnant. As for the rice, it is fragrant but there is still room for improvement. The rice could be fluffier and served piping hot. I would rate 3.5/5 for this dish. 

  1. Vegetarian Rojak (3/5)

The flavour of the rojak was delightful though it could be a little sweet for some people. However, I was a little disappointed that the Fried Dough Sticks were not Crispy at all. To me, that is the highlight of the dish. Nevertheless, I will still order it in the future as I like the flavours of other toppings like cucumbers and roasted grated peanuts. 

  1. Laksa (4.5/5)

My parents had the prawn laksa and they said that it was really good. The gravy was very thick and to your liking. I am glad they like it. Nevertheless, I must warn you that Laksa has a very high-calorie content and do enjoy it in moderation if you are watching your weight. 

  1. Fish and Chips (4/5)

My parents love the fish and chips too and I like that the fries were hot and crispy. Similar to Laksa, deep-fried food should only be eaten in moderation. 

About Dignity Kitchen

I have witnessed Dignity Kitchen growing over the last decade and I have great respect for the founder’s and his team’s dedication towards sustaining this social enterprise. Running a business is tough. I cannot imagine how much tougher it would be to run a Social Enterprise. 

I remembered when I first learned about Dignity Kitchen, I wrote to the organisation and the founder and his staff invited my friend and I down to visit the foodcourt at Kaki Bukit View. They spent one hour explaining their business model to us. That was in 2012 when I just graduated from college. The business model back then seemed to be heavily reliant on corporates giving lunch treats to the elderly. I am really heartened that Dignity Kitchen is still operating and hopefully, thriving. 

Dignity Kitchen is one of the most inclusive eateries in Singapore. It has obtained Halal certification and offers vegetarian food options. If you are pulling your hair figuring out how to meet the varying dietary preferences of your colleagues, this may be the perfect place for your next office gathering or catering needs!

References

https://rubbisheatrubbishgrow.com/2021/08/12/dignity-kitchen-boon-keng/

https://www.ricemedia.co/culture-people-social-enterprise-dignity-kitchen-koh-seng-choon/

https://mothership.sg/2021/01/dignity-kitchen-koh-seng-choon/ 

https://sethlui.com/dignity-kitchen-singapore-social-enterprise/ 

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/cnainsider/money-lost-life-suicide-dignity-kitchen-founder-koh-seng-choon-878021 

https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/food-drink/article/3049790/i-look-their-ability-not-their-disability-social-enterprise

https://www.sammyboy.com/threads/a-part-of-singapore’s-hawker-culture-will-always-be-inside-all-of-us.266544/ (The first hawkers’ Image is reproduced without permission from this website)

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